Kristjan Järvi’s Absolute Ensemble as told by Bonnie Sue Stein

Kristjan Järvi’s Absolute Ensemble

Kristjan Jarvi’s Absolute Ensemble | Photo: Peter Adamik

ABSOLUTE ENSEMBLE is a multi-disciplinary electro-acoustic chamber band based in New York City. Created in 1993 by Conductor Kristjan Järvi (then a piano major at Manhattan School of Music), Absolute Ensemble has 18 key players hailing from across the Globe (Japan, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Holland, Bulgaria, Canada and the USA). Järvi’s uncanny prescience for the future of classical music led him to create the band that the American Record Guide claims “may well be the most alluring and virtuosic of today’s new music groups.” An ebullient mix of jazz, classical and world music played with virtuosic flair, each project is created by the group from start to finish, drawing from their rich portfolios as composers, performers and improvisers.

Learn more about GOH’s history with Kristjan Järvi and Absolute Ensemble here


Absolute Bach Re-invented in NYC!

At Le Poisson Rouge, February 19, 2010

Kristjan Järvi’s musically-omnivorous band, Absolute Ensemble, is on tour with chart-topping pianist Simone Dinnerstein, making stops in Toronto, ON; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; and Austin, TX.

Their concert, entitled Absolute …Bach Re-invented, takes Bach’s music as a starting point and creates an off-beat journey from Baroque to rock to Gypsy folk and hip-hop. The program includes Innovation J.S. by Charles Coleman (based on Bach’s Inventions No. 5 in Eb Major and No. 8 in F Major); Reinventions by Gene Pritsker featuring Ms. Dinnerstein as soloist; Undertow by Matt Herskowitz (based on Bach’s Invention No. 9 in F Minor); Raga on a Theme by Bach by Mike Block; and toopART Reinventions by Daniel Schnyder.

Dedicated to performing what founding music director Kristjan Järvi calls “music without borders,” Absolute Ensemble bridges the gaps between all genres of music, fusing its classical roots with everything from jazz and rock to world music and hip-hop.

Mr. Järvi designed Absolute Bach Re-invented to showcase multi-talented members of the band who also write music – Charles Coleman is the ensemble’s resident composer, Gene Pritsker is a guitarist and rap artist, Matt Herskowitz is a keyboard player and pianist, Mike Block is a cellist, and Daniel Schnyder is a saxophonist.

The program premiered at Musikfest Bremen, Germany in 2008, with Simone Dinnerstein as the featured soloist. Simone, who has recently signed an exclusive recording agreement with Sony Classical, is known for her intelligent but emotive performances and has been called “a throwback to such high priestesses of music as Wanda Landowska and Myra Hess,” by Slate magazine. The New York-based artist gained an international following because of the remarkable success of her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which she raised the funds to record. Released in 2007, it ranked No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Classical Chart in its first week of sales and was named to many “Best of 2007” lists including those of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The New Yorker. Her follow-up album, The Berlin Concert, also gained the No. 1 spot on the Chart. The Washington Post calls her, “a phenomenon in the world of classical music.”

Absolute Ensemble is Kristjan Järvi, conductor; Adam Taubic, violin; Shalini Vijayan, violin; Edmundo Ramirez, viola; Mike Block, cello; Mat Fieldes, bass; Hayley Reid, flute; Keve Wilson, oboe; Michiyo Suzuki, clarinet; Damian Primis, bassoon; Wayne du Maine, trumpet; Mike Seltzer, trombone; Gene Pritsker, guitar; Matt Herskowitz, piano; Damien Bassman, drums and percussion; and Holger Schwark, sound engineer.