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yMusic: Tiny Desk Concert

Back in 2008, the same year my colleagues Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson dreamt up the idea for these Tiny Desk concerts, a cohort of freelance musicians formed in New York, calling itself yMusic (referring to "Gen Y" millennials). That random aligning of planets has now resulted in this terrific performance at the NPR office space with four original compositions in a musical language that borrows from classical and pop but could only be yMusic.

The band's unique sound is born not only from the tight construction and performance of the music, but also from the yMusic's quirky setup. How many other sextets of trumpet, clarinet, flute, violin, viola and cello do you know?

The set opens with "Zebras," inspired by the frenzied clicking keys of Mark Dover's bass clarinet. Music emerges softly but takes flight when flutist Alex Sopp doubles on vocals. Chugging rhythms propel "Flood" as solos are passed around, while the more contemplative "Peter Inn" showcases lovely muted colors in the winds, with intrepid trumpeter CJ Camerieri switching to French horn. "The Wolf" closes the set with yMusic rising to its loudest, driven by a clever yipping theme in the winds as cello and viola slide up the scale.

yMusic is completely at home backing up the likes of Paul Simon, The National and Dirty Projectors, or performing music it has commissioned from today's top composers, including Andrew Norman and Caroline Shaw, at upscale venues like Carnegie Hall. Genres be damned.


  • "Zebras"
  • "Flood"
  • "Peter Inn"
  • "The Wolf"


  • Alex Sopp: flutes, voice
  • Mark Dover: clarinets
  • CJ Camerieri: trumpet, horn
  • Rob Moose: violin
  • Nadia Sirota: viola
  • Gabriel Cabezas: cello


  • Producer: Tom Huizenga
  • Director/Editor: Joshua Bryant
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Kara Frame, Elizabeth Gillis
  • Audio Assistant: Josephine Nyouani
  • Photographer: Catie Dull
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Maia Stern, Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer
  • Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Huizenga
Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.