Eager to push the boundaries of their traditional classical studies, five Juilliard students (Caroline Bembia, Stephanie Kwak, Chi Wei Lo, Christian Lundqvist, and Sebastian Zinca) joined forces to create an ensemble centered around improvisation. Since their formation, The Illustrators have enjoyed playing a number of recitals, taking the same pieces on different journeys with every performance.
The Illustrators' music, while completely improvised, is based on structures the group creates together during the rehearsal process. Some of the pieces are completely original - usually based on the conception of an individual group member and later expanded by the group - while others are "illustrations" on preexisting works.
The unique instrumentation of the group offers an enormous array of colors. The impressionistic sound of the flute and harp provide a sharp contrast to the modern sounds of mixed percussion, piano, and synthesizer, while the full ensemble, rounded out by the low end of the double bass, provides the lush sound and versatility of a miniature orchestra.