The Grammy-nominated string orchestra A Far Cry has developed a distinct approach to music-making, with playing and programming that encourage risk-taking and exploration for both player and audience. Known for its high energy, A Far Cry “brims with personality or, better, personalities, many and varied” (New York Times). Since its founding in 2007, A Far Cry has fostered those personalities. The self-conducted orchestra is a democracy in which decisions are made collectively and leadership rotates among the players (“Criers”). This structure has led to consistently thoughtful, innovative, and unpredictable programming — and impactful collaborations with celebrated performers and composers. Boston Musical Intelligencer sums up the group: “In its first decade, this conductor-free ensemble has earned and sustained a reputation for top-drawer playing, engrossing programming, and outstanding guest artists.”
A Far Cry’s omnivorous approach has led to collaborations with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Roomful of Teeth, the Silk Road Ensemble, Vijay Iyer, and David Krakauer. A Far Cry’s eleventh season in 2017-18 reflects the group’s ambition and creativity, continuing along a path the Boston Globe describes as “moving ever forward.” The season includes 15 Boston-area appearances as part of the group’s long-standing residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and its own subscription series. The group makes debut appearances at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre and Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in New York, Washington Performing Arts, Toronto’s Royal Conservatory, and Duke Performances.
Recent tour highlights include two new commissioning projects: Philip Glass’ third piano concerto with soloist Simone Dinnerstein (with an album scheduled for release in May, 2018 on Glass’ Orange Mountain Music), and The Blue Hour, “a gorgeous and remarkably unified work” (Washington Post) written by a collaborative of five leading female composers – Rachel Grimes, Angélica Negrón, Shara Nova, Caroline Shaw, and Sarah Kirkland Snider; and featuring Grammy-winning singer Luciana Souza. A Far Cry also performed as part of composer Matthew Aucoin’s “taut, inspired opera” (New York Times), Crossing at BAM.
A Far Cry’s Crier Records launched auspiciously in 2014 with the Grammy-nominated album Dreams and Prayers. The label’s second release, Law of Mosaics, was included on many 2014 Top 10 lists, notably from New Yorker music critic Alex Ross and WQXR’s Q2 Music, which named A Far Cry as one of the "Imagination-Grabbing, Trailblazing Artists of 2014.” In fall 2018, Crier Records releases A Far Cry’s Variations and Visions, featuring music by Britten, Mozart, and Prokofiev.
The 18 Criers are proud to call Boston home, and maintain strong roots in the city, rehearsing at their storefront music center in Jamaica Plain and fulfilling the role of Chamber Orchestra-in-Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Collaborating with local students through an educational partnership with the New England Conservatory and Project STEP, A Far Cry aims to pass on the spirit of collaboratively-empowered music to the next generation.