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Annual Festival To Feature New, ‘Inspired’ Music

April 4, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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The Sam Houston State University School of Music will highlight music created in the 21st century during the 52nd annual Contemporary Music Festival beginning Thursday (April 10) in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center.

musicians wearing black and red smiling at the camera
A duo from Bent Frequency will be the special guest for this year's Contemporary Music Festival.

The festival will include a series of master classes and concerts featuring SHSU performers and this year’s guest artists Bent Frequency.

"The Contemporary Music Festival at SHSU has a history of including high-quality original music, performers and composers who are forging new paths in the world of musical creativity," said Kyle Kindred, associate professor of music theory and composition. "Our festival not only provides a place for these relevant performances but a forum for audiences to challenge their own perspectives about what music composition is or can be."

On Thursday (April 10), the Ars Perpetua student group will present new music, in a variety of genres, composed and performed by SHSU students for a recital at 7:30 p.m. in the GPAC Recital Hall.

During the concert, the Phi Mu Alpha Fisher Tull Student Composition Award will be presented to one of the compositions performed on the program and College Park High School senior Alexendra Byrnes will be as the winner of the Texas Emerging Composers Competition hosted by SHSU this spring.

Her solo piano work, “Toccata,” will be performed by Kindred.

On Friday, Bent Frequency Duo of Jan Baker and Stuart Gerber, as well as guest artist Allen Otte, will present a master class with SHSU students from 10 a.m. to noon in the GPAC Recital Hall.

During the interactive class, the Bent Frequency Duo will perform a short work that will be featured on Friday evening’s program, while Otte and SHSU director of percussion studies John Lane will speak about their work “The Innocents,” which will be featured on the Saturday evening concert.

SHSU student performers and composers also will have their creations and performances critiqued by the guest artists.

On Friday, faculty composers and guests will showcase electronic and acoustic works during a 4:30 p.m. performance in the GPAC Recital Hall.

The Faculty New Music Recital also will include University of Texas at San Antonio composition faculty member Ethan Wickman, whose “Mirage” for electric guitar will be performed by SHSU theory instructor Jeremy Grall playing electric guitar, as pre-composed electronic sounds play in the background, and two works by SHSU’s technical coordinator and audio engineer Joseph Patrick.

“Dreams, Day or Night…?” is an electronic work that will be played with no live performers and Patrick’s solo piano work “Between Dreams and Reality” will feature SHSU faculty pianist James Cho, according to Kindred.

That evening, Bent Frequency will perform world premiers of five pieces for their saxophone and percussion duo, as well as works by seven American composers, at 7:30 p.m. in the GPAC Concert Hall.

"The Bent Frequency Duo Project recently commisioned 10 new works for saxophone and percussion duo, five of which will be receive their first worldwide performances in Huntsville one single concert," Kindred said. "They are touring the U.S. performing these works this spring and will bring this music to Germany next month.

"It is a rare chance to get to see such raw and innovative music being performed by the artists for whom it was composed," he said.

Finally, on Saturday, the Contemporary Music Festival will wind down with a multidisciplinary presentation, “Social Justice and Music,” at 7:30 p.m. in the GPAC Concert Hall.

The program will include panelists such as wrongly imprisoned Anthony Graves, The Innocence Project founder Jeff Blackburn, SHSU criminal justice professor Dennis Longmire and Texas Tribune managing editor Brandi Grissom, who will talk about issues related to social justice, in combination with a series of performances inspired by those issues. The panel will be moderated by Fox 26 news anchor Don Teague.

A meet-and-greet with the panelists will precede the concert at 6:30 p.m. in the GPAC Lobby.

"The 'Justice In Music' focus this year brings into question not just the controversy of wrongful convictions but, for each participant, how music can affect the feelings, lives and minds of people who actively work to effect change in policies and laws tied to social justice," Kindred said.

Bent Frequency is a professional contemporary chamber music ensemble based in Atlanta, Ga.

Founded in 2003, the group brings the avant-garde music tradition to life through adventurous programming, the promotion of new music, and a creative synthesis of music and media.

All CMF events are free and open to the public.

For more information, call the School of Music at 936.294.1360.



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