Miami, FL (January 27, 2021)—The Nu Deco Ensemble demonstrated its flexibility when the coronavirus pandemic brought the genre-bending orchestra’s sixth season to a premature end in March 2020. Six months later, after several months of engaging their audience over digital platforms, it was back to live outdoor performances.
Founders and creative directors Sam Hyken and Jacomo Bairos formed Nu Deco in 2015 with the aim of reimagining the chamber orchestra for the modern age. The hybrid ensemble, which combines traditional and modern instruments, has carved a niche for itself with new arrangements of music by the likes of Daft Punk and Queen, and special commissions of orchestral works by contemporary artists, including Kishi Bashi, Robert Glasper and Pascal La Boeuf.
Nu Deco has retained the same independent audio team since its inception, says Hyken. “Amplification is a crucial part, as we’re deliberately trying to create a futuristic sound, a new version of what an orchestra should sound like in a concert hall and beyond. We consider the audio team almost as members of the orchestra, because what they do for live sound and the recording component is so critical. We recently have come to an agreement with a video team on the same level.”
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Every performance is captured to the highest quality audio and video formats, but Nu Deco’s concerts, which are now being streamed, are live, not pre-recorded. “One of the things that made us who we were in the beginning was playing in intimate venues,” says Bairos. “We asked ourselves how we could capture that intimacy in all the music we do but also have some pizazz. We decided to have a live shoot; it’s a live show.”
The first concert since the pandemic hit, with guest artist José James at Miami’s North Beach Bandshell in late October, had all the hallmarks of a Nu Deco show—just no audience, and with masks and Plexiglas screens visible on stage. Since the repertoire is all custom, says Hyken, they can easily scale the size of the ensemble to meet social distancing requirements.
“We’ve been working with Baptist Medical, one of the best hospitals here, to check all our protocols,” he says. “Anyone coming from out of town, like Jose James, is rapid-tested every day. We follow the CDC and local recommendations to the letter.”
Link: Nu Deco Ensemble • www.nu-deco.org