Gabriel KahaneCurator · Host The Westerlies

Gabriel Kahane and The Westerlies

PIVOT Festival
Plus Additional Artists to be Announced

Riley Mulherkar, trumpet Chloe Rowlands, trumpet Andy Clausen, trombone Addison Maye-Saxon, trombone

Thursday, January 30, 2025 |  7:30pm

Herbst TheatreVenue Information


About This Performance

Composer/singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane returns as guest curator once again for the tenth season of PIVOT. Kahane’s work exists at the intersection of art and social practice, and he is one of the most thoughtful—and thought-provoking—artists of his generation. He will perform opening night and host all three evenings of deliciously ingenious music brimming with thought, humor—both dark and light—and substance.

The second night of PIVOT features The Westerlies, in collaboration with additional artists who will be announced later. NPR hails this bold brass quartet as “skilled interpreters who are also adept improvisers,” while The New York Times describes them as “an arty quartet…mixing ideas from jazz, new classical, and Appalachian folk.”


To be announced

Performance Sponsors

Silvie Jensen & David Masterson, Christian Jessen, and Jeanne Newman

Artist Information

Performer Biographies

Gabriel Kahane is a musician and storyteller whose work increasingly exists at the intersection of art and social practice. Hailed as “one of the finest songwriters of the day” by The New Yorker, he is known to haunt basement rock clubs and august concert halls alike, where you’ll likely find him in the green room, double-fisting coffee, and a book.

He has released five albums as a singer-songwriter including his most recent LP, Magnificent Bird (Nonesuch Records), which received widespread critical acclaim. As a composer, he has been commissioned by many of America’s leading arts institutions, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Public Theater, which in 2012 presented his musical February House.

In 2019, Kahane was named the inaugural Creative Chair for the Oregon Symphony, following the premiere in Portland of his oratorio emergency shelter intake form, a work that explores inequality in America through the lens of housing issues. The piece was released as an album in March of 2020, and is scheduled for performance by half a dozen other American orchestras in the coming years.

In his 2023–24 season, Kahane embarked on a new collaborative commissioning project with the Attacca Quartet, Pekka Kuusisto, and Roomful of Teeth as part of a two-year initiative with San Francisco Performances, with additional performances scheduled around the U.S. and Europe. Season highlights include the European premiere of emergency shelter intake form in London with the BBC Concert Orchestra, duo recitals with Jeffrey Kahane, a conducting appearance with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the New York premiere of his piano concerto Heirloom by Jeffrey Kahane and The Knights. Venues include UCLA’s Nimoy Theater, Seattle’s Meany Center, and New York’s 92NY.

Kahane’s discography also includes the highly praised Book of Travelers, The Ambassador, which received an acclaimed staging at BAM, directed by Tony and Olivier Award-winner John Tiffany; an album of chamber music, The Fiction Issue, with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and vocalist/composer Shara Nova; a recording with The Knights of his orchestral song cycle Crane Palimpsest; as well as the original cast album for February House.

A frequent collaborator across a range of musical communities, Gabriel has worked with an array of artists including Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Phoebe Bridgers, Caroline Shaw, and Chris Thile. After nearly two decades in Brooklyn, Kahane relocated with his family to Portland, Oregon, in March of 2020. Their freakishly self-possessed cat, Roscoe Greebletron Jones III, when not under investigation for securities fraud, continues his fruitless attempts to monetize his Instagram account.

The Westerlies, “an arty quartet…mixing ideas from jazz, new classical, and Appalachian folk.” (New York Times) are a New York-based brass quartet founded by childhood friends from Seattle and including Riley Mulherkar and Chloe Rowlands on trumpet, and Andy Clausen and Addison Maye-Saxon on trombone. From Carnegie Hall to Coachella, The Westerlies navigate a wide array of venues and projects with the precision of a string quartet, the audacity of a rock band, and the charm of a family sing-along.

Formed in 2011, the self-described “accidental brass quartet” takes its name from the prevailing winds that travel from the West to the East. “Skilled interpreters who are also adept improvisers” (NPR’s Fresh Air), The Westerlies explore jazz, roots, and chamber music influences to create the rarest of hybrids: music that is both "folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous” (NPR Music).

The Westerlies’ 2022-23 engagements include performances at Carnegie Hall Citywide, the Baryshnikov Arts Center, the Clark Art Institute, Celebrity Series, the Lied Center of Kansas, the Bermuda Festival of Performing Arts, and the New York Philharmonic Sidewalk Studio Series, as well as tours with singer-songwriters Haley Heynderickx and Aoife O’Donovan, and indie-folk outfit Fleet Foxes. The ensemble was featured on Fleet Foxes’ Shore tour, playing 42 shows across the United States and Europe.

The ensemble has produced numerous critically acclaimed albums of genre-defying music. 2022 saw the release of the EP Songbook Vol. 2 on Westerlies Records, the ensemble’s in-house record label. The previous year was a prolific year for the ensemble, with the release of Fireside Brass: A Westerlies Holiday (Westerlies Records), Songbook Vol. 1 (Westerlies Records), and Bricolage (Westerlies Records), a collaborative album of improvisations with pianist/composer Conrad Tao. 2021 also saw the release of This Land, the ensemble’s collaboration with GRAMMY®-nominated vocalist Theo Bleckmann. The Westerlies have produced three albums of quartet music: their 2014 debut, Wish the Children Would Come On Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz (Songlines), a 2016 double-CD of primarily original compositions, The Westerlies (Songlines), and their 2020 release, Wherein Lies the Good (Westerlies Records). Sought-after collaborators, The Westerlies are also featured on recordings by Fleet Foxes (Nonesuch), Big Red Machine (Jagjaguwar), Vieux Farka Touré (Six Degrees Records), Common (Lakeshore) and Dave Douglas (Greenleaf).

Education and community engagement are core elements of The Westerlies' mission. In 2021, The Westerlies were named the inaugural small ensemble-in-residence at the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at The New School. The Westerlies also produce an annual music festival in Seattle called Westerlies Fest, which combines evening performances featuring numerous guest artists, an all-day open-to-the-public creative music jamboree, and workshops in local public schools. The festival’s educational programming reaches over 1,000 students in Seattle and surrounding underserved areas every year.

The Westerlies have engaged students of all ages and abilities around the country with their innovative assemblies and masterclasses, promoting the values of cooperation and inclusion through music. They have completed educational residencies with Clefworks (Montgomery, AL), Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival (Orcas Island, WA), the School District of Osceola County (Osceola County, Florida), and Highline Public Schools (Burien, WA), among others. They have also taught masterclasses at The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Yale School of Music, The Colburn School, and a variety of other colleges and universities.