Wordless Music Orchestra
Wordless Music Orchestra is the house band of New York City's Wordless Music series, which was founded by non-musician Ronen Givony in 2006 and has since presented concerts in museums, churches, nightclubs, and out of doors, pairing artists from the sound worlds of so-called classical, electronic, and rock music. Comprising New York's most omnivorous young musicians, and members of groups such as Alarm Will Sound, ACME, and Ensemble Signal, the orchestra presented its first concerts over two sold-out nights in January 2008 under conductor Brad Lubman, with the U.S. premiere of Jonny Greenwood's Popcorn Superhet Receiver, on a program with music of Gavin Bryars and John Adams.
In 2009, Arvo Pärt's Symphony No. 4 ("Los Angeles") had its New York premiere by the Wordless Music Orchestra under conductor Jeffrey Milarsky in two concerts at which the orchestra also performed alongside the Japanese instrumental noise-rock band MONO. These performances with MONO were released by Brooklyn's Temporary Residence label as Holy Ground: NYC Live with the Wordless Music Orchestra, a limited-edition CD/DVD/LP set. Also in 2009, the orchestra recorded with Tyondai Braxton for Central Market, the composer's solo debut on Warp Records, and went on tour the following year with Braxton to Alice Tully Hall, the Library of Congress, and Walker Art Center.
In 2010, the WMO performed alongside the Hilliard Ensemble and Latvian National Choir as part of Lincoln Center's inaugural White Light Festival, in world premiere compositions for orchestra by Kjartan Sveinsson and Jónsi Birgisson of Sigur Rós with his partner, Alex Somers; and the following year at the Guggenheim Museum rotunda in a unique collaboration with visual artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster for Gavin Bryars' The Sinking of the Titanic.
On September 11, 2011, the WMO performed a memorial concert for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with the world premiere orchestration of William Basinski's Disintegration Loop 1.1. In 2012, the orchestra returned to the Met Museum to play with the Danish indie-pop band Efterklang, and performed the U.S. premiere of Jóhann Jóhannsson's "The Miners' Hymns" (with film by Bill Morrison) at the Winter Garden.
In 2013, the orchestra performed a world premiere live score to the film "Beasts of the Southern Wild" for an outdoor audience of 7,000 at Prospect Park in Brooklyn; with the legendary Kranky ambient duo Stars of the Lid at Brooklyn's Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help; with the UK electronic band Goldfrapp for the group's album release show at the Beacon Theatre; and with musical icon John Cale as part of the BAM Next Wave Festival.
In 2014, the Wordless Music Orchestra performs live with Jonny Greenwood at the Big Ears festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, and in two live film score performances to Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood"; a world-premiere orchestration of Mike Oldfield's 1973 classic, Tubular Bells; and at London's Barbican Centre for the European premiere of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" live.
In 2015, the orchestra made its Los Angeles debut with composer/conductor Mica Levi in the US premiere of "Under the Skin" Live, and performed the NYC premieres of Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather" and Pablo Berger's "Blancanieves."
Conducted by score composer Michael Abels
Composer Michael Abels is well known for his orchestra works Global Warming, Delights & Dances, and Urban Legend, and choral pieces such as Be The Change and Limitless. With a “keen ear for musical color and a deft ability to adapt structural elements from popular music into the symphonic idiom” (Houston Chronicle), Michael Abels has gained widespread recognition for his orchestral music. Global Warming and Delights & Dances have both been recorded by the Chicago Sinfonietta for the Cedille label.
Best known for combining classical music with African-American jazz, blues, bluegrass and ethnic genres, Michael was asked by writer/director Jordan Peele to compose the music for Get Out. “I wanted Michael Abels, who did the score, to create something that felt like it lived in this absence of hope but still had [black roots],” Peele said in a recent interview for GQ.
Born in Phoenix, AZ, Abels attended the University of Southern California, studying with James Hopkins and Robert Linn. Later he studied West African music with Alfred Ladzekpo at the California Institute for the Arts. He currently serves as Director of Music for New Roads School in Santa Monica.
Michael is a past recipient of grants and commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet The Composer, LA Opera, and many orchestras throughout the country. In his concert career he has worked with James Earl Jones, Doc Severinsen, and a diverse group of other musical artists. Abels also wrote the score for Fantasea at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.