Founded in 2005 by saxophonist Michael Straus and bassoonist Dana Jessen, the EAR (Electro Acoustic Reed) Duo is dedicated to the performance of new, improvised and experimental electroacoustic music. Praised for performing "with conviction and authenticity" and "producing rich and varied sounds" (Boston Music Intelligencer) along with "a sonic and visual experience unlike any other" (St. Cloud Times), the duo can regularly be seen performing a variety of works ranging from new commissions to original arrangements of works by Terry Riley, Steve Reich and James Tenney.
Highlights from the EAR Duo's recent seasons include appearances at the University of Virginia's CCT Forum on Electroacoustic Improvisation, Belgium's Logos Foundation Tetrahedron Series, Chicago's Heaven Gallery of Art, U.K's Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Dartmouth College's Vaughan Recital Series, Amsterdam's Karnatic Lab and Washington D.C.'s Artomatic Festival. They have presented lectures on a variety of topics ranging from contemporary performance techniques to working with video and electronics in performance for students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Franklin Pierce College. For their European debut, the duo teamed up with visual artist Sarah Buckius, turntablist DJ Dubble8 and guitarist Vitor Rua for an evening-length collaborative concert at the Musicbox Nightclub in Lisbon, Portugal.
Coming off of a highly successful 2010 Kickstarter campaign, the EAR Duo recently raised money for MARIE (Monochord-Aerophone Robotic Instrument Ensemble), a series of interactive wind and string robots from the Charlottesville-based EMMI (Expressive Machines Musical Instruments). Featued in online press from Wired, Create Digital Music and several other publications, their campaign was Kickstarter's featured project of the day for New Year's Eve 2010. The EAR Duo recently unveiled these new musical robots alongside a set of new works from EMMI in March 2011 during a multi-day residency at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Other events during this tour with MARIE included a residency at Amsterdam's STEIM, a return performance at the Logos Foundation in Ghent, Belgium and an evening-length multimedia performance collaboration with the Dutch flutist/composer Anne La Berge.
The members of the EAR Duo hold graduate degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music, Peabody Conservatory of Music and were both recipients of Fulbright Fellowships to Amsterdam where they studied contemporary, electronic and improvised music.