Ensemble of Variable Geometry (EnVaGe)

During the 20th and 21st centuries musical training for performers has been increasingly geared towards a virtuosic representation of previous musical styles and experimentation with new languages and techniques of current ones. At the same time, present socio-economic conditions make it truly difficult to congregate performers and audiences around the large ensembles typically required of such productions.

Additionally, programming for musical ensembles is often limited to music representing a specific and restricted instrumental configuration, allowing little flexibility in performance genres, new composition, instrumentation, and audience benefit.

Through a conscientious analysis of the present music scene, a group of performers, arts administrators, composers, and scholars in Lexington, Kentucky, and Chattanooga, TN have identified the stated issues in music-making facing soloists, ensembles, audiences, and composers have responded with the creation of the Ensemble of Variable Geometry (EnVaGe).

EnVaGe: What's with the name?

EnVaGe is an organization dedicated to exploring sound and its relationship with other channels of human expression, and to broadening audience engagement with music in an innovative setting. The Ensemble is defined by the following characteristics:

Variable Geometry

“Geometry” as defined as the musical, artistic and production-related aspects of a particular program. EnVaGe has a format that allows several ‘geometric’ combinations, that enable the performance of repertoire across all genres and styles, including, of course, current music.


Formed entirely by soloists, EnVaGe performers have the necessary level of training, artistry, and experience to execute a wide spectrum of repertoire and genres with the highest musical quality, including solo, chamber, and orchestral repertoire.


Born from an understanding and respect of the influence technology holds in contemporary aesthetics, and adjusting for the current available resources, the project encompasses an amplified ensemble of variable geometry. An electronic component allows us to program new music, largely conceived for electronic and electroacoustic instruments as well as mixed media. Sonic amplification represents another protagonist in each performance, for it creates a “headphone-like” effect that allows the Ensemble to parallel the way today’s audiences relate to sound.


Programming includes solo music, chamber music, and a re-orchestration of well-known repertoire for large ensembles. New life is brought to music of every time period and style from the history of western music. Since working with living composers is also a priority for this project, the ensemble regularly commissions new works and develops close relationships with current music writers.

 Additionally, EnVaGe emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to artistic collaborations. The goal for programming and performance is to unify music across genres and styles in one unique music experience. In a single concert, for instance, the audience could experience Mozart’s symphonies, orchestral pieces by Debussy, electroacoustic music by Boulez, and the arias of Levinas’ Operatic works, and dance number choreographed by Ailey.

Redefining Venue Logistics

It is vital to reach out to the community by performing in places accessible to and commonly used by the public. The relatively small amount of players (up to 16) in relationship to the vast amount of repertoire and musical possibilities of the ensemble, makes this group suitable for a variety of venues, for example: small or large theaters, educational settings, indoor spaces, open-air arenas, event halls, museums, art galleries, creatively alternative settings – virtually any space that meets minimum technical requirements. This approach replaces the conservative tradition of expecting the permanent attendance of a heterogeneous crowd at the concert hall.