Posts Tagged “Midwest”

The University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) proudly hosted last weekend’s meeting of the MidWest Composers Symposium, a consortium currently made up of the composition departments from CCM, Indiana University and the Universities of Iowa and Michigan.

The Symposium dates back to the 1960s, and, according to University of Michigan Professor of Composition Evan Chambers, arose dually from the prevailing sentiment that American contemporary music was not respected globally and the fact that, at that time, it was exceptionally challenging for student composers to get their works performed. “Each of the [charter] schools was known for different kinds of composition,” Professor Chambers explained in a phone interview, “there was no other way to find out what was happening between these institutions.”

Because I was unable to attend last weekend’s festival, I checked in with the event’s student co-director Jennifer Jolley, a current doctoral candidate in composition at CCM. Jennifer received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and then took time off to teach, perform and accompany in Vermont. She began studying at CCM in 2007 and organized this year’s MidWest Composers Symposium with fellow graduate composition student Angelique Poteat.

S21: What were the greatest organization challenges you faced in pulling together this year’s MidWest Composers Symposium?

CCM is unfortunately on the quarter system, which meant that our classes started on September 22; therefore we only had a month to plan everything. Angelique Poteat (my co-director) and I gave our composers two weeks to assemble their pieces and performers, and that left us a mere two weeks to put everything together. We couldn’t figure out the concert order until CCM submitted their contribution, and we wanted to give the new CCM students a chance to submit a piece for the symposium.

S21: At its founding, each member of the MidWest Composers Symposium possessed unique musical tendencies; for example, the University of Iowa was know for preferring experimental compositional techniques. Do similar musical identities still exist from one member institution to another? If so, what were the weekend’s most remarkable examples of this diversity?

I believe they do, although this year UI did not submit as many electronic/experimental pieces as they have in the past! In fact, Angelique Poteat’s “Cyclic Complement” for bass clarinet and fixed format (CCM), Melody Eötvös‘s “Die hohle Höhle” for 5.1 surround playback (IU), Jerod Sommerfeldt‘s video “Linear” used sounds constructed in Pd (CCM), and Zach Zubow‘s “Fugitive Yellow Shirt” for violin and electronics (UI) were highlights from the experimental end; Mr. Zubow’s piece being one of the few electronic submissions from UI.

On this note, I believe CCM likes to take subtle risks in their music (Paul Schuette‘s “Complete Fragments” was installed in the lobby of Werner Recital Hall, for example), UM’s Daugherty influence makes their pieces agressive (David Biedenbender‘s “you’ve been talking in your sleep” and William Zuckerman‘s “Ajax” come to mind), and IU writes conservative but solid, well-constructed pieces (like Timothy Miller‘s “Sketches on Scars.”)

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Victoire, a Brooklyn based quintet of female alt-classical performers, is currently doing a mini tour in the Midwest to support the impending September release of their album Cathedral City on New Amsterdam. Matt Marks and Mellissa Hughes are taking their show on the road, performing selections from Matt’s opera Little Death Vol. 1.

Missy Mazzoli and company have been kind enough to allow us to share the title track from the LP on File Under ?’s Tumblr here. The track combines vocalizing courtesy of Missy with skittering glitchy percussion and a somewhat jazzy harmonic background. Kind of like Julee Cruise meets BoaC on Steely Dan’s patio, sharing drinks with Matmos

Missy Mazzoli tours the Midwest


Victoire with Matt Marks & Mellissa Hughes,Brian Harnetty, and The Wet Darlings
Sun., Aug. 8, 8pm, $10 adv./$12 door
BoMA
583 E. Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43215

Victoire
Mon., Aug. 9, 6:30pm, Free
The Dusk Variations Series
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park
N. Michigan Ave. & E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60602

Victoire with Pantree Owl
Tues., Aug. 10, 8pm, $5, 18+
The Bishop
123 S. Walnut St.
Bloomington, IN 47404

Victoire with Matt Marks & Mellissa Hughes & Lord Scrummage,
Wed., Aug. 11, 8:30pm, $5, all ages
The Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID)
5141 Rosa Parks Blvd
Detroit, MI 48208

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