Dal Niente is a model of what contemporary music needs, but seldom gets, to reach and engage a wider public.
— John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune


Ensemble Dal Niente presents and performs new and experimental music in ways that redefine the listening experience and advance the art form. The programming, brought to life by a flexible repertoire-based instrumentation, seeks to challenge convention and create engaging, inspiring, and immersive experiences which connect audiences with the music of today.

a superb contemporary-music collective.
— David Allen, New York Times


Ensemble Dal Niente performs new and experimental chamber music with dedication, virtuosity, and an exploratory spirit. Dal Niente’s roster of 23 musicians presents an uncommonly broad range of contemporary music, guiding listeners towards music that transforms existing ideas and subverts convention. Audiences coming to Dal Niente shows can expect distinctive productions—from fully staged operas to multimedia spectacles to intimate solo performances—that are curated to pique curiosity and connect art, culture, and people.

Now in its second decade, Ensemble Dal Niente has performed concerts across Europe and the Americas, including  appearances at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC; The Foro Internacional de Música Nueva in Mexico City; MusicArte Festival in Panama City; The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Darmstadt Summer Courses in Germany, where it was the first-ever ensemble to win the Kranichstein prize for interpretation in 2012.

The group has recordings available on the New World, New Amsterdam, New Focus, Navona, Parlour Tapes+, and Carrier labels; has held residencies at The University of Chicago, Harvard University, Stanford University, Brown University, Brandeis University, and Northwestern University, among others; and collaborated with a wide range of composers, from Enno Poppe to George Lewis to Erin Gee to Greg Saunier and Deerhoof.

The ensemble's name, Dal Niente ("from nothing" in Italian), is a tribute to Helmut Lachenmann's Dal niente (Interieur III), a work that upended traditional conceptions of instrumental technique; and also a reference to the group’s humble beginnings.

Upcoming in 2018-2019

concerts with an asterisk are part of our To Be Heard commissioning project featuring composers Erin Gee, Viola Yip, Ted Hearne, and Anthony Cheung

September 30 @ Constellation Chicago

October 5-9 @ Foro Nacional de Musica Nueva, Mexico City, MX
Museo Nacional de Arte, Palacio Nacional des Bellas Artes and Teatro de la Danza with Delfos Danza Contemporanéa

December 13 @ the Milwaukee Museum of Art
Dal Niente Presents: Ammie Brod

January 24-26 @ New Music New College, Sarasota, FL
Assemblage with George Lewis

February 9 @ Kaneko Museum, Omaha, NE
The Body of the State by Eliza Brown

February 24 @ Constellation Chicago
To Be Heard: Viola Yip and Ted Hearne*

June 1 @ Walt Disney Concert Hall
Noon to Midnight festival at the Los Angeles Philharmonic*

Praise for Dal Niente

“A superb contemporary music collective” - The New York Times

“a model of what contemporary music needs, but seldom gets” - The Chicago Tribune

“exuberant vitality and expressiveness” - The New Yorker



  • First ensemble to be awarded the Kranichstein Music Prize at the 2012 International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany

  • Recent international engagements include a 3-week tour of Colombia, Mexico, and Panama supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's International Connections Fund

  • Academic residencies at Harvard University, Indiana University, Northwestern University, Stanford University, and Williams College

  • Performed the Chicago premieres of two 21st-century masterpieces, in vain by Georg Friedrich Haas and Schnee by Hans Abrahamsen

  • Performed on renowned concert series and festivals throughout the world including Concerts from the Library of Congress, Foro Internacional de Musica Nueva (Mexico City), Ecstatic Music Festival (NYC), Festival International Chihuahua, Latino Music Festival (Chicago), Music Arte Panama, Ravinia Festival, and SALT Festival (Canada)