School of Music Hosts Contemporary Music Festival

UT’s School of Music is hosting its first contemporary music festival October 22–24.

The event is a celebration of contemporary music, which includes a number of stylistic trends that have developed over the past thirty to forty years. It will spotlight both chamber ensemble and electronic music.

The festival will include workshops, lectures, master classes, and performances by featured guest artists. All events are free and open to the public.

“We are honored to not only be able to host this remarkable event, but also that we have such esteemed guests joining us during the festival,” said Brendan McConville, an associate professor of music theory and composition and one of the organizers of the event.

Featured guests performing at the event include Composer-in-Residence Marc Mellits, electro-acoustical performer Joo Won Park, and Terminus Ensemble, an ensemble from Atlanta that focuses on promoting new music. UT’s Contemporary Music Ensemble also will be performing.

A highlight of the festival will be a performance of “Music for 18 Musicians,” a work of musical minimalism composed by Pulitzer Prize–winning minimalist Steve Reich in the mid-1970s. UT’s Electroacoustic Ensemble also will be performing.

“Music for 18 Musicians” was performed almost exclusively by Reich’s own group, Steve Reich and Musicians, for two decades after its premiere in 1976. There was no score, and Reich had written the parts specifically for his players’ strengths. A full score of the piece was written by composer Marc Mellits and was first performed in 1997, then published in 2000.

“Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians’ has become a staple of contemporary music literature. Because of its length and scope it is performed somewhat rarely, so this is a huge opportunity to experience this work live with the individual [Mellits] who worked with Reich to assemble the score,” said Andrew Sigler, a lecturer of music composition who helped organize the event.

UT Contemporary Music Ensemble Director Andrew Bliss said, “It has been a real joy leading the students through Reich’s masterwork ‘Music for 18 Musicians.’ The piece requires performing forces from the vocal, strings, woodwinds, piano, and percussion areas, and it has been a wonderful collaboration for us all.”

Here is the schedule of events for the festival:

Thursday, October 22 — Marc Mellits Portrait Concert performed by the UT Contemporary Music Ensemble at 8:00 p.m. in the Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall in the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center. The concert will feature a variety of Mellits’ chamber works from the past decade.

Friday, October 23 — Terminus Ensemble Concert, 12:20 p.m. in the Percussion Studio, Room 133, Natalie L. Haslam Music Center.

Friday, October 23 — Joo Won Park, featuring members of the UT Electroacoustic Ensemble, 9:00 p.m., the Black Box Theatre in the Emporium, 100 South Gay St. Sponsored by Casa Hola.

Saturday, October 24—Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” performed by the UT Contemporary Music Ensemble, 8:00 p.m., James R. Cox Auditorium of Alumni Memorial Building.

CONTACT:

Amy Blakely (865-974-5037, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu)

Brendan McConville (865-974-7546, bmcconvi@utk.edu)