JODY REDHAGE FERBER
CELLIST, COMPOSER, VOCALIST & CREATIVE MUSIC ADVOCATE
"A bold adventurer charting an intensely personalized course through her own ethereal sound-world" (Textura Magazine).
"Wow, wow, wow! Give this woman a cello and stand back!" (Cello City Ink).
Jody Redhage Ferber, a passionate advocate of creative new music and chamber music, has been called "a new music dynamo...Redhage is cultivating a growing repertoire of indie art song that breaches genre boundaries and makes for stirring listening" (MusicWorks magazine). Praised for her “exceptional technical command," (Steve Smith, Night After Night), Redhage Ferber has premiered over 100 works, including almost 30 that she has commissioned for her voice, cello, and electronics from some of today's most talented composers. An active composer herself, she writes for the band Rose & the Nightingale, and pursues a solo project in which she sets the poems of living American poets as the lyrics. Equally experienced and comfortable as a player of classical, new music, jazz, rock, pop, improvised music, and recording session work, she is a mainstay within several active and groundbreaking New York scenes, contributing to the ever-increasing 21st century blur of musical boundary lines.
"Adventurous cello songstress Jody Redhage" (Time Out NY) has been a member of Best New Artist Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding's Chamber Music Society since 2010, traveling across five continents to perform at the world's largest international jazz festivals: Montreal, North Sea, Montreux, Cape Town South Africa, San Francisco, and Portland Jazz Festivals, and in symphony halls such as London's Barbican and Queen Elizabeth Halls, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, and Symphony Hall in Chicago. The group has held residencies at Tokyo's Blue Note Jazz Club, NYC's The Village Vanguard, and in April 2015, performed at Los Angeles' Disney Hall and SF Jazz.
EXCITING PURSUITS AS A CELLIST
As a busy freelance cellist, Redhage Ferber has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Merkin Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music opera house, the Whitney Museum of Art, and Mass MoCA, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and has performed on recitals at numerous music venues, festivals and universities across the nation including Old First Church in SF, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, UC Berkeley, and the University of Richmond. Internationally she has performed across Europe, in Africa, South America, Canada, and Japan at such venues as the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, and the Philharmonie Luxembourg. She has worked with new music luminaries Pierre Boulez, Martin Bresnick, John Corigliano, George Crumb, Richard Danielpour, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Steve Reich, Todd Reynolds, Terry Riley, Lois V. Vierk, Julia Wolfe, and Evan Ziporyn. Additional notable collaborations include performances with members of the Tokyo String Quartet, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Neil Diamond and band, Sufjan Stevens, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Meatloaf, the Roots, Clay Aiken, Enya, Duncan Sheik, Chromeo, Guster, the Alan Ferber Nonet + Strings, and Moira Smiley & VOCO. Jody has appeared on TV playing on ABC's "The View," the CBS "Early Show," NBC's "The Today Show," "the Rockefeller Christmas Spectacular," "Conan O'Brien," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," The David Letterman Show," "Jimmy Kimmel Live," and BET's "Mo'Nique Show." Her own compositions, as well as works from her CDs, have been aired often on NPR stations, including WFMU and WNYC's "Evening Music", “New Sounds," and “Spinning on Air." She has performed with Esperanza Spalding on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert Series and for Holland and France's NPR stations. Jody works often as a recording session player, and has recorded for Sesame Street, and on many CDs, commercials, and films, including the 2009 release of Sufjan Stevens’ "The BQE," and Alan Ferber's "Chamber Songs." Jody has also recorded for Hem, My Brightest Diamond, Fall Out Boy, Chromeo, and many other jazz, rock, pop, and contemporary classical albums.
EXCITING PURSUITS AS A COMPOSER
Jody’s passion is setting modern American poetry into 21st century art song, and her compositional activity is focused on writing for Rose & the Nightingale. Rose & the Nightingale is a powerful all-female quartet of improvisers, chamber musicians, and multi-instrumentalists featuring Grammy-nominated violinist Sara Caswell, Juno Award-winning pianist and singer Laila Biali, vocalist and trumpeter Leala Cyr (Esperanza Spalding, Milton Nascimento) and singing cellist Redhage. Featuring Jody's original art songs, the group melds the sensitivity and detail of chamber music with the freedom and expressivity of jazz improvisation—thus requiring very special multi-skilled personnel. Rose & the Nightingale's most recent project was a song cycle celebrating the sublimity of gardens through poetry and song. Rose & the Nightingale's debut album "Spirit of the Garden," was released on Sunnyside Records on May 7, 2013 (www.sunnysiderecords.com). Rose & the Nightingale has performed at Botanical Gardens around the country including the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, Descanso Gardens in Los Angeles, San Diego's Water Conservation Garden, Mount Auburn in Boston, MA, Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, WA, and the Old First Concert Series in San Francisco. As winners of Chamber Music America's 2013 Residency Partnership Grant, Rose & the Nightingale presented a week of workshops and performances in Green Bay, WI in Spring 2014. Please visit www.roseandthenightingale.com for more information. Spirit of the Garden is available at www.roseandthenightingale.com/shop, iTunes, and Amazon. Music from Spirit of the Garden has been played on over 50 NPR stations around the country.
From 2007-2010 Jody wrote for and performed with her ensemble Fire in July, with whom she released an album produced by mastermind musician Ben Wittman on September 15, 2009. The album, titled “Ancient Star," features 14 of Jody’s original compositions for the ensemble, including settings of poetry by William Carlos Williams, for an unusual instrumentation of voice, cello, clarinet, trombone, cello, vibraphone, piano, and percussion. George Grella states in The Big City “Ancient Star is a real accomplishment, refreshing and enjoyable, music that is exploring and pioneering a new style and doing so with real thought and skill." The album was featured on WNYC’s Spinning on Air, and host David Garland remarked, “Really interesting stuff that encompasses everything from art song to jazz. It’s not easily pegged in terms of style or genre, but all for the better…because it takes us to unexpected places. Quite an ensemble…quite a sound." As a guest artist at the 2009 New Directions Cello Festival at Ithaca College, Jody performed with Fire in July, and led workshops on electro-acoustic performance, simultaneous singing and playing, and led an electro-acoustic cello choir.
Redhage Ferber has developed a solo recital and workshop/residency called “American Poetry Takes Flight Through Song" that she presents at libraries, schools, and other literary venues around the country. As part of this program, Jody performs her original music for her voice & cello and uses modern American poetry as the lyrics. In each location she partners with a local adult poet, and uses two of the poet’s works as the lyrics for two new songs that she premieres during the residency's culminating performance. During the residency, Redhage Ferber leads poetry & music workshops for student writers and student musicians, using their texts as lyrics, and facilitating the composition of new songs that are featured during the final performance, often with students participating as performers. During the culminating final performance, Jody and the local poet discuss the history of art song, the collaborative process between poets and musicians, their inspirations, and creative processes. Jody premieres the two new songs composed with the adult poets' lyrics, as well as the songs crafted during the students' workshop. Often the students participate in the recital through poetry readings, or as musicians and performers. Premiering the new works on the program is an exciting way to get the local community involved in the process of creating art song, and it is simply a rewarding multi-disciplinary project, often kickstarting future local collaborations. Jody presented "American Poetry Takes Flight Through Song" as the only musician guest artist at the 2009 Brattleboro Literary Festival (VT), partnering with renowned local poet Wyn Cooper, and recently presented the program on Casper, Wyoming's ARTCORE series with poet Terry Rasmussen, working with Casper College English students and music majors.
Redhage’s compositions have been performed by the New Music Collective in Charleston, SC, and across the country in such venues as the University of California Berkeley, Northwestern University, Meredith College (Raleigh, NC), the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Tenri Cultural Institute, Old First Concert Series (San Francisco), Dangerous Curve Gallery in Los Angeles, the Berkshire Fringe Festival, Composer’s Voice Concert Series (Manhattan), and Serial Underground (Manhattan).
Over the past seven years, Redhage Ferber has actively commissioned works of avant classical music from almost 30 talented composers for voice, cello, and electronics. Two albums have resulted from this project, "All Summer in a Day (2007)," New Amsterdam Records' first-ever release; and "Of Minutiae and Memory (2011 New Amsterdam Records)," a collection of eight electro-acoustic works that have become mainstays of her performing repertoire. "All Summer in a Day" has been called “a freewheeling, slightly edgy and altogether 'different' kind of musical experience…highly rewarding and worthwhile" (Dave Lewis, All Music Guide). "Of Minutiae and Memory" was released Aug. 30, 2011, is distributed nation-wide by Naxos, and has garnered much critical praise including reviews in the NJ Star Ledger, Textura magazine, and was album of the week on New York's WQXR Q2 station. Recorded works include compositions by Anna Clyne, Joshua Penman, Missy Mazzoli, Judd Greenstein, Ryan Brown, Derek Muro, Wil Smith, Stefan Weisman, and Paula Matthusen. WQRX's Q2 says, "Jody Redhage's sophomore album comes with a bracing autumnal burst tempered by a soulful warmth that is wholly seductive and charming...'Of Minutiae and Memory' is sure to be one of the season's standouts."
THE BACKGROUND DETAILS & GENESIS OF THE SINGING CELLIST
Redhage Ferber began playing piano at age 4, singing in her church's childrens' choir at 6, and began cello lessons at age 10 with Norwegian violinist Kristian Gippo in St Louis, MO. Her family moved to Raleigh, NC when Jody was 11, and she studied cello with Virginia Hudson for six years, during which time she realized her true passion for performance. High School highlights involved playing the Haydn C Major and Elgar Cello Concertos with several North Carolina orchestras, and gaining leadership experience as principal cellist of the NC High School Honors Orchestra. After a childhood of singing every day, as a freshman majoring in cello performance at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music, Redhage terribly missed her daily "singing-fix." At age 19, she revisited her love of singing by beginning to compose her own art songs for voice and strings. In 1999, she transferred to the University of California Berkeley, where she majored in cello performance and music composition. Cello studies were with Bonnie Hampton and Irene Sharp, and composition lessons with John Thow. She graduated with highest honors and was awarded the prestigious Eisner prize in the arts at UC Berkeley, and the department’s one annual “Department Citation" for overall excellence among the music majors of her year. She was a recipient of the Mary Nunes Souza prize, allowing her to attend the 2001 International Cello Festival in Manchester, England, the John King Scholarship, and was also winner of the 2001 UC Berkeley concerto competition. In 2004, as a practical, fun, and challenging endeavor, she took a brave step and began simultaneously performing both the voice and cello parts to her compositions. Since then, she has developed the ability to sing and play intricate and rhythmical complex musical lines. Many of her current projects employ her abilities as a singing-cellist, including her classical commissioning project, her band Rose & the Nightingale, Moira Smiley's VOCO, and notably, Esperanza Spalding's Chamber Music Society.
In 2003, after two years of freelancing on the San Francisco scene, Redhage Ferber made the fateful eastbound leap to NYC, where she intended to spend a brief two years earning her masters degree in cello performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and then promptly return to the lovely bay area. Thirteen years later, Redhage Ferber still lives in the New York area, and can't ever imagine leaving. At MSM her notable teachers included Julia Lichten for cello lessons, Sylvia Rosenberg and David Krakauer for chamber music coachings, Ludmilla Ulehla for composition, and Patti Monson for contemporary ensemble. After MSM graduation, Jody received the Hertz Fellowship Grant for promising performing UC Berkeley alumni, providing funds to begin her singing cellist commissioning project, and to study composition with Bang on a Can founder Julia Wolfe in NYC for a year.
Today, Jody resides in Croton-on-Hudson, NY, with her husband—trombonist, composer, and arranger Alan Ferber (whom she met during a chamber music rehearsal at the musicians' union on W. 48th street in Manhattan)—and their son, Theo.
While on the road, Jody uses the Rouilliard Flight Case to transport her cello (a 1936 Ernst Heinrich Roth from Markneukirchen, Germany). For more info on this case please contact Pierre at Rouilliard Cases in Quebec: 450-498-0792.