Fifth House Ensemble
The Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble is a versatile and dynamic group praised by the New York Times for its “conviction, authority, and finesse.” Defined by limitless imagination the ensemble engages curiosity to create unexpected connections with artistic collaborators and audiences of all types, breathing life into repertoire both established and emerging. Over the last decade, the ensemble has engaged theater groups, visual artists, animators, living composers, astronomers, folk musicians and corporate innovators transformative cross-media performance experiences for audiences of every type.
As part of its 10th anniversary season, Fifth House Ensemble (5HE) presents four landmark events: the long-awaited return of Black Violet: The Un-Natural Order, written and illustrated by Ezra Claytan Daniels; Soundings, which pairs Dan Visconti’s new trio for flute, cello and piano with works by Stacy Garrop and Jennifer Higdon; Journey, an interactive arrangement for 5HE of Austin Wintory’s Grammy-nominated score responsive to live game play; and Voices from the Dust Bowl, a collaboration with the Chicago bluegrass band Henhouse Prowlers that includes the premiere of Steven Snowden’s new work for 5HE alongside stories of day laborers from the Library of Congress and from Interfaith Worker Justice’s 27 worker sites nationwide. 5HE also visits Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Ball State University, University of Illinois-Springfield, and the University of Texas-Austin for performances and residency activities this season. As the 2015-2016 Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholars at Florida Atlantic University, the ensemble will premiere a new chamber opera by fresh inc alum Kevin Wilt.
Previous seasons’ performances include those at Ravinia, Montalvo Arts Center (CA), the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, Civic Music Association (IA), Pritzker Pavilion, WFMT Impromptu, the Chicago Cultural Center, Rush Hour Concerts at St. James, and the Miller Theatre (NY). In 2014, the ensemble released Excelsior, 5HE’s debut album on Cedille Records, praised for its “spirited music-making of the finest kind” by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Through the ensemble’s heartfelt social and civic practice work, 5HE has co-created artistic projects with urban neighborhoods, social service organizations, and an agricultural community to spark conversations on issues that matter. Recent projects include Broken Text, a collaboration with Raven Theatre and DJ Searchl1te inspired by multi-week residencies at the Cook County Temporary Youth Detention Center and St. Leonard’s Ministries; Nedudim, an exploration of music and cultural identity in collaboration with the Israeli folk band Baladino that engages Chicago-based organizations representing Israel, Iran, Germany and Spain, and Harvest, a year-long partnership with DePauw University and the Greencastle, IN community culminating in a Mother’s Day celebration of the people, places, and stories of Putnam County.
Bringing its signature connective programming from the stage to the classroom, 5HE develops young audiences through curriculum-integrated interactive concerts and residencies for students grades K-12. A member of the Illinois Arts Council’s Arts-in-Education Roster, 5HE has presented performances and residencies at Chicago public schools and the Chicago Cultural Center in partnership with the International Music Foundation, the Chicago Teachers’ Center, Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, and Ravinia’s Reach*Teach*Play program. Programs are customized to the curriculum of each school, with the goals of promoting active listening skills and connecting music to a wide variety of subjects.
5HE launches a new partnership with Loyola University’s Center for Urban Research and Learning this season, through which the ensemble will be in residence at sites serving at-risk youth and adults including Deborah’s Place, Teen Living Programs, and Nancy B. Jefferson Alternative School at the Chicago Temporary Youth Detention Center.
Currently Ensemble in Residence at Carthage College, Fifth House also frequently performs for college audiences, including workshops, residencies, and performances at Yale College, Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, Indiana University, Northwestern University, DePaul University, and the Colburn School. In 2012, 5HE launched fresh inc, a one of a kind chamber music festival that brings together composers and instrumentalists for side-by-side performances, receiving creative presentation and entrepreneurship training.