Tontine Ensemble was founded in the spring of 2014 with the mission to perform improvisational and contemporary chamber works, as well as champion new music from composers in their community. Its four current members first played together for a Blank Radio (Milwaukee, WI) recording session and immediately began rehearsing regularly. Allen Russell, Molly Lieberman, Pat Reinholz, and Barry Paul Clark are all classically trained musicians who teach and regularly perform in a variety of styles around the Milwaukee area and beyond.
Tontine Ensemble has appeared as guest artists at Mike Neumeyer and Friends, Danceworks, Inc. (Paleontology of a Woman - 2014, Footsteps, Shadows & Whispers - 2015), Milwaukee Follies, Formations Series for New and Improvised Music, Alverno Presents (Prince Uncovered - 2015), The Pre-Maturely Air Conditioned Arts Collective, performed in the inaugural Milwaukee Fringe Festival in August 2016, and collaborated on a new score to the choreography of Garrett Glassman for Milwaukee Ballet’s “MXE: Milwaukee Mixed” event in February 2018.
The ensemble has shared the stage with JOBS, Netmoiré, Lovely Socialite Mrs. Thomas W. Phipps, 1913, Geodes, Trench, Jonah Parzen-Johnson, Jamison Williams, Nestle, Tyler Damon + Tashi Dorji duo., Spires That In The Sunset Rise + Michael Zerang, and Rhythmplex founder Jon Mueller.
Barry Paul Clark, double bass
(BM 2009, Mannes College of Music - New School University, New York, NY) Barry is a double bassist and composer actively involved in the creative arts community in Milwaukee, WI. He currently performs in the bass sections of Festival City Symphony (Milwaukee, WI), Kenosha Symphony Orchestra (Kenosha, WI), and WIsconsin Philharmonic. He, along with percussionist Devin Drobka and saxophonist Steve Gallam, host Unrehearsed MKE, a monthly, improvised music series. Aside from being a co-founder and member of Tontine Ensemble, Barry also performs and releases experimental electronic music under the moniker adoptahighway, as well as upright bass in the improvised music trio Argopelter, Americana inspired quintet Lady Cannon, and in experimental folk/rock project Field Report
Molly Lieberman, viola
(BM, BA 2009, Illinois Wesleyan University, MM 2011, 2012, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee) Molly is a violist and conductor who hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to the Tontine Ensemble she plays viola with the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra (Sheboygan, WI) and the University-Community Orchestra at UW-Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI). Molly is the orchestra director at Pius XI Catholic High School (Milwaukee, WI) and teaches private string lessons in Pius' grade school outreach program. She is also the founder and director of Hope Strings Eternal, a community development project aimed at promoting social justice and equality through music education and performance.
Patrick Reinholz, cello
(BM 2010, University of Wisconsin - Madison) Patrick is a versatile cellist collaborating frequently with other musicians, artists, dancers, and even spoken word artists. He frequently performs a variety of music including classical, new music, jazz, and rock. Improvisation also plays a very large role in Patrick’s music. Notable collaborations include working with famed New York dancer Sally Gross on a minimalist dance film, contributed original music to choreography by Li Chiao-Ping, and performing frequently with the electroacoustic ensemble The Weather Duo. He has premiered chamber music by composers Steven Lewis and Filippo Santoro. Patrick has also played a very active role in the formation and performances of the new music ensemble Downbeat Means Attack and the Jazz/Avant Garde group Lovely Socialite Mrs. Thomas W. Phipps.
Allen Russell, violin
(BM 2007, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, MM candidate 2017, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee) Allen Russell is a violinist, composer and instructor based in Milwaukee, WI. He picked up the violin at age 5 and studied the Suzuki method through the String Academy of Wisconsin with Mimi Zweig and David Becker before later going on to study with Eline Skorodin (student of Jascha Heifitz), Jerry Franke (assistant principal of Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra) and Dr. Bernard Zinck (Paris Conservatory, Julliard). Throughout high school, Allen performed with the Tremper Golden Strings, a strolling strings group, giving performances in Austria, Germany, Mexico, and on Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Outside of Tontine Ensemble, Allen leads the band Swing Chevron - a gypsy swing quartet that plays a mix of his original music and classic gypsy jazz.
Allen is a frequent performer at the Milwaukee based series Hyperlocal, an improvisational collaboration between musicians and dancers and has worked with student choreographers at UW-Milwaukee. Allen composed the music for Timothy Westbrook (Project Runway)/Milwaukee Danceworks show "Paleontology of a Woman" which integrated dance, Westbrook's fiber art and music featuring Tontine Ensemble. As an electronic artist, Allen has performed with the Milwaukee's MELT series as well as for fashion shows at the Pfister Hotel, Hotel Metro and the Milwaukee Art Museum.
As a registered Suzuki instructor, Allen coaches students privately, as well as at the Academy of Performing Arts in Franklin, WI and Korinthian Violins in Milwaukee’s Bayview neighborhood.
Background © 2015 David Szymanski
Portraits © 2018 Christal Wagner