Rama Gottfried

   Co-director and composer Rama Jesse Gottfried (b. 1977) comes from a family with a long history of involvement in the arts: spanning from his great-granduncle, Earl Moss (the head arranger for Radio City Music Hall 1932-1952, notably arranging for Gershwin a ballet score for a performance there, as well as vocal arrangements for Bing Crosby and the original Cotton Club with Ethel Waters), to his great-grandmother, Alberta Boutyette (artistic director at Lord & Taylor in the 50s and 60s) who gave the young Andy Warhol his first gallery show. He also includes: Circus performers (acrobats and musicians), a schizophrenic Irish-American abstract-expressionist painter, an early American clarinet playing clergyman, Jewish Viennese Wagner haters, master interior decorators, rock guitar players, and posthumously Romanian dancing gypsies in his blood composite. As a performer, Rama has studied the guitar extensively. First beginning under the influence of his father, with the Beatles, Steely Dan and the Grateful Dead, he then became absorbed in the works of the mid-late periods of John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and the telepathic group organizations of improvisers such as Phish and later William Parker, Bill Frisell and Dave Douglas among others.
   As a young student, Rama also studied Indian percussion instruments (Tabalas, Murdungum) and the melodic, Bhajani style harmonium.
   In 1999, Rama graduated from the Music Theory department at the University of Vermont with a major in Composition, where he learned how species counterpoint works, and was exposed to new music with composer T.L. Read (Francis Cook, Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble).
In his last years at UVM and a few years following, Rama had an important mentor in his musical life, composer/jazz pianist Ernest Stires (b.1926). With Stires (Cousin of Samuel Barber, Grandson of Met alumni Louis Homer, student of Francis Cook and Nicolas Slonimsky), Rama studied the techniques of "intervallic" and what he calls "atonal-tonal" writing, as well as holistic world history and the scores of Barber and Prokofeiv.
   In September of 2001, Rama moved to NYC and began studies at NYU in the Jazz Performance department. Soon after beginning at NYU, and perhaps due in part to the catastrophic changes in his world and life, Rama became disillusioned with his jazz studies and upon reflection of his personal goals and the meaning of art in the modern world, decided to leave the jazz department and turn back to his love of orchestral composition.
   Currently he is living in the east village working on his piano and exploring the connections between musical and physical gesture, the subconscious and improvisation forms.