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Jacobs School Preview: New Music Ensemble

The IU New Music Ensemble under Don Freund will perform music of Welcher, Travers, Cage and Kingsland.

An ensemble of saxophones, strings and other instruments perform on stage

Photo: Indiana University

The IU New Music Ensemble in performance

Event Information

New Music Ensemble

Music by Welcher, Travers, Cage, and Kingsland.

Auer Hall, 200 S. Jordan Ave

Thursday, March 7, 8 pm

Free admission

The IU New Music Ensemble brings a diverse program of contemporary works to Auer Hall on Thursday under the direction of Professor of Music Don Freund.

The concert will open with Dan Welcher’s Dante Dances (1995) for clarinet and chamber ensemble, conducted by the composer and featuring clarinetist and Professor of Music Howard Klug. Dante Dances is a suite in seven movements, six of which are characteristic and historc dances. After an introduction titled “The Gates of Hell,” Welcher offers a Tango, Charleston, Polka, and Gymnopédie, a Scottish dance and a Tarantella. The dances are dedicated to various characters, from Charon and Cerberus to Ulysses and Gianni Schicchi.

Next on the program is a premiere from composer and Assistant Professor of Music Aaron Travers. Titus Groan is a horn concertino with chamber ensemble accompaniment. Travers was educated at Oberlin College and the Eastman School of Music, and his teachers include Augusta Read Thomas, Chris Rouse, and Sydney Hodkinson.

The concert will continue with two works by John Cage, Fourteen  (1990) and Theatre Piece (1960). Fourteen is scored for prepared piano and chamber ensemble. Rather than playing the keys of the piano, the performer bows the strings using a rosin coated length of fishing line. The ensemble parts are largely independent of one another and of the soloist, and silence is as important as sound in performing the work.

Theatre Piece  employs indeterminacy, one of Cage’s best known techniques for expanding the possibilities of music in live performance. In this case, performers undertake a series of actions that are predetermined by the composer, but the timing varies from one performance to another. In the composer’s instructions to performers, Cage stated that “Each performer is who he is (e.g. performing musician, dancer, singer) but he is also performing a piece of theatrical music.”

The final work on the program is this year’s winner of the Georgina Joshi Composition Commission Award, Dans l’espoir de ce jour by Chappell Kingsland. Kingsland is a doctoral student at the IU Jacobs School of Music. The work, for voice and chamber orchestra, is a setting of a poem by Leopold Sedar Senghor. Tenor Reuben Walker will be joined by conductor Roger Kalia in this performance.

New Music Ensemble concerts offer the opportunity to hear works by both up and coming and established composers of contemporary music. For anyone who appreciates hearing new music, these events are not to be missed.

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