Improvestra was formed in the fall of 2011 by composer/improviser/educator Christopher Cunningham to introduce students to the possibilities of large ensemble improvisation. The group has been performing often in the Twin Cities ever since, with a perpetually expanding roster of experienced professional improvisers from the area, college age musicians, and exceptional high school-aged student improvisers. The group is currently conducted by composer/conductor Adam Conrad.
Improvestra is a unique and powerful new concept in music performance, based entirely on improvised large ensemble music that is guided by "conduction"- the conducting of an ensemble’s improvised performance through an established vocabulary of hand and body symbols and gestures created by the conductor. The term "conduction" was coined by American composer/improviser Butch Morris in the 1980’s, and conducted large improvisations are now regular concert events worldwide— with variations of Mr. Morris' original concepts evolving in many fascinating directions as time goes on. Other veterans of Butch Morris' conductions have started similar groups, such as Wayne Horvitz's Royal Room Collective in Seattle.