Dal Niente

Described as a group of "super-musicians" and noted for its presentation of "bracing sonic adventures by some of the best new-music virtuosos around" (Chicago Tribune), Ensemble DAL NIENTE'S projects have exhibited an adventurous approach and an uncommon range that reflects the diversity of music in the world today. The ensemble presents a true multiplicity of experiences: large ensemble, chamber music, and solo repertoire from a range of emerging composers and established living artists to the post-World War II avant-garde generation.

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Albums by Artist


Dal Niente curates and presents its concert programs in ways that reflect the repertoire’s engagement with our culture and society. Recent explorations include the ensemble’s collaboration with the indie-rock band Deerhoof and composer Marcos Balter; an extended visit to Latin America; works by noted trombonist/improviser/ composer George Lewis; an East Coast tour of German music; the Hard Music, Hard Liquor concert series and its beloved annual Party. In 2012, Ensemble Dal Niente became the first-ever ensemble recipient of the coveted Kranichstein Music Prize at the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music.

Recordings of Dal Niente’s interpretations of new and recent repertoire have been released on the New Amsterdam, New Focus, Navona, Parlour Tapes+, and Carrier labels. The ensemble also shares performance videos and discussions with their audience through YouTube and other social media.


Dal Niente’s outreach includes educational activities of all kinds, exhibited most commonly in university settings with composition workshops, masterclasses, and performances. The ensemble’s residencies have included work with faculty and students at various universities including Northwestern, Chicago, Harvard, Stanford, Indiana, Illinois, and Western Michigan, among others.

The ensemble's name, Dal Niente ("from nothing" in Italian), is a tribute to Helmut Lachenmann'sDal niente (Interieur III), the revolutionary style of which serves as an inspiration for its musicians. The name also references its humble beginnings -- founded in 2004 by a group of student composers at Northwestern University, the ensemble has risen from obscurity to a position as one of North America's most prominent new music groups.