Contemporaneous IMAGINATION (logo) ver. 2a.jpg

For composers and artists who dream in music:

Contemporaneous is looking for your wildest, most unwieldy, impossible ideas. The ones you might come up with late at night and then tell yourself to forget in the morning because they could never exist. If you dream of something that you could create if only you had enough time or money or could find people who care as much as you do, we want to hear about it. If you've written something that does not fit into the framework of expectations for new music — whether it's absurdly long or difficult or impossible-to-market — but you know that it will have a profound effect on those who experience it... we want to help bring it into being.

 Please email us at to share with us the musical work that you really want to spend your time doing.

Contemporaneous is devoted to expanding the imagination through music and collaborative art-forms (and forms of art not yet invented). It is our mission to help you bring about the most meaningful dreams that you do not think possible to realize, through the unquenchably open-minded spirit of our 21 incredible musicians and the full force of our artistic and development team. Please be daring as you imagine the future— we promise to respond with the seriousness your ideas deserve, no matter how crazy or impossible they may sound.

Launched in March 2017, Contemporaneous IMAGINATION has already undertaken development on nine different projects, some of which have already been brought to completion. Check here below to see the updated list of fully realized projects brought to life by Contemporaneous IMAGINATION.

Completed Projects of Contemporaneous IMAGINATION:

  • SUNRISE / SUNSET, by composer Brian Petuch — a 16-hour communal work that tracks the movement of the sun from sunrise to sunset. Presented June 21, 2018 at Liberty Park, New York, NY. For more info, click here.
  • AND FLOWERS SHOWERED, by composer Krists Auznieks — an immersive concert length exploration of the self through music, movement, and architecture, which allows us to investigate the constituent parts of the indigenous voice and ask: what is the self, and what makes us each an individual? Presented February 25, 2018 at National Sawdust, Brooklyn, NY. For more info, click here.


Contemporaneous takes pride in the diverse and exciting educational programs the organization offers to communities close to home and throughout the United States. Through presentations of new music, the ensemble inspires students of all ages and skill levels to connect with the music reflecting their world. Our workshops and residencies offer the opportunity for performers and composers to unlock their creative potential. For students wishing to pursue a career in music, we impart career knowledge by the members of our ensemble embedded in the ever-changing field. Contemporaneous designs its programs to instill a passion for new music and to convey the power of careful listening and meaningful expression through music.

Below are program offerings for both university and K-12 students, which are customized by our dedicated education team to foster musical appreciation and artistic growth. See where we have presented these programs in our past events. Please contact Fanny Wyrick-Flax, our Educational Coordinator, with any questions or inquiries.


University Residencies

Contemporaneous offers residencies for colleges and universities that are tailor-made to meet the musical needs of participating students. With each residency, the ensemble supports students in the development of their artistic voice, provides participating composers with high quality performances of their works, and establishes long-lasting partnerships with students as they continue to pursue their career goals. Contemporaneous’ college and university residencies provide the academic community with thoughtful, committed performances and workshops encompassing a wide range of topics. The ensemble has presented these programs at Bard College, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, the University of New Orleans, and Williams College.


Each residency performance is a unique collaboration with student composers, student performers, and faculty members. Performances often feature new works by student composers and may include works from the ensemble’s own repertoire as well as works by visiting composers and/or faculty members. Contemporaneous can also perform alongside student performers in side-by-side performances, particularly in the ensemble’s repertoire of open-instrumentation scores. Recordings of student works performed in concert can be made using equipment and recording engineers provided by the school.


Workshops may be given by Contemporaneous artists as well as visiting composers, and can cover a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to the following examples:

Reading of student works: Contemporaneous artists provide students the opportunity to hear their in-progress or completed works played by the ensemble in a classroom setting.

Instrumentation workshop for composers: Members of Contemporaneous give insight into the instruments’ strengths and weaknesses, their roles within a larger ensemble, extended techniques, and resource recommendations.

Improvisation workshop: Contemporaneous presents an introduction to improvisation in contemporary music. Students are given the tools needed to integrate elements of composition into their playing in real time, with active discussion on the broad world of improvised playing.

Masterclasses: Contemporaneous artists and/or visiting composers offer masterclasses for student performers (of any orchestral instrument as well as voice, guitar, and saxophone), conductors, and composers.

Professional development workshop: Students join Contemporaneous artists in a discussion of what it means to be a professional musician and are invited to reflect on their career goals both large and small. Topics include entrepreneurial musicianship, networking, competitions, commissions, and education.

Open rehearsal and meet the composers: Join the ensemble at a rehearsal open to the public as they prepare for the closing concert. Student performers are invited to sit in their section as they follow along with the score. The rehearsal is followed by a discussion and Q&A with the composers.


School-Day Residencies

For K-12 students, Contemporaneous offers engaging, interactive workshops centered around the creation and performance of new music. In tailor-made programs, Contemporaneous instills a passion for the music of our time by demonstrating its exciting and unique expressive power. Workshops inspire creativity and appreciation with live performances, guided discussions, and composition activities. The following workshops are flexible models that can be offered to small or large groups.

The Composer in You: Everybody can write music! This workshop empowers students to express themselves in a new way through original compositions. Students will use images, words, and stories as notation for their new pieces to be performed by the musicians of Contemporaneous.

No Time Like the Present: Introducing the thrill of new music, this workshop features live performances of works by today's most exciting composers. The musicians guide in-depth discussions that reveal the design and inspirations of the compositions.

Perform with Contemporaneous! This workshop immerses students with some performance background (instrumental or vocal) in the rehearsal and performance of new music. Contemporaneous will guide students through a work by a living composer that is designed to be performed by any combination of instruments and voices on minimal preparation time.

Premiere Time! For students writing music, the experience of hearing it performed by professional musicians is both inspiring and enlightening. Contemporaneous offers performances, readings, and recordings of student works, treating them with the same kind of passion and devotion with which it approaches its core repertoire. The musicians also offer constructive feedback and demonstrate the possibilities of their instruments.

Past Events

October 2016-January 2017 - Bard High School Early College Queens Composition Workshop
May 27, 2016 - Girls Preparatory Bronx Middle School
May 15, 2016 - Face the Music
May 9, 2016 - Primary School 142
April 16-May 12, 2016 - City University of New York Graduate Center Residency
March 30, 2016 - Bronx Community College
March-June, 2016 - Bard High School Early College Queens Composition Workshop
October 7, 2015 - Bronx Community College
August 17, 2015 - Bard College Learning and Thinking Bakkhai Seminar
August 14, 2015 - Bard Music Festival Meet the Composers
August 13, 2015 - Bard College Learning and Thinking Film Score Workshop
August 12, 2015 - Bard Music Festival Open Rehearsal
May 19, 2015 - Bard Early College Academy
April 8-12, 2015 - UNO Residency
March 9, 2015 - Primary School 142
February 20-22, 2015 - Bard College at Simon’s Rock Residency
October 2014-January 2015 - Bard High School Early College Queens Composition Workshop
June 6, 2014 - Brooklyn Charter School
March 26, 2014 - Bard High School Early College New Orleans
March 22-27, 2014 - University of New Orleans Residency
November 13, 2013 - Primary School 142
April 27, 2013 - New Music Immersion with Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra
February 11, 2013 - Primary School 142
January 10-12, 2013 - Williams College Residency
November 29, 2012 - Primary School 142
October 13, 2012 - Brown University
November 9, 2011 - Poughkeepsie Day School



Fanny Wyrick-Flax
Educational Coordinator


S T R A N G E R   L O V E

an opera in 3 acts

Music by Dylan Mattingly | Libretto by Thomas Bartscherer
Concept by Thomas Bartscherer and Dylan Mattingly

Stranger Love — a familiar story, altogether new. Act I is the tale of two lovers, in the tradition of Orpheus & Euridice, Heloise & Abelard, Rick & Elsa. Written to the rhythm of the seasons, Spring is the encounter; Summer, the unfolding; Autumn, the threat from without; Winter, the threat from within. Narration and abstraction vie for preeminence, as the protagonists struggle to comprehend the paradox of human love — the bondage that is liberation, the coincidence of fate and freedom, of pleasure and pain, of time and transcendence. Act II re-frames the story: no longer individual, it is now archetypal. The singers, who were on stag in Act I as in traditional opera, join the instrumental ensemble and the action on stage belongs to six dancers in three pairs, each pair moving toward one another slowly, inexorably. The music and lighting retrace the progression of seasons. Jet trails unfurl across a Summer sky. Light snow falls in Winter. The dance on stage culminates differently for each couple: one pair meets in a kiss; one pair collides and falls; one pair... misses. After a second intermission, Act III begins in complete darkness. No singers, no dancers: just a constellation of lights scattered vertically through the space which move away from the center a slightly different speeds, creating depth as though the audience is traveling into the negative space. The music, however, is not a dying away, but a revelation of vitality, pure joy, the velocity of universal expansion. The opera ends in pitch black.

The unstated architecture of the opera is drawn from Plato's Symposium. Act I presents love in a human and personal frame, as in Alcibiades' speech. The second act follows Aristophanes in depicting an archetypal account love. Act III is inspired by the vision of divine love — a love supreme — that Socrates attributes to the priestess Diotima.

More information:

Stranger Love One-Sheet
Contemporaneous Press Kit

Audio Samples

Below are two movements from Dylan Mattingly's Bakkhai (2013). In this work, Mattingly sets the choruses from Euripides' play of the same name in the original Ancient Greek and in an original tuning system. The music is performed by Contemporaneous.

The following is an excerpt from the beginning of Act II of Stranger Love. The recording is drawn from a performance of excerpts of Act II by Contemporaneous.

T R E A D I N G   W A T E R

a song cycle

Music by Sarah Goldfeather

Text by Dr. David Burns (founder of Cognitive-Behavorial Therapy), Kay Ryan, and Lydia Davis.

Commissioned by Contemporaneous

“Endless Cycle” is a new song cycle from composer and singer Sarah Goldfeather’s, commissioned by Contemporaneous. The work will be based around the theme of cognitive distortions and obsessive and inert thoughts, using selected texts from Dr. David Burns (the founder of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy), Kay Ryan, and Lydia Davis, among other contemporary writers.

Goldfeather comes from a unique musical background — as a violinist, she is steeped in contemporary music, but as a singer, she performs most often in the indie-folk world. The piece will therefore be folk-influenced, not unlike some of the later music she has written for her band, Goldfeather, but with an evident new music influence in both structure and orchestration.

The song-cycle will be 25-35 minutes in length, featuring Sarah singing with an ensemble of roughly 16 players. It will be broken up into several movements that can be performed separately or all as one unified work. Selections from the work in progress will be premiered in 2018 by Sarah and Contemporaneous, a New York-based ensemble, and the full cycle will be premiered in 2018-2019 season.




Sarah Goldfeather:

 Sarah Goldfeather is a composer-performer who writes music for her eponymous indie-folk band, Goldfeather, her soprano-violin duo, Cipher, and beyond. Her music has been featured on the Ecstatic Music Festival and Mata Interval Series in New York, WQXR, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago presented by Eighth Blackbird, the Times Two Series in Boston, Berlin, and across the midwest and California. Sarah’s music for Goldfeather is featured on their newest album, Patchwork Quilt (2016), and their EP, Goldfeather (2014). Sarah is also the founder, co-director and violinist of the seven-piece new music ensemble, Exceptet, for which she is writing a piece to be premiered in 2018. As a violinist, Sarah has worked closely with many artists, including Julia Wolfe, Chris Cerrone, Timo Andres, Beth Morrison Projects, Todd Almond, Courtney Love, Kishi Bashi, and groups such as Ensemble Signal, The Princeton Symphony, Contemporaneous, and more. She was featured in the 2015 TEDxMET series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and curated and performed in concerts for La Asociación de Música Electroacústica y Arte Sonoro de España in Madrid and Valencia, Spain, as well as the String Theories Festival at Roulette in Brooklyn, New York.