MUSICA NOVA TAKES MINIMALISM TO THE MAX IN SEASON FINALE

April 12, 2000

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Eastman Office of Communications, 585-274-1050

ROCHESTER, NY – Musica Nova, the Eastman School of Music’s 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 1960’s 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. "It’s 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."

Ligeti’s 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." Ligeti’s 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.

Ergün’s piece, untitled, was commissioned for Pierson and Musica Nova and employs eight timpani, eight string players, two pianos, and four trumpets. "It’s an amazing and utterly unique piece of music," said Pierson. "It’s so rare to see someone so young compose something so individual and distinctive. We’re excited about premiering it."

Rounding out the program is Music in Similar Notion by Philip Glass and Music for Large Ensemble by Steve Reich. Reich’s 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 Pierson’s last at Eastman, as he is completing his master’s degree in conducting this May. A student of Bradley Lubman, he also will be receiving a master’s in composition from the School.

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