American Modern Ensemble – Mavericks

American Modern Ensemble

Mavericks - American Modern Ensemble
By Michael Lowenstern, John Eaton, Pamela Z, William O. Smith, Sean McClowry, Robert Dick, Stuart Dempster, Robert Paterson

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Mavericks is an entire album dedicated to some of the most innovative composer-performers in the United States; musicians who have dedicated their lives to thinking outside the box and inventing new ways to perform their instruments, often using cutting-edge technology, exotic, non-traditional playing techniques and inventive musical notation.

This album was inspired by a highly successful program American Modern Ensemble presented multiple times in 2007 entitled Musical Mavericks at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York City, featuring a few AME artists as well as a select group of guest artists. Each of the musicians on this album utilize extended techniques in their works. Many of these artists, such as Robert Dick, Stuart Dempster and William O. Smith, have quite literally written the books that redefined what is capable on their instruments, and in that sense, helped change the course of contemporary classical music forever.

The album includes works featuring voice, strings, winds, brass, percussion, and piano. Artists include Stuart Dempster (trombone), Robert Dick (flute), John Eaton (piano), Michael Lowenstern (bass clarinet), Sean McClowry (double bass), Robert Paterson (marimba), William O. Smith (clarinet), and Pamela Z (voice). Each artist uses extended techniques and often electronics to expand the sound palette of each instrument—see below for instrumentation details.

About American Modern Ensemble

American Modern Ensemble (AME) joyfully celebrates and showcases American music, performing the widest possible repertoire, particularly by living composers. Our goal is to grow our audience base as far as possible beyond the music community. AME includes on-stage chats with featured composers, presents premieres, and conducts three annual competitions for young, emerging and professional composers. Receptions after each concert enable audience members to mingle with both composers and performers in an intimate, relaxed setting.

Founded in New York City in 2005, AME has been a dynamic, creative force in the American new music scene. With a world-class ensemble made up of NYC's finest musicians, AME is "simply 'first-rate" (The New York Times). AME has performed and premiered over 135 works by over 120 living American composers in venues ranging from Lincoln Center to Galapagos Arts Space, and has "consistently demonstrated a flair for inventive programming" (Steve Smith, Time Out New York). AME programs both cutting edge and traditional works, presenting unique, engaging events that encourage dialogue between artists and audiences. AME is committed to that connection: over 90% of the composers whose works have been programmed by AME have attended our concerts. Sold out crowds at Merkin Hall, Dimenna Center, the Rubin Museum, The TimesCenter and many other venues are a winning testament to AME's tremendous fan base and ever expanding popularity.

In 2012-13 AME was the ensemble-in-residence at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City, and AME tours and offers educational outreach programs. Recent collaborations include the Dance Theater of Harlem and Talujon percussion ensemble. For more information, visit


  1. Spasm** (1993) – Michael Lowenstern [5:09]
    Bass Clarinet and Electronics

  2. Declaratives in The First Person from Timepiece Triptych (2008) – Pamela Z [5:04]
    Voice, BodySynth MIDI Controller, Processing and Electronics

  3. April ’94* (2006) – Sean McClowry [12:34]
    Double Bass and Electronics

  4. everyone@universe.existence (2003) – Robert Dick [9:37]
    Flute, Speech and Recorded Sound

  5. Sliding Life Blues (2001) (live performance) – Robert Dick [3:48]
    Flute with Glissando Headjoint®

  6. Komodo** (2004) – Robert Paterson [6:19]
    Five-Octave Marimba Played with Six Mallets

  7. Piranha**(2007) – Robert Paterson [5:38]
    Five-Octave Marimba Played with Six Mallets

  8. Microtonal Fantasy (1965) – John Eaton [7:40]
    Two Pianos Tuned a Quarter-Tone Apart

  9. Sumi-E** (2000) – William O. Smith [12:11]
    Clarinet and Computer-Transformed Sounds

  10. Matthew, Can You Sperry Me Again? (2003) (live performance) – Stuart Dempster [9:07]

Total Time 77:43

*Winner of American Modern Ensemble's Second Annual Composition Competition
**Previously-Released Tracks

Press Quotes

The music itself is incredibly varied and always fascinating, but this is “serious” music (even though some of it is rather whimsical) that is not intended for casual listening or for use as “sonic wallpaper.”... if you are up to the challenge and interested in the world of modern classical music, this album should be a great adventure!... Mavericks is a unique and intriguing listening experience!
— Kathy Parsons,
Five Stars ***** [A] strong set of new music... All were selected as showcases for the expanded possibilities open to solo performers on voice and on string, percussion and wind instruments. Accordingly, the ten performances make good use of extended technique, electronic manipulation of acoustic sounds, improvisation, and/or unconventional tunings and notation.
— Daniel Barbiero,