Wild Up

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Wild Up began in 2010 as the self-funded project of Artistic Director Christopher Rountree. After graduate school, Rountree returned to Los Angeles to create an ensemble made up of young musicians that would reject classical music’s most outdated traditions and embrace unusual venues and programs that throw the classical repertoire into the context of pop culture, new music and performance art. The group’s first few concerts at art studios and rock clubs around L.A. created a fanbase of true believers. When UCLA’s Hammer Museum tapped Wild Up as the museum’s first-ever orchestra in residence, the group played dozens of concerts in the Hammer’s halls, courtyards, galleries and bathrooms, and The Los Angeles Times proclaimed Wild Up the best classical music of the year. From there it was off to the races, as Wild Up began collaborating with musical and cultural institutions around the world.

Called “…a raucous, grungy, irresistibly exuberant…fun-loving, exceptionally virtuosic family” by Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times, Wild Up has been lauded as one of classical music’s most exciting groups by virtually every significant institution and critic within earshot. This year, Wild Up premieres new pieces by Julianna Barwick and Andrew Greenwald; unveils an evening-length program with Ted Hearne about religion, space and the internet called “of Ascension”; makes their debut on the Ecstatic Music Festival with new work by William Brittelle and Zola Jesus; plays a live radio show at the ACE Hotel with Nadia Sirota, Andrew Norman, and Caroline Shaw; goes on a second U.S. tour with residencies in Salt Lake City, Chapel Hill, and Sonoma; joins Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Four Larks for a show where the audience doesn’t wear shoes in downtown L.A.; plays a new program called “Eve” with Martha Graham Dance Company; brings the West Coast premieres of Ragnar Kjartansson’s “Bliss” to Walt Disney Concert Hall and Bill Morrison and Alex Somers’ “Dawson City: Frozen Time” to Royce Hall; gives a portrait of Julius Eastman at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.; and teaches classes around the intersection of mindfulness, social practice and empathy in Virginia.

Past notable performances are many. The group accompanied Björk at Goldenvoice’s FYF Fest; premiered David Lang and Mark Dion’s “anatomy theater” at LA Opera; played the scores to “Under the Skin” by Mica Levi and “Punch Drunk Love” by Jon Brion at the Regent Theater and Ace Hotel; premiered a new opera of Julia Holter’s at National Sawdust; premiered a new work of avant-pop icon Scott Walker at Walt Disney Concert Hall; played a noise concert as a fanfare for the groundbreaking of Frank Gehry’s new building on Grand Avenue and First Street in downtown L.A.; and has been lavished with praise by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, public radio’s Performance Today and many, many more publications and critics.

The first record in their Eastman anthology Julius Eastman Vol. 1: Femenine has been lauded as “A masterpiece.” (New York Times) “instantly recognizable” (Vogue) and “singularly jubilant..a bit in your face, sometimes capricious, and always surprising.” (NPR). NPR named the record among the top ten records of 2021 in all genres.


2024/2025 SEASON

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Julius Eastman

Julius Eastman Anthology
There is something about the identity and presence of Eastman’s music that engages us and makes us obsessed. It’s music that, we’ve found, lives in the minds of audiences unlike anything else Wild Up has performed. With this Anthology we endeavor to discover the way to carry his music forward.

Julius Eastman: Femenine:

Presented with 18 piece orchestra, Femenine pulses with the emerging, hypnotic vision of the emerging minimalist school. The sonic experience of Eastman’s vision washes over the audience with grace and power.

An Eastman Festival

A site-specific 3-day festival celebrating the work of Julius Eastman. The program features numerous works by Eastman, including the evening-spanning, Buddha, Stay On It and Evil N- featuring guest artists Devonté Hynes and Adam Tendler.


Julius Eastman: Group Works

Eastman’s quasi-improvisatory pieces create the entry point for a community residency focused on creativity. Local musicians as well as audience members will participate.

“ To hear Wild Up's performance in a single sitting is nothing short of sheer bliss. "
– Tom Huizenga
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Darkness Sounding a Festival Residency

Wild Up creates a festival of happenings, workshops and concerts around mindfulness, drone music health and wellness. Darkness Sounding is about surrounding a community in ideas and sound, creating rituals that uplift and bind that community together.

“ On Saturday night, the future of classical music -of all music - seemed in the right new hands."
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Wild Up and Hélène Grimaud

Renaissance woman Hélène Grimaud is not just a deeply passionate and committed musical artist whose pianistic accomplishments play a central role in her life. She is a woman with multiple talents that extend far beyond the instrument she plays with such poetic expression and peerless technical control. The French artist has established herself as a committed wildlife conservationist, a compassionate human rights activist and as a writer.
2024/2025 Repertory Sheet

Wild Up offers a variety of programing options. 



Julius Eastman Vol. 1: Femenine

Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy

“Singularly jubilant...Wild Up’s new rendition of Femenine takes a page from Eastman’s personal playbook: It’s exuberant, a bit in your face, sometimes capricious, and always surprising.” – NPR MUSIC

A portrait and response to one of our favorite composers. A series of performances and a multi-volume anthology, over a half decade or so. Julius Eastman was young, gay, and black, when it was even more difficult to be young, gay, and black in America. He swerved in, out, and through academia, downtown experimental music, discos, European tours, sex clubs, and Carnegie Hall. He died at 49 in Buffalo, New York, less than a decade after the New York City Sheriff’s Department threw most of his scores and belongings into the winter snow of the East Village.

Julius sometimes gave the single manuscript copies of his scores as gifts. Now, his music is being rightfully acknowledged because the people whose lives he touched are sharing his gifts in return.

There’s something about the identity and presence of Eastman’s music that engages us and makes us obsessed. It’s music that, we’ve found, lives in the minds of audiences unlike anything else Wild Up has performed. With this Anthology we endeavor to discover the way to carry his music forward.


Julius Eastman Volume 2: Joy Boy

“The sadly long-forgotten composer gets his due in Wild Up’s newest recording of his work.”

- The Wall Street Journal

Julius Eastman Volume 2: Joy Boy

“What the group unearths on Julius Eastman, Vol. 2: Joy Boy is more than just music, it's a set of relations and modes of comporting in the world that risk trading fleeting, worldly praise to regain the eternal soul. ”



“Wild Up Meets Julius Eastman in a True "Radical Adornment"”

-Musical America


LA Times - Chris Roundtree

What Are You Wild UP?

Pieces That Fall To Earth (Christopher Cerrone, Wild Up)

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