New York City-based musician Brad Balliett is in high demand as a composer and bassoonist. In addition to fulfilling multiple commissions each year, Brad is an artistic director for the innovative and socially-conscious chamber music collective Decoda (Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall), and performs with the leading new music groups in New York, including Signal, Metropolis Ensemble, and Deviant Septet. Brad is principal bassoon of the Princeton Symphony, and has performed with the Houston Symphony, Metropolitan Opera Musicians, New York City Ballet, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Festival performances include Marlboro, Tanglewood, June in Buffalo, Newport Jazz Festival, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommen, and the Lucerne Festival. His creative collaboration with Elliot Cole, Majel Connery and Doug Balliett as the band Oracle Hysterical has yielded a number of operatic works, including a spoken-word opera premiered at the Lucerne Festival as a Spotlight Artist in composition. With his twin brother, Doug, Brad hosts a weekly radio show on WQXR’s Q2 Music called The Brothers Balliett, curates a monthly concert series at Spectrum in the Lower East Side, and will begin teaching a course at the Juilliard School's Evening Division in the fall. Brad graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 2005, and holds an MM from Rice University.
Doug Balliett is a composer, instrumentalist and poet based in New York City. The New York Times has described his poetry as “brilliant and witty,” his bass playing as “elegant,” and his compositions as “vivid, emotive, with contemporary twists.” Along with his twin brother, Brad, he hosts The Brothers Balliett on WQXR’s Q2, a weekly show exploring new music. The brothers also curate a monthly series at Spectrum on the Lower East Side, featuring many major NYC new music luminaries. Primarily a composer of vocal music, Mr. Balliett has written for some of New York’s best singers, including Grammy winners Estelí Gomez and Dashon Burton, with members of the Trinity Wall Street Choir. Other recent projects include the evening-length A Gnostic Passion, written with his twin brother and commissioned by CANTORI NYC. He has held composer-in-residence positions with the Lucerne Festival Academy, the Chelsea Music Festival, New Vintage Baroque, the Millennials, and the Colonials. His works have been performed at major New York venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Juilliard, the Stone, SubCulture, (le) Poisson Rouge, Galapagos, ShapeshifterLab, and Spectrum. Upcoming premieres include a double bass concerto for Juilliard faculty member Robert Nairn and a new cantata for members of Les Arts Florissants and Le Jardin des Voix, to be written specifically for William Christie’s personal gardens.
Elliot Cole is a composer, singer, and programmer. Postludes, his book of bowed vibraphone quartets, is a new staple of modern percussion repertoire, having been performed by over 140 ensembles all over the world including So Percussion, Blow Up Roma, Mobius Quartet, and Amadinda at all major American music schools. He has sung his Hanuman's Leap, a bardic epic for voices and drums, in 15 cities, and it was performed by Grammy-winning choir Roomful of Teeth at the Five Boroughs Music Festival in NYC. Oracle Hysterical, his creative friendship (part band, part book club) with Majel Connery and Brad and Doug Balliett has produced opera and hip hop collaborations with the Chicago Composers Orchestra, Metropolis Ensemble, Washington Square Winds, Opera Cabal, the Berkshire Fringe Festival, and the Lucerne Festival Academy, where they were Spotlight Artists in 2011. He lives in Jersey City and teaches at The New School, Manhattan School of Music, and Sing Sing correctional facility.
Majel Connery is co-founder and Executive & Artistic Director of Opera Cabal, an arts think tank for the conjunction of academic and creative work on opera. As a scholar, vocalist, actress and stage director, Connery has performed with Opera Cabal, Oracle Hysterical, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, Del Sol String Quartet and New Vintage Baroque. She commissioned, produced and performed in Opera Cabal projects including the world stage premiere of G.F. Haas’s ATTHIS with ACME (The Kitchen); Hong Kong Graft, an opera-installation co-created with Rome- and Berlin-prize winner, Ken Ueno; stage direction for the world premiere of Guggenheim Fellow Kurt Rohde’s Death With Interruptions; albums in progress co-created with Oracle Hysterical for groups including A Far Cry, Metropolis Ensemble and New Vintage Baroque; and the commission of a new opera by Sarah Kirkland Snider for Shara Worden/My Brightest Diamond. Majel curates the Hyde Park Salon Series (Chicago), and co-curates the Berkeley Salon Series (Berkeley) with neuroscientist Matthew Walker. As a scholar, Connery holds degrees from Princeton University (A.B. magna cum laude) and from the University of Chicago (M.A. and Ph.D.). She recently served as Visiting Assistant Professor and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley, where she was also a fellow at the Townsend Center for the Humanities, and at the Art Research Center. She will be a Mellon Visiting Artist with Ken Ueno at Wellesley College in 2016-17.