NEOSonicFest: A New Music Festival, coming to CWRU Harkness Chapel

NEOSonicFest: a music festival bringing the artistic talent of Northeast Ohio together to highlight new music.

March 28 – April 6, 2014 – featuring over 6 new music events!

CLEVELAND, OH (March 12, 2014) – Cleveland Chamber Symphony is proud to announce the inaugural NEOSonicFest running March 28 – April 6, 2014. The Cleveland Chamber Symphony has long contributed to the advancement of the art of contemporary American music and promoted the dissemination of musical works by composers of our time. NEOSonicFest is the vision of Cleveland Chamber Symphony Music Director, Steven Smith and the board to create a music festival that will solidify and expand the role of Northeast Ohio in new music. NEOSonicFest invites audiences to experience six performances that will showcase existing and newly commissioned works in the classical, electronic, jazz, and contemporary classical music genres. Featured NEOSonicFest 2014 artists include the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Ensemble HD, Jonathan William Moyer, Howie Smith and the FiveOne Experimental Orchestra with guest appearances by Verb Ballets. While updating the mission of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the festival will continue to present music that dares to explore.

Cleveland Chamber Symphony will open the festival on Friday, March 28, 2014 at 7:30pm at Drinko Hall in Cleveland State University. This concert is a tribute to Edwin London, who founded the Cleveland Chamber Symphony in 1980. Conductor and current Music Director Steven Smith will lead the orchestra in two of London’s scores, Melodrama and Federico’s Follies. Cleveland Chamber Symphony and guest Verb Ballets will present the Ohio premiere of The Edmund Fitzgerald by composer Geoffrey Peterson featuring pianist Nicholas Underhill. Verb Ballets’ Associate Director Richard Dickinson choreographed a new ballet that follows the haunting and mysterious shipwreck.  

Ensemble HD will continue the momentum on Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 7:30pm at Harkness Chapel at Case Western Reserve University. Ensemble HD gained national attention bringing classical music to new audiences with their performances at the Happy Dog Bar on Cleveland’s near Westside. The ensemble is led by Joshua Smith, Principal Flute of The Cleveland Orchestra, and includes Christina Dahl, Associate Professor of Music at Stony Brook, and Cleveland Orchestra members Amy Lee, Frank Rosenwein, Charles Bernard, and Joanna Patterson-Zakany. Verb Ballets will collaborate to perform a new work inspired by whales set to composer George Crumb’s, Vox Balaenae. Arranged by Sara Whale the dancers will interpret the evocative and unusual timbres to create a vivid oceanic imagery that is both majestic and serene.

Organist Jonathan William Moyer will perform on Monday, March 31, 2014 at 7:30 pm in the Church of the Covenant. Moyer maintains a dynamic career as an organist, pianist, harpsichordist, and conductor. Critics describe him as, “ever-expressive, stylish, and riveting.” Moyer has performed throughout the Northeastern United States, Europe, and Japan, including the Washington National Cathedral, Princeton University Chapel, NYC St. Thomas Episcopal Church, numerous British cathedrals and the Dvorak Spring Festival in Prague and Vienna. The evening will feature “music from the abyss” including works by J.S. Bach, Oliver Messiaen, Pieter William Kee, György Sándor Ligeti, Schoenberg and William Bolcom.

Virtuoso saxophonist and composer Howie Smith will perform on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 8:00pm at Cleveland State University’s Drinko Recital Hall. Smith will be the only performer on stage but an array of saxophones, electronics, voices, percussion, and a 9-channel surround sound system will share the spotlight.  Elements of ritual and performance art are incorporated into his work titled The Speed of Time. The New York Times described him as “an electrifying and versatile soloist.”Smith has worked with musicians and composers as diverse as Anthony Braxton, Dee Dee Bridgewater, John Cage, Dizzy Gillespie, Mike Nock, Elvis Presley, Pauline Oliveros, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Tone Road Ramblers. Smith has received numerous awards including a Cleveland Arts Prize, 2009 Cleveland Jazz Legend Award, 2012 Creative Workforce Fellowship and seven Individual Artist Fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council.

FiveOne Experimental Orchestra will present a ‘no-boundaries’ approach to music on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 8:30pm at The Screw Factory in Lakewood. FiveOne Experimental Orchestra creates a diverse stream of fresh, new-perspective musical works and brings an intriguing meld of genres, styles, and artistic disciplines to usual and unusual spaces. FiveOne often positions players around or within the audience, blends art music with rock, digital sounds or world music, and collaborates with other artists to produce innovative multimedia performances. ClassicalCleveland described their performances as, “a fascinating mix of musical styles reflecting the diverse backgrounds and interests of the composers, whose classical training has been individually influenced by Catholic Mysticism, Jazz, Pop and Rock.”

Cleveland Chamber Symphony will close NEOSonicFest on Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 7:30pm at Gamble Auditorium at Baldwin-Wallace in the Kulas Musical Arts Building. This concert will feature the Cleveland Chamber Symphony tradition of fostering apprenticeship and promoting young and emerging composers. Cleveland Chamber Symphony has nurtured composers for more than 30 years, contributing to the advancement of the art of contemporary American music. Also performed on the program will be Epilogue, composed and featuring Howie Smith on saxophone, and Tone Roads No. 1 by American visionary composer Charles Ives. Cleveland Chamber Symphony is proud to close NEOSonicFest by continuing to elevate new music in Northeast Ohio.

Admission is $10 suggested donation per performance and $5 for students. Doors open beginning 30 minutes prior to show time. Program subject to change. For more information visit This inaugural NEOSonic season is made possible by the generous support of Baldwin Wallace, Bascom Little Fund, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, The George Gund Foundation, Music Performance Fund, and The Music Settlement.

2014 NEOSonicFest Performance Schedule

Cleveland Chamber Symphony with guest Verb Ballets
Friday, March 28, 2014 7:30 PM
Cleveland State, Drinko Hall 2121 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH44115

Ensemble HD with guest Verb Ballets
Sunday, March 30, 2014 7:30 PM
Case Western Reserve, Harkness Chapel 11200 Bellflower Rd. Cleveland, OH 44106

Jonathan William Moyer
Monday, March 31,2014 7:30 PM
Church of the Covenant 11205 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH 44106

Howie Smith
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 8:00 PM
Cleveland State, Drinko Hall 2121 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH 44115

FiveOne Experimental Orchestra
Saturday, April 5, 2014  8:30 PM
The Screw Factory, Templar Industrial Park 13000 Athens Ave. Lakewood, OH 44107

Cleveland Chamber Symphony
Sunday April 6, 2014 7:30PM
Baldwin-Wallace, Gamble Auditorium Kulas Musical Arts Building 96 Front St. Berea, OH 44017

For more information on NEOSonicFest visit


About Cleveland Chamber Symphony
The Grammy Award winning Cleveland Chamber Symphony (CCS) performs music of our time that dares to explore under the direction of Music Director Steven Smith.  Starting in 1980 with the vision and expertise of Dr. Edwin London and the talent of a dedicated core of Cleveland musicians, the ensemble steadily grew in scope and stature throughout the following two decades, performing, recording and commissioning contemporary orchestral music. CCS nurtures composers, musicians and audiences through professional performances, recordings, commissions, and educational experiences. The Cleveland Chamber Symphony’s excellence has been recognized with prestigious awards including a 2007 Grammy and ASCAP John S. Edwards Awards. Through it’s mission, CCS has contributed to the advancement of the art of contemporary American music and promoted the dissemination of musical works by composers of our time.

For more information visit