Degenerate Art Ensemble

Degenerate Art Ensemble


DAE is a laboratory of sound and vision. A band and performance company, the multi-faceted performers brew strong, hallucinatory poisons : music, dance and theater - exploding the boundaries of art. DAE serves its infectious mix in music clubs, galleries, theaters, festivals and the streets.


A group that through boundary shattering music and dance transforms traditional genres into multi-dimensional explosive and expressive works. This hard-edged, delicate and complex visual music and dance performance company has earned rave reviews throughout the US and Europe. A performance company that reflects our multi-faceted and multi dimensional culture.

DAE’s work ranges from full theatrical stage productions to intimate concerts, always invading all of the senses and the depths of the imagination

DAE is known to morph and transform – a dance company, punk/jazz band, a 45 piece orchestra - the group never losing its ability to electrify an audience and create experiences that bring audiences to new territories of perception. At its core DAE’s key artists are constantly in a state of invention and re-invention – always guided by a strong unified creative vision.

Degenerate Art Ensemble harnesses the forces of visionary dancer/choreographer Haruko Nishimura and a team of collaborating composers – creating music intensive dance theater and intensely visual music performance.

All of DAE’s dance theater works, from small chamber versions, to full main-stage productions, are performed with rich live music scores – the musicians fully visually and theatrically into the works. Many of DAE’s works are available in both chamber and main stage versions.

The group has performed over 500 shows in 10 countries and explored such a variety of formats as music, dance, theater, film scoring, recording, sculpture, painting and performance art. One of the expressed goals of the group is to “explode the boundaries of art”, and explode them it has, constantly seeking to challenge and renew itself and its audience to create a never-before felt experience at each performance. This extremely versatile group includes dancer/choreographer Haruko Nishimura, drawing from Butoh and European theatre traditions to create “breathtakingly powerful images using the sparest movement style” (Seattle P-I), and a troupe of extraordinarily gifted musicians and composers working together to make sure the “lines between classical, jazz, world music and hard rock aesthetics are obliterated in the eloquently executed, high-energy repertoire.” (San Francisco Weekly) The DAE has held performances at such venues as On The Boards (Seattle), The Moore Theater (Seattle), Bumbershoot (Seattle), the Crocodile Café (Seattle), Orph Theater (Berlin), Archa Theater (Prague), Teatr 2. Strefa (Warsaw), Theater Yugen (San Francisco), KUD France Preseren (Ljubljana), and the streets of Seattle. 2005 has been an exciting year! The group performed a concert of 10 new world premieres by Northwest Composers to an audience of 1,200 at Seattle’s Moore Theater, taken a month long tour of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany with the support of Arts International, and is premiering a set of new music commissioned by Meet The Composer in New York at John Zorn’s new club “The Stone”, and is in preparation for the premiere of their new dance work Cuckoo Crow which will open at the Moore Theater in Seattle in March of 2006.


This is DAE’s NEWEST album! The second of the 10 member big band garage orchestra albums with Haruko Nishimura on vocals. This was the music performed on DAE’s 2003-2004 Europe Tour.s

Lookoaway Popeye 2003
This was DAE’s first album of the big band garage orchestra with Haruko on vocals. This album represents the first group of recording by DAE’s 10 piece jazz/punk orchestra.

Rinko 2001
Rinko was composed for a DAE dance work. Super gorgeous feast of eerie, complex, textured, taiko drums, microtonal violins, rich driving strings, haunting melodies – virtuosically played – created for Haruko Nishimura’s apocalyptic choreographed vision of a small girl amongst mutants in a dying world. This is not for the weak of heart – for serious sonic adventurists.

Scream!Liondogs 1999
A dance/theater work created in 1999 in memory of a slain Asian American youth by Skinheads. This album is super diverse, from Henry Threadgill-ish grooving jazz big band, to Japanese shamisen and space guitar and driving circus thrash.

Razor Stitch 1998
Tiny alien choruses, wailing cocoon hatchlings, intense atmospheric acoustics – all created for a DAE dance work that told the story of creatures hatching in a laboratory and being subjected to scientific tests and endless tribulations. This album features a lot of really unique sounds and is DAE’s most ambient and moody.

This was DAE’s film score to Fritz Lang’s 1926 silent film classic Metropolis. Written for 17 piece big band / orchestra, it is filled with bursting mechanical explosions, dramatic suspense, heart breaking melodies, exotic cocktail parties and skeleton executioners – all played by an exuberant orchestra.

The Young Composers Collective 1995
Degenerate Art Ensemble was founded in 1993 under the name of The Young Composers Collective, a 17 piece orchestra. This CD is filled with creepy film like pieces, insane big band romps, funky orchestral junk band and energetic quirky new classical chamber music.

Set List

DAE performs all original music. Sounds include punk-jazz, rock, rhythmic modern classical, acoustic ambiance and other influences. Our sets are intense and usually don't run much more than one hour.