Josh Modney, the NYC-based violinist, violist and improviser, is one of today's leading interpreters of contemporary concert music. His dedication to performing and developing the music of our time is evidenced by his long-term and close collaborations with composers on an extraordinary range of new work.
For more information and media on Josh Modney, visit joshmodney.com.
Josh Modney's Greenroom Picks
My most rewarding experiences as a performer have grown from close, long-term projects with composers and improvisers, a practice inspired by nearly a decade of work with the extraordinary artists of the Wet Ink Ensemble, my dearest musical collaborators.
Of the substantial body of work that Wet Ink has created, composer/vocalist Kate Soper’s Cipher is among the most personal to me. Written over the course of many weekly workshops, Cipher is rooted in mutual interests (such as Just Intonation and quasi-theatrical chamber music), and tailored to the particular qualities of Kate’s voice and my violin playing (it also may be the first piece of Western music to employ “violin 4-hands”!). The piece has continued to grow with us through numerous annual performances, and now has a second life as the final movement of Kate’s ambitious evening-length work Ipsa Dixit.
Cipher will be the first release on my forthcoming album project with Carrier Records - an ongoing web-based series of duo and solo recordings. Cipher will be available for download later this year, but in the meantime, please check out this excerpt from the new recording:
Wet Ink’s composer/saxophonist Alex Mincek has an extensive catalog of works on PSNY, all of which I love, and many of which I’ve had the pleasure of premiering and performing many times. One of my very favorites is Color-Form-Line. Written for the core Wet Ink Ensemble with guest alto saxophonist, Color-Form-Line is a compact, powerful and beautiful piece of chamber music that is a joy to perform.
Color-Form-Line employs many novel instrumental techniques, including intricately coordinated saxophone multiphonics (the “malfunction” of a scale pattern), virtuosic contrabass flute passagework, and a rich palette of violin sounds. While the intricacy of the material and orchestration make Color-Form-Line wonderfully engaging from moment-to-moment, I find the overall experience of the work deeply moving, both as a performer and a listener.
The video below is from a recent Wet Ink performance, with the fabulous Ryan Muncy (of ICE) on saxophone.
I met Scott Wollschleger a few years back in the context of a project with Mivos Quartet - workshopping and premiering his elegant string quartet White Wall. We have since become close collaborators, and are currently working together on a new piece for violin and guitar. I recently had the opportunity to perform Soft Aberration no. 2, a delicately energetic duo for viola and piano. Soft Aberration no. 2 is one of my favorite works of Scott’s impressive catalog on PSNY, and an essential addition to the viola/piano repertoire.
Since my first encounter with Erin Gee’s music several years ago, she has quickly become one of my favorite composers. The “Mouthpieces”, a series of over 25 works, have their roots in Erin’s remarkable abilities as a vocal performer. Her style has developed so fully that some of the recent “Mouthpieces” retain the essence of extended vocal techniques without a singer in the ensemble, as in the beautiful Mouthpiece: Segment of the 4th Letter on PSNY.
Mario Diaz de Leon's Trembling Time II is close to my heart, as one of my first real “rep pieces” of contemporary music from my debut European tour in 2009 with Talea Ensemble. Since then, my admiration for Mario’s work has only grown, having performed his string quartet “Moonblood” countless times with Mivos and, most recently, discovering his wonderful viola showpiece ii.23 (also on PSNY).