The String Orchestra of Brooklyn (SOB) is a unique community of musicians who come together in a supportive environment to enrich the life of our communities through music. Embracing an inclusive approach to music-making, the SOB seeks to democratize both the production and reception of concert music. Founded in 2007 by artistic director Eli Spindel, the String Orchestra of Brooklyn is “quickly solidifying its role as a major orchestral figure in the borough” (I Care if You Listen), providing an enriching creative outlet to hundreds of musicians, and accessible, adventurous programming to thousands of concertgoers and community members.
Praised for its passionate commitment to the music of our time by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, I Care if You Listen, Cool Hunting, and more, the SOB places a special emphasis on the work of living composers. 2015 highlights have included a 6-hour performance/installation for the new Whitney Museum in collaboration with Tony Conrad and John Cale, and being featured on Richard Carrick’s newly released album Cycles of Evolution. The orchestra has presented world premieres by such composers as Anthony Coleman, Judd Greenstein, Katherine Young, Alex Mincek, Catherine Lamb, Scott Wollschleger, Christopher Cerrone, and many more. Upcoming commissions include the work of Baltimore composer Alexandra Gardner for the SOB’s annual String Theories Festival in spring of 2016.
The orchestra, which seeks to increase its impact in the community through artistic and institutional collaborations, has collaborated with numerous vital Brooklyn-based organizations, including Roulette, ISSUE Project Room, American Opera Projects, GHOSTLIGHT Chorus, loadbang, the Fort Greene Park Conservancy, and the Noel Pointer Foundation. Guest soloists and conductors have included such stars as Tito Muñoz, Charlers Neidich, Steve Beck, Matt Boehler, David Kaplan, Spencer Myer, and the Toomai String Quintet.
William Brittelle is a Brooklyn-based composer of post-genre electro-acoustic music. His primary musical mentors include Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici, Mike Longo, longtime pianist/arranger for Dizzy Gillespie, and punk guitarist Richard Lloyd of Television. Brittelle’s work is characterized by the melding of complex thematic ideas, rhythms, and formal structure with the visceral power and surface appeal of pop/rock music, a duality perhaps best represented by his most recent album Loving the Chambered Nautilus. Written specifically for the players of ACME (the American Contemporary Music Ensemble), Nautilus is a series of electro-acoustic chamber music pieces melding classic synthesizer sounds and drum programming with virtuosic and textured classical composition. The album has been hailed as a hallmark of the next wave of classical composition. Following an All Things Considered feature, Nautilus hit #1 on Amazon’s Chamber Music Chart. The New York Times labeled the work “bright and joyous”, and MUSO dubbed it “a fast, fun, freedom-fuelled flurry of a record”. Perhaps most powerfully, Classical TV stated: “William Brittelle is creating a body of work that has no precedent, and marks him as a one of the most promising heirs of the vital American maverick tradition.”
Previous to Nautilus, Brittelle released Television Landscape, his fully-composed, post-apocalyptic art rock concept album scored for orchestra, rock band, synths, and children’s choir. Dubbed “irresistible” by The New York Times and “a glorious reclamation of lush sounds crusty critics have vilified for years” by Time Out NY, Television Landscape drew substantial praise from both rock and classical critics, leading the Los Angeles Times to muse, “You might wonder if Jane’s Addiction had discovered the soul of Debussy.” eMusic called the album “expansive, anthemic, all-encompassing, shot through with raw emotion” and named it to its ”Albums of the Year” list. The album’s centerpiece, the nostalgia-soaked soft rock ballad Sheena Easton, was singled out by Popmatters for its “complex orchestrations” and “mind-bending arrangements” and taste-maker rock blog My Old Kentucky called the track “one of the more interesting tunes I’ve heard in a while.” The Believer magazine chose the album’s closing track The Color of Rain for inclusion in its prestigious annual music issue.
Brittelle’s music has been the subject of features in The New York Times (Sunday Arts & Leisure), the Los Angeles Times, Time Out NY, and NPR’s All Things Considered. His compositions have been presented across the U.S. and internationally., including the Festival Internacional in Chihuahua, Mexico, the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires by JACK Quartet, Pittsburgh’s Music on the Edge series, Seattle’s Town Hall, and the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Hall. His music has been commissioned by the Seattle Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Walker Art Center, the Alabama Symphony and the Eastern Connecticut Symphony. Recent commissions include Spiritual America, a series of electro-acoustic orchestral art songs featuring the band Wye Oak, Love Letter for Arca for the Seattle Symphony, and Psychedelics for the Grammy-winning vocal group Roomful of Teeth and the Williams College Chorus. Past collaborative works include orchestral arrangements for the electronic artists Oneohtrix Point Never and Son Lux. Recent and upcoming performances include dates with the Baltimore Symphony, the Basel Sinfonietta, and the Liquid Music Series/Walker Art Center.
Brittelle has been the recipient of grants and awards from the National Endowment of the Arts, American Music Center, American Composers Forum, the Jerome Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, NYSCA, and ASCAP. Along with composers Judd Greenstein and Sarah Kirkland Snider, he co-artistic directs New Amsterdam, a vital Brooklyn-based record label and presenting organization. He is a passionate promoter, presenter, and producer of new and adventurous music in New York City, having overseen the release of more than 70 critically acclaimed recordings. Along with his partners, Brittelle also co-produced and co-presented more than 90 live music events throughout the U.S. in the last four years. He serves on the faculty of The New School in New York City, teaching courses in Post-Genre Music and the Ethos of Punk.