NEWSPEAK, named after the thought-limiting language in George Orwell’s 1984, is a powerhouse ensemble that became an early standout within New York’s “indie-classical” scene. The current line-up — David T. Little (composer), Mellissa Hughes (voice), Eileen Mack (clarinet), Caleb Burhans (composer/violin), Taylor Levine (guitar), Brian Snow (cello), James Johnston (piano), and Peter Wise (percussion), and Owen Weaver (drums) — began performing together in 2008, and has been featured as part of the Tune-In Festival with eighth blackbird at the Park Avenue Armory, the Ecstatic Music Festival in NYC, on New Sounds Live, at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, and on the 25th Anniversary Bang on a Can Marathon. They have headlined on the MATA Festival, shared bills with The Fiery Furnaces as part of Wordless Music, and performed as part of John Zorn’s Full Force festival and the Holland Festival at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam.
Actively committed to the music of its time Newspeak has commissioned and premiered work by David T. Little, Caleb Burhans, Corey Dargel, Oscar Bettison, Ted Hearne, Judd Greenstein, Missy Mazzoli and many others. “You could call this punk classical,” Lucid Culture wrote, “fearlessly aware…[and] resolutely defiant.” New Sounds host John Schafer called them “important players on the new music scene here in New York.” Newspeak has released three critically acclaimed albums, sweet light crude (2010, New Amsterdam), Soldier Songs (2013, Innova) and their most recent, David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s opera Dog Days (2016, National Sawdust Tracks). A fourth album is anticipated some time in 2021.