CVNC: Cary Chamber Music and Art Festival: New Music Raleigh

by Karen Moorman

August 9, 2012 – Cary, NC

Imaginative and intrepid, the composers whose works were performed at the Cary Arts Center are young (well, mostly) promising composers. New Music Raleigh brought their works to a receptive, enthusiastic audience at the Cary Arts Center as part of the Cary Cross Currents Chamber Music Arts Festival. The featured composers were Gavin Bryars (b. 1943), Brett William Dietz (b. 1972), Judd Greenstein (b. 1979), Missy Mazzoli (b. 1980) and Tristan Perich (b. 1982).

New Music Raleigh, an ensemble dedicated to presenting challenging new works by living composers, presented five distinctive compositions for combinations of violin and percussion. Some of the pieces involved intricate rhythms that require precision and nerves of steel; others explored the most basic elements of sound — timbre and pitch (Mazzoli’s “Volume”). There were moments of diatonic lyricism and beauty, and Tristan Perich’s 2-channel 1 bit “Momentary Expanse” (2008) stretches our imaginations asking the question ‘what is music?’

Shawn Galvin and Dennis Hoffman opened the performance with Brett William Dietz’ “Street Fight” (2008). A dueling percussion piece, the performers played face-to-face on identical set-up (bongo, cowbell and splash cymbal). Immediately accessible, “Street Fight” was a captivating start. Galvin and Hoffman returned to the stage for Missy Mazzoli’s “Volume” (2006). Written for vibraphone, steel drum, two kick drums and suspended bottles of water, Mazzoli explores timbre, pitch (resonance) and polyrhythms. It’s mesmerizing.

Karen Strittmatter Galvin and Jacqueline Saed Wolborsky performed Gavin Bryars’ Die Letzten Tage (1992). The set of five violin duos were penned for an exhibition in Seville. “Prelude” begins with beautiful folk-like melodies on the G-string that reminded me of the Bartók duos. All similarities end here, however. The melodic lines in the upper registers of the instrument and the arpeggiated figures of the second violin of “Intermezzo I” create a dream-like stasis. Without change in tempo, I felt a gradual sense of urgency as the dynamic level increased and the texture thickened. With gorgeous tone, beautiful phrasing and perceptive communication, Galvin and Wolborsky’s performance was elegant. It is a well-crafted piece, but unlike some of Bryars other work, this one doesn’t break new ground.

The four players took us out on Judd Greenstein’s “III” (2002). Hip-hop inspired, this is a caffeinated, wild-ride-of-a piece commissioned for the Bang on a Can Summer Institute. As the audience testified, the unlikely pairing of violins, vibraphone and drum kit have the power to turn those black splotches on the page into a work of art. It was magical!



Contact:  NMR 202-297-383

New Music Raleigh Part of Winning National Grant to Record 

November 18, 2011 (Raleigh, NC)  - New Music Raleigh (NMR) has been awarded the Composer Assistance Program – Recording (CAP Recording) grant to record the chamber music of composer D. J. Sparr for Centaur RecordsNew Music USA, formerly Meet The Composer and the American Music Center, administers the CAP – Recording program that supports first recordings of new music by living American Composers.  NMR was one of 15 applicants awarded grants.

President and CEO of New Music USA, Ed Harsh, says of this second-year initiative – Recordings are the vital pipeline for new music to reach the people who love it.  We are thrilled to support the realization of these fifteen outstanding projects as they make their way out into the listening world.

New Music Raleigh, Curator, Shawn Galvin, says – We’re grateful for the support of New Music USA and honored to be among the projects selected.  D. J. Sparr is a close friend of NMR, and we look forward to collaborating on the premiere recording of his chamber works.

CAP Recordings intends to enhance composers’ careers by supporting debut recordings of their work.  Composers may apply for funds regarding any stage of the recording or post-productions process.  CAP Recording was created in 2010 to parallel New Music USA’s Composer Assistance Program (CAP).  CAP has awarded project-based grants to composers for costs associated with premiere performances of their work since 1962.  New Music USA will award a third round of CAP Recording grants in 2012 – deadline July 16.

D. J. Sparr is an American composer and guitarist fluent in both classical and vernacular musical styles. He has been named the next Young American Composer-in-Residence with the California Symphony where he will write new orchestral works over a two-year period. Sparr’s music has been commissioned and performed by groups such as the Albany Symphony, the Berkshire Symphony, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Band, the League of Composers’ Orchestra, the Los Angeles “Debut” Orchestra, New Music Detroit, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the University of Washington, the Verge Ensemble, Wet Ink and Yale University. He was awarded the $10,000 grand prize in the orchestra category of the BMG/Williams College National Young Composers Competition. He received BMI Student Composer Awards in 1995 and 2000. Sparr is the composer-in-residence for the Richmond Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement Department (2010-11); and in the summers, he is a faculty member at the Walden School for Musicians.

New Music Raleigh is a collective of dynamic musicians dedicated to presenting outstanding performances of music by living composers. NMR fills a gap in Raleigh’s vibrant music scene, serving as a catalyst for creation and presentation of new music. Whether its through offering works of well established composers, up-and-coming composers, or cross-genre collaborations, NMR creates concert experiences that challenge tradition, engage and inspire diverse audiences, and give voice to today’s most innovative and relevant modern music. Since its founding, NMR has presented music by Steve Reich, John Luther Adams, Missy Mazzoli, Paul Lansky, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Judith Shatin, Belinda Reynolds, and has collaborated with the celebrated indie rock artists, Lost in the Trees and Shara Worden. NMR’s Curators are Karen Strittmatter Galvin and Shawn Galvin.