New Music New College will celebrate its 15th year with a five-concert series featuring artists who have resonated with past audiences, and with an expanded set of opportunities to meet and converse with the musicians.
“For our 15th anniversary season, we’ve chosen to deepen the conversation with artists who have made an especially strong impact here in recent years,” said Stephen Miles, director of New Music New College and provost of New College of Florida.
As in past years, there will be a free “artist conversation” on the Thursday before each performance. This year, New Music New College is adding a “pre-concert talk,” a 20-minute conversation with the artists that will explore the themes and context of the work.
The series opens Friday, Sept. 20, with the NOW Ensemble, which blends classical and electric instruments in a modern take on chamber music. The group will perform original pieces by several composers, including its guitarist Mark Dancigers, visiting assistant professor of music at New College. Joining NOW for the world premiere of Dancigers’ “Dreamfall” will be Fuzión Dance Artists, led by Leymis Bolaños-Wilmott.
The series continues Saturday, Nov. 16, with Francis Schwartz and Friends, featuring soprano Isabelle Ganz. The concert will feature a world premiere of Schwartz’s “Shady Intercontinental Songs” and compositions by Pauline Oliveros, John Cage and Eduardo Kusnir. Appearing with Schwartz and Ganz will be New College students and Sarasota Orchestra principal bassist John Miller.
The Saturday, Jan. 18, performance of Ugly Beauties brings back pianist Marilyn Lerner, whose solo improvisational performance “Dreamwork” was a highlight of last season’s series. Joining Lerner are two renowned performers, cellist Matt Brubeck and percussionist Nick Fraser.
This year’s outdoor show will be on Saturday, March 15, with the DIY Ensemble. Mark Dancigers, visiting professor of music, will lead New College students in a performance of original works on acoustic and electronic instruments that the students have built or transformed as part of an independent study project.
The series concludes Saturday, April 19, with Miranda Cuckson and Christopher Burns. They will perform Luigi Nona’s “La Iontananza nostalgica utopica futura,” a major work in musical modernism. Their recording of the work was named one of the top classical recordings of 2012 by The New York Times.
New Music New College also includes two events that are free and open to the public:
- Sunday, April 27 – The Student Composers Concert, with the Sarasota Piano Quartet
- Thursday, May 8 – Electronic Music Class Concert
In a related event, New Music New College is collaborating with The Ringling by providing a choral ensemble for “Music of the Sun” by ETHEL, a New York-based string quartet, and Robert Mirabal, a Native American composer and flutist. The performance will be Feb. 20-22 at the Historic Asolo Theater at Ringling. Admission is $30 for the public, $25 for Ringling members; tickets are not included in the New Music New College concert series package.
The collaboration with The Ringling is a reminder of the origins of New Music New College, which began in 1998 in response to a challenge by the museum.
The Ringling was hosting a major exhibition of works by Joseph Beuys, and invited the College to explore the connection between Beuys and the music of John Cage. Musicians performed Cage’s “Song Books” while following independent courses through the galleries. The next year, the museum and College collaborated again, with musicians performing Pauline Oliveros’ “Sonic Mediations” near and even inside an exhibition of installation art.
“Looking back on those first performances, the foundational principles of New Music New College can be seen,” Miles said. “Experimental performance creates the opportunity for dialogue; new music comes alive when presented in the appropriate performance space; short and intense performances have maximum impact, and the conversation is richer when it involves the community as well as students, faculty and staff.”
New Music New College Performances take place either at the Mildred Sainer Music and Arts Pavilion/Caples Fine Arts Complex, 5313 Bay Shore Road (adjacent to the Ringling Museum) or at the Harry Sudakoff Conference Center, 5845 General Dougher Place, on New College’s Pei Campus (east of Tamiami Trail).
Subscriptions for the five-concert series are priced at $60. Single tickets are $15 for the general public, $5 for non-New College students, and free to the New College community. Reservations are can be made online at donate.ncf.edu/events, or by calling 941-487-4888. More information is available at newmusicnewcollege.org, or facebook.com/newmusicnewcollege.
New Music New College is a program of New College of Florida, the state’s honors college and a national leader in the liberal arts and sciences. It is funded in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development tax revenues. This year’s season sponsors are ABC-7, Hyatt Place, WSMR-FM 89.1, the Herald-Tribune Media Group and Nellie’s Deli, Market and Catering.
NEW MUSIC NEW COLLEGE SEASON SCHEDULE/CALENDAR LISTINGS
FIVE CONCERT SUBSCRIPTION SERIES ($60)
NOW Ensemble with Fuzión Dance Artists
NOW Ensemble is a captivating, NYC-based group of composers and performers from diverse musical backgrounds. The group combines their varied musical influences, classical training, and appreciation for topical musical genres such as pop and indie rock, to bring a fresh sound and perspective to chamber music. The ensemble, who has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, plays a variety of instruments: clarinet, flute, electric guitar, piano and double bass.
For this performance, NOW will perform original compositions by Judd Greenstein, Sarah Kirkland Snider, John Supko, and Mark Dancigers, now a visiting assistant professor of music at New College. Joining NOW for the world premiere of Danciger’s Dreamfall will be Fuzión Dance Artists, led by Leymis Bolaños-Wilmott.
Francis Schwartz and Friends
Featuring renowned singer Isabelle Ganz
Composer and polyartist Francis Schwartz is known internationally for compositions that explore the boundary of music and theater, engaging the senses and inviting the participation of the public. He has written works for some of the world’s most outstanding artists and ensembles, including Andres Segovia, Gary Karr, Pierre-Yves Artaud, Thomas Bacon, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Saint Louis Brass Quintet, The New Juilliard Ensemble, among many others.
In addition to compositions by Schwartz and his friends Pauline Oliveros, John Cage, and Eduardo Kusnir, this special performance will feature a world premiere of Schwartz’s “Shady Intercontinental Songs,” a work dealing with global communication as mediated by technology. Joining Maestro Schwartz will be New College students, Sarasota Orchestra Principal Bassist John Miller, the distinguished soprano Isabelle Ganz, and (via Skype from Puerto Rico) the ALEA 21 Ensemble.
With pianist Marilyn Lerner, cellist Matt Brubeck and drummer Nick Fraser
Pianist Marilyn Lerner, cellist Matt Brubeck, and drummer Nick Fraser bring together their impressive range of musical styles and talents to form the dynamic trio Ugly Beauties. The group is best known for their ability to weave together a variety of sounds and techniques, from jazz to modern classical music, experimental improvisation to fine-tuned melody.
Marilyn Lerner’s solo performance of improvisation, “Dreamwork,” was a highlight of NMNC’s 2012–13 season, inviting listeners to be present in the moment—in the music, in the performance space, in psychic space. Lerner returns to NMNC with two distinguished colleagues, cellist Matthew Brubeck and percussionist Nick Fraser, for structured improvisation on an even deeper level. The trio of Lerner, Brubeck, Frasier—Ugly Beauties—will lead us back into the dreamspace of improvisation. Come to the surprisingly intimate space of our improvised Club Sudakoff and lose yourself in the moment.
The DIY Ensemble Concert
Composer and electric guitarist Mark Dancigers is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at New College and Managing Director and guitarist for NOW Ensemble. His music has been described by the New York Times as “entrancing” and “rich in beguiling timbres,” and by The Classical Review as “fresh and vibrant.” Dancigers’ orchestral performances have included the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and the New York Youth Symphony, although much of his musical output is for NOW Ensemble. Dancigers’ teaching interests include analysis of the 20th Century Music, music and gesture, composition, and electronic music.
Mark Dancigers will lead a group of New College students in an odyssey during the January Interterm, where they will build, modify, and/or transform instruments, then use them in new musical works. The results will be heard at this concert, outdoors in the open, welcoming space of the PepsiCo Arcade. Expect sounds ranging from purely electronic to organically acoustic, and get a close look at (and possibly hands-on experience with) the creations of the DIY (for Do It Yourself) Ensemble.
Miranda Cuckson, violin, and Christopher Burns, electronics
Performing Luigi Nono’s La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura
Miranda Cuckson, a violin soloist and chamber musician, has emerged as one of new music’s great explorers. She brings imagination, insight, and formidable technique to music, ranging from Bach to today’s most adventurous composers, and has been described by the New York Times as “a brilliant young performer who plays daunting contemporary music with insight, honesty, and temperament.” To date, Cuckson has recorded seven much-lauded solo CDs: concertos by Korngold and Ponce, a two-CD set of the violin music of Ralph Shapey, violin works by Donald Martino, Ross Lee Finney and Michael Hersch, and Luigi Nono’s “La lontanaza nostalgica utopica futura.”
Christopher Burns is a composer, improviser, and multimedia artist, best known for his ability to weave together disparate media, from sound to animation, into a unified experience. Burns is also known for his improvisation software designs, which have influenced contemporary electronic and acoustic music.
For the final concert of the 2013–14 season, Cuckson will perform Luigi Nono’s La lotananza nostalgica utopica futura, one of the last major works by this influential figure of musical modernism. The title may be translated conceptually as: the past reflected in the present (nostalgica) brings about a creative utopia (utopica), the desire for what is known becomes a vehicle for what will be possible (futura) through the medium of distance. La lontananza includes some pre-recorded material by the great violinist Gidon Kramer, so the subtitle is “Madrigal for several ‘travelers’ with Gidon Kremer, solo violin, 8 magnetic tapes, and 8 to 10 music stands.” Joining Cuckson for this performance will be composer Christopher Burns, who has won praise for his skillful realization of Nono’s electronic design. The Cuckson/Burns recording of La lontananza was named one of the top classical recordings of 2012 by the New York Times.
FREE COMMUNITY EVENTS
Artist Conversation with NOW Ensemble
Want to see the creative process at work? Mark Dancigers and Leymis Bolaños-Wilmott discuss the development of Danciger’s Dreamfall—how it draws on the specific talents of NOW Ensemble and Fuzión Dance Artists, and the spatial possibilities of New College’s Sainer Music and Arts Pavilion.
Artist Conversation with Francis Schwartz
What’s “shady” about Schwartz’s new work, “Shady Intercontinental Songs?” Why does Schwartz insist on involving the public actively in musical performance? The fascinating Francis Schwartz leads the discussion.
Artist Conversation with Ugly Beauties
How much of our lives is improvised? How can we welcome the opportunities to listen closely to others and create together? Explore these questions, musically and in conversation, with Ugly Beauties.
Artist Conversation with Mark Dancigers and New College students
Does building new instruments require rethinking music? Join Mark Dancigers and New College students as they discuss the DIY project.
Artist Conversation with Miranda Cuckson and Christopher Burns
What do politics have to do with modern music? Luigi Nono’s music offers the point of departure for this conversation with Miranda Cuckson and Christopher Burns.
Student Composers Concert
Sarasota Piano Quartet
Electronic Music Class Concert
Final student projects