nief-norf is a multi-tiered contemporary music organization devoted to fostering creative collaboration among musical interpreters, composers, and scholars. Through performances, commissions, and educational programs, nief-norf cultivates and propagates imaginative musical work.
Formed in 2005, the nief-norf Project was borne from the vision of percussionists Andrew Bliss and Kerry O’Brien, who took the ensemble's name from a descriptor of strange sounds: some say "bleep-blop," they prefer "nief-norf." This onomatopoetic neologism came to stand for any new music that was experimental or unusual. The ensemble officially specializes in all things "norf."
With percussionists at its nucleus, the ensemble seeks opportunities to challenge and expand their ideas about what music is and can be.nief-norf fosters collaboration and communication through its annual Summer Festival and Call for Scores. Since its inception in the summer of 2011, the Summer Festival’s performance and composition seminars have attracted undergraduates, graduates, and professionals from dozens of institutions across the United States and abroad. Each summer these fellows present challenging and boundary-pushing repertoire from the last century, and have premiered works by composers from around the world along the way. In 2012, the organization also launched the Research Summit, an embedded academic conference on special topics surrounding the experimental music tradition. The creation of this summit represented the third pillar for nief-norf, creating annual opportunities for discourse and collaboration between scholars, performers, and composers.