NbN Trio


Part of the Major Sound Series

While in residence at High Concept Laboratories, NbN will prepare material for an evening- length performance entitled AMBEDO. The ensemble will explore sonic relationships between instruments and develop new sound ideas through improvisation in response to the unique architectural design of HCL. NbN will also begin work on a new multimedia project with projection, lighting, and sculpture. In an age of fast-paced media and immediate satisfaction, NbN’s goal is to heighten awareness of the most quiet aspects of sight and sound by encouraging the audience to become absorbed by sensory details.

AMBEDO will conclude with an evening length performance showcasing the discoveries made through NbN’s improvisation sessions. The concert will also include the premiere of a live installation of projected film, sculpture and sonic design created and performed by the trio. Some pieces presented will require NbN to perform behind a screen rendering the performers invisible to the listener, to further emphasize the significance of the aural experience. The trio will create and work with film primarily consisting of abstract shapes and colors, as well as lighting design through the proposed installation. Through various multidimensional media NbN will introduce a work that elicits a quiet energy.

About the Trio:

NbN (Nora Barton, Billie Howard, and Nomi Epstein) explores sonic textures through manipulation of acoustic instruments. While the three instruments of the ensemble – cello, violin, and inside of the piano – monopolize the sound space, there is extensive involvement of found sound, and/or percussive instruments by all three members of the trio. The ensemble works carefully to investigate various color combinations between instrumental forces, while also creating juxtapositions of textural strata. Interests in sound dimensions include types of white noise, the juxtaposition of sound and noise, and the degree of clarity of pitch within sound. NbN’s improvisations encourage the listener to investigate subtle aspects of sonic movement where sensory details become heightened through concentrated and focused listening.



Nora Barton works as a freelance cellist in Chicago, demonstrating versatility within many different genres. Most recently she has been involved with the a.pe.ri.odic series, Chicago Composers Orchestra, and Classical Revolution. Nora has participated in several music festivals, including CCM’s “MusicX” and The Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, Italy. She also works as a session musician and performs regularly with several local rock bands. She holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Roosevelt University.

Montana native Billie Howard appears regularly as a soloist and collaborative performer in the Chicago area, having performed with a.pe.ri.od.ic, Chicago Composer’s Orchestra, Classical Revolution, Access Contemporary Music and the Concordia Chamber Orchestra. She maintains a large piano studio at Concordia University in River Forest, where she is an Adjunct Professor of Piano. She holds a M.M. from Northwestern University and a B. A. from Montana State University.In addition to classical performances, Howard plays electric violin, synthesizer and sings for the post-rock band, the Paver, and the indie-pop band, Very Truly Yours. She has been featured on studio recordings by American Idol winner Lee DeWyze and many other songwriters and bands. In her spare time, she likes to take photos of musicians and their work spaces for her blog, By Measure. She has also made several short films and music videos on super 8 film, including Birthday Girl, which premiered at the 2009 Sound Of Silent Film Festival in Chicago.

Nomi Epstein is active as a composer, curator/performer, and music educator. In addition to participating in several international composers’ festivals with performances at Ostrava Days, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Darmstadt, and Bang on a Can, she attended Stuttgart’s Akademie Schloss Solitude summer residency, and was twice invited as an Artist in Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Epstein is a 6-time ASCAPLUS winner, and a 2- time CAP Grant winner (American Composers Forum). Her compositions have been performed throughout the US and Europe by such ensembles as ICE, Ensemble SurPlus, Mivos Quartet, Wet Ink, and Dal Niente. Epstein is founder/ curator of the critically acclaimed, Chicago-based experimental music concert series “a.pe.ri.od.ic.” She was an invited lecturer at the 2011 Black Mountain College John Cage Conference, and in 2012, she produced/curated a large John Cage centennial festival in Chicago. Epstein holds degrees from Barnard College, New England Conservatory and Northwestern University.


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