Named after and headquartered at the acclaimed New York City venue (Le) Poisson Rouge, Ensemble LPR is an assemblage of some of New York’s finest musicians. In 2008 LPR changed the classical music landscape, creating a new, accessible environment in which to experience art music, and in doing so expanded classical and new music listenership. Le Poisson Rouge Co-Founder David Handler brings this same ethos to Ensemble LPR, of which he is Founding Artistic and Executive Director.

Ensemble LPR personifies the venue’s commitment to aesthetic diversity and artistic excellence with an eclectic spectrum of music—from works by the finest living composers, to compelling interpretations of the standard repertoire. The group has worked with esteemed classical musicians, conductors, and composers, including Lara St. John, Taka Kigawa, Simone Dinnerstein, Jennifer Koh, Fred Sherry, Ursula Oppens, Daniel Hope, André de Ridder, Christopher Rountree, Max Richter, and Timo Andres, as well as prominent artists from non-classical backgrounds such as Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead), David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), Bryce Dessner (The National), Oscar-Nominated composer Mica Levi, John Lurie, and San Fermin.

Ensemble LPR has recorded on Deutsche Grammophon and performed at notable NYC venues including (Le) Poisson Rouge, Central Park’s Naumburg Bandshell, Central Park Summerstage, BRIC House Ballroom, and House of Yes. Click here to see the group’s upcoming schedule for its fifth anniversary season.

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)