March 27, 2008
Outside the Box music festival opens April 3
CARBONDALE, Ill. — Outside the Box, the second annual Festival of New Music presented by the School of Music at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is one of the especially attractive features of living in or near a University town.
From April 3 through April 16, the University will be a musical magnet, attracting to it Shulamit Ran, acclaimed featured composer, an avant-garde violinist and singer whose musical style shatters categorization, a pianist sought after to interpret the classical repertoire and to help establish new compositions, and a pack of composers for whom modern is more verb than adjective. SIUC musical faculty and students also have a chance to show their unconventional sides as faculty and student ensembles play new music, some of it commissioned just for them. The community also becomes a stage as musical performances come to the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, Fusion and Mélange Coffee House.
Here is a schedule of events for the festival. For more details, log onto www.siu.edu/~music and follow the News link. Events are free unless noted. Special prices apply for senior citizens and students.
Neoteric with special guest John Steinmetz, 7:30 p.m. at Mélange Coffee House (607 S. Illinois Ave., Carbondale), $50 minimum donation
Neoteric is three SIUC music faculty members who have been playing as a group since 2004. This sneak-preview performance offers highlights of the John Steinmetz-commissioned piece the group will premiere the next day, and offers those in attendance a chance to meet the composer. Attendees at this reception also receive a Neoteric CD or an "I Commissioned a Trio" T-shirt with the Neoteric logo. Neoteric is Eric Lenz, cello, Melissa Mackey, bassoon, and Jennifer Presar, horn.
Composers' Forum: John Steinmetz, 10 a.m. in the Choral Rehearsal Room, Altgeld Hall
Steinmetz describes himself as a "bassoonist, composer, writer, satirist and speaker." He is also the composer commissioned to write a new work for Neoteric. The composition was based on audience suggestions about the musical personalities of the three members. Steinmetz is principal bassoon with the Los Angeles Opera, where he also plays, well, just about everywhere else. He is on the "Matrix Revolution" soundtrack and in the chamber groups XTET and Camerata Pacific. He plays dozens of festivals here and abroad. He classifies his compositions as orchestral, solo bassoon, solo winds, solo strings, piano, chamber music, comic and choral.
Neoteric, open rehearsal, 3 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall
Neoteric premiere concert, 7:30 p.m., Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall, tickets are $7.50 general admission, $5 for senior citizens and students
Besides the Steinmetz commission, Steinmetz also plays duets with each Neoteric member. This concert also premieres "Circles, Diamonds and Names" by Tom Hamilton and Bernard Hoffer, inspired by and featuring paintings from Richard Pousette-Dart. This selection includes electronic music with Neoteric. The performance is complete with selections from J. S. Bach.
Fluxisiu, 3 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall
This Fluxus event features percussion magic from SIUC percussionist Ron Coulter accompanied by spoken word performances from SIUC's Department of Speech Communication.
Callisto Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall, tickets are $7.50 general admission, $5 for senior citizens and students.
This performance features guest composer Shulamit Ran. Ran presents a "pre-concert conversation" beginning at 6:45 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall that is free of charge. She is the Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Chicago and artistic director of Contempo, a group of contemporary chamber players. Ran burst onto the music scene when she won the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1991 and followed it up the very next year with he Kennedy Center Friedheim Award. She was Composer-in-Residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1991 through 1997, during which time she premiered her opera, "Between Two Worlds – The Dybbuk." Performances throughout the festival feature her compositions.
The Callisto Ensemble, from Chicago, presents "composer portraits" in their performances. This year, they feature Pulitzer Prize-winner Bernard Rands. A highlight is the cello-violin duals between brother members Julian and Stefan Hersh.
Christopher Allen, guitarist, with SIUC collaborative pianist David Lyons, 3 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall
This performance features music from SIUC's own faculty composers, including classical guitarist Joseph Breznikar, Kathleen Ginther and Frank Stemper,
MengChun Chi, viola, with Leslie Spotz on piano, 7:30 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall
Chi is an assistant professor in the School of Music at SIUC. She features the music of Brahms, Ginther and Rochberg. Spotz is from Tarleton University's Fine Arts faculty.
Composers' Forum: Shulamit Ran, 10 a.m. to noon in the Choral Rehearsal Room, Altgeld Hall
SIUC Percussion Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. in Shryock Auditorium, tickets are $7.50 general admission, $5 for senior citizens and students.
This multi-media performance is a feast for eyes and ears. Ron Coulter directs the SIUC Percussion Ensemble in a performance that includes the SIUC Concert Choir under the direction of Susan Davenport, the Southern Illinois Repertory Dance Theater with choreography by SIUC's Donna Wilson, and video presented by Josh Gumiela, graduate student in mass communication and media arts.
Iva Bittová, violin and vocal concert, 7:30 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall, tickets are $7.50 general admission, $5 for senior citizens and students
Bittová is original even in a festival highlighting originality. A violinist, vocalist and composer of Romani ethnicity, she is considered a treasure of Czech music. She was a guest at Bang on a Can alternative summer music festival in Massachusetts when Out of the Box organizer Kathleen Ginther first saw her. Ginther said she knew she wanted to share Bittová's musical presence with Carbondale. Critics compare Bittová with other music originals such as Diamonda Galas, Meredith Monk and Laurie Anderson. Described as "almost impossible to describe," this is an artist truly outside the box.
Piano workshop with Amy Dissanayake, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Choral Rehearsal Room, Altgeld Hall
Dissanayake is a featured soloist and chamber musician on the MusicNOW series presented by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Considered a leading interpreter of living composers, she is invited to play with ensembles all over the country – including fellow Outside the Box guests, the Callisto Ensemble. The United States Information Agency invited her to tour Africa and South Asia as a United States Artistic Ambassador in 1993. More recently, she is working on the "Tango Project," a CD featuring 22 tangos.
Emerging Composers concert, 7:30 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall
This concert features SIUC student composers. One day these names may be famous: Blessing, Myers, Reardon, Rodig and Owen.
Southern Illinois Civic Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. in Shryock Auditorium
Conducted by SIUC assistant professor, Neoteric member, cellist Eric Lenz.
Southern Illinois Improvisation Series, 9:30 p.m. in the Band/Orchestra Rehearsal Room, Altgeld Hall
Another Ron Coulter project, this exciting improvisational concert features In electriC, and live video feedback from Dreaming Turtle. Coulter promises to turn an ordinary rehearsal room into something completely different.
Amy Dissanayake, 7:30 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall
This concert features music from Berio, Muhly, Nancarrow, Rakowski and Stravinsky. This is a free opportunity to see for yourself why Dissanayake is critically lauded.
Open Dress Rehearsal for Pierrot Lunaire, 10 a.m. to noon in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall
Pierrot Lunaire, 7:30 p.m. Fusion (215 E. Main St., Carbondale) with a Post-Pierrot Party
Presented by the Altgeld Chamber Players and featuring Diane Coloton, mezzo-soprano, this melo-drama of Pierrot in the Moonlight or Moonstruck Pierrot, as it is alternatively known, is based on a series of poems in French by Belgian poet Albert Giraud with music composed by Arnold Schoenberg. The poems sweep along through topic cycles such as love, sex and religion, violence, crime and blasphemy and finally the return home, haunted by the past. The music, likewise, uses different styles to convey the story.
Altgeld Chamber Players, 7:30 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall, tickets are $7.50 general admission, $5 for senior citizens and students.
Switching gears somewhat, this performance features music from contemporary composers, including several SIUC faculty members, Breznikar, Carter, Mandat, Messaien, Sciarrino and Stemper. The ensemble is a flexible instrumentation group of SIUC faculty and outstanding graduate students.
Southern Illinois Chamber Music Society, 3 p.m. at the Carbondale Unitarian Church (105 N. Parrish Lane, Carbondale), tickets are $13 general admission, $2 students
This performance features guest artists, the always-welcome Cavani String Quartet. Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Ambassador Series in Los Angeles, Muziekcentrum De Ijsbreker in Amesterdam and the Festival de L'Epau in France – they've done them all. Leaders in arts education, the quartet is also famous for establishing arts programs and children's concerts. Carbondale residents may remember their help in establishing the John Thomas Strings program that puts violins in the hands of Thomas Elementary School students in Carbondale.
Chicago Composers Consortium, 7:30 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall
This performance features SIUC's own Eric Mandat, clarinetist and visionary modern music composer.
Composers Workshop with the Chicago Composers Consortium, 10 a.m. in the Choral Rehearsal Room, Altgeld Hall
Chicago Composers Consortium, 7:30 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall
The Triple C brings electronic music to the house during this free performance of new music from this eclectic group of Chicago-based composers.
SIUC Chamber Singers, 7:30 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall
This elite group of 16 singers, conducted by Susan Davenport, is fresh back from a hometown tour.
SIUC Jazz Combos, 7:30 p.m. in Shryock Auditorium
This ensemble, under the direction of SIUC's Phil Brown, is where advanced jazz students learn the fine art of jazz improvisation. This concert highlights their best.
This musical festival is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.