Eastman’s Musica Nova Ensemble Brings “Death Metal” Crossover

November 7, 2017

Brad Lubman Conducting Musica Nova

Appeal to Upcoming Concert with Guest Composer

Austrian composer Bernhard Gander, hailed for music that contains crossover appeal to heavy metal and punk rock fans, will be a guest at Eastman School of Music’s Musica Nova for the ensemble’s concert at 8 p.m. Thursday November 9, in Kilbourn Hall.

Born in Lienz, Gander studied at the Tyrolean Provincial Conservatoire, with a focus on musical composition, conducting and piano, and continued to study composition in Graz, Paris, and Zurich.  His compositions have won several awards, including the 2012 Ernst Krenek Prize for melting pot. Gander has been highly influenced by several genres of music, some surprising to classically trained musicians, including heavy metal bands, punk rock, and death metal. The piece being presented by Musica Nova, “Take Death”, is a tour-de-force, played by a large ensemble of 20 players. This blockbuster piece will appeal to several audiences not typically at home with classical music.

“Striking originality, powerful impact, thought-provoking palpability. For this concert, I’ve combined three works that fit those descriptions very well,” shares Director Brad Lubman. “Take Death! is about the sacrificed virgin in Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring:  she comes back to take revenge on all the old men who sacrificed her and (in Gander’s words) this includes Gander himself as well as Igor Stravinsky! Gander’s heavy metal influences give a piece like Take Death! a very palpably loud and intense impact.”

In addition to Gander’s Take Death, Musica Nova will open with Iannis Xenakis’s Phlegra, and the performance will also include Gyorgy Ligeti’s Chamber Concerto. For those unfamiliar with Ligeti, his music was used in two Kubrick movies, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Eyes Wide Shut.

The Eastman Musica Nova Ensemble has been under the direction of Brad Lubman since 1997. Current assistant conductors are Edo Frankel, Mark Powell, and Vicky Shin. The ensemble consistently performs a diverse variety of music by the greatest composers of our time, including Reich, Boulez, Adams, Ligeti, Birtwistle, Rihm, and Haas, in addition to some of the classic works of early 20th century literature by Schoenberg, Webern, and Varèse. Former students from Musica Nova have gone on to become members of some of the most important professional ensembles, like the JACK Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, the MIVOS Quartet, and Ensemble Signal.


About Eastman School of Music: 

The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.

About 900 students are enrolled in Eastman’s Collegiate Division– about 500 undergraduate and 400 graduate students. Students come from almost every state, and approximately 20 per cent are from other countries. They are guided by more than 95 full-time faculty members. Seven Pulitzer Prize winners have taught at Eastman, as have several Grammy Award winners. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 700 concerts to the Rochester community.