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Metropolis Trilogy

a groundbreaking cross-genre work from Roscoe Mitchell



In a surprising fusion of musical genres, legendary composer and multi-instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell has collaborated with a diverse ensemble of musicians to create a groundbreaking trilogy of compositions.

Roscoe Mitchell has skillfully blended baroque, modern classical, and jazz instruments, resulting in a unique and captivating musical experience that is beautifully introduced by fellow AACM member George Lewis’ Artificial Life.

George Lewis

Artificial Life  (30-40')


Roscoe Mitchell

with preludes and interludes by Kweku Sumbry

Metropolis Trilogy  (45-60')

i. Prelude, Kweku Sumbry 3’

ii. Lady Moon, Emi Ferguson + Ruckus 13-15’

iii. Interlude, Kweku Sumbry 3’

iv. O’Cayz Corral, Immanuel Wilkins Quartet 17’

v. Interlude, Kweku Sumbry 3’

vi. Metropolis at 440 Oakwood Drive (tutti) 12’

Commissioned by Metropolis Ensemble, Immanuel Wilkins Quartet, and Ruckus Early Music



The Metropolis Trilogy is a three movement work by genre-defying composer Roscoe Mitchell for the combined forces of baroque instruments and modern jazz quartet, taking the listener on a journey from the gentle and mysterious world of Lady Moon (baroque instruments) to the hard-edged O’Cayz Corral (jazz quartet), culminating in the combined forces of Oakwood Drive.

The genesis of this remarkable collaboration can be traced back to a chance encounter. While preparing for a project with composer George Lewis, flute player Emi Ferguson delved into Lewis's book "A Power Stronger Than Itself." The book chronicles the rich history of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), and it was during this immersive reading experience that she discovered Roscoe Mitchell's extensive use of baroque instruments, particularly baroque flutes and recorders, in his works. This revelation sparked an immense excitement and a desire to connect and collaborate with the esteemed founding member of the AACM and the Art Ensemble of Chicago.


Emi joined forces with collaborators, Ruckus, the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet, and Andrew Cyr and the Metropolis Ensemble who all shared the same excitement about a new work from Roscoe Mitchell. Together, they embarked on a mission to commission a new concert piece that would merge the sounds and talents of baroque, modern classical, and jazz performers. 


Mitchell faced a formidable task. Not only did he have to reconcile the distinct sound aesthetics and performance practices of the various instrument types, but he also had to create a composition that could be performed separately by the individual ensembles and as a unified whole. The result, titled "Metropolis Trilogy," exceeded all expectations. 

I. Lady Moon

The first movement, "Lady Moon," opens with fully notated sections that feature improvised flute cadenzas, seamlessly transitioning into a group improvisation between Emi and Ruckus.

II. O'Cayz Corral

In the second movement, "O'Cayz Corral," the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet takes the stage with a fast-paced, distinctively new sound. The movement showcases two improvised sections surrounded by meticulously notated music.

III. Metropolis at 440 Oakwood Drive

The final movement, "Metropolis at 440 Oakwood Drive," sees the return of the baroque rhythm section, only to be interrupted by a remarkable trio of saxophone, baroque bassoon, and modern flute, accompanied by both the baroque and jazz rhythm sections. This segment serves as a prelude to the trilogy's surprise element: a card game between the performers. Ingeniously crafted by Mitchell, this "easter egg" allows for the piece to be performed by any combination of instruments, groups, or solo performers. Each player possesses a unique set of cards that prompt them to explore Mitchell's musical language through unmeasured melodic and harmonic material. The performers have the freedom to "shuffle" and rearrange these musical ideas, thereby shaping the structure of the composition while retaining Mitchell's motivic concepts. The piece concludes with a piano solo, accompanied by interjections from the ensemble, culminating in a serene tutti chord.

Roscoe Mitchell's innovative Trilogy represents a bold and daring exploration of musical boundaries. By seamlessly merging baroque, classical, and jazz elements, Mitchell and the ensemble have created a truly remarkable and immersive musical experience. This ambitious collaboration serves as a testament to the enduring power of artistic experimentation and the boundless potential of music to transcend traditional genres and captivate audiences with its richness and depth. 

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Emi Ferguson, Ruckus, and the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet come together under the banner of the Metropolis Ensemble to bring to life Roscoe Mitchell’s grand Metropolis Trilogy. Individually, all nine performers are trailblazers in the jazz and baroque performance worlds, and together they join to create a supergroup of musical fusion that deftly weaves their expertise in the experimental jazz and baroque worlds through the music of Roscoe Mitchell and George Lewis. 

Roscoe Mitchell

Roscoe Mitchell is considered one of the key figures in avant-garde jazz, integrating influences from everywhere—world music, funk, rock, classical—to create music that is at once beautiful and complex. He has been involved with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a Chicago-based nonprofit organization founded in the mid-1960s to advance new creative music. Mitchell has performed on more than 85 recordings and written in excess of 250 compositions in the jazz and classical realms. He continues to pass down his musical knowledge of composition and improvisation, both in educational and performance settings.  Mitchell first played saxophone and clarinet as a teenager in Chicago, Illinois, and while stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army, he played in a military band. While overseas, he met and played with saxophonists Albert Ayler and Rubin Cooper in military parades and jam sessions. Returning to Chicago in 1961, he performed with a group of Wilson Junior College students who included bassist Malachi Favors and saxophonists Joseph Jarman, Henry Threadgill, and Anthony Braxton. Mitchell also began studying with pianist/composer Muhal Richard Abrams and joined Abrams' new Experimental Band, a group that explored extended forms of composition and improvisation. In 1965, Mitchell became an inaugural member of the AACM, and his sextet became the first AACM group to record. This group eventually turned into the Art Ensemble of Chicago, including Favors and Jarman, and Lester Bowie on trumpet. Without a drummer, all the band members would share timekeeping duties, using makeshift percussion instruments ranging from found objects to toys. Even after they recruited percussionist Don Moye, they all continued to contribute to the beat. The Art Ensemble of Chicago took Europe by storm in the late 1960s with its fiery performances, unusual instrumentation, and African-inspired clothing and face-paint. After the group’s return to the U.S. in the early 1970s, Mitchell continued working with the Art Ensemble and members of the AACM, but also created other groups for his restless musical output. He established the Creative Arts Collective in 1974, and as an outgrowth of that, the Sound Ensemble. Mitchell also began releasing more albums as a leader and experimenting with finding new ways to make music, such as learning the tradition of circular breathing and working with computers in improvisation. In the 1990s, he began collaborating with such classical composers as Pauline Oliveros and Thomas Buckner. In his educational work, he has proposed studying composition and improvisation in tandem, to think like a composer when improvising, what Mitchell has called “composition in real time.” Mitchell has taught at institutions such as the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, California Institute of the Arts, and for the past decade served as the Darius Milhaud Chair of Composition at Mills College in Oakland, California.


Emi Ferguson

A 2023 recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Emi Ferguson can be heard live in concerts and festivals with groups including AMOC*, Ruckus, the Handel and Haydn Society, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Manhattan Chamber Players, and as the music director of Camerata Pacifica Baroque. Her recordings celebrate her fascination with reinvigorating music and instruments of the past for the present. Her debut album, Amour Cruel, an indie-pop song cycle inspired by the music of the 17th-century French court, was released by Arezzo Music in September 2017, spending four weeks on the classical, classical crossover, and world music Billboard charts. Her 2019 album Fly the Coop: Bach Sonatas and Preludes, a collaboration with continuo band Ruckus, debuted at #1 on the iTunes classical charts and #2 on the Billboard classical charts, and was called “blindingly impressive ... a fizzing, daring display of personality and imagination” by The New York Times. Emi has been a featured performer at the Marlboro, Lucerne, Ojai, Lake Champlain, Bach Virtuosi, and June in Buffalo festivals, often premiering new works by composers of our time. Emi was a featured performer alongside Yo-Yo Ma, Paul Simon, and James Taylor at the 10th Anniversary Memorial Ceremony of 9/11 at Ground Zero, where her performance of Amazing Grace was televised worldwide. Her performance that day is now part of the permanent collection at the 911 Museum. Emi has spoken and performed at several TEDx events and has been featured on media outlets including the Discovery Channel, Amazon Prime, WQXR, and Vox talking about how music relates to our world today. As a radio host and programmer, Emi first started working with New York’s WQXR as a member of their Artist Propulsion Lab where she developed the podcast series "This Composer Is Sick" with Max Fine, exploring the impact of Syphilis on composers Franz Schubert, Bedřich Smetana, and Scott Joplin. She has recently been named one of four new hosts for WQXR’s Young Artists Showcase and is also developing new programming for the youngest radio listeners, introducing them to music through exciting stories about composers, following on the success of her book Iconic Composers, co-written with Nicholas Csicsko alongside illustrations by David Lee Csicsko, introducing music lovers of all ages to 50 incredible Western Classical composers from the past 1000 years. Born in Japan and raised in London and Boston, she now resides in New York.


Ruckus is a shapeshifting, collaborative baroque ensemble with a visceral and playful approach to early music. The ensemble debuted in Handel’s Aci, Galatea e Polifemo in a production directed by Christopher Alden featuring Anthony Roth Costanzo, Ambur Braid and Davóne Tines at National Sawdust. The band’s playing earned widespread critical acclaim: “achingly delicate one moment, incisive and punchy the next” (New York Times); “superb” (Opera News). Based in New York City, Ruckus’ core is a continuo group, the baroque equivalent of a jazz rhythm section: guitars, keyboards, cello, bassoon and bass. Other members include soloists of the violin, flute and oboe. The ensemble aims to fuse the early-music movement’s questing, creative spirit with the grit, groove and jangle of American roots music, creating a unique sound of “rough-edged intensity” (New Yorker). The group’s members are among the most creative and virtuosic performers in North American early music. Ruckus’ debut album, Fly the Coop, a collaboration with flutist Emi Ferguson, was Billboard’s #2 Classical album upon its release. Performances of Fly the Coop have been described as “a fizzing, daring display of personality and imagination” (New York Times). The Boston Musical Intelligencer describes the group as taking continuo playing to “not simply a new level, but a revelatory new dimension of dynamism altogether… an eruption of pure, pulsing hoedown joy.” The ensemble made its Ojai Festival debut in 2022, performing a wide range of music: from Bach, to the improvisational scores of Roscoe Mitchell and George Lewis, to a recital featuring Anthony Roth Costanzo, and an original opera by bassist Doug Balliett. Of their performances, San Francisco Classical Voice described Ruckus as “the world’s only period-instrument rock band.” 2022-23 season highlights include debuts at the Shriver Concert Hall Series in Baltimore, Boston’s Celebrity Series, and the Caramoor Festival. With Holy Manna, a program including arrangements of early American hymns from the shape-note tradition, Ruckus has begun a multi-project exploration of histories of American music. Other upcoming projects include a co-commission of a large-scale work by pioneering artist and NEA Jazz Master Roscoe Mitchell as part of a Bach & Bird Festival alongside the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet, produced by The Metropolis Ensemble.

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Clay Zeller-Townson

baroque bassoon

Clay Zeller-Townson is the founder of Ruckus. He is a bassoonist and educator based between Vermont and New York City.  He plays with the leading period instrument ensembles in North America including: Tafelmusik, The Handel and Haydn Society, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists and Musica Angelica. He has given coachings on performance practice and masterclasses at New England Conservatory, UCLA, The Colburn School, The University of Missouri and The Eastman School of Music.  Clay was born in Nova Scotia, raised in eastern North Carolina, and found his way to the baroque bassoon by way of the tenor saxophone. He holds a Bachelor’s degree and Performer’s Certificate from The Eastman School of Music, a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School and the Advanced Certificate in Music Education from CUNY-Brooklyn College. He teaches K-8 general music part-time in Stamford and Readsboro, Vermont.

Elliott Figg

harpsichord & synthesizer

Elliot Figg is a keyboardist, conductor, and composer from Dallas, Texas. He is a graduate of the Historical Performance Program at The Juilliard School where he studied harpsichord with Kenneth Weiss. He has also studied with Arthur Haas at the Yale School of Music. Elliot is an active member of several New York-based early music and contemporary ensembles, including Ruckus, ACRONYM, New York Baroque Incorporated, and New Vintage Baroque. He also works in frequent collaboration with BalletNext. Recent. engagements include: Conductor and harpsichordist for the U.S. premiere of Chevalier de St-Georges' L'Amant Anonyme with Little Opera Theatre of New York; assistant conductor and harpsichordist for Vivaldi's Farnace, and for Cavalli's Veremonda, both with Spoleto Festival USA; and assistant conductor and harpsichordist for Dido and Aeneas with L.A. Opera.

Doug Balliett

viola da gamba & baroque bass

Doug Balliett is a composer, instrumentalist and poet based in New York City. The New York Times has described his compositions as "brainily bubble gum and lovably shaggy" (Rome is Falling), his poetry as “brilliant and witty” (Clytie and the Sun), and his bass playing as “elegant” (Shawn Jaeger’s In Old Virginny). The Los Angeles Times recently wrote "Bassist Doug Balliett, who teaches a course on the Beatles at the Juilliard School and writes cantatas for Sunday church services, as well as wacky pop operas, is in a class of his own." Doug has also been professor of baroque bass and violone at The Juilliard School since 2017, and leads the Theotokos ensemble every Sunday at St. Mary's church on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He plays regularly with AMOC, Les Arts Florissants, Jupiter Ensemble, ACRONYM, Ruckus, BEMF, Alarm Will Sound, and other ensembles. In August 2021 five of his Ovid Cantatas were filmed for Qwest TV with William Christie, Lea Desandre, and Nick Scott. For three years he and his twin brother hosted a weekly show dedicated to living composers on WQXR's new music channel Q2. Upcoming performances of his work include Beast Fights at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony bass section, and the annual New Year's Eve performance of his opera Gawain and the Green Knight.

Paul Holmes Morton

baroque guitar & theorbo

Over the past decade, Paul Holmes Morton has become a plucked instrument specialist practicing disciplines from the European Renaissance to modern Americana. Perpetually inspired by music as a vehicle to transport oneself across time and culture, Paul Holmes aims to study the practice of traditional forms while allowing such various esthetics to coalesce in his own expressions of interpretations. He can be found in a variety of venues from cathedrals and opera houses to living rooms and bars, anywhere that allows performance to lend harmony to the present noise. He is a proud member and active recording artist of various ensembles, including Ruckus, The Chivalrous Crickets, Makaris, and The Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado. He is based in Pennsylvania.

Immanuel Wilkins Quartet

The Immanuel Wilkins Quartet stands at the forefront of a new wave of innovative and boundary-pushing jazz ensembles. Led by the saxophonist and composer Immanuel Wilkins, the quartet has been captivating audiences with their mesmerizing performances and thought-provoking musical explorations. Forming the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet, Wilkins assembled a group of exceptionally talented musicians who share his commitment to pushing the boundaries of jazz. With the quartet, Wilkins delves into intricate compositions and improvisations that seamlessly blend elements of traditional jazz, contemporary influences, and avant-garde experimentation. Their performances are marked by a sense of fearless exploration, as they fearlessly navigate musical exploration with a relentless energy and cohesion. The quartet's repertoire showcases a diverse range of musical landscapes. From soul-stirring ballads to fiery, high-energy pieces, the quartet's music evokes a wide spectrum of emotions and leaves audiences captivated and moved. Beyond their technical brilliance, the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet is known for their collaborative spirit and tight-knit musical chemistry. Each member brings their unique voice to the ensemble, creating a collective sound that is greater than the sum of its parts. Since their formation, the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet has garnered critical acclaim and a dedicated following. They have performed at renowned jazz festivals, prestigious venues, and shared the stage with jazz legends and emerging talents alike. Their music resonates with audiences around the world, transcending boundaries and captivating listeners with its depth, originality, and sheer musical brilliance. With their commitment to artistic exploration and a shared vision of pushing the boundaries of jazz, the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet continues to make their mark on the contemporary jazz landscape. They are a testament to the enduring spirit of jazz as a platform for innovation, expression, and collective musical storytelling. As they continue to evolve and redefine the genre, the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet stands poised to shape the future of jazz with their groundbreaking artistry and unwavering dedication to musical excellence.


Immanuel Wilkins


Immanuel Wilkins is a saxophonist, composer, arranger, and bandleader from the greater Philadelphia area. Moving to New York in 2015, Wilkins earned his bachelor’s degree in music at the Juilliard School, studying with the saxophonists Bruce Williams and the late Joe Temperley while simultaneously establishing himself as an in-demand sideman working and/or recording with artists like Jason Moran, Kenny Barron, Bill Frisell, Joel Ross, Aaron Parks, Gerald Clayton, Wynton Marsalis, and Solange Knowles, to name just a few. It was also during this same period that he formed his quartet featuring his long-time bandmates: Micah Thomas (piano), Daryl Johns (bass), and Kweku Sumbry (drums). Being a bandleader and having a working group for over four years has allowed Wilkins to grow both as a composer and arranger—and has led to him receiving a number of commissions including, most recently, from the National Jazz Museum in Harlem and the Jazz Gallery Artist Residency Commission program. He was also the Kimmel Cultural Campus Center artist-in-residence for 2020. He has collaborated with visual artists Cauleen Smith, Kennedy Yanko, Rog Walker, David Dempewolf, and Leslie Hewitt. In addition to teaching at NYU and the New School, Wilkins has taught and given master classes and clinics at schools/venues like Oberlin College, Yale University, and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Ultimately, Wilkins’s mission is to create a sound that has a profound spiritual and emotional impact that will allow him to become a great leader in the long lineage of jazz musicians. Through studying the human pathos of the music and the culture of jazz, Wilkins aspires to bring people together through the commonality of love and belief in this music. He has two albums out on Blue Note Records—Omega and his most recent release, The 7th Hand.

Micah Thomas


Micah Thomas was born in 1997 in Columbus, Ohio. In 2015, Micah Thomas was awarded the Jerome L. Greene Fellowship from the Juilliard School and received his Bachelor of Music (B.M.) degree in 2019, followed by his Master of Music (M.M.) degree in 2020. His first album with his trio, “Tide”, was released in June 2020 and received positive reviews from The New Yorker, The New York Times, JazzTimes, and Financial Times, among others. In September 2022, Micah Thomas released his first solo album “Piano Solo” and won the Grand Prix Award from Charles Cros Academy of France. He is now performing locally and internationally, both as a leader of his own trio and a steady member of the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet, alongside sideman appearances with Ambrose Akinmusire, Lage Lund, Billy Drummond, Zoh Amba, Giveton Gelin, Stacy Dillard, Joel Ross, Nicole Glover, Melissa Aldana, Etienne Charles, Harish Raghavan and others.

Kweku Sumbry


Grounded in the traditions of the Djembe Orchestra, Kweku Sumbry is a multi-percussionist from Washington, DC. With the djembe, drumset, and a multitude of West African Percussion instruments, Kweku is bringing forth a new sound to the music world. Music has allowed Kweku to travel to Ghana, New Zealand, Brazil And France to name a few countries. At the age of 25, Kweku has already graced the stage with Ambrose Akinmusire, Yosvany Terry, Cyrus Chestnut, Meshell Ndegeocello, Shabaka Hutchings and Reggie Workman. A true global citizen, Kweku continues to travel the world, building upon his knowledge of world musical traditions and cultures. Kweku currently is a member of the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet, who recently released his debut album Omega, and sophomore album The 7th Hand on critically acclaimed label; Blue Note. A true lover of Art, Dance, Music, and all things pertaining to Black culture, Kweku has set out to change the lens in which West African drumming is viewed by the rest of the world.

Thomas Morgan

upright bass

Thomas Morgan is a double bass player with a unique approach to the instrument and an exceptional musical understanding. He has played on a hundred some recordings and toured all over the world as a member of bands led by Bill Frisell, Jakob Bro, Craig Taborn, Masabumi Kikuchi, Paul Motian, Dan Weiss, Jim Black, John Abercrombie, Dave Binney, Steve Coleman, Henry Threadgill, and Tomasz Stanko, among many others. It is Thomas Morgan’s extraordinary way of being in the moment in music and putting his own signature on it that has made him one of the most in demand jazz bassists on the international scene.

Metropolis Ensemble

Metropolis is a non-profit organization that inspires new audiences through its dedication to commissioning and producing ambitious projects in contemporary music and expanding opportunities for emerging composers and performers through collaboration. Founded by Grammy-nominated conductor Andrew Cyr in 2006, Metropolis gathers independent expert musicians to create forms ranging from full orchestra and chorus, bands, chamber orchestra, to mixed ensembles and soloists. Based in New York, Metropolis has commissioned hundreds of new works and site-specific projects with a broad range of artists and has led premiere performances at venues such as Hollywood Bowl, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Celebrate Brooklyn(!), and Lincoln Center. Collaboration is a core element in our programming model; presentations result from intense small-group collaborations between each individual project’s lead artist(s) and Metropolis artistic director, producer and Grammy-nominated conductor Andrew Cyr. Partnerships with presenting institutions and record labels also contribute to the successful realization of complex projects, enabling participating artists to make connections outside their traditional networks. Metropolis works with each partner to maximize and leverage their own unique assets and special expertise to achieve impacts and economies of scale which otherwise would not be possible to achieve.  Metropolis Ensemble has garnered national and international recognition for its many studio recordings, including Canada’s prestigious Juno Award for Best Classical Composition in 2013 Vivian Fung’s Dreamscapes (Naxos Records). In 2010, Metropolis Ensemble and conductor Andrew Cyr received Grammy Award Nominations for their debut album, Avner Dorman’s Concertos (Naxos Records), featuring mandolinist Avi Avital. In 2014, producer David Frost received a Classical Producer of the Year Grammy Award for work that included Metropolis Ensemble’s album, Timo Andres’ Home Stretch (Nonesuch Records), recorded at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall.

NOTES on the program

After AMOC’s commission of George Lewis’ new opera “The Comet” was announced, AMOC violinist Keir GoGwilt suggested a reading group focusing on Lewis’ book “A Power Stronger Than Itself” chronicling the history of the AACM (Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians) as a way to become familiar with the rich legacy from which Lewis sprung. I became deeply absorbed in the music of AACM members, and was wonderfully surprised to hear founding member of the AACM, composer and multi-instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell, extensively using baroque instruments, particularly baroque flutes and recorders, in many of his works. Needless to say, I was incredibly excited by this and reached out to Roscoe Mitchell to express my admiration, our mutual passion for woodwinds old and new, and the hope to work with him. While this all seemed like a dream in the midst of 2020, fast forward a few months and the members of AMOC are deep in workshop of George’s music with him over zoom, with Artificial Life as our entry point to his work, while at the same time, Roscoe is beginning to work on a new concert piece for Ruckus, the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet, and me, combining baroque, modern classical, and jazz performers under the umbrella of Andrew Cyr's Metropolis Ensemble who commissioned the work.

It was a beautiful reminder of how life is often circular and reflexive - while Mitchell’s work inspired the next generation of AACM members including Lewis, this new work of Mitchell’s came about because of our exploration into Lewis’ writing.

Both Mitchell and Lewis have an incredible way of inviting the performers into the creative process through instructive improvisation that gives the performers agency within the context of their specific compositional and creative languages. Lewis’ foreword in the score notes that:

Artificial Life is a situational-form musical composition designed for ensembles of between eight and thirty (or more) players. The work presents a model of group improvisation as an emergent phenomenon arising from negotiation and local intelligence with sounds and silences produced according to the improvisers’ intuition and considered judgement. The piece is open to perfumers from any musical tradition, including those that do not regularly include improvisation modes of performance, with the instructions serving as a kind of go-to toolbox for producing a range of sounds and forms that will far exceed what the composer would imagine, and for that reason, there is no canonically correct way for the piece to sound.


Because of this, no two performances of the piece are the same. Mitchell’s work, similarly, is also clearly structured but allows the performers choices and freedom. The cards from “440 Oakwood Drive” is an excerpt from the larger 3 movement work. Given the complexities of getting all nine performers involved together for performances, Mitchell ingeniously created a way for all, groups of, or solo performers to perform independently by creating a set of “cards” for each player that can be performed in any grouping of instruments. The Cards invite the performers into Mitchell’s language through unmeasured melodic and harmonic material that may be reorganized, “shuffled”, by the performers, leaving the creation of the musical structure to the performers.

- Emi Ferguson

Roscoe Mitchell // composer

Metropolis Ensemble + Andrew Cyr // co-commissioner and producer

Ruckus // co-commissioner and dedicatee

Emi Ferguson // dedicatee

Immanuel Wilkins Quartet // dedicatee


Doug Balliett, bass and viola da gamba 

Elliot Figg, harpsichord and synth

Emi Ferguson, baroque and modern flutes

Paul Holmes Morton, theorbo/banjo/guitar

Thomas Morgan, bass

Kweku Sumbry, drums

Micah Thomas, piano

Immanuel Wilkins, saxophone

Clay Zeller-Townson, baroque bassoon


Roscoe Mitchell // artwork (title: Lady Moon)

Special thanks to Wendy Mitchell, John McCowen, and Kyle Moten.


For kids

excerpts from Emi's book about composers

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