Ecstatic Music Festival


Q2 Music was the festival’s digital venue and the center for on-demand artist interviews and concert audio. Click here to listen to the 2015 EMF performances.

“the alt-classical world’s main showcase” (New York Times)

“a kind of heaven for show-goers in search of the ever-elusive, one-of-a-kind live music experience” (The Village Voice)

“…the most bracing combinations of adventurous, fulfilling music in recent memory.” (Joel Harrison, National Public Radio)

“…a who’s who of the current music scene, with names like Nico Muhly, Gabriel Kahane, So Percussion, Missy Mazzoli and Jefferson Friedman crowding the schedule.” (WQXR)

“Rarely can we promise in advance that a concert will be among the most talked-about events of a given year, but this seven-hour introduction to a border-crashing three-month series at Merkin is pretty much a lock. Nearly all the cool kids of the postclassical generation are here.” (Time Out New York)

“Though the festival includes acts such as Alarm Will Sound and the Bang On a Can All-Stars – the two best-known contemporary music supergroups to emerge in the past two decades – it offers a platform for the next generation of composers just hitting their stride, regardless of what category their music is filed under on iTunes.” (Steve Dollar, The Wall Street Journal)

The Ecstatic® Music Festival is a series of collaborative, commissioned-based concerts exploring and showcasing the products of the fertile terrain between classical and vernacular musics. Introduced in 2011 with the Kaufman Center's Ecstatic Music Festival, it is a series that is both of and about the present musical moment, one in which composers and performers bring together the best aspects of all their influences, yielding beautiful music that is sophisticated yet viscerally engaging and serving emotional, not technical ends. The contemporary music scene, examined "from above" without preconceptions of where the lines between genres ought to be drawn, looks more expansive and full of possibility than ever before. Participants in the Ecstatic series have included a talented and diverse group of groundbreaking artists paired in never-before-seen tandems: So Percussion and Dan Deacon, Merrill Garbus and Roomful of Teeth, Buke & Gass and Victoire, Clogs with Shara Worden and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, just to name a few. The series has continued into 2015, and in the past has included a special free Ecstatic Summer series produced by Brookfield Arts and curated by New Amsterdam.

The 2015 season featured a Terry Riley 80th Birthday Celebration, the Bang on a Can People's Commissioning Fund Concert, and included collaborations between Mantra Percussion & Ian Williams; Mantra Percussion, Wet Ink Ensemble; & Deborah Lohse and the Shakedown Dance Collective; John Zorn, Tale Ensemble, Tyshawn Sorey, & Ikue Mori; Helado Negro & thingNY, Julia Holter, Alex Temple, & Spektral Quartet; ETHEL, Kaki King, & John King, Xiu Xiu & Mantra Percussion; and Anniel Gosfield, Roger Kleier, Billy Martin, & Wicked Knee.