Photo: Shaali Singogo

Orchestra Enigmatic

By Kate Barry

Entire contents are copyright © 2018, Kate Barry. All rights reserved.

The stage is painted in mellow hues of purple and red light, performers are decked out in beards, scarves, and flannel, a bar is fully stocked and yoga mats lay on the floor. It’s just another performance for Orchestra Enigmatic. Delivering musical experiences entice your senses and establishing a groove that will get you moving, this chamber orchestra delivers music outside of the typical classical canon. With opportunities for collaboration and exposure of new works to Louisville’s thriving music scene – this ain’t your average orchestra.

This eccentric music collective has found a home at Art Sanctuary, which hosts their Yoga Enigmatic events on the last Saturday of the month. Founding member and Production and Management Chair Jackie Royce explains partnering with the Germantown art venue was natural as they, “are aligned with the mission of Orchestra Enigmatic”. Founded by French horn player Jody Hurt, the orchestra has maintained its mission for “very odd programming” – unorthodox setlists, presentation, and arrangements – since their initial formation in 2012.

Establishing steady fundraising through their Yoga Enigmatic events has assisted efforts financially as well as involvement. These public events help support larger aspirations for consistent delivery of programming. Orchestra Enigmatic relies on suggested donations and volunteer engagement from their steadfast company of musicians to keep the events up and running.

With live musicians and a yoga flow, the Yoga Enigmatic events are, “not just a performance, but more like an experiment,” says Royce. Attendees become a part of the performance with music that is, “100% improvised.” Multifaceted in its collaboration with those who attend, “the sound depends on the movement” as the music relies upon and accentuates the postures and poses. Although highly encouraged, attendees can choose to not participate in the flows but still enjoy “not only music but see art, dance, and go to yoga with a concert element.” During the November installment, live interactive video and music from the Camera Lucida collaborative displayed captivating audio/visual sound clouds. The December event calls for eclectic jazz sensibilities with local composer J.C. Dennison pairing with Charlie Rivera and Jake Reber to provide live music for the last installment of the year.

Ben Short. Photo: Aesthetic Aperture

Local yogi Ben Short leads each class. A bassist for rock and rollers Jack Holiday and the Westerners and jazz infused-funk orchestra In Lightening, Short brings a “rhythmic sensibility and shape of the class” as he guides the all levels flow. Functioning more like a conductor during these performances, Short presents accessible movement through a flow of rich tones and harmony.

Orchestra Enigmatic has big plans for 2019. Keeping it quirky, the music collective plans to start the New Year with the Bjork Ball on January 19. The chamber orchestra will perform arrangements by several composers, including Charlie Rivera, display work by art collective interstice, and highly encourage attendees to wear costumes for this ticketed event at Art Sanctuary. Bjork Ball promises to be a vivacious tribute to the distinctive and bizarrely imaginative Icelandic musician. In February, a tribute will be paid to another legend as they perform the psychedelic hits of Pink Floyd at the Brown Theater with Dark Side of the Wall.

Keeping the music fresh, Orchestra Enigmatic premieres original works during their New Music Showcase each spring. With a handpicked composer, the program is performed in 21C Museum & Hotel as the gallery displays new visual works as well. Royce describes the showcase to be, “more austere than our other events” but nevertheless arts focused.

Housed in an art gallery in a trendy neighborhood, providing yoga classes, crossing music genres, and pumping out new works, Orchestra Enigmatic keeps the creativity flowing. As Jackie Royce puts it, “we’re a new music collective providing a resource for composers who want to perform oddball music.” And with unique and authentic programming, this chamber orchestra can rest assured that people will listen.

Yoga Enigmatic Mvt. VI

Saturday, December 29, 2018

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Orchestra Enigmatic
At Art Sanctuary
1433 South Shelby Street
Louisville, KY 40217


Kate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for LEO Weekly and as well. Thanks for reading!