Founded in 2004, CAPITAL M is an innovative electric chamber ensemble that seeks real and total integration between modern classical music and vernacular styles such as rock and jazz. Boasting an all-star lineup of improvising musicans, Capital M performs intricate compositions with all the blistering energy and sonic chaos of a heavy metal band. Such versatility enables Capital M to engage a wide variety of musical material without a second thought, whether it’s concept pieces by the likes of Frederic Rzewski, collective free improvisations, or music written especially for the group by outside composers.
Members of Capital M include guitarist Mike Gamble (the Inbetweens, A.D.M.), drummer John Hadfield (Bang on a Can, Michael Gordon Philharmonic, Music from China), reed player Peter Hess (World/Inferno Friendship Society, Guignol, Anti-Social Music, Balkan Beat Box), bassist Bradley Kemp (the Bunkbeds, Kilter), and guitarist Kyle Sanna (Christina Courtin, Mark Gould’s Pink Baby Monster). Ian Moss contributes wordless vocals heavily processed through the use of guitar effects. In March 2006, Capital M presented its first annual World Premieres Extravaganza at the Cutting Room with new works by Frank J. Oteri, David Claman, Monika Heidemann, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Stefan Zeniuk, Bradley Kemp, and Ian Moss. A second World Premieres Extravaganza was one of the last shows at Tonic before the legendary music venue closed its doors for good in April 2007. Other notable engagements have included the 2006 Full Force Festival (curated by MacArthur “Genius” grant winner John Zorn), the 2005 CMJ Music Marathon, the 2005 21st Century Schizoid Music Festival, a summer 2005 Eastern Seaboard mini-tour, and appearances at the Knitting Factory (sharing bills with Todd Reynolds and downtown guitar legend Elliott Sharp) and numerous other venues in and around New York City.
The name Capital M comes from “Music with a Capital M,” a term used by Moss’s college music history professor to refer to music without regard to genre (as seen for example in the textbook title 20th Century Music). Capital M has adopted the term to identify and celebrate music that intentionally challenges traditional boundaries, particularly those separating classical music from the larger popular consciousness.