The heartbeat of new music

BGSU is a leader in contemporary music

 

By: Liz Cope

Pop, rock, country, alt country, classical, jazz ... today's music can usually be classified by genre. But what exactly is "contemporary" or "new" music?

Defying musical definition, contemporary music composers often write pieces for classical instruments but take advantage of the technological advancements of today, creating sounds that can both emotionally move and challenge audience perceptions of what music can and should be.

New music is also currently enjoying a resurgence driven by younger composers and younger audiences looking for something new, said Kurt Doles, director of the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music (MACCM) at Bowling Green State University.

For more than 40 years, BGSU's College of Musical Arts has been at the leading edge of new music. As home to MACCM, an award-winning organization devoted to the study and promotion of contemporary music and technology, the University has been an active and prolific contributor to the national and international new music scene.

Faculty and graduate students from the University's renowned contemporary music program will be taking that musical style from the Midwest to the Big Apple when they perform on April 3 at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City's Greenwich Village, presenting a program of varied and challenging new music. The music club is a venue for both nontraditional music and interactive media, which often go together.

The New York performance is a continuation of BGSU's tradition. The program will include works by composers such as Sebastian Currier, Iannis Xenakis, Jon Christopher Nelson, Leroux, Jonathan Harvey, BGSU faculty composer Christopher Dietz and BGSU alumna Jennifer Higdon, winner of Pulitzer and Grammy awards. The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m.

"The mix we're bringing is a broad range of music that showcases the versatility of the genre and the strength of the performers," Doles said. "We have a good mix of both accessible and challenging works."

Creating and performing new music requires a distinct musical skill set - the technical and creative demands are beyond typical classical music. In many ways, it is tied to the indie-rock movement, and while there has always been a small but loyal audience, the people finding it now are a younger, thoughtful, educated crowd interested in something unique, Doles said.

BGSU has developed one of the top programs in the country. Along with MACMM, Bowling Green maintains a robust composition program, a vibrant new-music-focused Doctor of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music curriculum, and hosts the annual Bowling Green New Music Festival, now in its 34th year, which has brought some of the leading lights of the new music world to campus. The New York performance represents the beginning of a greater outreach for the program.

Tickets to the show are $10, and are available at Le Poisson Rouge's box office website, http://www.lepoissonrouge.com. LPR is located at 158 Bleecker St., on the site of the former Village Gate nightclub.

For more information, contact the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at 419-372-2685.