NEWSPEAK has been featured as a part of the Tune-In Festival with Eighth Blackbird at the Park Avenue Armory, the Ecstatic Music Festival In NYC, on New Sounds Live, and at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. 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. Newspeak released their first CD with New Amsterdam Records in November 2010, followed by Soldier Songs in 2013 (Innova). In fall 2016, National Sawdust Tracks released the world-premiere recording of David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s Dog Days, starring the original cast and Newspeak led by conductor Alan Pierson; the CD was listed as one of NPR’s Best Recordings of 2016.
“You could call this punk classical,” Lucid Culture says of the New York-based amplified octet. “Fearlessly aware…(and) resolutely defiant.” “If more groups played music with such life, power, and passion,” says Sequenza21 “nobody would think this music is ‘dead’.” New Sounds host and taste-maker John Schaefer has called them “important players on the new music scene here in New York” and Danny Johnson of the New Haven Advocate has proclaimed: “these players are so great! …first-rate.”
Named after the thought-limiting language in George Orwell’s 1984, Newspeak is a powerhouse ensemble that blends the anthems of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai with the frenetic and politicized aggression of Black Sabbath and the Dead Kennedys. Fusing the music-for-use directness of Louis Andriessen and Frederic Rzewski, the ornate complexity of King Crimson and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the emotional depths of Elliot Smith and The Cure, they create a mysterious, nuanced, and compelling sound.
Comprised of violinist/composer Caleb Burhans, composer David T. Little, singer Mellissa Hughes, clarinetist Eileen Mack, guitarist Taylor Levine, cellist Brian Snow, pianist James Johnston, drummer Owen Weaver and percussionist Peter Wise, Newspeak is actively committed to the music of its time. In addition to band member/composers Little and Burhans, Newspeak has commissioned, work-shopped, and premiered work by some of the most exciting composers of the new generation, including Darcy James Argue, Oscar Bettison, Lisa Coons, Corey Dargel, Toby Driver, Sean Friar, Ruby Fulton, Judd Greenstein, Ted Hearne, Matthew Friedberger, Matt Marks, Missy Mazzoli, and Sarah Kirkland Snider, as well as established composers like Randall Woolf, Frederic Rzewski and Paul Lansky.
An early standout within New York’s “indie-classical” scene, members of Newspeak met in New York City in the 2005. The current ensemble began performing together in 2008.
- Caleb Burhans, violin, voice
- Mellissa Hughes, voice, electronics
- James Johnston, synthesizer
- Taylor Levine, electric guitar
- David T. Little, composer
- Eileen Mack, clarinets
- Brian Snow, cello, bass
- Owen Weaver, drums
- Peter Wise, percussion
David T. Little, Artistic Director
Eileen Mack, Executive Director
Elizabeth Bergman – Musicologist, Author Music for the Common Man
Derek Bermel – Artistic Director, American Composers Orchestra
Martin Bresnick – Professor of Music, Yale University
Osvaldo Golijov – Grammy Award-winning composer
Lisa Moore – Curator, Sounds Alive 08, Canberra International Music Festival
Anne Waldman – Poet; Distinguished Professor of Poetics, Naropa University
Board of Directors
Dr. Glenn Cornett – biotechnology entrepreneur, new music philanthropist, composer/performer
Jeffrey Edelstein – Director, New Music at Crane Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Christopher Gruits – Artistic Director, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
David T. Little – Artistic Director, ex-officio
Eileen Mack – Executive Director, ex-officio
Jason Masimore – Attorney at Law
Rachel Sokolow – Promotion Manager, Orchestras and Ensembles, G. Schirmer, Inc