The Fretful Porcupine believes that the experience of live music is a fundamentally physical and human act, one in which culture must participate in order to flourish. Being largely dedicated to audience engagement the temporal nature of music and performance, we think of our performances as “sound-experience sculptures.”  We create works of musical art appropriate for their particular mediums or modes of engagement. We have chosen not to record our music in the tradition sense, that we might emphasize the ephemeral and transitory nature of the art form we love. We exist in part to engage with institutions and venues interested in further exploring these ideas.

Music as a cultural concept is in a tremendous state of flux. Consider the limitless and instantaneous availability of nearly all music from all of history. If we are to see music, musicians, and the audience thrive in the 21st century, it is imperative that we revisit the subject of music with great intentionality in order to better understand what it is and how to make it, appreciate it, and advocate for it. Students, teachers, and creative catalysts are key stakeholders in this process, having a vested interest in both the art form itself and the future aspirations of society and culture.

As practitioners and performers wrestling with these issues, The Fretful Porcupine maintains a profound respect for philosophy and also embraces a strong sense of immediacy and practicality because of the effect all these have on the many day-to-day decisions an ensemble must make. Facing declining revenues and audiences, artists of every kind will soon find themselves at the same crossroads, and tackling problems though old and obsolete models will only be an exercise in frustration and discouragement. Through our art and advocacy, we strive to build a new paradigm, one that helps the artist to be more than “sustainable” in his or her art-making. We hope to find a way to truly be generative.