wild Up is a modern music collective; an adventurous chamber orchestra; a Los Angeles-based group of musicians committed to creating visceral, thought-provoking happenings. wild Up believes that music is a catalyst for shared experiences, and that a concert venue is a place to challenge, excite and ignite a community of listeners.
wild Up has been called “Best in Classical Music 2015” and “…a raucous, grungy, irresistibly exuberant…fun-loving, exceptionally virtuosic family” by Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times, “Searing. Penetrating. And thrilling” by Fred Child of Performance Today and “Magnificent” by Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times. Over the last six years, wild Up has collaborated with orchestras, rock bands and cultural institutions around the world.
The group began in 2010 as a self-funded, grassroots project of wild Up’s Artistic Director and Conductor Christopher Rountree: after graduate school, Rountree returned to Los Angeles wanting to create an ensemble made up of young musicians, a group that would reject classical music’s most outdated traditions and embrace unusual venues and programs that throw the classical repertoire into the context of pop culture, new music and performance art. The group’s first few concerts at art studios and rock clubs around L.A. created a fervent fanbase of true believers. Then UCLA’s Hammer Museum tapped wild Up as the museum’s first ever Orchestra in Residence, and after dozens of concerts in the Hammer’s halls, courtyards and galleries, the L.A. Times proclaimed the group “Best Classical Music of 2012.” It was off to the races, as wild Up began working with musical and cultural institutions around the world.
wild Up has been Group in Residence at National Sawdust in Williamsburg, Education Ensemble in Residence with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and Ensemble in Residence with Jennifer Koh and Shai Wosner at the Laguna Beach Music Festival. They played numerous programs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic including the Phil’s Brooklyn Festival, Minimalist Jukebox Festival, Next on Grand Festival, and a twelve hour festival of Los Angeles new music hosted by the LA Phil at Walt Disney Concert Hall called: noon to midnight. They started a multi-year education partnership with the Colburn School, taught Creativity and Consciousness at Bard’s Longy School, led composition classes with the American Composers Forum and American Composers Orchestra, created a new opera workshop with The Industry, and founded and an ongoing intensive educational program with the LA Philharmonic in which ten young composers and a faculty of eight legendary composers meet to collaborate on new work.
This year wild Up joins Bjork at FYF, they tour the U.S. with two new programs: Future Folk and We the People, with stops in Colorado, Montana, Indiana, New York, Maryland, Virginia and Los Angeles; they headline the LA Phil’s second noon to midnight festival with a premiere from Scott Walker; continue the National Composers Intensive with Andrew Norman and the LA Phil; reimagine “In C” and premiere an epic new work of Ellen Reid with the LA Master Chorale; and premiere more than a dozen new works.
In the past few seasons, wild Up premiered dozens of new pieces in shows on both coasts including David Lang’s “anatomy theater” at L.A. Opera. They threw a Bach-BQ; helped to resurrect works of Graham, Barber, and Chavez with the Martha Graham Dance Company; yelled with the ghost of Whitney Houston; made an album with Pulitzer finalist Chris Cerrone; flew tumbleweeds to New York; created an evening length program with Ted Hearne; pounded on eight bass drums on the street outside Walt Disney Concert Hall; met three fire marshals; headlined the Carlsbad Music Festival; taught classes on farm sounds, spatial music and John Cage for a thousand middle schoolers; played solo shows at The Getty, celebrated John Adams 70th birthday with a show called “Adams, punk rock and player piano music” at VPAC.
While the group is part of the fabric of classical music in L.A., wild Up also embraces indie music collaborations. The group has an album on Bedroom Community Records with Bjork’s choir Graduale Nobili, vocalist Jodie Landau, and producer Valgeir Sigurðsson, recorded in Reykjavik, Iceland; they premiered a new opera with Julia Holter; played with composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone and rock band San Fermin under a tyrannosaurus rex at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles; premiered and recorded an opera by Lewis Pesacov of afrobeat band Fool’s Gold about the end of the Mayan Calendar; they performed Mica Levi of Micachu and the Shapes’ score of the Scarlett Johansson film “Under the Skin” at the Regent Theater, and performed Jon Brion’s score to “Punch Drunk Love” with Joanna Newsom at the ACE Hotel.
wild Up has been featured at numerous West Coast cultural spaces including the Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara Arts and Lectures, the Broad Stage, Valley Performing Arts Center, Zipper Hall at the Colburn School, REDCAT, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Beyond Baroque, the Armory Center for the Arts, Santa Ana Sites and Echo Park’s Jensen Rec Center. Their recordings of Shostakovich, Rzewski, Messiaen, and Los Angeles composers have been featured on KUSC, WNYC, Q2, KPFK, Alex Ross’s blog The Rest Is Noise and American Public Media’s Performance Today, among many others.