Since its founding in 2007, the Grammy-nominated string orchestra A Far Cry has developed a distinct approach to music-making, with playing and programming that encourage risk-taking and exploration for both player and audience. This year, A Far Cry was selected as Boston’s 2018 best classical ensemble by The Improper Bostonian, with one of its albums ranking at the top of Billboard’s Traditional Classical Chart. The self-conducted orchestra is a democracy in which decisions are made collectively and leadership rotates among the players (“Criers”). This structure has led to consistently thoughtful, innovative, and unpredictable programming — and impactful collaborations with celebrated performers and composers. Boston Musical Intelligencer sums up the group: “In its first decade, this conductor-free ensemble has earned and sustained a reputation for top-drawer playing, engrossing programming, and outstanding guest artists.”
A Far Cry’s omnivorous approach has led to collaborations with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Simone Dinnerstein, Roomful of Teeth, the Silk Road Ensemble, Vijay Iyer, and David Krakauer. A Far Cry’s twelfth season in 2018-19 includes nine Boston-area concerts as part of the group’s own series, and three pairs of concerts as part of A Far Cry’s long-standing residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. New projects include commissions from composers Jessica Meyer and Grammy- nominated oudist/composer Mehmet Ali Sanlikol. A Far Cry will also collaborate with Boston’s Lorelei Ensemble in a new work by Syrian-American composer Kareem Roustom focusing on the women of the Odyssey.
Recent tour highlights include two new commissioning projects: Philip Glass’ third piano concerto with soloist Simone Dinnerstein, and The Blue Hour, “a gorgeous and remarkably unified work” (Washington Post) written by a collaborative of five leading female composers – Rachel Grimes, Angélica Negrón, Shara Nova, Caroline Shaw, and Sarah Kirkland Snider; and featuring Grammy-winning singer Luciana Souza. Continuing with the ongoing success of the recent album, Circles, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Traditional Classical Chart, A Far Cry and pianist Simone Dinnerstein perform on the road, followed by a return to Boston to perform a new realization of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
A Far Cry’s Crier Records launched auspiciously in 2014 with the Grammy-nominated album Dreams and Prayers. The label’s second release, Law of Mosaics, was included on many 2014 Top 10 lists, notably from New Yorker music critic Alex Ross and WQXR’s Q2 Music, which named A Far Cry one of the "Imagination-Grabbing, Trailblazing Artists of 2014.” In September 2018, Crier Records released A Far Cry’s Visions and Variations, which recently received two Grammy nominations in the categories of Best Engineered Album (Classical) and Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance (Classical).
Committed to maintaining their strong roots in the community, the Criers live and work in Boston, rehearsing at their storefront office in Jamaica Plain and fulfilling the role of Chamber Orchestra- in-Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. A Far Cry is dedicated to passing on the spirit of collaboratively-empowered music to the next generation, and works closely with local students through educational partnerships with the New England Conservatory and Project STEP.