Composers Festival spotlight: Khemia Ensemble

Khemia Ensemble in 2021 will be part of the Mizzou International Composers Festival for the the third consecutive year, performing as part of the “Mizzou New Music” online concert on Wednesday, July 28.

Their performance will include the premieres of new works by Mizzou professor and MNMI artistic director Stefan Freund, MNMI’s former post-doctoral fellow Phillip Sink, and 2021 MICF resident composer Nina Shekhar.

Khemia (pictured) is “a contemporary chamber ensemble focused on championing the works of living composers through vivid, multimedia performances.”

With an original lineup of musicians featuring members from four different countries – Argentina, Brazil, China, and the United States – Khemia brings diverse approaches to the music of a variety of living composers and to their stated mission, which is to “foster collaborations among the arts by working closely with designers, visual artists, and writers as well as incorporating poetic, visual, and interactive elements in our performances.”

The group is led by co-artistic directors Er-Gene Kahng, violinist, and Amy Petrongelli, soprano, and includes Mizzou assistant professor Eli Lara on cello, as well as Thiago Ancelmo, clarinet; Annie Jeng, piano; Shane Jones, percussion; Chelsea Tinsler Jones, percussion; and Mary Matthews, flute.

In addition to performing during the MICF, Khemia Ensemble also has served for the last two years as the resident ensemble for Mizzou’s Summer Composition Institute, and this past semester took part in a “virtual residency” for MNMI and the School of Music.

They have been featured in venues and festivals such as National Sawdust, Strange Beautiful Music in Detroit, the third annual New Music Gathering, Latin IS America at Michigan State University and the Biennial New Music Festival at the National University of Cordoba.

They also have had residencies at University of Michigan, Tufts University, Michigan State University, the National University of Bogota and the National University of Cordoba, as well as two consecutive years at Avaloch Farms.

The ensemble’s collective interest in multimedia led to the creation several years ago of “Khemia Lights,” an installation devised in a collaboration with Intermedio, a Cincinnati-based sound and visual production company. Employing “audio-visual technology that responds live to the rhythm and intensity of the music we are performing, creating an exciting multi-sensory experience for the audience,” the lighting system has been used as part of interactive concerts in Cincinnati, Ann Arbor and Detroit.

You can hear samples of Khemia Ensemble’s music on their website, their SoundCloud page, and in the embedded video windows below.

Khemia Ensemble Virtual Recital – Mizzou Student Works – March 2021

“Constellations” by Emma O’Halloran

Khemia Ensemble Virtual Recital – Solo Works