Interviews

Published on February 13th, 2020 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Nu Deco Ensemble’s Sam Hyken On The Group’s New Album, Robert Glasper, Miami & More

Since its inception in 2015, Nu Deco Ensemble has exploded onto Miami’s eclectic musical scene, captivating audiences, holistically engaging with its community and fusing innovative, genre-bending orchestral performances and collaborating with the highest levels of musical artistry. Created by two of classical music’s most in-demand artists, Jacomo Bairos and Sam Hyken, Nu Deco Ensemble is a flexible and innovative hybrid orchestra that celebrates living composers, reimagines all genres of music imaginable, and regularly collaborates with a wide range of artists across all media.

Back in October 2019, Nu Deco Ensemble released its first album, which includes genre-bending collaborations, reimaginings of artists — including Outkast and Daft Punk — and also new music by some of today’s most exciting living composers. Self-titled album aside, among the collaborative credits of Nu Deco Ensemble are Macy Gray, Ben Folds, Jacob Collier, Kimbra, Kishi Bashi, Time For Three, Danay Suarez, Cory Henry, Stephen Marley, Emily King, Bilal, Bad Bunny and Robert Glasper.

A resident of Miami, Nu Deco co-founder Sam Hyken’s music has been commissioned by multiple symphony orchestras and organizations, including the New World Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra, Adrienne Arsht Center, Kansas City Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, the Asheville Symphony and the Miami Symphony Orchestra. Other ensembles that have performed Hyken’s work include the Boston Pops, San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Toronto Symphony and the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolivar of Venezuela, among others. Additionally, Hyken has been contracted to adapt and/or write new music for the likes of Wyclef Jean, Pitbull, Macy Gray, Angelique Kidjo, Talib Kweli, Brandy, Cynthia, and Jon Batiste.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Sam Hyken by phone on February 13, 2020 — as embedded below for your listening pleasure, and scheduled to appear on a future edition of the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz podcast — about the past, present and future of Nu Deco Ensemble, who the New York Times called the “chamber orchestra for the 21st century.” More on Hyken, Bairos and Nu Deco can be found online by visiting the ensemble’s official website at www.nu-deco.org.


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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of the bi-weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with V13 (formerly PureGrainAudio.com). He has also co-authored two published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), with a second podcast set for a June 2020 launch.


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