Josh Modney is a violinist devoted to creative musicmaking. A “new-music luminary,” “superb violinist” (The New York Times), and “multitasking virtuoso” (The New Yorker) hailed for “jaw-dropping technical skill…” and as “one of today’s most intrepid experimentalists” (Bandcamp Daily), Modney collaborates with a wide array of renowned ensembles and artists as part of a broad scene of adventurous music that thrives at the nexus of composition, improvisation, and interpretation.
Modney is violinist and Executive Director of the Wet Ink Ensemble (now celebrating its 20th Anniversary Season, and recently named “The Best Classical Music Ensemble of 2018” by The New York Times) and a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and performed with the Mivos Quartet for eight years, a vital new-music string quartet he co-founded in 2008. Modney’s fresh and versatile approach to the violin and uniquely dynamic performance practice has made him a highly sought-after collaborator. He has worked closely on new solos and duos with composers including Kate Soper, Alex Mincek, Eric Wubbels, Sam Pluta, Andrew Greenwald and Rick Burkhardt, as well as projects with major figures including Kaija Saariaho, Mathias Spahlinger, Helmut Lachenmann, George Lewis, Pauline Oliveros, Christian Wolff, and Peter Ablinger.
Modney’s playing has been featured on a wide variety of outstanding recordings, including titles on Carrier Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Sono Luminus, New World Records, hat[now]ART, Nonesuch, and Tzadik Records. Recent highlights include Alex Mincek’s Torrent (Sound American), which features a series of duos written for Modney, and was selected as one of the “Best Albums of 2017” by The New York Times and The Nation; Steve Reich’s Pulse/Quartet (Nonesuch), lauded for “pitch perfect performances” (The Guardian); Scott Wollschleger’s Soft Aberration (New Focus), selected as a “Notable Recording of 2017” by The New Yorker; and Wet Ink: 20 (Carrier), which features Modney as soloist on Sam Pluta’s Portraits/Self-Portraits.
Modney’s 2017 release of improvised chamber music with guitarist Patrick Higgins (ZS), EVRLY MVSIC (NNA Tapes), earned praise for its “clairvoyant connection and sheer instrumental prowess” (The Quietus), and his 2018 debut solo release, Engage (New Focus Recordings), featuring duos by Wet Ink’s Sam Pluta, Kate Soper and Eric Wubbels alongside solo works by Taylor Brook and Anthony Braxton, Modney’s reinterpretation of J.S. Bach’s luminous Ciaccona in Just Intonation, and Modney’s own solo improvisations, was lauded by The New York Times as “one of the most intriguing programs of the year” and a “highlight of 2018.”
Modney has a passion for large-scale performance projects, including recitals of J.S. Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin in Just Intonation, and evening-length chamber works including Mathias Spahlinger’s extension for violin and piano (with Eric Wubbels), Wolfgang Rihm’s Musik für Drei Streicher (with ICE), and Kate Soper’s IPSA DIXIT (with Wet Ink), praised by Alex Ross as “comprehensively astounding …. a twenty-first century masterpiece” (The New Yorker).
Photo: Alexander Perrelli