The first week of May, birds returning, frogs chorusing and buds swelling: what better time for new music at Dartmouth?
Not only that, but free new music, involving Dartmouth students and faculty and internationally esteemed visiting artists.
First up is the New Music Festival, on Tuesday, May 2, 7 pm, in the Hop’s Spaulding Auditorium. The concert features two ensembles expert in interpreting new and innovative work: Paris’ luminous Ensemble Itinéraire and New York’s International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) will perform new musical works by three Dartmouth student composers as well as Dartmouth music professor, Pulitzer Prize finalist and Guggenheim Fellow Ashley Fure; and a new work by young American composer Christopher Trapani, who’s won international honors for music that weaves together diverse elements from American roots music and other sources into work is “startlingly original and often breathtaking in its brilliance and audacity,” according to the Chicago Classical Review.
The concert will be presented in a custom-designed and -curated setting, with the audience positioned on the stage alongside the musicians, while the auditorium seating will be filled with an experimental speaker array. The architectural space of the building will form an essential element of several works on the program, as speakers and live digital-audio processing are used to highlight acoustic artifacts inherent in spatial distance, dispersion and resonance.
A light reception following the performance will give audience members the opportunity to discuss their listening experiences and to interact with members of the ensemble.
The concert program will include a performance of Something to Hunt (2014) by Fure, who was recently named a Pulitzer-Prize finalist and Guggenheim Fellow; Trapani’s PolychROME, co-commissioned by l’Itinéraire and Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik; Périodes (1974) by Gérard Grisey; and De l’épaisseur (1998) by Philippe Leroux.
In addition, two new works by Dartmouth Digital Musics masters students—Stefan Maier’s territoires IV and Daniel Miller’s Vela Sierra—will be premiered, featuring Ensemble Itinéraire and speculative explorations of sound, space, material and analog sound synthesis in the form of a “Eurorack” modular; plus a work by music and computer science double major Orestis Lykouropoulos ’17.
Next, on Thursday, May 4 pm, at 5 pm in Glycofi Atrium of the Thayer School of Engineering, composer Molly Herron premieres a new work, Assembly, inspired by engineering concepts shared with her over the course of four previous visits to labs and classrooms of Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, and performed on instruments built by Thayer students. Herron performs with TIGUE percussion and guest vocalists.
The concert wraps up a three-year investigation into the ways in which STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—inspire music, and vice versa. Herron is the third of three young, innovative composers brought to campus through the Hop’s STEM Arts program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Previous phases of the program brought in Fay Wang (2013-14), who worked with Dartmouth’s Department of Biology, and Tristan Perich (2015-16), who worked with the Department of Mathematics. These commissions are part of the Hop’s Mellon Foundation-funded initiative to more broadly engage students in the arts, especially classical music. The initiative has included substantive, multi-campus research that—among other findings—indicates that students more readily engage in the arts when they see the arts’ connection to other academic areas.