ROCHESTER, NY Musica Nova, the Eastman School of Musics new music ensemble, will present its final concert of the season at 8 p.m., Thursday, April 27, in Kilbourn Hall (26 Gibbs St.). The free concert features challenging works by Ligeti, Glass, and Reich three prolific living composers, all of whom are innovators in a genre called minimalism, which stems from the 1960s avant-garde. The concert also features the world premiere of a work by recent Eastman graduate Cenk Ergün.
"All the music in this concert explores ideas of pulse, patterns, and processes," explains conductor Alan Pierson, a graduate student in conducting at Eastman. "Its wonderful to get to present a concert of such uniformly outstanding pieces, each of which seems to comment upon and argue with all the others."
Ligetis Continuum, a work for solo harpsichord, will open the concert. The piece explores the juxtaposition between continuity and the limitations of the harpsichord, which the composer called "the discontinuous instrument par excellence." Ligetis most difficult piece, his Piano Concerto, will be performed as the finale to the program with Chai Wosner as soloist. A Juilliard student, Wosner has already performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. In December he was featured on the "Rising Stars" recital series of the Ravinia Festival in Chicago.
Ergüns piece, untitled, was commissioned for Pierson and Musica Nova and employs eight timpani, eight string players, two pianos, and four trumpets. "Its an amazing and utterly unique piece of music," said Pierson. "Its so rare to see someone so young compose something so individual and distinctive. Were excited about premiering it."
Rounding out the program is Music in Similar Notion by Philip Glass and Music for Large Ensemble by Steve Reich. Reichs piece the sequel to Music for 18 Musicians, which was performed last year by Musica Nova and Pierson while Reich was in residence at Eastman involves 30 players and no conductor. This is the first time the work, which Reich himself considers impractically difficult, has been performed at Eastman.
This concert marks Piersons last at Eastman, as he is completing his masters degree in conducting this May. A student of Bradley Lubman, he also will be receiving a masters in composition from the School.