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A Far Cry

Called a “world-wide phenomenon” by Boston’s WBUR, A Far Cry has nurtured a distinct approach to music-making since its founding in 2007. The self-conducted orchestra is a democracy in which decisions are made collectively and leadership rotates among the players (“Criers”). This structure has led to consistently thoughtful, innovative programming — and impactful collaborations with celebrated performers and composers. A Far Cry has risen to the top of Billboard’s Traditional Classical Chart, been named Boston’s best classical ensemble by The Improper Bostonian, and celebrated six Grammy nominations. Boston Musical Intelligencer sums up the group: “This conductor-free ensemble has earned and sustained a reputation for top-drawer playing, engrossing programming, and outstanding guest artists.”

Described as “joyfully musician-led” by the Boston Globe, the group’s democratic spirit has been in overdrive in recent seasons. As The Arts Fuse stated this past season, “As is the norm with this group and their selections, everything somehow connects – and on multiple levels.” In the season ahead, this connectivity is central, with programs exploring home and sense of place, love, and purposeful interaction. A Far Cry seeks to do its part in reinforcing the idea of a “world that listens.” The orchestra’s subscription series includes five programs at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, and four chamber music concerts at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain. A Far Cry also continues its residency at Longy School of Music, and performs Copland’s Appalachian Spring on the Celebrity Series of Boston. The group’s spring tour includes its Kennedy Center debut.

A Far Cry’s omnivorous approach has led to collaborations with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Simone Dinnerstein, Awadagin Pratt, Roomful of Teeth, the Silk Road Ensemble, Vijay Iyer, and David Krakauer. Tour highlights include two new commissioning projects: Philip Glass’ third piano concerto with soloist Simone Dinnerstein, and The Blue Hour, “a gorgeous and remarkably unified work” (Washington Post) written by a collaborative of five leading female composers – Rachel Grimes, Angélica Negrón, Shara Nova, Caroline Shaw, and Sarah Kirkland Snider. The Blue Hour was released in 2022 in partnership with New Amsterdam and Nonesuch Records, and was named a Top 10 Album of 2022 by NPR.

A Far Cry’s Crier Records launched auspiciously in 2014 with the Grammy-nominated album Dreams and Prayers. The label’s second release, Law of Mosaics, was included on many 2014 Top 10 lists, notably from The New Yorker’s Alex Ross and WQXR’s Q2 Music, which named A Far Cry as one of the "Imagination-Grabbing, Trailblazing Artists of 2014.” In 2018, Crier Records released A Far Cry’s Visions and Variations, featuring variations by Britten and Prokofiev, and Ethan Wood’s re-imagining of Mozart’s “Ah vous-dirai-je Maman.” The album received two Grammy nominations, including one for Best Chamber Music Performance.”

The 18 Criers are proud to call Boston home, and maintain strong roots in the city, rehearsing at their storefront music center in Jamaica Plain. The group recently celebrated the conclusion of a 10-year residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Collaborating with local students through educational partnerships with the New England Conservatory, Longy School of Music, and Project STEP, A Far Cry aims to pass on the spirit of collaboratively-empowered music to the next generation.