Black Sheep Contemporary Ensemble is an innovative new music group based out of Boston. Focused on collaboration, the ensemble works to redefine the boundaries between different artistic disciplines while engaging all types of audiences.
Over the past two years, the ensemble has worked with visual artists, dancers and choreographers to create new works. As a result of performing in unique spaces such as art galleries, Black Sheep has brought new music to an atypical audience. Working with choreographer Micheline Wu, the ensemble discovered new possibilities for performing music and movement simultaneously. To further cross disciplines, many pieces composed by members of the group have incorporated works of visual art, such as Caroline Bagenal’s“Book of Hours”and her “Summer Palace”.
By performing pieces by living composers, Black Sheep aims to give repeat performances to already written works, as well as commissioning new ones. The ensemble has hosted Calls for Submissions, accepting new or previously premiered works by composers worldwide. The cost to apply for these calls has always been kept at a minimum, making them accessible to as many composers as possible with compensation given for selected pieces. With an unusual instrumentation, the group helps to commission pieces for instruments that are normally underrepresented in the Western chamber music world.
Engaging and educating the community about new music is one of Black Sheep’s main aspirations. The ensemble’s weekly Black Sheep Live events hosted on Facebook explore and discuss works by different living composers. With no admission charged and a global reach, these events have been viewed by audiences who often find traditional concerts and lectures cost prohibitive or do not live in a metropolitan area.