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



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.

More at


Richard Nelson:

Composer/guitarist Richard Nelson is recognized for his skillful and original integrations of contemporary classical and jazz composition and performance practices. He is co-leader, guitarist, and a principal composer for the Makrokosmos Orchestra, a 15-player, New York-based hybrid jazz/new-music ensemble, with multiple appearances at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn.  His works additionally have been performed by ensembles such as ALEA III, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, and the Portland Piano Trio at venues including the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Miller Theater, the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and numerous other U.S. festivals and universities.  He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Charles Ives Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, and commissions from a number of notable performing ensembles.  As a guitarist, Nelson has performed widely and with many renowned figures at festivals, clubs, colleges and other venues across the U.S. and abroad.


Nelson 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 the Boston-based Aardvark Jazz Orchestra. 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 called Deep River, in a recording by the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, "a masterful suite . . . that merges jazz and American folk music." 


Nelson studied composition at Indiana University with Donald Erb (Masters degree), at Columbia University with Mario Davidovsky (Doctor of Musical Arts), and at the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop with Bob Brookmeyer and Manny Albam.  He was Visiting Artist at the University of Cape Town for the Fall 2004 semester. He is Professor of Music and head of Sonic Arts and Composition studies at the University of Maine at Augusta.

Upcoming Shows


Richard Nelson Imaginary Ensemble

Blue, 650A Congress Street, Portland

The Richard Nelson Imaginary Ensemble

Creative contemporary jazz meets jazz-tinged blues and Americana, featuring vocalist Marcia Gallagher. Alongside guitarist Nelson’s dynamic and exploratory contemporary jazz compositions, expect South African jazz, music by Thelonious Monk, and jazz-tinged takes on blues and Americana classics featuring Maine's outstanding jazz vocalist Marcia Gallagher. The program will include titles from Nelson's latest CD Deep River, on which Gallagher is a featured vocalist.

Featuring: Richard Nelson, guitar Marcia Gallagher, vocals Frank Mauceri, tenor saxophone Peter Herman, guitar Asher Barreras, bass RJ Miller, drums

"Thirst for experimentation . . . pushing of known boundaries . . . appreciation for the time-tested sounds of the tradition. Not your typical guitar date." --Cadence

"('Deep River' is) a masterful suite by composer/guitarist Richard Nelson that merges jazz and American folk music." --Boston Globe