Makrokosmos Orchestra

The Makrokosmos Orchestra is a New York City-based large ensemble co-led by Maine-based composer/performers Tim O'Dell (saxophones) and Richard Nelson (guitar).



The Makrokosmos Orchestra brings together an exceptionally talented group of 14 mainly New York-based musicians into a uniquely configured ensemble. The group's wide-ranging sound pallet derives from its distinctive instrumentation: flutes, clarinets, French horn, and euphonium bring rich coloristic contrasts and shadings to their saxophone, trumpet, and bass trombone counterparts. Meanwhile, the rest of the group (guitar, bass, piano/keyboard/sound designs, hand percussion and drum set) flexibly contributes to the mix, serving at times as a creative, highly interactive contemporary jazz/creative rock/"world" music rhythm section, and at others as a "new music" ensemble's bass, percussion, guitar, and keys/sculpted sounds section, with many gradations in between.


Nelson and O'Dell are complementary yet distinctly different composers, both working in the fertile boundary areas where contemporary jazz and classical composition and improvisation practices overlap, sparking fresh explorations of texture, compositional forms, and improvisational interactions. Their new compositions and arrangements for Makrokosmos take full advantage of both the expressive range of this sonorous, vibrant ensemble and of the individual and collective improvisational talents of its outstanding personnel (including, among others, Adam Kolker, saxophone and clarinet; John Carlson, trumpet; Marshall Sealy, French horn; and Ken Filiano, bass, as well as O'Dell and Nelson themselves).


Following is a listing of the exceptional personnel who make up the ensemble, and O'Dell's and Nelson's individual bios.

The Makrokosmos Orchestra:

Voice - Christine Correa

Flute/alto flute - Peter Bloom
Bass clarinet/clarinet – Alan Brady
Alto/soprano saxophone - Tim O'Dell
Tenor saxophone/clarinet - Adam Kolker
French horn - Marshall Sealy
Trumpet - John Carlson
Trumpet - Jacob Varmus
Euphonium - David Chamberlain
Bass trombone - Dale Turk
Keys/Laptop/Sound design - Rick Bassett
Hand percussion - Rex Benincasa
Drums - Rob Garcia
Guitar - Richard Nelson
Bass - Ken Filiano

  SOUNDCLOUD link for Makrokosmos Orchestra 



Tim O'Dell:

Composer/Saxophonist Tim O'Dell has released five diverse albums of his original music - including three on Chicago's Southport label - to glowing critical acclaim. “This is the sound of expanding American art” (All About Jazz). O'Dell's forthcoming album features the iconic, late Chicago saxophonist Fred Anderson.


Born in Oregon in 1966 and raised in the Midwest, Tim moved with his wife and sons to Maine in 2001. A profoundly versatile and singular voice, O'Dell has performed, composed and recorded in myriad genres throughout the United States and extensively in Chicago where he works with bassist Tatsu Aoki. In NYC Tim co-leads and composes for the Makrokosmos Orchestra - a unique, 14-member ensemble whose pan-stylistic music showcases the stellar group's prodigious talents. “O’Dell designs hypnotic concepts that capture the imagination”
 (All About Jazz).


A recipient of numerous grants and awards, Tim has also commissioned and premiered saxophone works including Gunther Schuller's Sonata and Andy Laster's Valori Plastic. O'Dell has worked with (among others) Tim Hagans, Danilo Perez, Kevin Norton, Wycliffe Gordon, Louis Bellson, Bill McHenry, Muhal Richard Abrams and the Temptations.


Tim earned a Masters in Jazz Composition from the New England Conservatory and a Doctorate in Saxophone from the University of Iowa. Dr. O'Dell teaches at several Maine colleges/universities and has studied with Jimmy Giuffre, George Garzone, Kenneth Radnofsky, Donald Martin Jenni and George Russell.

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Richard Nelson:

Composer/guitarist Richard Nelson is recognized for his skillful and original integrations of contemporary jazz and classical composition and performance practices. His works have been performed by ensembles such as ALEA III, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Speculum Musicae, and his own Imaginary Ensemble at venues including the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Miller Theater, the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and numerous other U.S. clubs, festivals, and universities. He has received fellowships and awards from the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Charles Ives Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, among others.


As a guitarist, he has performed widely and with many notable figures (including Sheila Jordan, Geri Allen, Mat Maneri, and Taylor Ho-Bynum) at festivals, clubs, colleges and other venues across the U.S. and abroad. Many of these appearances have been with the Boston-based Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, of which he has been a core member for many years.


Richard has released four albums, Deep River, Pursuit, Origin Story and Figurations, as a leader, and he appears as a sideman on many others, including over ten with Aardvark. called him "an ambitious and daring composer," praising his CD Pursuit as "a distinctive synthesis of modern jazz, and contemporary orchestral music."  The Boston Globe calledDeep River, in a recording by the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, "a masterful suite . . . that merges jazz and American folk music." 


Nelson studied composition at Indiana with Donald Erb (Masters degree) and at Columbia with Mario Davidovsky (Doctor of Musical Arts). He was a Visiting Artist at the University of Cape Town in 2004. He is Professor of Music and head of the Sonic Arts and Composition Concentration at the University of Maine at Augusta.