MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music

Transient Canvas takes contemporary music to unexpected places

Transient Canvas should feel right at home when the contemporary music duo shows up in Bowling Green to play a show at the Clazel Monday, Nov. 20. Amy Advocat on bass clarinet and Matt Sharrock on marimba have played all manner of venues, including being featured on a series of concerts at microbreweries in their home-base Boston where brewers concocted a special beer to serve with the music. “One of the things we love about this group is so we’re so mobile,” Advocat said in a recent telephone interview. “We want to reach people in unexpected places.” Transient Canvas will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 20 in a free Music at the Forefront concert presented by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University. On Sunday, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m., the duo will perform in the Toledo Museum of Art’s Great Gallery. Advocat said the programs for the two shows are tailored for the different venues. The museum concert will featured “a thoughtful program, more classically oriented.” On the program “Looking Forward, Looking Back,” the program notes state: “The composers featured … have created something new and fresh by evoking the past, acknowledging their influences without directly emulating them.” At the Clazel, Transient Canvas will turn up the volume, and play a set of electro-acoustic works, that draw on a range of influences including pop and acid rock. All the pieces on both programs have been written expressly for Transient Canvas. Advocat and Sharrock first got…


New Music Festival guest composers embrace the weird & beautiful in their work

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Steve Mackey and Sarah Kirkland Snider came into contemporary music through back doors. A rock musician in the mid-1970s Mackey was majoring in physics as his fall back plan if his rock star dream didn’t come true. Growing up Snider studied cello, piano and attended choir camp in the summer “Music was my favorite thing to do,” she said. That included writing music which she never showed anyone.  When she went to college she studied psychology and sociology and after graduating ended up working for the Center of Reproductive Justice. To fulfill a requirement in college Mackey took a music history class. Thus exposed him to the world of classical music including Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” which he called “his gateway drug” to new music. At the time, music industry types who heard his band were impressed but said the music was “spacey, weird and undanceable.” Well, Stravinsky’s ballet music was also spacey, weird and famously difficult to dance to. Mackey was impressed that in the “Rite” and other classical pieces “all of human experience was distilled into a listening experience. “ With the rock band he was accompanying beer drinking, flirtation, and fending off requests for Doobie Brothers’ covers. Living in New York, Snider was called on by friends to write music for theatrical productions. She was so involved she was being called on the carpet for missing work to compose. She decided to make the transition into music. Since she had not…


Contemporary concert music rocks at BGSU’s New Music Festival

From MIDAMERICAN CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY MUSIC The 38th Annual Bowling Green New Music Festival will  showcase the work of more than 30 guest composers and performers October 18-21. The four-day international festival includes concerts, lectures and an art exhibition. This year’s featured guests include composers Steven Mackey and Sarah Kirkland Snider, guest ensemble Latitude 49, and a special performance by vocalist Shara Nova. Organized by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music (MACCM), the College of Musical Arts and the Fine Arts Center Galleries at BGSU, the festival supports the creation of new work and engages both the University and city communities in the process of music appreciation and awareness. Founded in 1980, the New Music Festival has hosted such notable composers as John Adams, Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Chen Yi, John Corigliano, George Crumb, Philip Glass, John Harbison, Lou Harrison, David Lang, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, Christopher Rouse, Frederic Rzewski, Joseph Schwantner, Bright Sheng, Steven Stucky, Joan Tower, and more than 400 other guest composers and musicians. Most festival events are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule of events, visit festival.bgsu.edu or contact the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at 419-372-2685. Guest Bios: Deemed “one of the decade’s more gifted, up-and- coming modern classical composers” (Pitchfork), composer Sarah Kirkland Snider writes music of direct expression and vivid narrative that has been hailed as “rapturous”(The New York Times), “haunting” (The Los Angeles Times), and “strikingly beautiful” (Time Out New York). With an ear for both the structural and…


Bent Frequency to perform Elainie Lillios composition at BGSU concert

From the BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Innovative saxophone and percussion duo Bent Frequency will perform at Bowling Green State University Sept. 25 as part of the Music at the Forefront concert series sponsored by BGSU’s MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music. The 8 p.m.concert in Bryan Recital Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center is free and open to the public. The duo of percussionist Stuart Gerber and saxophonist Jan Berry Baker will perform “ Hazy Moonlight” by composer Dr. Elainie Lillios, a professor of music composition in the College of Musical Arts. in Lillios received a highly competitive 2016 Barlow Endowment Commission for Music Composition to write a work specifically for Bent Frequency, and has collaborated closely with Gerber and Baker on the piece. (See a story on the commission here.) The duo are known for cutting-edge new music and have commissioned more than 20 works and given numerous performances of this new repertoire across the United States, Mexico and Europe since 2014. The Lillios composition will not be the first Barlow commission to be performed by Bent Frequency, who have also premiered one by composer Mark Engebretson. Their work is international in scope, including commissions from seven American composers and two European composers. In 2015-16 they premiered a composition by Laurent Durupt funded by a grant from the French American Cultural Exchange, along with works by several others. In addition to the work by Lillios, their 2017-18 agenda features commissions by John Liberatore and Zack Browning. Music at the Forefront…


New music tribe gathers for sounds & support at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Kelly Rehearsal Hall was alive with 100 conversations Friday noontime. In two concentric circles composers sat on the outside and performers, producers and presenters on the inside. Each pair locked in conversation, often those inside with headphones had clamped on their ears. Those outside brandishied laptops, or scores. And then at four minute intervals a gong would sound, and those on the inside would shift down to their left. This is New Music Speed Dating, and this the New Music Gathering. The three-day gathering began in Bowling Green State University’s Moore Musical Arts Center the morning of Thursday and will continue until the early morning hours of Sunday (For schedule of events including concerts Friday featuring featured artist percussionist Steven Schick and Saturday at 8 p.m. visit: http://www.newmusicgathering.org/schedule-of-events.html.) Attendees will discuss innovative techniques, musical philosophy, funding, and ways to reach new audiences. About 400 people contemporary music devotees are expected to attend. New Music Speed Dating embodies the spirit of the event, whimsical and a bit theatrical in its construct, yet practical. The event is a signature feature of the Gatherings. This is the third. The first was in San Francisco Conservatory and the second at Peabody Conservatory Baltimore. Coming to Bowling Green, said Danny Felsenfeld, one of the founders, was natural. “This is the first time we went to a school that’s known for being a center of new music,” he said. “That’s why you come to Bowling Green to learn to compose…


Alarm Will Sound to perform “Ten Thousand Birds” in sculpture garden

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Area residents will have the opportunity to experience new music in a new way when acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound gives a special performance of “Ten Thousand Birds,” a work commissioned from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams. The performance will follow the cycle of a day, starting with bird songs heard in the morning, then afternoon, evening, night and returning to morning. The audience is encouraged to walk around to experience the music from multiple perspectives. The performance will begin at dusk (approximately 7 p.m.) April 21 in and around the sculpture gardens at the Toledo Museum of Art. The event is sponsored by Bowling Green State University’s MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music and the Toledo Museum of Art. Both Alarm Will Sound and John Luther Adams have appeared on BGSU’s annual New Music Festival at the College of Musical Arts. Alarm Will Sound is a 20-member band committed to innovative performances and recordings of today’s music. It has established a reputation for performing demanding music with energetic skill. Its performances have been described as “equal parts exuberance, nonchalance, and virtuosity” by the Financial Times of London and as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The New York Times says that Alarm Will Sound is “one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene.” The versatility of Alarm Will Sound allows it to take on music from a wide variety of styles. Its…


Contemporary music is at center stage at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When the New Music Gathering arrives at Bowling Green State University next May 11-13, it will be further confirmation that the College of Musical Arts has become a Midwestern center of contemporary music. That reputation is grounded in the New Music Festival, which started in 1980 and staged every October. The university is also one of only two that offers a doctorate with a specialty in contemporary music. That gives it a foothold with the younger generation of performers, composers and impresarios A series of performances by visiting and resident performers in the past week has demonstrated the extent to which contemporary music has been infused into the culture of the College of Musical Arts. A series of in-house concerts this week further elaborates on the theme. This activity testifies to contemporary music’s place at center stage at BGSU. The opening act for this un-festival was the biggest name, Roomful of Teeth. The voice ensemble arrived Wednesday as the guest artist for the Dorothy E. and DuWayne H. Hansen series. The ensemble has won a Grammy, and its signature piece “Partita for 8 Voices,” composed by one of its members Caroline Shaw, won a Pulitzer. The ensemble was the epitome how the Hansens envisioned for the series. They want to bring inspirational artists to campus to share their skills and artistic philosophies with students and the broader community. The ensemble worked with students on campus and made an appearance at Bowling Green High School,…


Quince’s advocacy for a place in new music for female voices bears fruit

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For three members of Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, the concert on Monday at Bowling Green State University is a homecoming. The ensemble got its start here when three members met. Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, Liz Pearse and Kayleigh Butcher studied with Jane Schoonmaker Rodgers in the College of Musical Arts as graduate students. Carrie Henneman Shaw is the fourth member of the ensemble. Fittingly their concert will be devoted to a single work “Love fail” by David Lang. They met the composer when he visited BGSU as the guest composer at the New Music Festival on campus.in 2011. The free Music on the Forefront concert will be Monday, Feb. 27, in Bryan Recital Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center. The hour-long piece is more than four women singing. They break into duos and trios, said Kayleigh Butcher, and each has a solo. They also are called on to play percussion and she even blows on  a conch shell. “Love fail,” was originally written for the early music group Anonymous 4. Since that venerable ensemble has retired, “we’ve taken up the reins,” Butcher said. The piece with text written by Lydia Davis revisits the myth of doomed lovers Tristan and Isolde. This will be a concert version of the piece, though Quince traveled with Lang to the Kody Festival in Lublin Poland last year to perform a theatrical production. “Love fail” is a haunting, spacious piece full of resonant dissonances and echoes of ancient chant….


BGSU Arts Calendar through Nov. 2

Oct. 19-22 – The 37th annual New Music Festival, a celebration of contemporary arts through concerts, panel discussions, art exhibitions, seminars, master classes and papers, will feature special guests composer Dai Fujikura and Spektral Quartet among more than 30 guest composers and performers. Organized by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music and the BGSU College of Musical Arts, the festival has hosted nearly 400 guest composers and musicians since 1980. Events will take place in the Moore Musical Arts Center and the Clazel Theatre, 127 N. Main St. in downtown Bowling Green. Most events are free. (Schedule and story at: http://bgindependentmedia.org/new-music-festival-showcases-contemporary-music-at-bgsu-oct-19-22/) Oct. 19 – “The Deathworks of May Elizabeth Kramer,” a mixed media installation by The Poyais Group, opens at 7 p.m. in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center. The exhibit, a collaboration with the New Music Festival, is a recreation by the Poyais Group of outsider artist Kranmer’s (1867-1977) private lifework, a tent version of the town where she lived, with each tent representing someone who had died. Discovered by a team of anthropologists after her death but then lost in a fire, the installation was remade by the Poyais Group (Jesse Ball, Thordis Bjornsdottir, Olivia Robinson and Jesse Stiles) based on notes by one of the original anthropologists. The exhibit will be on view through Nov. 21. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.Tuesday–Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Oct. 20 – The International Film Series continues with the 2004 Brazilian…


New Music Festival showcases contemporary music at BGSU, Oct. 19-22

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The 37th Annual Bowling Green New Music Festival will showcase the work of more than 30 guest composers and performers Oct. 19-22. The four-day international festival includes concerts, lectures and an art exhibition. This year’s featured guests include composer Dai Fujikura and the Spektral Quartet (See related stories at: http://bgindependentmedia.org/musical-specters-come-to-life-in-string-quartet-concert-on-campus/ and http://bgindependentmedia.org/music-of-now-intersects-with-classics-in-spektral-quartet-concert/) Organized by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music (MACCM), the College of Musical Arts and the Fine Arts Center Galleries at BGSU, the festival supports the creation of new work and engages both the University and city communities in the process of music appreciation and awareness. Most festival events are free and open to the public. FESTIVAL SCHEDULE Wednesday, Oct. 19 7 p.m., Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery, School of Art Exhibition opening: “The Deathworks of May Elizabeth Kramner,” a mixed media installation by The Poyais Group. Thursday, Oct. 20 1 p.m., Bryan Recital Hall Composer Talk: Dai Fujikura 3pm, Bryan Recital Hall Concert 1: chamber works by Dai Fujikura, Peter Eötvös, Marissa DiPronio, and Chin-Ting Chan. 7:30 p.m., Kobacker Hall Concert 2: Ensemble works by Roger Zare, Takuma Itoh, Dai Fujikura, Christopher Dietz and Jason Eckardt. 9:30 p.m., Clazel Theatre (127 N. Main St., downtown Bowling Green) Concert 3: Works by Dai Fujikura, Anthony Donofrio, Dan VanHassel, Alex Temple, Mario Diaz de Leon, and Matt Marks. Friday, Oct. 21 10:30 a.m., Bryan Recital Hall Concert 4: Chamber works by Steven Stucky, Dai Fujikura, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Girard Kratz, Eliza Brown and Joe Dangerfield. 2:30 p.m., Kobacker…


New music lovers to stage gathering at BGSU next spring

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University will host a new music lovefest a year from now. On Thursday, the New Music Gathering announced it would hold its 2017 event on the BGSU campus, May 11-13. The gathering is expected to attract as many as 500 new music lovers, said Kurt Doles, the director of the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, which is housed in the College of Musical Arts. Among the performances, talks, panel discussions, will be speed dating for performers and composers. The event is described on the website as “an annual three-day conference dedicated to the performance, production, promotion, support and creation of new concert music.” The gathering “aims to be both a conference in the traditional sense but also quite literally a collective place for things to grow, improve, solidify and above all get personal.” Doles attended the first New Music Gathering two years ago hosted by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. “I decided within the first 12 hours I was there that we had to do it . … I doggedly pursued it.” First he needed to secure cooperation from officials at the College of Musical Arts, and then show  the organizers that Bowling Green, set among the farm fields of Northwest Ohio, could handle being host. “It took a little bit of convincing on my part,” Doles said. The first two gatherings were held in San Francisco and Baltimore, and organizers were “leaning toward” putting them in another urban center,…


Music of now intersects with classics in Spektral Quartet concert

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News No matter the venue, the Spektral Quartet can always be found at the intersection of contemporary music and the storied sounds of the string quartet tradition. On Monday at 8 p.m. the Chicago-based string quartet will play a Music at the Forefront Concert, presented by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University. The concert will be in Bryan Recital Hall on the campus. The quartet, said violinist Clara Lyon, is interested in “creative ways of programming traditional repertoire at the same time as being part of the conversation about what’s next.” In some instances that means they will play a string quartet by Beethoven or another classical master on the same program as a newly minted composition. At Bowling Green, however, Spektral Quartet – Lyon and Austin Wulliman, violins, Doyle Armbrust, viola, and Russell Rolen, cello –is performing two contemporary pieces by Hans Thomalla and Beat Furrer. Both composers, Lyon said, are “heavily influenced by what people would call more traditional classical music, western art music of the 19th and 20th centuries. Both have an encyclopedic knowledge of that musical material, borrow from it occasionally and are very aware of their place in that quartet tradition.” Still the sound worlds they create are strikingly different. Thomalla in his Bagatellen, written for Spektral, creates nine short movements out of material culled from classical string quartets. He borrowed what he considered “unremarkable material,” a bit of a viola part from a Haydn…


New music trio Bearthoven rocks to a different beat

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The ClaZel hosted a Music at the Forefront concert Monday night. It might as well have been a rock show. The new music trio Bearthoven vaulted the divide between avant art music and progressive rock. Ditch the expanse of scores on the music stands and the Brooklyn-based trio could perform at a rock festival. Bearthoven – Karl Larson, piano, Pat Swoboda, bass, and Matt Evans, percussion – arrived in Bowling Green (where Larson earned his doctorate) at the tail end of a short Ohio tour. The tour, which included a concert in Columbus, a house concert in Cleveland, and residency at Otterbein College, was to showcase the most recent additions to the trio’s repertoire, three works commissioned by the Johnstone Fund for New Music. Those filled out half the six-piece program. Each set was organized like the side of an LP with a soft, atmospheric soundscape, sandwiched between louder, more rhythmically insistent blasts. Bearthoven’s show opened with Ken Thomson’s aptly titled “Grizzly.” With its antic pulse and reiterated song-of-the-circuitry figures, it evoked a more urban predator. Fjola Evans’ “Shoaling” took listeners to another place altogether. Swoboda’s arco bass summoned the image of a whale rising from an icy sea. The piece opens extremely quietly, builds in tension, and complexity, and volume, then rolls back to near silence. It moves at a near geologic pace. In the end it fades into the silence of the venue’s ventilation and a car whooshing past outside. As if to…


Bearthoven Set to Upend Musical Expectations at ClaZel Show

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bearthoven is not what it seems. First of all, there are no bears. Second, though the name evokes that of a classical composer immortalized in busts that decorate piano teachers’ studios, the trio is not dedicated to playing centuries-old, or even decades-old, music. Third, though the instrumentation, piano, bass and percussion, may call to mind the classic jazz piano trio, this is not a jazz group. The pianist allows he’s not much of a jazz player. Bearthoven is a trio ready to upend expectations, even those it sets for itself. The Brooklyn based trio of Karl Larson, piano, Pat Swoboda, bass, and Matt Evans, percussion, will perform a “Music at the Forefront” concert Monday at 8 p.m. at the ClaZel in downtown Bowling Green. The free concert is sponsored by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University. “Our music is a weird split between very loud and very soft. We have this strange dichotomy of pieces,” Larson said in a recent telephone interview. Some work is akin to rock ‘n’ roll. Other pieces are minimalist, even ethereal. Larson, who received his doctorate in contemporary music from BGSU in 2012, said the members all met through the Bang On A Can Summer Institute in North Adams, Massachusetts. Though they played in different ensembles together, the trio itself first performed in December, 2013. All three live on the same corner in Brooklyn, New York. “We knew we wanted to do this thing, and…


Cosmic sounds of ‘Surface Image’ transform ClaZel

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Pianist Vicky Chow and composer Tristan Perich lifted the roof off the ClaZel Monday night. Together with an ensemble 40 loudspeakers emitting digital signals, they transformed the movie house turned nightclub into cosmic atmosphere, a vision of deep space. And what were those sounds coming from the loudspeakers? Cosmic peepers? Chow performed Perich’s “Surface Image” as part of the Music at the Forefront Series, sponsored by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University. The expansive piece unfolds then folds back onto itself over more than an hour. Chow articulates layers of simple figures, the musical equivalent of haiku, while buzzes, bleeps, clicks provide a counterpoint. Those lines of the counterpoint never meet. The pianist is showered by signals that demand translation; the piano expresses a longing to translate. Yet the electronics remain on another plane, emanating from deep space, heard in a darkened room. Still a mystery. The effect is at once something grand and marvelous, but also lonesome. Chow’s performance was at once virtuosic in its relentlessness. Yet remains intimate and meditative. The music flirts with monotony, and with its subdued colors actually would work well in the background, a suitable soundtrack for that state between wakefulness and sleep. Yet its profundity demands concentration as the figures shift, rise in volume, fade. A simple figure will assert itself in the middle, dropping at odd places over the steady pulse that undergirds the piece. Usually concerts at the ClaZel have…