Wet Ink, co-directed by Assistant Professor Sam Pluta, named Best Ensemble of 2018 by The New York Times

Wet Ink Ensemble
December 11, 2018

Last week The New York Times printed its list of "Best Classical Music of 2018," naming Wet Ink the best ensemble. Assistant Professor of Composition Sam Pluta is one seven world class composers, improvisers, and interpreters that collaborate to co-direct the ensemble. He is joined by Erin Lesser (flutes), Alex Mincek (saxophone), Ian Antonio (percussion), Eric Wubbels (piano), Josh Modney (violin), and Kate Soper (voice).

From the Times article:

The Wet Ink Ensemble celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. That checks out: Wet Ink is an extremely well-drilled contemporary music group. That doesn’t happen overnight. But the idea of two decades is a little strange.

It makes this group seem older than its music-making does. I don’t know of a classical ensemble with a more joyously hard-edge, go-for-broke attack than that required by the pianist and composer Eric Wubbels’s “Auditory Scene Analysis, Part One.” This first track from one of Wet Ink’s 2018 albums requires complex handoffs of melody between different instrumentalists, long blasts of white noise and some sumptuously Dionysian playing from the rhythm section.

Mr. Wubbels is one of seven directors of Wet Ink. Other performers in the group include the composer-saxophonist Alex Mincek (who made The New York Times’s best classical recordings list in 2017), as well as the violinist Josh Modney (whose triple-disc set “Engage” was another highlight of 2018).

Then there is the best-known composer in the ensemble, the soprano Kate Soper, whose charming and invigorating opera-slash-humanities lecture “Ipsa Dixit” arrived at the Miller Theater at Columbia University this fall, as well as on a new album from New World Records. It can start to seem a little unfair to the rest of the contemporary classical scene to put albums by this crew in every year-end list. On the 20th anniversary of their founding, perhaps it’s enough to call them the best band of 2018.

Congratulations to Wet Ink and Sam Pluta!