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Art Ensemble of Chicago Anthony Braxton Roscoe Mitchell

Genres You Will Love
Avant Garde: Free Improvisation Moods: Type: Improvisational Jazz: Free Jazz Moods: Type: Experimental Jazz: Avant-Garde Jazz

By Location
United States - Mass. - Boston

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Leap of Faith Orchestra

Leap of Faith is a long-term collaboration active from 1993 to 2001, resuming in 2015, between Glynis Lomon (cello and voice) and PEK (clarinets, saxophones, double reeds and voice) along with other regular members and many guests. The music is almost always pure improvisation with little or no discussion or planning prior to performance. Ensembles are primarily acoustic orchestral instruments.

PEK and Glynis had several versions of Leap of Faith in the 90s with other permanent members Mark McGrain (trombone), Syd Smart (drums), Craig Schildhauer (bass), Yuri Zbitnov (drums) and James Coleman (theremin); and a large number of other guests. The performances were well documented by Evil Clown and a large number are available for streaming, purchase or download. During this period, Leap of Faith often worked with multi-media including live interactive painting by Guadulesa, dance by Andrienne T Hawkins, and PEK's project fractal graphics.

Leap of Faith reformed in 2015 as a quartet with PEK, GLynis Lomon, Steve Norton (clarinets and saxophones), and Yuri Zbitnov and were joined later that year by Andria Nicodemou (vibes). Shortly thereafter, PEK created the independent ensembles Metal Chaos Ensemble (extended percussion section), String Theory (extended string section), Turbulence (extended horn section). Glynis Lomon's other trio is the New Language Collaborative. The Leap of Faith Orchestra is a large improvisation ensemble comprised of these 5 Sub-Units who can play independently or in combination. Any two or more of these units in combination are the LOFO, but the full orchestra features all of the performers and Sub-Units simultaneously.

Leap of Faith Core Members:
PEK - clarinets, saxophones, double reeds, metal, voice
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice
Yuri Zbitnov- percussion, metal, voice
Steve Norton- clarinets, saxophones, metal

Metal Chaos Ensemble Core Members:
PEK - clarinets, saxophones, double reeds, daxophone, metal, voice
Yuri Zbitnov - drums, percussion, metal, voice
​ Andria Nicodemou - vibraphone, metal
Kevin Dacey- drums, percussion, metal

String Theory Core Members:
PEK - clarinets, saxophones, double reeds, daxophone, aquasonic, metal, voice
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice
Mimi Rabson - violin, electronics, metal
Clara Kebabian- violin, viola, electronics, metal
Tony Leva- bass

Turbulence Core Members
PEK - clarinets, saxophones, double reeds, metal, voice
Steve Norton - clarinets, saxophones, metal
Charlie Kohlhase - saxophones​
Bob Moores - trumpet, electronics
David Harris - trombone, tuba

New Language Collaborative:
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice
Eric Zinman - piano
Syd Smart - drums

We prepared for a year for the first full Leap of Faith Orchestra performance (The Expanding Universe). Each of the Sub-Units had two performances with Leap of Faith with a short set for each band and a longer combined set. We also had several concerts with 9 or 10 performers with short sets by different smaller sections of and a longer combined set... About 30 talented Boston area improvisers have participated....

When deciding that I wanted to create a large improvisation ensemble version of Leap of Faith I reflected on my prior experience with large groups where we tried to gather the entire group and rehearse. I decided to take a different approach and to develop the orchestra slowly over time by working with many smaller sections and combinations ultimately leading to the full unit. Now, all the orchestra members have experience performing with each other in various combinations, and we have created a lot of great work in the process.

This work, The Expanding Universe, unlike the preparation performances, has a score. The score does not contain notated melodic, harmonic or rhythmic information, but is composed of time indices and English language descriptions of the instrument and texture desired which control who plays what at what times during the 75 minute duration of the composition. The score is simultaneously a Density and Sonority map defining the development of the work.

The ensemble tracks the time on the score with a large digital sports clock.

As we move forward now following The Expanded Universe, Leap of Faith Orchestra will perform 3 or 4 shows a year, each time with a new score by PEK... We will also continue to do other shows and with one or two of the sub-units...