“The ensemble’s border-busting music is original and catchy”
– The New York Times
Blarvuster is a unique and flexible ensemble dedicated to Matthew Welch’s compositions. The ensemble was formed in Brooklyn, New York City in 2002. Blarvuster is now a bi-coastal organization and ensemble operating out of both New York City and San Francisco.
The flexibily of Matthew’s music and the diverse backgrounds of band’s players have made Blarvuster’s sound elude genre trappings, and confidently combine skill sets in rock, jazz, classical, opera and global musics. Blarvuster’s music merges Scottish bagpipes, Balinese gamelan, minimalism, improvisation and rock into a textural labyrinth of ecstatic sound.
In the American tradition of maverick composer-performers from avant-garde classical to jazz and to pop, Blarvuster is a vehicle in which Matthew prefers to perform his music along with others, guiding the execution of his music as band leader, lead instrumentalist and conductor. Merging his composing and playing, Blarvuster best features Matthew’s radically unique bagpipe virtuosity and encyclopedic command of multi-instrumentalism and global performance practices.
Blarvuster has performed at notable venues and festivals including: National Sawdust (NYC), Celtic Connections (Glasgow), The Stone (NYC), Jazzwerkstatt and BeeFlat (Bern, CH), Roulette, Le Poisson Rouge, EMPAC, Western Front (Vancouver), Switchboard Festival (SF 2014), The Kitchen (NYC), Tonic, Issue Project Room, Zebulon, MOMA, Galapagos and CBGB’s.
Blarvuster has performed for audiences of all walks: listeners of Opera, Classical, Rock, Jazz, Experimental, Celtic and World Music have all found something inspiring in it. The ensemble is flexible and capable of playing to Matthew’s wide range of musical activities, studies and tastes.
From pop tunes, to long form minimalist grooves flourished with improvisation to evening-length operas, Blarvuster’s unique line-up and infectious repertoire make its sound like no other. The ensemble’s debut eponymous Album Blarvuster appeared on John Zorn’s Tzadik Records in 2010, with a follow up record, The Finger Lock, released on Kotekan Records in 2018.
Will Northlich-Redmond, Mary Halvorson, Brendon Randall-Myers, Matthew Hough, Charlie Looker, Taylor Levine
Electric Bass Guitar
Ian Riggs, Aaron Germain, Tim Dahl, Reuben Radding, Shanir Blumenkranz, Keith Witty, Ed Kasparek
Drums and Percussion
Brian Chase (drums), Jordan Glenn (drums), Mike Pride (drums and percussion), Joe Bergen (vibraphone), Joe Tucker (vibraphone, drums), Ches Smith (drums), Tomas Fujiwara (drums), Mantra Percussion
Piano and Keyboards
Emily Manzo, David Friend, Jason Cady
Woodwinds and Brass
Ben Holmes (trumpet), Leah Paul (flute, piccolo, alto flute, tenor sax), Jackson Moore (alto sax, clarinet, flute), David Crowell (alto sax), Amelia Lukas (flute), Vasko Dukovski (clarinet)
Karen Waltuch (viola), Amy Cimini (viola), Max Mandel (viola)
Blar-Chestra (Bern, Switzerland 2017)
Blarvuster Sextet at The Kitchen (NYC 2008)
Ye Olde 2005 Tonic Flyer by John Andrew