Nightingale Ensemble is the brainchild of Zoë Wallace and Ryan Wallace, who upon listening to the piece "Four Russian Songs" by Igor Stravinsky realized there was a great need for interesting instrument pairings that stretch beyond those existing today.
The core group is comprised of Val Beck, soprano; LeAnne Bennion, harp; Alexandria Hoffman, flute; Ryan Wallace, guitar; and Zoë Wallace, guitar. Nightingale Ensemble also partners with composers and other musicians outside of the ensemble to develop works for trios, duets, and even for soloists to broaden the repertoire for these instruments. It also uses the unusual pairing to its advantage in order to perform lesser known works by major composers, such as those by Stravinsky, Takemitsu, and many others.
Nightingale Ensemble emphasizes finding contemporary composers who will bring a unique voice to their compositions through a range of backgrounds that are as diverse as our world is today. We welcome hearing from composers who have an idea for an exciting new composition that involves an instrumental ensemble not often seen on stages!
Nightingale Ensemble is always trying to push the pairing of instruments to find new musical colors and is currently based out of the Chicago area.
And, when night begins to fall
From the black oaks, darkening,
In the nightingale’s soft call
Our despair will, solemn, sing.
- from In Muted Tone by Paul Verlaine