The String Orchestra of Brooklyn (SOB) is a fast-rising New York ensemble with a strong commitment to contemporary music. It has sought to present new music in accessible ways and to emphasize its links to the past.
The String Orchestra of Brooklyn was founded in 2007 by violinist and conductor Eli Spindel, who remains the group's music director. "Embracing an inclusive approach to music-making," the orchestra states, "the SOB seeks to democratize both the production and reception of concert music." Accordingly, the group has commissioned new works, paired them in concert with relevant traditional repertory, and collaborated with outside groups that have brought the orchestra new audiences. The members of the orchestra are all volunteers, and the group does not perform a heavy schedule, but its concerts attract wide attention when they do take place. The SOB has performed more than 100 concerts performing more than 400 works, both contemporary and traditional. The orchestra has premiered works by numerous composers, including Scott Wollschleger, Christopher Cerrone, Alexandra Gardner. Its collaborators have included Richard Carrick, on whose album Cycles of Evolution the group appeared, the GHOSTLIGHT Chorus of Brooklyn, Tony Conrad, and John Cale. With Conrad and Cale, the orchestra performed a six-hour concert and installation for the reopened Whitney Museum of American Art. Another highlight was a 2015 performance of Wollschleger's Meditation on Dust, described as an answer to the question "what would happen if a Strauss tone poem was left in the desert for 1,000 years?"
A similar aesthetic was at work on the orchestra's debut album, Afterimage, which featured Paganini's Caprice No. 6 for solo violin in G minor ("The Trill") and Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, together with contemporary works inspired or derived from each other these. The Stabat Mater Dolorosa of Jacob Cooper was in the nature of an exploded view of the Pergolesi work, stretching its basic material out to more than 27 minutes. The album appeared in 2020 on the Furious Artisans label.