The New Music Ensemble of the Black Hills is a fresh ensemble to take off in the small, but brilliant, music scene in the Black Hills – or Hé Sapa to the Lakota – of South Dakota.
Directed by composer and trumpeter Alex Massa, the ensemble aims to promote the music of artists in South Dakota firstly, while also being very open to collaborations from musicians abroad. The area has a rich history of producing stellar orchestral musicians, which gives the NMEBH a deep pool to take from. One of the most important things about the ensemble, however, is its ability to change size and shape depending on the compositions in front of them. From a 16-piece chamber ensemble to a woodwind quartet, a solo violinist and pianist to a 30-piece small orchestra, this ensemble has a strong future.
The first performance of the New Music Ensemble of the Black Hills was on June 5th, 2022, as part of the Journey Museum & Learning Center’s programming for the 50th commemoration of the Black Hills Flood of 1972. The music was composed, orchestrated, and directed by Alex Massa and performed by the following members: Erika Olson (bassoon), Christine Leichtnam (bass clarinet), Anna Hughes (oboe), Olya Bunger (flute), Nancy Williams (clarinet), Anthony Nesland (violin), Faith Stevens (violin), Cullen Knowles (viola), Patrick Knowles (viola), Marta Koscak (cello), Caitlin Gerdes (cello), Clayton Ryan (bass), Joel Adams (tuba), Joshua Lehmann (percussion), Sequoia Crosswhite (acoustic guitar), and Alex Massa (trumpet, piano).
You can view the entire performance/mini-documentary, produced by 605 Media & Entertainment, below!
Stay tuned for more from the New Music Ensemble of the Black Hills!