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Contemporary Music Blooms In New Festival

Music in Bloom Logo

The Music in Bloom logo (Photo courtesy of Music in Bloom)

Clare Longendyke, classical pianist and PhD candidate at the Jacobs School of Music, wants to hear more contemporary classical music in the Bloomington community.

"For a town that has so much culture and so much variety of arts offerings, there is not a whole lot of music by living composers, new music really fresh off the press, that takes place outside of the university and outside of the Jacobs School of music," Longendyke said.

Longendyke decided to organize a new music festival called Music in Bloom that will feature contemporary classical chamber music performed in unexpected venues such as the Bloomington Transit Center and Brown County State Park. The festival will take place between Thursday, May 16 and Saturday May 18 at venues throughout Bloomington and the surrounding area. The first concert will be at 7pm on Thursday, May 16 at First United Church.

"We are subscribing to the idea of taking the music out of the concert hall and bringing it directly to the people," Longendyke said.

The concert at the Bloomington Transit Center will showcase music composed by Chartreuse, a violin, viola and cello trio. Longendyke said the songs are meant to be played in the midst of the hustle and bustle of a bus or train station.

Members of Chartreuse

Members of Chartreuse: Carrie Frey, Myra Hinrichs and Helen Newby. (Photo: Yee Ling Photography)

"The idea of the music in that concert is that it's very active," Longendyke said. "It's very in the moment."

While the Music in Bloom concerts will feature pieces categorized as contemporary classical chamber music, Longendyke said audience members will have the opportunity to discover unexpected musical elements within that genre.

One arrangement, by composer Kerrith Livengood, involves Longendyke putting tinfoil on herself in order to create sounds for the piece. In another work, by composer Emma O'Halloran, a manipulated version of a Spice Girls song will play in the background.

"There are really no limitations," Longendyke said. "My hope, because of that, is that audience members will come in with open minds and be looking for something familiar, but be open to something unfamiliar and that sense of discovery."

In addition to performances at the Bloomington Transit Station and Brown County State Park, Music in Bloom will host an interactive concert with children from the Head Start program in Monroe County.

"We are going to go into these preschool classrooms and guide the kids as they are making pictures and drawing illustrations," Longendyke said. "Then we are going to work with the young composers to assign sounds to the colors, the shapes and the gestures, and then bring those pieces to life through improvised musical works."

Nick Fox, percussionist from the group Altered Sound Duo and collaborator with the Music in Bloom festival, said an important part of the festival is outreach.

Members of Altered Sound Duo

Nick Fox and Chris Murphy of Altered Sound Duo. (Photo:Nick Zoulek)

"I'm thrilled to see we are accomplishing this goal through our variety of venues and programs," Fox said.

Longendyke said Music in Bloom is designed to bring the community together to appreciate and enjoy classical chamber music composed by living composers.

"I like to bring new ideas to life and engage myself in the process of having a musical idea that then blooms into a work," Longendyke said. "I'm wanting to create something for my community to appreciate and enjoy and partake in and learn through, and hopefully it will grow within the community as well."

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