Saturday, November 16, 2013

BYU's Group for New Music

Last month was the first time that I went to a performance of BYU's Group for New Music, "an informal, occasional coalition of players who like to play unusual things written by living people." It truly was unusual music and it is so hard to explain, but I really liked it. I came home and looked up the names of the student composers and titles, but couldn't find any videos of them. I'm still working on that because I would love to share them with my son, who is in marching band, concert band, jazz band, percussion ensemble, music theory and music composition right now in high school.

Last night, I went to another of their performances and it was very different than the last one, but still as unusual. The group says that "one of the ensemble’s primary aims: to PROVOKE its members (both performers and those in the audience) to examine and broaden their definition of music." And I would like to pass on that objective, to help any readers I have to see music in a new way.

I actually found two of the pieces from last night online so you get a chance to learn about new music if you don't know about it yet. These two pieces are very different and the others I have heard have been very different from both of these too. This first one is called Entrada, composed by Stephen Scott. It's called a bowed piano technique, where they take the top off of the piano and use the piano like a string instrument. It was fun to see them do us right in front of us, where we stood around the piano, just steps away.

The second piece from last night that I found combines speech and music in an interesting and unique way. The composer, Scott Johnson, was a distinguished guest who spoke to the audience and had worked with the BYU students during his visit. Two of his pieces were performed. I couldn't find a video for the second, but you can hear a sample of it on Amazon and is called "Soliloquy From How It Happens (The Voice Of I.F. Stone)". You can hear samples from many of his other compositions on Scott Johnson's Scott Johnson's composition age.

I have no idea why the person who put the video on YouTube chose this photo for this, but it is the piece we heard with violin, cello, electric guitar, and piano, along with the speech.

So, I'm curious. What do you think about this small taste of New Music? If you want to learn more, the next performance I have found that is scheduled is at BYU's Madsen Hall in the HFAC December 6 at 7:30 and it's FREE.

BYU also has a Group for Experimental Music, that I haven't been to yet. They have a FREE performance this coming Thursday, November 21 7:30 at Madsen Recital Hall in the HFAC.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I am not sure what to make of all that speech going on with the music. It kinda makes it hard to appreciate the music. Sounds more like ramblings.


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