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About

photo by Daniel Sheehan

photo by Daniel Sheehan

THE ENSEMBLE

B’shnorkestra was created by composer Samantha Boshnack in 2011 in an effort to create a new large ensemble that explodes boundaries and brings musicians from many different musical communities together. The compositions incorporate improvisation and groove into intricate orchestral music.

In September 2011, B’shnorkestra premiered with a brand new repertoire with funding from regional government and national agencies (Meet The Composer, 4Culture, and the Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs). In 2012, B’shnorkestra was accepted into Artspire, a fiscal sponsorship program of the New York Foundation for the Arts. B’shnorkestra recorded eight original tracks at Bear Creek Studios in June 2012 with support from a successful Kickstarter campaign. This album, “Go To Orange” was released in August 2013 on Present Sounds Recordings. The album was critically acclaimed and was #40 on the CMJ Jazz Charts for 2013. In 2013, B’shnorkestra was nominated for two Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Awards – NW Acoustic Jazz Ensemble and NW Recording of the Year (for “Go To Orange”). B’shnorkestra played in the 2012 and 2013 Earshot Jazz Festivals.

In 2016, B’shnorkestra released “Global Concertos”  –  five “concertos,” each featuring a prominent musician from a different continent.  This project arose from Boshnack’s desire to celebrate individual expression and virtuosity of musicians outside of Western classical music. By bringing diverse and adventurous elements to the concerto form, this project promotes discourse between musical communities in the orchestral arena. She explored new compositional territory by learning and adapting to the musical worlds of these top-notch guest soloists. The soloists were pushed beyond their musical comfort zones, making it a truly experimental work.

Joshua Kohl, co-founder and composer for The Degenerate Art Ensemble, conducts the ensemble. The string section features violinists Alex Guy, who tours with Laura Veirs and Mirah and Paris Hurley of Kultur Shock. The remaining string players are all classically trained but perform in a variety of settings with such groups and artists as; Macklemore, Jim Knapp’s Scrape, Seattle Modern Orchestra, the Passenger String Quartet, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Cat Power and DJ Spooky. The brass/woodwind section features members of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. The rhythm section features Greg Campbell co-leader of the traditional Ghanaina drumming group- Anokye Agofomma, Adam Kozie of the Pollens and Tim Carey a member of the Jovino Santos-Neto Trio.

B’shnorkestra features Joshua Kohl, Alex Guy, Paris Hurley, Brianna Atwell, Maria Scherer Wilson, Daniel Mullikin, Carmen Rothwell, Tim Carey, Samantha Boshnack, Chris Credit, Kevin Nortness, Greg Campbell, Adam Kozie and Ivan Galvez.

Boshnack_photo by Daniel Sheehan_lowres

photo by Daniel Sheehan

 

THE COMPOSER

Whether blasting through the sonic explorations of her alternative chamber orchestra, B’shnorkestra, or leading the 7-piece Seismic Belt or her quintet, Samantha Boshnack’s compositional voice pulses with vitality. Her intention is to charge orchestral and chamber precision with the syncopated rhythm of her personal style.

Drawn to it’s vibrant music scene, Boshnack moved to Seattle in 2003 after graduating from New York’s Bard College. The subsequent seventeen years find her actively bolstering the thriving musical community and creating ensembles, commissions, recordings and performances both locally and nationally. She is a part of the acclaimed composers’ collective Alchemy Sound Project. She has also toured extensively in the zany, postmodern Reptet. Boshnack’s compositions have been performed by the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, Washington Composers Orchestra, Seattle Jazz Composers Ensemble, Marina Albero/Boshnack duo and more.

She formed the B’shnorkestra in 2011 and released Go To Orange in 2013 to critical acclaim. Her eponymous Quintet brought together players who had never worked before as a unit, and the results have been nothing short of incendiary—hence the title of their 2014 debut album, Exploding Syndrome.

Since 2014, she has been composing large-body works on topics she is passionate about.   These projects always push her to adapt to new challenges and not be stagnant in her development.

In 2015, Boshnack premiered “Coelacanth: In Its Own Time,” with the Northwest Symphony Orchestra in honor of a 400 million-year-old species of fish threatened by extinction.

In 2016, she released Global Concertos with the B’shnorkestra –  five “concertos,” each featuring a prominent musician from a different continent.  This project arose from her desire to celebrate individual expression and virtuosity of musicians outside of Western classical music. By bringing diverse and adventurous elements to the concerto form, this project promotes discourse between musical communities in the orchestral arena. She explored new compositional territory by learning and adapting to the musical worlds of these top-notch guest soloists. The soloists were pushed beyond their musical comfort zones, making it a truly experimental work.

In 2017, with the Sam Boshnack Quintet, she released the CD – Nellie Bly Project, to bring awareness to a lesser-known female figure.  In the 1800s, Bly fought her way into a career in journalism and exposed many atrocities in society. The suite floats between narrative and abstract, creating an imaginative world that channels Nellie’s groundbreaking spirit.

In 2018, she was awarded the Make Jazz Fellowship – an annual residency in Los Angeles. While there, she composed “Seismic Belt” – music about the Ring of Fire, which is located on the rim of the Pacific Ocean and hosts many of the world’s volcanoes and earthquakes. “Seismic Belt” experiments with the friction of geographic shifts to create a new harmonic topography. Movements of the work are influenced by cultures in places on the Ring, including Chile, Japan, Alaska, Western Samoa, and Russia. By drawing from musical cultures seldom heard in jazz music, she created compositions that have a sound altogether different.

In 2021, she will premiere her next project – “Uncomfortable Subjects,” a song-cycle exploring aspects of life that are uncomfortable to talk about, but help us to understand the complicated world we live in.  She collaborating with Jane Wong and Natasha Marin on this project.

Boshnack has received support and commissioning funds from New Music USA, Meet The Composer, 4Culture, Artist Trust, Jack Straw Productions, New York Foundation of the Arts, Earshot Jazz, among others.  Her “Seismic Belt” performed at the  Festival of New Trumpet Music in 2019 and the Winter JazzFest in 2020 – both in NYC.

In 2019, Boshnack attended the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music – a yearlong apprenticeship in composing chamber music. She has attended two Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist-in-Residence Programs and was selected as a 2012 participant in the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute at UCLA. She has received support and commissioning funds from New Music USA, Meet The Composer, 4Culture, Artist Trust, Jack Straw Productions, Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, New York Foundation of the Arts, and Earshot Jazz.  She has performed or recorded with artists such as Wayne Horvitz, Butch Morris, Eyvind Kang, Jessica Lurie, Bobby Previte, Amy Denio, Jim Black, David Byrne, Terry Riley, Robin Holcomb, among others.

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