Fireworks Music Ensemble

An amplified chamber band with a repertoire that encompasses contemporary chamber music, Frank Zappa’s instrumental rock, traditional Americana, classic cartoon music, ambient techno, and reinventions of 20th-century orchestral scores, Fireworks presents an American vision of concert music. Fireworks’ inclusive approach to repertoire and dynamic performances offer a fresh perspective on chamber music for a new generation of listeners.

Founded in 2000 by composer/bassist Brian Coughlin, Fireworks was one of New York City’s first indie-classical bands. Fireworks burst onto the music scene with Coughlin’s rock-inspired version of Stravinsky’s orchestral masterpiece, The Rite of Spring. Called “adventurous and ahead of the curve,” “classically-trained but musically fearless,” and “the bridge between the contemporary classical new music ensemble and the mainstream popular audience,” Fireworks quickly drew the attention of critics and a national audience.

Over its history, the ensemble has expanded its repertoire with collections of compositions and arrangements that combine music from a vast palette of styles and time periods into cohesive musical experiences. Fireworks’ programs such as Dance Mix (700 years of dance music from around the world), Cartoon (music and video inspired by the golden age of animation), American Tapestry (great American folk, rock, jazz, and classical masterpieces), and None of the Above (the virtuosic instrumental music of Frank Zappa), have established the group as one of the country’s most vibrant and creative young ensembles.

Fireworks tours throughout the United States each year and has appeared at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall, The Library of Congress, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and The Chautauqua Institution to rock and jazz clubs such as (le) Poisson Rouge, The Knitting Factory, and Tonic. The ensemble has made numerous radio and television appearances, including Minnesota Public Radio, WNYC, and NBC’s “The 10 Show.”

Passionate about its work with young people and dedicated to reaching new audiences of all ages, Fireworks devotes a large part of its time each year to educational activities. The ensemble’s workshops, master classes, and residencies have reached thousands of students throughout the country. Fireworks has participated in Chamber Music America’s Residency Partnership Program, Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections program, and is currently ensemble-in-residence at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium