Miami’s 21st century genre-bending chamber orchestra, Nu Deco Ensemble, presents unfiltered conversations with dynamic and award-winning musical artists, trailblazing composers, and forward-thinking industry leaders and CEO’s. Hosted by Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Jacomo Bairos, these conversations dive deep into the lives and works of these exceptional artists and leaders, peeling back the mysterious curtain of creativity and inspiration, while exploring life wisdom gleaned from their stories and prolific careers.
Composer, producer, and CEO of Nu Deco, Sam Hyken (also Co-Founder and Artistic Director) writes, arranges, and creates the majority of music for the ensemble and guest artists. Jacomo conducts the ensemble, and together they both curate and program, in liaison with composers and guest artists, content for performances, media distribution, and educational offerings.
Described as “world-class” and “thrilling” in the press, Jacomo conducts around the world with institutions such as the Boston Pops, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Singapore Symphony. He regularly collaborates with Grammy-award winning musical artists such as Wyclef Jean, PJ Morton, and Jacob Collier, as well as hosts both Nu Deco’s performances and education concerts, reaching audiences across the globe and thousands of students throughout Miami and the nation. Jacomo also teaches and leads meditation as well as mindfulness and wellness courses for Nu Deco NXT, Nu Deco’s youth ensemble based in Miami.
Magda Giannikou: Learn how to Learn
Magda Giannikou is a musical and creative force! Gaining popularity with her band, Banda Magda, and touring with Snarky Puppy for years, her genius lies in her ability to create musical landscapes that paint pictures and bold universes her audiences always feel they can escape to. Oh and she sings in at least 5 languages!
As a composer who dreamed of writing film scores, she listened to movie soundtracks at the age of 10 while other kids were listening to pop songs, and was always searching for music that created environments and ways to escape. Escape not from her life or family who inspired, adored and nurtured her talents, but a creative and imaginary escape where the worlds were endless in their imaginative potential. In our in depth podcast we take a peek behind her creative curtain to learn how she visualizes everything as a landscape in her mind, where words are instruments, melodies are colors, and the song is the final painting. How taking chances both in personal and professional life can lead to extraordinary experiences. That orchestral composition and improvisation are essentially creative cousins, and instead of idolizing and being inspired by heroic musical giants, which she of course does, that it is everyday people and life experiences that gives her the greatest inspirations to create art.
Finally, we talk about her two experiences with Nu Deco, how we are a musical family now, and that finding Nu Deco was a dream come true in her quest to fulfill her aspirations of marrying composing for a full orchestra and creating new colorful worlds in songs that we all can enjoy, live in, and escape too.
Nu Deco Ensemble & Magda Giannikou - Ase Me Na Bo
Larkin Poe: How vulnerability, authenticity, and resilience allows you to engage deeply and profoundly with your audience.
It is only fitting that one of our final podcasts of the first season gets incredibly deep! Rebecca and Megan Lovell, two of the most talented and creative artists behind Larkin Poe, are supremely wonderful humans to engage, perform, and work with. From being an “accidental band” to online sensations, while also writing and singing about some of the toughest themes, such as mental illness and sharing openly their personal and family struggles with the world, Larkin Poe is connected to legions of fervent fans who support and engage with them in powerful and dynamic ways.
This vulnerable conversation covers so much ground and gets at the heart of the intense emotions we ALL feel as humans. We cover the origins of Larkin Poe, the reality checks they faced creating a new band from scratch, and their creative and personal journeys. We speak to the pressures and resilience they forged being female artists today, and that by creating “live” art, one has to be fully present. We also playfully discuss their musical origins which came from their foundations of classical music, and specifically the violin!
PLUS, we tease some music from our upcoming collaborative album which will be released September 17!
This conversation personally inspired me. It is a reminder that grit, positivity, gratefulness, and authenticity can lead to success on the levels that one wishes for themselves, not what others' limiting definitions are.
You won't want to miss this episode of Nu Deco Unfiltered that brings incredible insight into Larkin Poe. We are so excited to share it with you and some of the magical music we made together!
Dennis Alves: Music is Everything, and Everything is Music
From Leading the Boston Pops since the late 80’s to raising funds to support artists who lost all their work during the pandemic, Dennis Alves is an elevated leader in our field whose integrity, empathy, and desire to give his audiences amazing experiences, transcends music and permeates everything he does at Symphony Hall in Boston. His compassion for artists, musicians, conductors and his community at home, inspires him to “just do the job” of bringing the highest levels of orchestral art, collaborations and genre-bending music to his New England community.
This conversation is absolutely amazing! If you like orchestra lore, behind the scenes stories, and insights to the history of this incredible institution as much as I do, then you re going love this podcast!
His words are incredible insightful, super fun, and full of wisdom. For those who lead organizations and wish to learn from one of the industries absolute best, this podcast will certainly give you much food for thought. Dennis breaks apart his humble beginnings, guides us through his journey from trumpet player and substitute member of the Boston Symphony and Pops, to ultimately taking the reins of the Boston symphony and guiding its transition from John Williams to Keith Lockhart. Stories about Gershwin, Arthur Fielder and lessons on how being and staying relevant to your audiences fills this insightful dialogue. Plus, I’m just honored to have had this chance to speak Dennis, have Nu Deco receive his full encouragement and support, and finally share his beautiful words with you.
Joachim Horsley: From Pro Tools Assistant to Emmy-Winning Hollywood Composer, with a Quick Stop in Cuba
So excited to pull back the curtain on such an inspiring and super talented human! He is one of today's true musical jack of all trades: Hollywood composer, pianist, arranger, great friend and collaborator to Nu Deco, and now a science teacher, Joachim Horsley. There is so much life wisdom he shares with us today, such as learning that greeting fire always translated into amazing life changing events that brought new creative opportunities. He describes his lifelong search for the connective fabric of music and life, a fusion of styles that bring us all a little closer together. After one particularly difficult event, being fired from a successful show, he created a life-changing project called “Beethoven in Havana,” which catapulted him to new musical horizons, albums, tours, and collaborations from the National Symphony to Nu Deco, including a viral video that garnered over 2M views. This set his musical life and personal journey into new and richer pathways.
He expresses that you don’t need to create the "one masterpiece" to be successful. Just get up, do the work day by day, and watch the magic unfold over time. As a composer, being yourself is inescapable, and being scared of the path is most likely a good thing. So, just lean into it! He expresses how he maneuvers and handles the pressures of Hollywood, and that you can never duplicate someone else’s road, as your journey is all yours. Take ALL advice with a grain of salt, and ultimately you must be the CEO of your own career.
This wide-ranging conversation is incredibly inspiring to all on any artistic endeavor and we can learn so much from his experiences and thoughts on being yourself while keeping perspective in this world. PLUS, we listen to some incredible, never-before-heard music that we performed with him here in Miami. This conversation will surely inspire and take you on a journey that connects the European art traditions with the Afro-Caribbean-inspired music from Cuba. Hope you enjoy!
Jonathan Martin: Dare to Fail - Creating New Intimacy That Explores the Humanity of Music Making
We are excited to present today’s inspiring conversation with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Pops CEO and President, Jonathan Martin! We also share some highlights with you today from a soon-to-be-released musical suite based of the music of the Beach Boys and co-written by Sam Hyken, Jason Matthews, Aaron Lebos, and Armando Lopez. Be sure to check out the snippets at the beginning, and stick around for exclusive preview at the end!
This wide-ranging conversation covers arts leadership in a whole new world, how staying curious and constant learning are essential, and that through digital concerts and relevantly-curated programs we can create unique intimacy through digital presentations that can take us places we have never been before.
While never losing sight of how the first and main mission of an orchestra is to serve its community, Jonathan expresses how making music should never, in any way, be disconnected from the pulse of its hometown, or provided solely for the elite. There is a cohesive quality to music, and through its universality we can create magic, inclusion, and inspiration, both in the concert hall and in our communities. Finally, as the title suggests, Jonathan emphasizes that now, more than ever, we must DARE TO FAIL, and that finding new pathways forward for orchestral institutions will cause some growing pains along the way.
We are honored to share Jonathan’s wisdom, love of music and artists, and vast experience in our field, as well as his pathway to personal truth and success and the important lessons he has learned along the way.
Mason Bates: With Adventure, Magic, and Surprise, a Techno-Infused Classical (R)evolution is Born
From being the opening musical act for artist Moby as a DJ to creating his Grammy-winning opera about one of the pivotal figures of the century, Steve Jobs, Mason Bates is an outlier who uses 21st-century sounds, technology, and an endless creative well to tell visionary stories and usher in sonic landscapes, the likes of which have never been done before in classical music. A true innovator and pioneer in the world of technology-infused orchestral-based compositions, this Juilliard graduate-turned-DJ/producer/orchestral composer has changed the perceptions and expectations of what a classical music performance can be in our modern times. I feel lucky to call him an old friend from those days at Juilliard, and fortunate to conduct his music worldwide. However, our performance of Mothership at Nu Deco was a true musical highlight. We will hear how adventure, surprise, and a dash of techno mixed with psychedelic rock have inspired him on his very unique journey, leading to numerous commissions and residencies with nearly all of America's great orchestras and opera companies. We discuss how creativity needs to first be born in order to get better, and that sometimes you simply need to “make your own weather” to get a seed of an idea to come to life. Like Gershwin before him, who brought jazz seamlessly into the classical music halls, Mason has brought techno and electronica to the classical music stages, and has found enormous success becoming the second most performed living composer in modern history. Using new sounds to tell fresh stories, I think any fan of new music, the orchestra, and Nu Deco’s mission of supporting living composers will be as inspired as I was talking to this incredibly relevant and deep artist.
Nu Deco Unfiltered
This is my favourite podcast. I listen to it while I’m driving, walking, or running. It’s a great way to learn how musicians have started their journey and how they get their muse to create. For example, in the episode with Aaron Parks, I learned that he listens to a whole lot of music before he creates something. It is then, when I heard him mentioning that he listened to Bulgarian folklore which not a lot of people are familiar with but I’m because I’m Bulgarian. It was a surprise to hear it. With that, I can assure the listeners that Jacomo will bring in interesting guest to feature in this podcast.
I also like the fact that Jacomo gives a light to creativity, instead of putting someone in a box , like he said. Creativity comes from within and wants out when ready. Can’t put in and close it in any shape. Nu Deco embraces that very much. That’s why their music and concerts are excellent and innovative.