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Recognized for its world-class performances of works by leading contemporary composers, Relâche is an international leader in commissioning, presenting and performing the innovative music of our time. Founded as a composer's collective in 1977 and officially founded as an ensemble in 1979, Relâche is among the oldest continuously operating nonprofit chamber ensembles dedicated to contemporary music in the United States. 


Relâche continues to invest in the future of new music through its commitment to the work of young and emerging composers. To date, Relâche has performed more than 550 concerts in and around its home city of Philadelphia as well as across the country and the globe, including residencies, festival and touring appearances in South America, Japan and Eastern and Western Europe.

Relâche is one of the most stylistically flexible groups on the East Coast, and is equally at home playing everything from folk to jazz, and from rock to contemporary classical.


Relâche - “no performance” or “the theater is dark”

The ensemble is named after the multimedia Dada theater piece Relâche created by Erik Satie, René Clair, Jean Börlin, and Francis Picabia. On opening night, the performance was mysteriously cancelled (en relâche?), and the audience sent home - a Dada joke! One week later Relâche premiered, the crowd rioted, and the show ran for a year.

Board Members

Lloyd Shorter - Co-Artistic Director 
Oboe; retired Asst. Prof of Music at University of Delawa


Michele Kelly - Co-Artistic Director
Treasurer and Secretary. Flutes; Founder, director and conductor, Penn Flutes.


Cynthia Folio

Emeritus Professor at Temple University; flutist, composer, and music theorist; Member of the Recording Academy; Winner of the American Prize Citation in 2019 for her composition, When the Spirit Catches You... (commissioned, premiered, and recorded by the Relâche Ensemble).

Daniel Verbit
MLIS, Scholarly Communications and Digital Initiatives Librarian, Thomas Jefferson University; avid fan of many kinds of music.


Michael Stambaugh 

Pianist and composer, teaching piano and composition for Settlement Music School.  Winner of Relâche’s Emerging Composer Competition in 2019 whose work was performed at our 40th anniversary celebration.

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