Named after and headquartered at the acclaimed New York City venue Le Poisson Rouge, Ensemble LPR is an assemblage of New York’s finest musicians. The group personifies the venue’s commitment to aesthetic diversity and artistic excellence.

Ensemble LPR performs an eclectic spectrum of music—from works by the finest living composers, to compelling interpretations of the standard repertoire—and collaborates with distinguished artists from classical and non-classical backgrounds: Timo Andres, Simone Dinnerstein, San Fermin, Daniel Hope, Taka Kigawa, Jennifer Koh, Mica Levi, David Longstreth (of Dirty Projectors), John Lurie, Ursula Oppens, Max Richter, André de Ridder, Christopher Rountree and Fred Sherry, to name a few.

In January 2015, Ensemble LPR made its Deutsche Grammophon debut with Follow, Poet, featuring the music of Mohammed Fairouz and the words of Seamus Heaney and John F. Kennedy. Ensemble LPR’s acclaimed Central Park performance followed in June, part of the 110th Anniversary of the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts.

In 2008 Le Poisson Rouge changed the classical music landscape, creating a new environment in which to experience art music. In doing so, Le Poisson Rouge expanded classical music listenership. The New York Times has heralded Le Poisson Rouge as “[a] forward-thinking venue that seeks to showcase disparate musical styles under one roof” and “[the] coolest place to hear contemporary music.” The Los Angeles Times raves, “[The] place isn’t merely cool…the venue is a downright musical marvel.” Le Poisson Rouge Co-Founder David Handler brings this same ethos to Ensemble LPR, of which he is Founding Executive & Artistic Director.

Ensemble LPR Mission

Ours is a uniquely exhilarating moment for music.

The old hierarchies of taste have been called into question; the old distinctions of genre have been revealed as obsolete.

Never before has such an abundance of musical riches been so widely available to so many listeners — laymen and experts alike.

And yet, alone among the major art forms, classical music seems resolutely wed to anachronisms of tradition and ritual that first sprang up in the nineteenth century. Indeed, a newcomer to classical music might be forgiven for wondering:

Why, in the year 2014, is the work of classical music so little a part of the larger cultural dialogue?

Why, in a city like New York, is the work of orchestras and composers of so little relevance to the lives of people who follow the arts, and to people who do not?

Why, among its peer art forms, is classical music the least nimble and most conservative in its patterns of thinking?

When did a genre dominated by genius and virtuosi become sclerotic, rigid, unresponsive?

Ensemble LPR is that newcomer.

David Handler | Founder & Artistic Director

David Handler is a composer of acoustic and electronic music. His work has been described by The New York Times as “eerie” & “superbly wrought”, and has been characterized by its use of familiar, often tonal relics within a narrative structure and polytonal language that seek to explore the notions of incongruity and deconstruction.

Commissions include the transcription and orchestration of Riceboy Sleeps by Alex Somers & Jónsi Birgisson of Sigur Rós, commissioned by Lincoln Center, and the acclaimed Solstice, commissioned by Naumburg Orchestral Concerts for its 110th Anniversary and premiered by Ensemble LPR in Central Park. Prominent performances include a Composer Portrait curated by Orange Mountain Music’s Richard Guérin at Barbes, the 2013 21c Liederabend at BAM, and the world premiere of Celtic Verses in a concert Celebrating the release of Follow, Poet, Ensemble LPR’s Deutsche Grammophon debut, earlier this year.

Handler began studying the violin at age three and attended the Manhattan School of Music as both a violin and composition major. As a violinist and violist, Handler collaborates regularly with Horacio Gutiérrez and has played under the baton of Kurt Masur, Zdeněk Mácal, and Jerzy Semkow, with whom he studied conducting.

Handler is the co-founder of Le Poisson Rouge and the Founding Executive & Artistic Director of Ensemble LPR. The venue’s mission is to revive the symbiotic relationship between art and revelry, thus invigorating the musical landscape for artists and audiences alike. In its seven years of operation the venue has received numerous awards and accolades, from ASCAP, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone and The New Yorker.

Handler’s speaking engagements include: The North American Critics Alliance at Lincoln Center, University of Missouri – Kansas City, New York University, Syracuse University, Hunter College, The New School, and The Manhattan School of Music.

Handler sits on the advisory board of CavanKerry Press, The David Lynch Foundation, and The Mount Sinai Department of Psychiatry. He lives in New York City with his wife Marlene May Handler.

Contact ensemble LPR: marketing(at)