Past Event

Ensemble Échappé: “The Truth is Curved”

March 4, 2020
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
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With mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert; works by Luciano Berio, Caterina di Cecca, and Tania León

In residency this season at the Italian Academy, Ensemble Échappé, New York's “polished, ambitious young sinfonietta” (The New Yorker), is offering two concerts and an opera premiere performed over four evenings in February, March, and April. The Ensemble's 20 virtuoso musicians, led by Artistic Directors Benjamin Grow (conductor) and composer Nina C. Young, are distinguished not only as exceptional instrumentalists, but as visionaries, sculpting the future of music, bound together by a collective desire to explore diverse sonic palettes and fresh new music.

March 4 at 7:30 PM: The Truth Is Curved

Concert featuring mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert

Tania León: One Mo’ Time
Lembit Beecher: Three Immigrant Songs
Caterina di Cecca: La verità ricurva
Luciano Berio: Folk Songs

Mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert has received critical acclaim for her interpretations of both new and traditional repertoire in opera, concert, and chamber repertoire. “Gaissert gave a dramatically powerful, vocally stunning portrait... a virtuoso performance” (Opera News). Known for her warm tone, powerful stage presence, and impeccable musicianship and technical prowess. “Mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert was impossible to ignore.... She has a pure, powerful and appealing voice and a forceful stage presence to match” (Denver Post). In 2019 she created the role of Georgia O’Keefe in Today It Rains with San Francisco’s Opera Parallele and American Opera Projects; performed the world premiere of the third opera by the highly acclaimed and record-setting team of As One: Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. She will also be reprising her role as Hannah After in her 6th production of As One with New York City Opera/American Opera Projects, singing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with both the Buffalo Symphony and Sarasota Orchestra, and performing a workshop performance of Laura Kaminsky’s fourth opera, also with librettist Kimberly Reed, Postville: Hometown to the World, with Opera Fusion: New Works in conjunction with Cincinnati Opera and her alma mater Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Previous engagements include Carmen, Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Hansel, Siegrune in Die Walkure, Lucretia in Rape of Lucretia, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, soloist in the Verdi Requiem, Berio Folk Songs, Mozart Requiem, world premieres by John Adams, Laura Kaminsky, Mikael Karlsson, Robert Paterson, Martin Hennessy, Mohammed Fairouz, Richard Pearson Thomas, Glen Roven, Yotam Haber, Jorge Martin, Tom Cipullo, Renee Favand-See, Gilda Lyons, Jessica Meyer, Gabriel Kahane and more. Companies include the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Opera, Dallas Symphony, San Diego Opera, Prototype Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Lyrique en Mer, Tulsa Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Sarasota Opera, and Opera Saratoga. 

Based in New York City, Ensemble Échappé [EÉ] is a versatile group of soloists dedicated to presenting an eclectic spectrum of 20th and 21st century music. Undefined by genre or style, EÉ is a sinfonietta of 20 core members distinguished not only as exceptional instrumentalists, but as visionaries, sculpting the future of new music. The musicians of EÉ are bound together by the desire to explore diverse sonic palettes. Co-Directors Benjamin Grow and Nina C. Young believe in promoting a dialogue between performers and living composers, while also showcasing the masterworks of the American and European canons. EÉ has premiered and performed works by a wide array of composers including Andy Akiho, the Brothers Balliett, Lisa Bielawa, Jonathan Dawe, Jason Eckardt, Beat Furrer, Selim Goncu, Michael Hersch, Takuma Itoh, Aaron Holloway-Nahum, Tonia Ko, Fred Lerdahl, Andrew Norman, Kevin Puts, Kaija Saariaho, Sean Shepherd, Tina Tallon, Zeynep Toraman, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon. Échappé is cultivating a dedication to collaborations with vocal artists pursuing contemporary and experimental music.

Ensemble Échappé

Artistic Directors

Benjamin Grow
Nina C. Young


Benjamin Grow


Isabel Lepanto Gleicher, flute
Lauren Williams, oboe
Vasko Dukovski, clarinet
Brad Balliett, bassoon
Eric Reed, horn
Sam Jones, trumpet
Felix Del Tredici, trombone
Samuel Budish, percussion
Mike Truesdell, percussion
Emily Levin, harp
Ashley Jackson, harp
Conor Hanick, piano
Han Chen, piano
Emilie-Anne Gendron, violin
Karen Kim, violin
Michelle Ross, violin
Jessica Meyer, viola
Jay Campbell, cello
Caleb van der Swaagh, cello
Doug Balliett, bass

Advisory Board

Fred Lerdahl
Jeffrey Milarsky
Steven Stucky (in memory)

Director of Development

Louis Chiappetta

Operations Manager

Mike Truesdell

Photo by Taylor Hoope