NotaRiotous Ensemble



The Chamber Ensemble of the Boston Microtonal Society
After a two-year hiatus, we are very happy to announce that NotaRiotous will be returning in the 2014-2015 concert season, joined by composer and conductor Bert Van Herck. Stay tuned for more news as concert plans develop.Notariotous.


NotaRiotous History
(See here for detailed BMS concert history)

NotaRiotous, the performing ensemble of the Boston Microtonal Society, was created in 2006 by Julia Werntz and James Bergin. Since the early 1990s the BMS had produced concerts with a varying roster of freelance performers, and had featured the Auros Group for New Music, the Firebird Ensemble, the Arden String Quartet, and members of the Dinosaur Annex Ensemble. As interest in microtonal music continued to grow, there was an increased need for musicians with the special skills needed to perform it. Boston, with its international reputation as an unusual hotbed of microtonal talent, was the ideal place for the birth of this unique ensemble, dedicated exclusively to the performance of microtonal music of the 20th and 21st century on traditional Western instruments. The core performers (including Jen Ashe, soprano; Avery Griffin, baritone; Gabriela Diaz and Biliana Voutchkova, violin; Wendy Richman and Anne Black, viola; David Russell, cello; Alicia DiDonato-Paulsen, Sarah Brady, and Jessi Rosinski, flute; Amy Advocat, clarinet) are some of the most sought-after musicians in Boston’s vibrant contemporary music scene, noted for their particular expertise in and passion for contemporary music, as well as for their extensive involvement in the standard classical repertoire.

Over the years, the ensemble has performed works of the earliest microtonal composers Alois Hába, Julián Carillo, and Charles Ives, as well as works of more recent composers including Joseph Maneri, Ezra Sims, James Tenney, Ben Johnston, John Eaton, Manfred Stahnke, Georg Hajdu, Paul Méfano, Pascal Criton, Frank Yeznikian, Jason Eckhardt, Gérard Grisey, Frank Bedrossian, Ken Ueno, Julia Werntz, and James Bergin. The ensemble has had works composed especially for them by Ezra Sims, Alain Bancquart, John Eaton, Frank Oteri, John Mallia, Julia Werntz, and James Bergin.

Several NotaRiotous concerts have been hosted by the New England Conservatory of Music and Northeastern University in recent years. NotaRiotous has also been in residence at Tufts University, Brandeis University, and Williams College, inviting composition students from those schools to write specifically for the ensemble, providing feedback on their pieces, and performing them in concerts, along with works of established microtonal composers.

NotaRiotous has received several grants from the Alice M. Ditson Foundation, as well as two grants from the French-American Cultural Exchange (FACE) and grants from the Goethe Institute. Our concerts have included lectures by Alain Bancquart, Lauren Martin and Paul Méfano, and in fall 2011 NotaRiotous held a joint concert with members of Ensemble 2e2m, directed by Pierre Roullier.

We look forward with great excitement to returning in the 2014-2015 season.