Composer/vocalist/instrumentalist Sara McDonald is the ideal front woman for her appropriately named project, The NY Chillharmonic. She is a relaxed but confident band leader and has developed a unique and recognizable sound. Hers is chill music with an edge. We premiered her composition “Aubergine” just a few months ago, but she has been busy writing new material for her ambitious project. The NY Chillharmonic features a full big band section and an added string quartet. McDonald conducts while she sings and plays keys up front. Even though it’s easiest to describe the ensemble as a”big band,” this is not big band music as you’ve heard it before.

 

The NY Chillharmonic
“Patterned,” the latest offering from The NY Chillharmonic, is pensive and dark at times, taking the listener on a trip through several different sections which frame the theme in various ways. Although the song begins with sparse textures, McDonald takes advantage of her large ensemble to create thick, rich harmonies that are very expressive. A truly creative composer, she uses the instrumentation in thought provoking ways. Blending electric and acoustic instruments, adding effects and non-traditional sounds like breaking glass are just some of the ways that she is re-imagining what can be done with a big band.

The NY Chillharmonic will be at The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center on December 17th. The concert starts at 7:30 and is free to the public. It will feature “Patterned” as well as many other McDonald originals. Scroll down to check out our premiere of The NY Chillharmonic’s performance of “Patterned.”

 

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