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Biography

Hailed as “the hottest classical band in New York,” Fireworks redefines the chamber music experience for a new generation of listeners. Founded with the goal of creating a single, small ensemble capable of representing the full scope of today’s musical diversity, Fireworks combines the talents of classically-trained but musically omnivorous young virtuosi who pride themselves on being able to play just about anything, regardless of style, time period, or instrumentation. Drawing on a vast musical palette, along with the creative vision and arranging skills of its director, Brian Coughlin, Fireworks develops innovative, eclectic programs which are both carefully unified and yet defy classification. Fireworks embraces eclecticism not for its own sake but in order to spotlight works it believes deserve wider recognition as vital, living art, regardless of style. The ensemble's thrilling performances and contagious enthusiasm for the music of our time continue to attract critical acclaim and large, diverse, and enthusiastic audiences wherever the ensemble performs.

Fireworks performs at major venues and festivals throughout the United States each year. This season the ensemble will tour the west coast with its Dance Music project, featuring dance music from around the world, and its rock -infused interpretation of Stravinsky’s classic, The Rite of Spring. Closer to home, Fireworks will perform its acclaimed composer portrait of Frank Zappa at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and will present two new programs at its home series at Symphony Space in New York, featuring major new works written for the ensemble by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David del Tredici, Robert Kyr, and Scott Johnson. Highlights of the ensemble’s 2006-07 season include a presentation of its new program, Cartoon, celebrating music and video created for and inspired by shorts from the golden age of Warner Bros. animation at the Lied Center of Kansas, and a sold-out portrait concert of the maverick 20th-century master, Frank Zappa, including both the composer’s challenging instrumental rock music and rarely-heard works for traditional classical ensembles at the Miller Theater in New York City.

Other recent engagements include The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Minnesota State University, and The Deer Valley Music Festival. In 2005, Fireworks was invited to participate in the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Young Performers' Career Advancement program, which culminated in a showcase performance at Carnegie Hall. Recent Fireworks programs include Dance Mix, party music from five continents and over 700 years, and Pyrotechnics, highlighting the vibrancy of contemporary composers from John Adams to John Zorn. A fearless champion of new music, Fireworks collaborates with dozens of composers each year to push the boundaries of contemporary musical expression. In the last five years, Fireworks has premiered over 100 compositions and arrangements, including new works by Glenn Branca, Robert Carl, and Nick Didkovsky.

Passionate about its work with students of all ages, the ensemble devotes a large part of its time each year to residency and outreach activities. Over the last few years, the group has conducted workshops and residencies at the Oregon Bach Festival (where the ensemble worked with fifty emerging composers and premiered fifteen new works over the course of a week-long residency), Minnesota State University, GWSD School system in New Hampshire, the Lawrence, Kansas school district, Williams College in Massachusetts, and The Hartt School in Connecticut. This season, the ensemble will conduct workshops and composer readings at almost every stop on its west and east coast tours.

Fireworks' recordings have enjoyed critical praise and radio play worldwide. Their acclaimed, rock -inspired recording of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (2003) was recently broadcast on Soundcheck on WNYC in New York, La Otra Musica in Spain and Radio Rock in Italy. The group’s first recording, First Tracks (2002) was recently featured on John Schaefer's New Sounds on WNYC. Dance Mix, their highly-anticipated third CD, is now available.

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