The B Band
Recomposing Mahler for the 21st Century
September 30, 2016

A fresh imagining of Mahler’s music as heard through the ears of composer Ben Phelps. 


Tickets (Regular/Senior/Student): $30/$25/$20

The B Band is a new music project from composer and percussionist Ben Phelps, specializing in in new, eclectic chamber music. The B Band is a “classical band,” equally at home in the night club or the concert hall, working at the boundaries of modern instrumental music in America. The members of The B Band are all accomplished and virtuosic musicians in their own right, with performances across genres and concerts around the world. The B Band’s eclectic programming features new works by some of the most interesting composers working today, as well as iconoclastic arrangements and recompositions of music from classic scores to Mahler.

Mahler, Symphony no. 5 by Ben Phelps is a recomposition of Mahler for chamber quintet. Or rather, it is the story of what happens when you try and “compose” one of the monoliths of the Western canon, originally written for huge late-romantic orchestra, for a modern chamber ensemble. It is post- and meta- musical composition, inspired by the difficulties of being a “classical” composer in a post- and meta- world. The piece begins with Mahler’s iconic funeral dirge, and has difficulty ever getting past it. A concert length set of variations results, stretching the players to their virtuosic limits.

Called "feisty" and "impressive" by LA Times, Ben Phelps is a an active composer, percussionist, and founder of things. His music has been called "enchanting" (LA Weekly), "a riot" (LA Times), and has been praised for his "nuanced irony" (The Articialist) and "Hindemithian seriousness" (LA Times). He is a managing director of What’s Next?, a leading post-classical new music event and performance collective in Southern California, and has performed and collaborated extensively with many of the country's leading composers and new-music musicians. In addition to championing experimental and ground-breaking music, he enjoyed a long collaborative partnership with multimedia puppeteering company Rogue Artists Ensemble, and has traveled the world as an assistant conductor to Lord of the Rings Live. He lives and works in Los Angeles, where he is also an amateur satirist and urban planning enthusiast.

Violinist Pasha Tseitlin made his performance debut as a soloist at the age of 9 performing Vivaldi’s Seasons. As a concert performer, Pasha is distinguished by his virtuosity, intensity, and heartfelt sensitivity. Barbara Kraft of Time Magazine described Pasha’s performing as “...cliff hanging...crackling with visceral energy.” Pasha has performed as a soloist with the USC Symphony, the La Jolla Symphony, San Diego Symphony and The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra in Russia, among others. He also recently made his national TV debut on PBS’s special “We Love Ella!: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald”. Pasha was also the 2011 Grand and Gold Prize recipient at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. He resides in Los Angeles where he focuses on his teaching and recording projects while trying to surf whenever he can.

In the fifth grade Andrew Leonard told his parents, “All I need in college is a decent place to be noisy and play clarinet.” Since the age of nine, he’s been on a search for the right notes, people, venues, and music. A graduate of Juilliard's Pre-College Division and USC's Thornton School of Music, After performing around the world, he’s now in LA to take in all of California's diversity and possibility. Andrew can be heard on soundtracks for Lionsgate, Sony, Starz, Showtime, and National Geographic. He also expresses passion for music through his teaching practice: He’s taught and written for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Harmony Project, USC, Mt. St. Mary’s University, Education Through Music, The Orchestras of Pasadena, the Music Center of Los Angeles County, and The DaCamera Society.

Pianist Danny Holt has been called “phenomenal” by the late music critic Alan Rich, and The Record (Waterloo, Ontario) described him as "the classical music equivalent of an extreme sports athlete." He brings his boundless energy and wit to performances of classical repertoire as well as music by the composers of today. He has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bang on a Can All-Stars, California EAR Unit, and Blue Man Group, among others. When he is not performing and teaching, Danny enjoys wandering in the southern California desert wilderness. And eating 72% dark chocolate.

Matthew Cory, bass, attended The University of New Mexico where he learned how to play the bass, bbq, and ride bicycles. Gigging around New Mexico he learned the profound importance of appreciating sunrises as well as sunsets, the best places to 2nd a good green chile verde sauce. A fifth generation Pasadenian, in 2002 he relocated back to the LA area where he received his masters and doctorate from UCLA. He can be seen around Atwater Village pulled around by his dog Ollie on a skateboard, at the movies, record stores, or with some oak grilled tri-tip in his backyard.

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