TAK is a quintet that delivers energetic and virtuosic performances of contemporary classical music. The ambitious ensemble “impresses with the organicity of their sound, their dynamism and virtuosity — and, well, just a dash of IDGAF as they slay the thorniest material like it’s nothing” (WQXR, Q2 Music). Dedicated to the commissioning of new works and direct collaboration with composers and other artists, TAK promotes ambitious programming at the highest level, fostering engagement both within the contemporary music community and the artistic community at large. Their debut album “Ecstatic Music: TAK plays Taylor Brook” was released by New Focus Recordings in September 2016, to critical acclaim; it was featured as Q2 Music’s Album of the Week by WQXR, and was listed in the Top 10 Classical Albums of 2016 by The Boston Globe, which praised the “young, fearless players… fluid grace and confidence.”
Their second album, Sanctuary with Mario Diaz de Leon, was released on Denovali Records in Sept 2017 and described as “a ritualistic masterwork of modern classical music, combining acoustic and electronic elements with visionary intensity—21st century chamber music that combines crystalline clarity with the disorienting turbulence of a sonic vortex” by WIRE Magazine. Their third album will be self-released in spring 2019 on the TAK label.
Recent engagements include a multi-week run of “The Power of Emotion” with TELE-violet Theater at Abrons Art Center; a collaborative commissioning project with Montreal-based percussion quartet, Architek; the release of TAK’s second album Sanctuary with Mario Diaz de Leon on Denovali Records which was recommended by the New York Times and I Care If You Listen; a premiere performance of “21st Century Sound Stories,” an evening of contemporary music and theater by Qubit and director Josh Gelb; and working with institutions such as Columbia University, New York University, The new York Philharmonic Very Young Composers, and the Juilliard Music Advancement Program.
Upcoming projects include performances at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., Cluster Festival in Winnipeg, Look and Listen Festival in NYC; residencies at Stanford University, Cornell University, Saint Cloud State University, Boston University, and the Delian Academy; releasing a recording of works by Natacha Diels, Taylor Brook, Tyshawn Sorey, Ann Cleare, Ashkan Behzadi, and David Bird; and commissioning works from Michelle Lou, Eric Wubbels, Jessie Marino, and Julien Malaussena.
"New York new-music chamber ensemble TAK pins down the musical magical realism of emerging composer Taylor Brook. These young, fearless players navigate Brook’s mechanized instruments and alternate tunings with fluid grace and confidence." (the Boston Globe)
"My first encounter with TAK Ensemble quite literally took my breath away. This intrepid quintet...impresses with the organicity of their sound, their dynamism and virtuosity — and, well, just a dash of IDGAF as they slay the thorniest material like it’s nothing.... As titillating and irresistible a band as we have on the new music scene today." (Q2 Music)
"The TAK Ensemble plays with great discipline and sensitivity...Diaz de Leon could scarcely ask for a more faithful set of collaborators than the TAK Ensemble." (I Care If You Listen)
"Mr. Diaz de Leon sells his vision with aplomb on a new album performed by the TAK Ensemble and the composer himself (on synthesizer, naturally). The edgy electronic timbres can serve a range of compositional functions: contrasting dramatically with the purity of a soprano’s sound, in one moment, before finding, in the bass clarinet, a partner in grain." (the New York Times)
"TAK Ensemble blended synthetic sounds in restless strands of ever-shifting color and vigor" (Feast of Music)
“I found myself having a thought that I would return to many times throughout this program. New music can be strange, intimate, challenging, and moving, and in capable hands, can be all four at once…For the fifth time that night, I found myself almost entirely outside of time, so engrossed in the performance that I honestly could not give an accurate break-down of the roughly 90 minute program.” (Sequenza 21)
"Haunting" (Vice's Creator's Project)
"Sound porn" (Buzzfeed)
“…deeply thought out and replete with paradoxes...bands of magical realism stripe Ecstatic Music as well, and the players perform with the fearlessness that Brook’s music requires...sensual and unsettling" (Q2 Music, Album of the Week)
LAURA COCKS | FLUTE
Laura Cocks is a New York based flutist who works in a wide array of creative environments as a performer and promoter of contemporary music. Laura is the flutist and executive director of TAK ensemble, and a member of the Nouveau Classical Project and the Association of Dominican Classical Artists. She has performed across North and Latin America and Europe as a soloist and chamber musician in ensembles such as The London Sinfonietta, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Wet Ink Ensemble, and Ensemble Dal Niente. Laura can be heard with TAK, International Contemporary Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, and others on labels such as Carrier Records, ECM, New Focus Recordings, Sound American, Denovali Records, Orange Mountain Music, Gold Bolus. Laura attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and the Graduate Center.
MADISON GREENSTONE | CLARINET
Madison Greenstone is a clarinetist currently based between San Diego and New York City. Her creative practice encompasses contemporary & experimental music, improvisation, noise & acoustic feedback, and band-like collaborations with other creative performers. She has performed as a featured artist of the Darmstadt Ferienkurse für Neue Musik and the Lucerne Festival Academy. Notable performances have been as a soloist presented by ISSUE Project Room, as part of the Merce Cunningham Centennial in Los Angeles, and in recital at the Vigeland Mausoleum (Oslo). Madison is the clarinetist of TAK Ensemble, a founding member of the [Switch~ Ensemble], and can be heard on Wandelweiser Editions and Another Timbre.
Madison is a doctoral candidate at UC San Diego and received her Bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music.
CHARLOTTE MUNDY | VOICE
Charlotte Mundy is a "mesmerizing ... preternaturally focused Canadian soprano" (NYTimes) who is most at home in the worlds of brand new chamber music and music theatre. Her recent performances include a memorized, staged version of David Lang's Little Match Girl Passion at the Metropolitan Museum, Televiolet Theatre's Power of Emotion at Abrons Arts Center, Howard Fishman's A Star Has Burnt My Eye at the BAM Next Wave Festival, Skidmore College and Castleton University, Julius Eastman's Macle at the Kitchen, and Olivier Messiaen's Poemes pour Mí with the Brooklyn Art Song Society. She has made plays, dances and installations with theater makers Paul Lazar, Cynthia Hopkins, Katherine Brook and Rachel Chavkin, visual artist Martin Creed and choreographer Miro Magloire. Mundy "slays the thorniest material like it's nothing" (WQXR) with TAK ensemble, who recently premiered works by Ashkan Behzadi, David Bird and Taylor Brook in Toronto and Montreal and whose debut album, Ecstatic Music, was listed as a top 10 classical recording of 2016 by the Boston Globe. Mundy also sings with Ekmeles vocal ensemble in venues across the United States, and has given critically acclaimed performances of many of 20th century's groundbreaking works for the female voice, including Pierrot Lunaire, Le Marteau sans Maître and Morton Feldman's Three Voices.
MARINA KIFFERSTEIN | VIOLIN
Marina Kifferstein is a violinist and composer based in NYC. Equally comfortable in major international venues and DIY spaces, she enjoys a diverse career that encompasses chamber music, orchestra, and solo performances. She is a founding member of TAK ensemble and The Rhythm Method string quartet, and is a regular guest with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Wet Ink, and Talea.
A strong supporter of new music, Marina has performed and commissioned an extensive repertoire of music by living composers. She has worked closely with 20th century masters such as Helmut Lachenmann and the late Pierre Boulez, as well as a multitude of composers ranging from early career to highly acclaimed; as a soloist and chamber musician, she has premiered hundreds of new works. Her own compositions have been performed across the U.S. and Europe. Marina has been a featured performer at international music festivals including the Festival Musiques Démesurées in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Musiikin Aika in Viitasaari, Finland, and the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. She has held residencies with TAK and the Rhythm Method at major universities across the U.S. and Europe, including Columbia, New York University, and Zürich Hochschule der Künst.
Marina is currently a DMA candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center. She holds an MM in Contemporary Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, a BM in Violin from Oberlin Conservatory, and a BA in English from Oberlin College. She is on violin faculty at the United Nations International School and the Composers Conference.
ELLERY TRAFFORD | PERCUSSION
Ellery Trafford is a New York-based percussionist specializing in contemporary chamber music who thrives on the search for new means of expression, musical and otherwise. Originally from Georgia, he holds degrees from Georgia State University, Bowling Green State University and The Manhattan School of Music and has studied with Stuart Gerber, Roger Schupp, Jeffrey Milarsky and John Ferrari. Trafford has attended festivals such as the Sō Percussion Summer Institute, the Bang On A Can Summer Festival, the Third Practice Electroacoustic Festival, the Spark Electronic Arts Festival and the Beijing Modern Music Festival. He has performed at venues in New York and abroad from the eminent to the underground: from Beijing’s National Performing Arts Center to Carnegie Hall, The Stone, Roulette and many more in New York. Special projects include co-founding ensembles like TAK, a quintet + electronics, and OUTLAW, a percussion/piano performance art duo.
TAYLOR BROOK | TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
DAVID BIRD | CREATIVE RESEARCH
Taylor Brook has studied composition with Brian Cherney in Montreal, Luc Brewaeys in ￼Brussels, and George Lewis, and Georg Haas in New York. Brook has also studied ￼Hindustani musical performance in Kolkata, India, with Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya.
Brook writes concert music, music for video, and music for theater and dance. His work has been performed around the world and has been described as “gripping” and “engrossing” by the New York Times. Brook has won numerous awards and prizes for his compositions, including the MIVOS/Kantor prize, the Lee Ettelson award, and five SOCAN young composers awards. Brook has been a finalist in the Gaudeamus prize and was awarded honorable mention for the Jules Leger prize two years in a row. His music has been performed by ensembles and soloists such as the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Quatour Bozzini, JACK Quartet, MIVOS quartet, Talea Ensemble, Ascolta Ensemble, and many others. Brook’s current projects include a new work for Talea Ensemble as well as a continued collaboration with Televiolet Theater (New York) on The Power of Emotion opera project.
Brook holds a master’s degree in music composition from McGill University. He currently resides in New York City, where he is completing a doctorate in music composition at Columbia University and serving as the Assistant Conductor to Jeffrey Milarsky for the Columbia University Orchestra.
David Bird is a composer and producer from Laguna Beach, California. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and currently studies composition at Columbia University. His work frequently employs the use of live electronics with aims to strengthen the relationships between acoustic and electronic instruments. His music has been a "Staff Pick" on Vimeo and featured on their homepage, as well as publications such as The Atlantic and The Plain Dealer. A review from Pitchfork’s Altered Zones has described his expansive sound as, “vibrant, shirt-staining, color squirting... amidst swirling layers of white noise and choir... I do believe a lie-down is in order.” His work has been performed internationally, at venues and festivals such as the MATA festival in New York City; the Wien Modern Festival in Vienna, Austria; the SPOR festival in Aarhus, Denmark; the IRCAM Manifeste Festival in Paris, France; the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.; the Bodo Sinfonietta in Bodo, Norway; the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in Indianapolis, Indiana; and the SEAMUS electroacoustic music festival in Appleton, Wisconsin.
FOUNDING MEMBER EMERITUS
LIAM KINSON | CLARINET
Liam Kinson was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1988, and began playing the clarinet at the age of 12. He studied at the University of Western Australia, where he holds a Bachelor in Music, Australian National Academy in Melbourne, and Manhattan School of Music where he received his Masters in Contemporary Music. Liam has performed with Wet Ink, ICE, Ecce Ensemble, and is a founding member of TAK ensemble. With TAK he has performed in Iceland, New Orleans, and at Oberlin and Williams College, to name a few. He has collaborated with dancers and actors and artists alike, and thrives on exploring new methods of expression through interdisciplinary means.