John Pickford Richards

JCalled "wholesome-looking" by the New York Times, violist John Pickford Richards has gained a reputation for performing new and unusual music. Before playing in JACK, he was a founding member of the ensemble Alarm Will Sound, allowing him to work closely with composers such as John Adams, Meredith Monk, and Steve Reich at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Holland Festival. John has appeared with bands such as the All-American Rejects, Silversun Pickups, and Grizzly Bear and has performed as soloist with the Pasadena Symphony, Armenian Philharmonic, Wordless Music Orchestra, Ossia New Music, and with the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra playing the solo part to Luciano Berio's Chemins II under the direction of Pierre Boulez. He holds degrees from the Interlochen Arts Academy and Eastman School of Music where his primary teachers were David Holland and John Graham.

Ari Streisfeld

APraised for his "dazzling performance" by the New York Times, violinist Ari Streisfeld has quickly established himself as a leader in contemporary classical music. In addition to his work with JACK, he frequently performs with today's leading contemporary music ensembles, including Ensemble Signal and Worldless Music Orchestra. Mr. Streisfeld is also a member of Shir Ami, an ensemble dedicated to the performance and preservation of Jewish art music. Hailed as "imaginative" by the Los Angeles Times, Mr. Streisfeld's arrangements of madrigals and motets for string quartet by Machaut and Gesualdo have been performed to acclaim both at home and abroad. A recipient of the Morton Gould Young Composer Award, Mr. Streisfeld most recently premiered his arrangements for voice and violin at The Stone (New York) and the Cortona Sessions for New Music (Italy) alongside critically acclaimed mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway. A passionate and committed music educator, Mr. Streisfeld serves on the faculty of New York's Special Music School, Face the Music, and the Cortona Sessions for New Music (Italy). As a soloist, he has performed with the Kennett Symphony Orchestra and the Northwestern Philharmonia. Mr. Streisfeld performed the Berg Violin Concerto with the Boston University Symphony Orchestra as winner of the 2006 Boston University Concerto Competition. Mr. Streisfeld attended the Eastman School of Music (Bachelor of Music), Northwestern University (Master of Music), and Boston University (Doctor of Musical Arts). He has recorded for Mode, Albany, Carrier, Innova, Canteloupe, and New World Records.

Christopher Otto

CChristopher Otto performs with ensembles including Ensemble Signal, The Cellar and Point, Alarm Will Sound, Talea Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, The Theatre of Eternal Music String Ensemble, Ne(x)tworks, and The Knights. He has premiered and recorded several chamber works by John Zorn and has performed and recorded as soloist in Zorn's violin concerto Contes de Fées. Christopher has also performed as soloist in Brian Ferneyhough's Terrain with Ensemble Signal. His violin teachers include Cyrus Forough and Timothy Ying. He is a founder, along with his wife Emily DuFour, of Hutchins East, an ensemble performing on a set of eight proportionally-sized string instruments made by Carleen Hutchins, and has written and arranged several works for the ensemble. He studied composition at the Eastman School of Music with Robert Morris, David Liptak, Martin Bresnick, and James Willey as well as mathematics at the University of Rochester. Christopher has written works in just intonation for string quartet, violin duo, violin octet, violin with electronics, and ensembles of Hutchins instruments. His violin duo was recorded by Erik Carlson and is available on SoundCloud along with his violin octet. An article on his violin octet appears in Arcana VII, an anthology edited by John Zorn.

Kevin McFarland

KKevin McFarland is a member of Ensemble Signal and has made guest appearances with Alarm Will Sound, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and the Wordless Music Orchestra. He also composes, with recent performances by mezzo-soprano Abby Fischer as part of her ABSYNTH project and by Hutchins Consort East with whom he also plays the tenor violin. He sometimes distributes electronic music under various monikers which are only quasi-secret. He is also active as a solo artist, both as interpreter of new works for solo cello as well as improviser. He made his solo cello and electronics debut at The Stone in 2014. Kevin holds a Bachelor's Degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied cello with Steven Doane and composition with David Liptak, Robert Morris, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon. His article "Second-Generation Interpretation of Xenakis' String Quartets" can be found in Performing Xenakis published by Pendragon Press. He currently calls three places home: Brooklyn, NY is his home base; Lancaster, PA is his hometown; and Denver, CO is his home away from home with his partner and two dogs.