Chest of Toys


Chest of Toys is a monthly show about the world of New Music, and the performers, composers and audiences who gather around it.  It’s hosted by our Artistic Director Aaron Holloway-Nahum, produced by Chris Elcombe and backed by Sound and Music.

Latest Episodes: What an Idiot and (bonus episode) Incipit

When most of us think about new music, we think about a concert – or maybe a recording. But for the musicians who perform this music, the dominant experience isn’t the concert: It’s the days, weeks, even months spent alone practicing the music. So we thought we’d ask our musicians: what’s it like to receive a new score?

Bonus! Listen to the live performance of Helga Arias Parra’s Incipit (which we’re rehearsing in the episode above) and e-mail us to let us know what you take away from it:

Other Episodes

#02 Ear Taxi Festival

Originally hosted via The Sampler at Sound and Music.  In October 2016, over six days at the Ear Taxi Festival, more than 350 musicians gave 54 world premieres to thousands of audience members across Chicago.  The new music scene wasn’t always so vibrant in Chicago – so where did this community of artists and audiences come from?  And how did it become one of the central art forms in this iconic city?


Ensemble Dal Niente performing music by Pierce Gradone (To Paint Their Madness) and Jeff Parker (Water on Glass).
Drew Baker’s Nox, performed by the combined musicians of Ear Taxi Festival.
The Spektral Quartet performing music by Tomeka Reid (Prospective Dwellers) and Samuel Adams (Quartet Movement)
(GRAMMY winners!) Third Coast Percussion’s performance of their own collaborative-composition Reaction Yield

#01 Alison Blunt

Originally hosted via The Sampler at Sound and Music. The unlikely path and health problems that led Violinist Alison Blunt from her classical violin training at Birmingham Conservatoire to where she is today. Find out more about Alison and hear more of her music here.

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