This edgy new piece by Italian composer Michele Zaccagnini will be featured on our upcoming
April 27th concert JAM: Improvisation, Chance, and StorytellingDon’t miss it!

The pitch material and overall rhythmic structure of this piece is derived from a slow movement of a string quartet I wrote a few years ago for the Lydian String Quartet in Boston, titled “Space Invader”. The electronic sounds are made from re-synthesis of cello sounds transposed and timbrally morphed. The visual component is a 3d representation of the electronics: they provide the electronics sounds, usually existing only in the aural realm, a physicality, a visual raison d’être. With this idea in mind, I decided to avoid any representation of the acoustic cello sounds since the performers’ movement and gestures provide their own raison d’être.

Michele Zaccagnini



The Spectral Cat

The Spectral Cat is a children’s story written and illustrated by Sarah Perske and accompanied by improvisation on fragments of music by Tristan Murail, Sofia Gubaidulina, Elliott Carter, and Kaija Saariaho. The story follows Mister, a hungry, contemporary-music-loving cat who uses his piano skills to frighten music students into abandoning their lunches! The Spectral Cat will be featured on our upcoming April 27th concert JAM: Improvisation, Chance, and Storytelling. 

From dawn ’til dusk

From dawn ’til dusk our days are filled with tiny moments, some saturated with activity and others consisting only of silence. Every day provides the repetition of the ordinary, yet offers that which we have never encountered. Time continues unceasingly, but we can only live in the present. It is with this dynamic in mind that I present this piece to you. May it offer a reflective moment at this present time.

Katerina Therianos-Lynch

From dawn ’til dusk, a breathtaking new work by local composer Katerina Therianos-Lynch, will be featured on our April 27th concert JAM: Improvisation, Chance, and Storytelling.

Soundpainting…What’s that?

Our upcoming April 27th concert JAM: Improvisation, Chance, and Storytelling features local soundpainter Evan Mazunik…So what in the world is soundpainting?

Briefly, soundpainting is a form of improvisation or on-the-spot composition where a soundpainter – a person who simultaneously functions as a conductor and a composer – communicates with a group of musicians through a series of gestures. The art form was devised in 1974 by Walter Thompson in Woodstock, New York, and it continues in the hands of many certified soundpainters today, including our distinguished collaborator Evan Mazunik.

The soundpainter might ask the musicians to play a high tone or a low tone, a sustained tone or a series of short attacks, to enter slowly or to enter abruptly. He or she might ask one or two of the musicians to loop a chunk of musical material, while the rest of the group plays something else. The soundpainter and the musicians must listen to one another and make on-the-spot decisions based on the auditory and visual information they receive.

For more information about this remarkable art form, visit:


Musical Play: De-stress and get re-inspired

Get up. Go to work/school. Sleep. Repeat. Many of us in today’s world are suffering from overcommitment and a lack of spontaneity, a deadly combination that leaves us feeling weary, uninspired, and apathetic. So what are we missing?

Ancient cultures fostered a sense of connection, community, and spiritual renewal through communal music-making and dance – low-stakes, playful, joy-filled activities where all were welcome to join in.

Whether you’re an accountant or a concert pianist, it’s time we all got serious about the mental health benefits of goofing off with music! Nebula Ensemble is getting serious about musical play on our upcoming April 27th, 2018 concert JAM: Improvisation, Chance, and Storytelling. But playing with music – as opposed to playing music – is an activity that can make a positive difference in anyone’s life, professional musician or enthusiastic amateur. You don’t need to have to have fancy instruments. You don’t even need to have musical training.

We are all born experts in this great and ancient art of musical play. We have at our fingertips a power that will nourish our tired hearts and brains and help us build real connections with other human beings.

Your voice, your hands, a tabletop, or any battered old instruments you have lying around will do. There are no right or wrong notes. No right or wrong rhythms. Sound is clay in your hands, to be molded as you choose. Listen to what is happening around you, and let your intuition respond. Whether you’re an opera singer or an aerospace engineer, we at Nebula Ensemble encourage you to take some time out of your busy routine this week for unstructured musical improvisation. We guarantee you’ll be glad you did! If you need some inspiration to get started, have a listen to the “immediate compositions” of Nebula composer and improvisor Jasper Schmich Kinney:


JAM: Improvisation, Chance, and Storytelling

Friday, 4/27/18, 7:30 PM , Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church, Sanctuary, Main Building                       

Improvisation, storytelling, and film come together in this fun-filled evening for the entire family! The concert features soundpainting with soundpainter Evan Mazunik, a performance by the J A N U S improvisation duo, new works by local composer Katerina Therianos-Lynch and Italian composer Michele Zaccagnini, and our heartwarming children’s-book-meets-improvisation-piece The Spectral Cat.

click the images below to learn more about the music and the artists!

Nebula Ensemble at Syntax Tomorrow!

Friday, 3/2/18, 6:30 PM,  Syntax Physic Opera

Nebula Ensemble’s upcoming performance at Syntax Physic Opera on Friday, March 2 at 6:30pm is concert to get everyone excited about Nebula’s upsoming improv-based concert, JAM. Like JAM, Nebula’s Syntax concert is steeped in improvisation and explorations of making musical decisions in the moment! We are performing Schmich Kinney’s TRUMP THE FUNK OUT and Bailey’s Rain Bell along with improvisations based on both pieces. If you missed these exciting works from our fall concert, here’s your chance to experience them! Nebula Ensemble at Syntax features Molly Raney of Poppet as a guest artist.

Just 24 hours till Renaissance Time Lords!

Our debut concert at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church is just 24 hours away! Join us on Friday, February 23rd at 7:30 PM for the first night of Renaissance Time Lords, a hilarious concert experience that combines musical theater, science fiction, and contemporary classical music! The concert at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church will be in the sanctuary in the Main Building.

Renaissance Time Lords will also be performed on Saturday, February 24th at 7:30 PM at the Lamont School of Music, Hamilton Family Recital Hall.

FREE ADMISSION both nights; donations appreciated


Read the program notes

Watch guitarist and stand-up comic Zac Larson talk about acting in the show

Read our Composer Spotlight on Carlos Bandera, featured in Renaissance Time Lords


Meet the cast: Zac Larson

In our upcoming February 23-24th show Renaissance Time Lords – a story about Renaissance composers time-traveling to the 21st century – guitarist and stand-up comic Zac Larson portrays the Renaissance composer John Dowland…with a twist. The historical John Dowland is generally remembered as a gloomy guy with a bit of a persecution complex (it’s said he may have even been the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Hamlet!), but our John Dowland, though he occasionally shows his depressed side, is also a hard-partying comedian who likes to annoy his fellow time-travelers with terrible jokes…Here’s what Zac has to say about playing John Dowland in Renaissance Time Lords: