Founded by composer/violinist Gwen Laster in October 2015, New Muse 4tet presents 20th century works and the music of living composers in intimate private and public performances throughout New York City. Sharing a love for progressive, experimental music and jazz, the ensemble — Gwen Laster (violin), Tomas Ulrich (cello), Juliane Carney (violin) and Melanie Dyer (violin) — creates a voice as individual and passionate as its members. From William Grant Still forward, New Muse 4tet sheds new interpretive light on familiar works, and introduces audiences to the voices in 21st century music.
Creative Improvisation Workshop for kids ages 7-16
Before the concert from 5:15pm – 6pm, New Muse 4tet will offer a Creative Improvisation Workshop, open to all instruments for students ages 7-16 who are intermediate to advanced level. Learn more.
She’s a native Detroiter whose creative influences come from the Motor City’s burnin’ urban and classical music culture. Gwen started improvising in high school with the educator Anderson White, whose orchestral rehearsals included electric violins, amplifiers and David Baker string arrangements.
“White would point to me and say ‘Stand up. Take a solo.’ Joe Striplin, the first African American in the Detroit Symphony and first Black person I’d ever seen play the violin was another tremendous inspiration. Both challenged me as a performer and composer. “
After earning a Bachelor and Master degree from U of Michigan School of Music, Gwen moved to NYC by the skin of her teeth. She performs with nationally and internationally-known musicians like Anthony Braxton, Nona Hendryx, Aretha Franklin and Natalie Cole. She’s won major performance, composition and teaching grants from the NEA, ASCAP, Lila Wallace, and a first place, $10,000 award from Cognac Hennessey Jazz. She’s the visionary founder of the Creative Improvisers Orchestra (CIO) the first non-traditional intuitive music education program at Interlochen Summer Institute, the Sphinx Performance and Preparatory Academy, and the Eastman School of Music. CIO reaches and teaches young musicians with the greatest needs and the fewest resources. She a member of the Sphinx Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic and Go: Organic Orchestra. Gwen’s music publications are available at CD Baby, iTunes and other digital media sources. Her discography as a leader includes Sneak Preview and I Hear You Smiling. Her next recording, Gameboard, will be ready for release in 2016.
“…surely one of the most accomplished and intriguing cellists in improvised music, with a brilliant technical mastery and ability to play prickly improv, jazz, classical, film music or pretty much anything he desires.” –Jay Collins from Signal to Noise.
Inspired by attending a performance by Msitslav Rostropovich at age eight, cellist-composer, Tomas became an outstanding cellist, composer and improviser. His diverse influences range from Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix to Mingus, Dolphy, Shostakovich and Messaien. He earned music degrees from Boston University and the Manhattan School of Music, and amassed a prolific recording and performance history with such artists as Anthony Davis, Joe Lovano, McCoy Tyner, Alice Coltrane, Anthony Braxton, Derek Bailey, Ravi Coltrane, James Moody, Taylor Ho Bynum, Christof Thewes, Martin Schmidt, Rudi Mahall, Dirk Peter Kolsch, Gerry Hemingway, Dom Minasi, Jason Kao Hwang, Ayman Fanous, Ben Allison, Ted Nash, Dave Douglas, Kevin James, Karl Berger, Hans Tammen, and Ivo Perelman.
Right now, Tomas is a member of the Diller-Quaile String Quartet which premiered his Quintet for Trumpet and Strings (featuring guest soloist Herb Robertson). He began his recorded collaborations with the acclaimed German trombonist Christof Thewes with the release of Quartetto Pazzo “Melancholera” ; then, in 2007 released his first CD as a co-leader, Labryinths, with Ayman Fanous on the Konnex label. In 2008, Mr. Ulrich became the leader of Cargo Cult with Rolf Sturm and Michael Bisio and released their first CD “If You Should Go” on the Cadence label to great critical acclaim. Cargo Cult released three more CDs on the CIMP label, Cargo Cult (2009), Lonely House (2010), and Discovers (2011)). JAZZ NOW characterizes Tomas as “the total package … incredible chops, great imagination and superb pitch. He fulfills the roles of bassist, guitarist, and additional horn player and is endlessly talented and creative”.
Tomas writes music for film, theater and instrumental performance and has performed widely throughout Europe, Japan, South America and the United States. Mr. Ulrich can be heard on over 100 CDs in a wide variety of musical styles and settings.
She’s a classically trained, improvising violinist who finds intersections between classical, appalachian oldtime, electro-acoustic improv, hip hop, experimental, gypsy, indie, indian, and arabic sounds. Seeking a global musical language, everyday sounds, sine waves, beats, overtone-rich violin tones, resonant drones, justly tuned cellos or unjustly tuned banjos, all find their way into her musical biosphere.
Julianne was a Music Resident at the OMI International Arts Center in 2008, performed with Jay Z at Radio City Music Hall and at Royal Albert Hall, recorded with Sufjan Stevens for his album Illinois, and has appeared onstage with Beyonce, Jenny Scheinman, Bill Frisell, Adam Matta (beatbox), Ambitious Orchestra, Luminescent Orchestrii, My Brightest Diamond (formerly AwRY), & Duane Pitre/Pilotram Ensemble. She has performed at Royal Albert Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Tonic, The Stone, Roulette, Knitting Factory, NYC New Museum, Apollo Theater, Joe’s Pub, and Cornell University’s Schwartz Center.
She conducted a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship “wanderjahr” in Europe from August 2001 – July 2002 & received her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, Summa Cum Laude, at Lawrence University, in Appleton, WI. Julianne teaches violin at the Brooklyn Conservatory, where she is Director of the Suzuki Division, and has completed extensive teacher training in the Suzuki Method.
Cited in the November 2010 issue of The Strad as “an outstanding modernist violist,” Melanie Dyer’s improvisation has been described as “simply mesmerizing.” She appears on 6 recordings with Salim Washington’s Harlem Arts Ensemble and Roxbury Blues Aesthetic, among others. Her credits include work with Joe Bonner, Tulivu Donna Cumberbatch, Charles Burnham, Gerry Eastman, Joe Ford, Henry Grimes, Fred Ho, Jimmi Esspirit (aka Hopps), Jason Hwang, Howard Johnson, Ku’umba Frank Lacy, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Andy McCloud, Donald Smith, James “Jabbo” Ware, Reggie Workman, and more, in Europe, South Africa, and across the U.S. She has performed at the Detroit Jazz Festival, at University of KwaZulu Natal (Durban, S.A.) and Bass Line (Johannesburg, S.A.); in NYC at Avery Fisher Hall, the Blue Note, the Jazz Gallery, the Jazz Standard, Minton’s Playhouse, St. Nick’s Pub, Sistas’ Place, Sweet Rhythm; at the Bohemian Cavern and Twins Jazz in Washington, DC; and at Connolly’s Stardust Lounge and on WGBH-Radio Live in Boston. Explaining how the viola chose her, she says,” the denver public school system put a viola in my hands in 4th grade because it was the only instrument left in the band closet. A few months later a violist with the Denver Symphony moved in across the street from my first home. Synchronicity. I matriculated at the University of Denver LaMont School of Music . and on the bandstand at connolly’s stardust lounge/boston, in orchestras, opera companies, recording studios, parlor performances & such. six sides: Love in Exile, Harlem Homecoming, etc. 4 kids, a mortgage & a day job with gratitude to Naomi Fellows, Lee Yeingst, William Lincer, John Jake Kella and the countless musicians and audience members who listen, teach and encourage.”
Tickets are non-refundable.