A Far Cry

Chamber Orchestra
"AFC’s musical energy was infectious. Playing with minimal vibrato and vivid color, the Criers — as they nickname themselves — made dramatic crescendos and crafted sudden echo passages. The players communicated closely with each other, and their visceral engagement in the music was fun to watch." - Cleveland Classical
a group of fifteen musicians, some are sitting, and some are standing. Two violinists and a violist hold their instruments

Called a “world-wide phenomenon” by Boston’s WBUR, A Far Cry has nurtured a distinct approach to music-making since its founding in 2007. The self-conducted orchestra is a democracy in which decisions are made collectively and leadership rotates among the players (“Criers”). This structure has led to consistently thoughtful, innovative, and unpredictable programming — and impactful collaborations with celebrated performers and composers. A Far Cry has risen to the top of Billboard’s Traditional Classical Chart, been named Boston’s best classical ensemble by The Improper Bostonian, and celebrated two Grammy nominations for its Visions and Variations. Boston Musical Intelligencer sums up the group: “In its first decade, this conductor-free ensemble has earned and sustained a reputation for top-drawer playing, engrossing programming, and outstanding guest artists.” 

A Far Cry’s 15th season in 2021-22 includes nine Boston-area concerts as part of the group’s own series, as well as performances of select programs at Longy’s Pickman Hall, a tour stop at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC, and a celebratory outdoor season opener at South Shore Conservatory. The Washington Post highlighted the group’s ‘virtual’ programming saying: "...the launch of its Frequent Crier Program for online regulars suggests they’re meeting the trials of the moment with characteristically high spirits.”

A Far Cry’s omnivorous approach has led to collaborations with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Simone Dinnerstein, Roomful of Teeth, the Silk Road Ensemble, Vijay Iyer, and David Krakauer. Tour highlights include two new commissioning projects: Philip Glass’ third piano concerto with soloist Simone Dinnerstein, and The Blue Hour, “a gorgeous and remarkably unified work” (Washington Post) written by a collaborative of five leading female composers – Rachel Grimes, Angélica Negrón, Shara Nova, Caroline Shaw, and Sarah Kirkland Snider; and featuring Grammy-winning singer Luciana Souza.

A Far Cry’s Crier Records launched auspiciously in 2014 with the Grammy-nominated album Dreams and Prayers. The label’s second release, Law of Mosaics, was included on many 2014 Top 10 lists, notably from The New Yorker’s Alex Ross and WQXR’s Q2 Music, which named A Far Cry as one of the "Imagination-Grabbing, Trailblazing Artists of 2014.” In 2018, Crier Records released A Far Cry’s Visions and Variations, featuring variations by Britten and Prokofiev, and Ethan Wood’s re-imagining of Mozart’s “Ah vous-dirai-je Maman.” The album received two Grammy nominations, including one for Best Chamber Music Performance.

The 18 Criers are proud to call Boston home, and maintain strong roots in the city, rehearsing at their storefront music center in Jamaica Plain. The group recently celebrated the conclusion of a 10-year residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Collaborating with local students through educational partnerships with the New England Conservatory, the Longy School of Music of Bard College, and Project STEP, A Far Cry aims to pass on the spirit of collaboratively-empowered music to the next generation.