The Deviant Septet: A small ensemble with an outsize punch

“A high-powered new music ensemble called the Deviant Septet—which mirrors the stripped-down chamber orchestra Igor Stravinsky devised for his iconic L’Histoire du Soldat—showed that music for small groups can still pack an outsize punch.”
-Stephen Brookes, The Washington Post

Wielding a clarinet, a trumpet, a violin, a bassoon, a double bass, a trombone, and percussion, the Deviant Septet will accompany The Cecilia Chorus of New York on March 12 in the world premiere of Oedipus the King. The composers/librettists are the identical twin brothers Brad and Doug Balliett, who will also play the bassoon and the double bass, respectively.

But before that hour-long piece—“somewhere between an oratorio and an opera,” according to the Ballietts—the Deviant Septet will play two short pieces from their repertoire: Recovering by Chris Cerrone and Focusing by David Liptak.

“Thematically, the three pieces are not related,” says Mike Gurfield, trumpeter and the Deviant Septet’s artistic director. “But they all originated with the Deviant Septet and thus have in common our specific set of instruments, which we maintain as we work to  create contemporary music that builds on the vision Stravinsky had with L’Histoire du Soldat.  For David Liptak’s piece, we received a 2013 Serge Koussevitzky Foundation Commissioning Grant, and now The Cecilia Chorus of New York is commissioning the world premiere of Brad and Doug’s Oedipus the King.” For more information on the Deviant Septet, visit www.deviantseptet.com.

Top, left to right:  Brad Balliett, Jared Soldiviero, Mike Lormond, Mike Gurfield, Doug Balliett.  Bottom: Karen Kim and Bill Kalinkos

Top, left to right:  Brad Balliett, Jared Soldiviero, Mike Lormond, Mike Gurfield, Doug Balliett.  Bottom: Karen Kim and Bill Kalinkos