ICE’s Founder, Claire Chase, Will Relinquish Leadership Role
It was 15 years ago on a bus ride between Elyria, Ohio, and Chicago — probably somewhere near Gary, Ind., she thinks — that the flutist Claire Chase decided to found the International Contemporary Ensemble, known as ICE. Quite a lot has happened since then.
The ensemble has performed hundreds of new works, staking a strong claim as the nation’s pre-eminent new-music group in the process. Its annual budget has grown from $603 — her holiday catering tips underwrote that first year — to north of $2 million. Ms. Chase won a MacArthur Foundationfellowship. And ICE now moves seamlessly among small nightclubs, schools and some of the nation’s premier stages, performing at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, at the Ojai Music Festival in California and, on Nov. 1, at Carnegie Hall.
The group is about to embark on one of its biggest transitions yet: Ms. Chase is stepping down from her leadership position there to become, in her words, a member of the band, and to be able to devote more time to her blossoming career as a soloist.
“It’s been an aspiration of the group since the very beginning to evolve into being an artist’s collective,” Ms. Chase said in an interview. “And after 15 years I think we can say that we’ve achieved that — and that it’s time to not be founder-led. It’s time for me to be a member of the band, and a supporter and cheerleader and advocate for the group’s work.”