What is Ensemble Mélange?
Ensemble Mélange, formerly known as SHUFFLE Concert, is a joyful sextet of all-star virtuosos. Ensemble Mélange shakes up the concert experience, forges a personal connection with the audience, and mixes tried-and-true repertoire with a smorgasbord of jewels from distant genres. The concert is reformatted as a musician's party game; after each piece, members of the audience are chosen to pick the next piece from an extensive menu organized by style, nationality, and time period. Whether you’re a purist or a populist, a snob or a noob, eight years old or eighty years old, you’ll leave charmed and punch-drunk on a piece you didn’t know you were going to love.
Under the group's original name, SHUFFLE Concert, we have performed across the US, Canada, and in the Middle East, in venues varying from Carnegie Hall and Merkin Hall to The Duplex in New York, Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv to Brigham Young University Concert Hall in Jerusalem, Ottawa Chamberfest to the Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater in Reno. We recorded a debut album, held a composition competition, and have given performances, residencies, masterclasses, talks, and lessons at schools, universities, and conservatories across the country.
With a philosophical investment in reaching out to children, the group is dedicated to bringing in the next generation of music lovers, as well as having good fun with the current one.
How does it work?
Everyone in the audience has a program with a number on it. We quickly explain the rules of the game, and then after each piece, a new member in the audience is chosen by a randomizer app to choose the next piece. The program includes classical music of a wide variety of genres, brilliant transcriptions, some jazz, innovative arrangements of tango and musical theater, and pieces that were written specifically for us. Most pieces are between three and six minutes; the concert moves quickly and you'll be exposed to something you never knew you were going to love with no fidgeting necessary! It is a concert that is fun for audience members of every age and walk of life; bring the kids, bring grandma!
Ensemble Mélange offers several other "modules" of performance:
We offer two other kinds of concerts--one with Fixed Repertoire (no party game, no choosing, but longer works we care about deeply, and pieces with several movements), one that is Half-Fixed/Half-Party-Game, and a special Little-Kids Concert, with educational activities and a little dancing!
When we play a concert for small children, we offer an Instrument Petting Zoo before or after the concert, where the kids can get up close and personal with the instrumentalists and ask all their burning questions!
Working with small and big children is a major passion for us, but we also love working with music students in schools, universities, and conservatories who are starting out on the same path that we are on. We have given various Concerts, Lessons, Career Seminars, Band Class Takeovers, Side-by-Side Performances, and Masterclasses across New York, New Jersey, the Midwest, and the Southwest, and Residencies (some combination or all of the above) at Odessa College in Texas, Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, Mirman School in California, among other places. Last year, we kept up with three middle-school and elementary school band classes in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, with a residency at the beginning, videos every month of the school year, and, eventually, a side-by-side concert.