International Contemporary Ensemble

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International Contemporary Ensemble
International Contemporary Ensemble Logo.png
Background information
OriginChicago, Illinois, United States
GenresContemporary classical
Years active2001-present
LabelsTundra, Nonesuch, Kairos, Bridge, Naxos, Tzadik, New Focus, New Amsterdam, Mode

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) is a contemporary classical music ensemble, based in New York City and Chicago. ICE performs a diverse and extensive array of chamber, electro-acoustic, improvisatory, and multimedia works.[1]


The International Contemporary Ensemble was founded in 2001 by Claire Chase (Ensemble flautist and executive director).[2][3] The early ensemble—consisting primarily of alumni from the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio—presented its first Chicago concert at the Three Arts Club in January 2002.[4] In the following year, the Ensemble made its New York City debut at the Miller Theatre, and have since split their activities between Chicago and New York.

Since its founding, the Ensemble has premiered over 500 compositions, many of these commissions and collaborations spawning from their noteworthy residency programs: the 21st Century Young Composers Project and ICElab.[5] In addition to commissioning emerging composers, the ensemble has also premiered numerous works by world-renowned composers, including Georges Aperghis, Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros, John Zorn, David Lang, Liza Lim, Dai Fujikura, Chaya Czernowin, Julio Estrada, Amir Shpilman, George E. Lewis, Anna Thorvaldsdottir,[6] and Carla Kihlstedt, among others.

The International Contemporary Ensemble has performed at the Lincoln Center Festival (New York), Musica Nova Helsinki (Finland), Wien Modern (Austria), Acht Brücken Music for Cologne (Germany), La Cité de la Musique (Paris), the Darmstädter Ferienkurse (Germany), Mostly Mozart Festival (New York), as well as tours of Japan, Brazil and France. They have held residencies at the MCA Chicago, Mostly Mozart Festival, New York University, Columbia College (Chicago), and Conservatorio de las Rosas (Morelia, Mexico), among others.


ICE is a flexible collective of thirty-four performing artists, including strings, woodwinds, piano, percussion, voice, light and sound designers. As an artist-run organization, most of ICE’s executive leadership, concert production, marketing, fundraising, technology and database systems are managed by members of the ensemble.[7]

  • Jennifer Kessler (Executive Director)
  • Rebekah Heller (bassoon, Co-Artistic Director Emeritus)
  • Ross Karre (percussion, Artistic Director and Director of
  • Jacob Greenberg (piano, Director of Recordings and Digital Outreach)
  • Levy Lorenzo (percussion, Sound Engineer)
  • Ryan Muncy (saxophone, Grants Director)
  • Joshua Rubin (clarinet, Program Director of LUIGI)
  • Alice Teyssier (flute and voice)
  • Bridget Kibbey (harp)
  • Campbell MacDonald (clarinet)
  • Claire Chase (flute, Founder and former Executive Director)
  • Cory Smythe (piano)
  • Dan Peck (tuba)
  • Daniel Lippel (guitar)
  • David Bowlin (violin)
  • David Byrd-Marrow (horn)
  • Gareth Flowers (trumpet)
  • Isabel Gleicher (flute)
ICE performing at the Mostly Mozart Festival on August 22, 2013.


  • Abandoned Time Daniel Lippel (New Focus Recordings, 2008)[8]
  • Afterglow composer Keeril Makan (Mode, 2013)[9]

With John Zorn

With John Adams

  • Son Of Chamber Symphony / String Quartet St. Lawrence String Quartet (Nonesuch, 2011)[10][11]


  1. ^ Archived 2011-01-03 at the Wayback Machine Official website of the International Contemporary Ensemble
  2. ^ Wagman, Elissa. "Chicago Tribune: "It can break the ICE in any space" It can break the ICE in any space Ensemble doesn't adhere to tradition or boundaries". Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  3. ^ Wagman, Elissa. "It can break the ICE in any space" It can break the ICE in any space Ensemble doesn't adhere to tradition or boundaries". Chicago Tribune.
  4. ^ Wagman, Elissa (June 2, 2005). "It can break the ICE in any space Ensemble doesn't adhere to tradition or boundaries". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  5. ^ "ICE: About".
  6. ^ Alan G. Artner, "An evening of instant gratification," Chicago Tribune, April 27, 2015, Section 4, p. 5
  7. ^ "ICE Staff & Artists". Retrieved 2019-06-15.
  8. ^ "International Contemporary Ensemble, Daniel Lippel – Abandoned Time".
  9. ^ "Keeril Makan - International Contemporary Ensemble – Afterglow".
  10. ^ "Nonesuch Records Son of Chamber Symphony / String Quartet". Nonesuch Records Official Website. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  11. ^ "John Adams – International Contemporary Ensemble Conducted by John Adams / St. Lawrence String Quartet – Son Of Chamber Symphony / String Quartet".

External links[edit]