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Cipher featuring Nick Photinos

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Tuesday, December 4th
6:30pm Doors || 7:30pm Show
$12 Advance (+fees/taxes) || $16 Door (tax incl.)


Brooklyn-based soprano-violin duo Cipher (Justine Aronson and Sarah Goldfeather) will team up with cellist Nick Photinos (Eighth Blackbird) for an evening-length performance of both new and reimagined music. Justine and Sarah met at a fateful holiday party in 2014, and each met Nick at the Bang On A Can Festival at Mass MoCA, and it soon became clear that these three musicians were destined to make music together, and lo, a short Midwest tour came into being. The concert will feature a new arrangement of Goldfeather's piece, Come Back/Leave Me, works by Amy Beth Kirsten and David T Little, and some "new music" interpretation of some familiar songs. 

In 2014 soprano Justine Aronson walked into a party in Brooklyn, knowing not a soul. Within minutes, she and and violinist Sarah Goldfeather, complete strangers, were enthusiastically singing Christmas carols, making merry for all. Music was made. Cipher was born.

Cipher, a voice and violin duo who will “blow your mind,” has given audiences "a collective chill" (New Classic LA) in their performances across California and New York City. The duo has been featured on New York City’s Classical radio station WQXR, and recently performed at Cornelia Street Cafe, The University of Southern California, UC Santa Barbara, The Factory in Pasadena, the Center for New Music in San Francisco, Roulette in Brooklyn as a part of the String Theories Festival, Cloud City in Brooklyn on the Permutation series, among others. Cipher has been awarded residencies at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute, where they have spent time retreating among the New Hampshire pines arranging even more music to play and sing together. 

Named after composer Kate Soper's piece of the same name, the duo has additionally premiered works by Brooklyn-based composers Sarah Goldfeather, Rebekah Driscoll and Eric Shanfield. 


Hailed by The New York Times as possessing "a deep reservoir of expressive devices" and by the Los Angeles Times as "dramatically…juicy," soprano Justine Aronson employs artistic and technical versatility to create passionate performances. Her interpretations have consistently captured the attention of those producing new music, earning her premieres with composers including David Lang, Daron Hagen, and Ted Hearne. She has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Five Boroughs Music Festival, Eighth Blackbird, Mirror Visions Ensemble, Opera Philadelphia, and Brooklyn Art Song Society, among others. Justine has recorded for the NAXOS label, and is anticipating the forthcoming commercial record release of Christopher Cerrone's portrait album LA-based modern music collective wild Up.

Sarah Goldfeather is a Minnesota born, Brooklyn-based composer-performer who writes music for her three ensembles, Goldfeather, Cipher, Exceptet, and beyond. Her work has been performed in the continental US and Europe, including features at The Present Music Festival in Milwaukee, Roulette Intermedium, DePauw University's 21CM Initiative at (le) Poisson Rouge, the Ecstatic Music Festival and MATA Interval Series in New York, several features on WQXR, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago presented by Eighth Blackbird, the Times Two Series in Boston, concerts in Berlin, and tours across America with Goldfeather and Cipher. She has released two albums under Goldfeather, with a third forthcoming in 2019 as an experimental indie-rock trio configuration.  In her concurrent life as a contemporary music violinist, Sarah has performed in the critically acclaimed off-broadway production of Oklahoma, as a soloist in Madrid, Valencia, Berlin, and the TEDxMET series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to name a few. She is the founder, co-director and violinist of the seven-piece new music ensemble, Exceptet and one half of the soprano-violin duo, Cipher, and is currently on faculty at NYU-Steinhardt.

Nick Photinos, cellist, is a founding member and co-Artistic Director of the four-time Grammy Award-winning chamber music ensemble Eighth Blackbird. Formed in 1996, the group performs 50-60 concerts annually throughout the world and has been featured at the 2013 Grammy Awards, on CBS’s Sunday Morning, Bloomberg TV, and frequently in the New York Times. Recent accolades include being named Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year for 2017 and the inaugural Chamber Music America Visionary Award in 2016. Highlights of the 2017-2018 include their debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Jennifer Higdon’s concerto for sextet and orchestra, On a Wire; debuts in Milan and Turin, Italy and Budapest, Hungary; performances with Cincinnati Ballet; and performances across 11 US States. The 2016-17 season included debuts in Paris, at Justin Vernon’s (Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner’s (The National) Eaux Claires Festival, with the San Francisco Symphony, a three-week return to Australia, as well as shows with indie-folk artist Bonnie Prince Billy (Will Oldham) and world premieres by Holly Harrison, Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang, and Ned McGowan. In June 2017 Eighth Blackbird launched their annual summer festival, the Blackbird Creative Lab, a tuition-, room- and board- free chamber music festival. The ensemble has held multi-year residency positions at the Curtis Institute of Music, the University of Chicago, and currently holds an ongoing Ensemble-in-Residence position at the University of Richmond.

As a solo artist, Nick has toured with Björk, recorded with Wilco on their Grammy-nominated album The Whole Love, and recorded with Autumn Defense on their album Once Around. He has performed and recorded with numerous jazz artists including vocalists Sheila Jordan, pianist Laurence Hobgood, violinist Zach Brock, and bassist Matt Ulery, with whom he has been featured on three albums. He has also served as section cellist with the Canton and Columbus Symphony Orchestras and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. He teaches at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival every July in North Adams, MA. Nick is a graduate of Northwestern University, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He has recorded for numerous labels including the Cedille, Nonesuch, New Amsterdam, Greenleaf, and Naxos labels. His debut solo album, Petits Artéfacts, featuring never-before recorded works by some of the most acclaimed names in new music, including David Lang, Andrew Norman, Bryce Dessner, David T. Little, Angélica Negrón, Florent Ghys, Molly Joyce, and Pascal Le Boeuf, will be released on the New Amsterdam label in late August, 2017.


Earlier Event: December 1
Nate Wood's fOUR with JT Bates Solo
Later Event: December 6
Brazil (1985 35mm)