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The Genkin Philharmonic

The Genkin Philharmonic, a Buffalo, NY based ten-piece electro - acoustic chamber ensemble, was founded in 2000 by Jon Nelson at the University at Buffalo Music Department. Originally conceived as a class at UB, its mission was to provide a uniquely challenging opportunity for students to study and perform contemporary music that draws on musical genres spanning rock, jazz, improvised and classical music.

The current Genkin is made up of professional players, drawing from a diverse pool of musicians in the Buffalo area, its core membership comprised of UB Faculty and alumni. Other members come from the Buffalo Philharmonic, Fisher-Price, and the Hallwalls Arts Collective. This hybrid of top-level classical, new music, and improvising performers, creates a band that offers a dizzying array of styles in concert.

The band gave an historic performance at the 2002 International Trumpet Guild Conference, and played for sold out crowds Mexico City at the 2003 Condesa Jazz Festival and the Festival Centro Historico. The Genkin has performed and taught at East Carolina University, Mt. Holyoke College, at Buffalo area venues including Nietzsche’s, Calumet Arts Café, UB, Fredonia College, and Hallwalls.

The band approaches its repertoire from three vantage points:

  • Unique arrangements of unusual cover tunes, with special effort paid to recreating the technical virtuosity and musical spirit of the original versions (Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Radiohead).
  • Creation of original works, and interpreting works of living composers (Nelson, Didkovsky, Harnas). These pieces have been written for Genkin, or have been adapted for the group by the composers.
  • Arrangements of works from the Classical repertory that pre-date the invention of electronic instruments (Stravinsky, Webern, Schoenberg, Bartok, Ives and Prokofiev). These arrangements remain faithful to the original versions, with respect to the actual written music.

The Genkin Philharmonic released its self-titled debut CD in 2007, on the 8bells label. The disc features music by King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Charles Ives, Serge Prokofiev, Radiohead, Emil Harnas 2, Nick Didkovsky, and Jon Nelson. A second “private release” cd was released in 2011, featurning music by Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Anton Webern, and Jimi Hendrix.