New Music for the 21st Century
March 27, 2015
New Music for the 21st Century
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New Music for the 21st Century
Berlioz Belles

The Berlioz Belles

Symphonie fantastique’s final movement, Songe d’une nuit de sabbat, is almost never performed as written because Berlioz called for an enormous pair of bells: 18' and 24' in diameter for the C and G bells, respectively. And getting them to toll required the services of 14 percussionists, each of whom needed a special insurance policy rider due to the peril involved in playing the instruments. But on August 8, 1998, the Dinklaker Community College Orchestra mounted a performance of the piece that indeed used those big bells. Making the production work were “the Berlioz Belles,” members of the college’s campanology club seen here in rehearsal. Regrettably, when the conductor cued their page 108 entrance, the Belles in their enthusiasm yanked the rope too hard. Both bells broke away from their housing and plummeted onto the instrumentalists who were unluckily seated beneath them, proving that the piece’s ending cannot be successfully performed without violas, trombones, oboes, and harps.

David Gunn

For 10½ years, David Gunn co-hosted the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award-winning radio show, Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar. The show is archived at Gunn's own website,, contains numerous recordings and scores of his compositions. Gunn is also a writer and humorist, and examples of both can also be found on his website. He lives simultaneously in Barre, Vermont.

New Music for the 21st Century
Andrew White

Ones, Twos & Threes

February 8 Composer’s Voice Concert Review
By Jack Crager

The February 8 Composer’s Voice Concert at Jan Hus Church is a tour-de-force of intimate performances, showing the magic that can be brewed up by solo, duet, and trio combinations of distinctive voices. Curated by composer and pianist David Wolfson, the concert features an eclectic group of musicians on vocals, piano, cello, saxophone, tuba — and various and sundry sound effects.

For the Composer's Voice trademark Fifteen Minutes of Fame, Andrew White serves as curator and performer, using a combination of his rich baritone voice and experimental noises to demonstrate the synergy between music and poetry. This begins with the first piece, “For I am Persuaded” by Christopher Wicks, in which a piercing bell punctuates a melodious reading of the Biblical passage of Romans 8:38. The intellectual bent continues with Casey Rule’s “At Stratford-Upon-Avon,” set to a poem by Thomas Bailey Aldrich consecrating Shakespeare’s gravesite, and José Jesus de Azevedo Souza’s “Symphony of the Sea,” drawing on a poem by Alwye and incorporating dramatic handclaps and soaring wind noises. Michael McFerron’s “Ceremony” adds a mysterious ringing bowl and otherworldly chants to the mix. George Brandon’s “Brief Glimpses of Mystery, No. 4: Drunk All the Time” shifts things into an existentialist ramble, while Amanda McCullough’s “The Clock Strikes One The Just Struck Two” adds a ringing tone made by a finger on the edge of a wine glass, set to a somber poem by Emily Dickinson. Later a sense of levity arrives in David Bohn’s “Private Song,” an interplay of foot-stomps and hand-claps over nonsense “zoom-zigga-zoo” scatting; and Juan María Solare’s “Your Check is in the Mail” playfully turns that phrase into a series of puns. Doug Davis’s “Desire” draws on a philosophical treatise by Mabel Collins, while Stephen Stanziano’s “Psalm 23” emotionally conveys the famous “Lord is My Shepard” psalm. David Wolfson’s “Epoxy Margaret” rolls the title phrase off the tongue in approximately three dozen playful ways; this gives way to the meditative “Serenade” by Arthur Gottschalk. Closing out the set is Jonathan B. McNair’s “Oh Karma, Dharma, Pudding and Pie,” in which Philip Appleman’s humorous poem gets a lively foot-stomp-and-hand-clap rendition. By the time Andrew White delivers the final punchline, “Teach the believers how to think,” it’s clear that this set has done just that.

In Liza Sobel’s “Five Vignettes for Cello and Piano (I-III, V),” curator David Wolfson plays piano, accompanied by Laura Bontrager on cello. Starting with mournful cello melodies punctuated by ice-pick plunks on the piano, the first segment segues into resonant piano figures offset by squiggly cello lines. Part two features a lively interplay between the two voices, the deep cello tones against staccato high piano chords, and the pace picks up even faster in part three, with the pair trading complex arpeggios and melodic flurries. They then shift into a section with the cello lightly plucked against trinkling piano notes; a seeming sense of chaos gives way to a controlled to-and-fro; and a vigorous flourish of descending scales bring the suite to a dramatic end.

For his own composition, “Angels Unawares,” Wolfson hands over the stage to Gregg Rossetti on classical guitar, Diana Golden on cello, and Martha Sullivan singing soprano. Here the operatic vocals soar over nimble guitar-picking, underpinned by bass lines on the cello. With moods varying from pensive to hopeful, the piece builds into a swelling crescendo that fills the high-ceiling space of the Jan Hus church, eventually settling on an soothing set of long notes with major-chord resolution.

The next piece, “Serenade for Cello and Piano” by Gregg Rossetti, brings back the duo of Laura Bontranger on cello and David Wolfson on piano. Starting quietly with emphasis on the cello’s deeply rich tones, the piece builds into a brisk conversation between the voices, a lively exchange of back-and-forth arpeggios and counterpoints, accented by brief tracts with the pair in unison, one of which abruptly flows into a resonant ending.

Now it’s time to bring out the big gun — a tuba played by Wes Krygsman — for the aptly titled “Three Pieces for Low Brass,” by Chris Opperman. The first of these, “The Queen of Hearts,” is an uptempo, classical-sounding vignette featuring loud-soft dynamics in repeated motifs. The second piece, “Echoes of a Dark, Still Night,” is more pensive, with high-range long notes held to the point of distorted edges and crescendoes and diminuendos adding a mysterious touch like apparitions in a dream, leading to an inevitable sounding low-note blast ending. Part three, “Chicken Feet,” marks a lively return to the loud-soft repeats of motifs, with challenging octave jumps within irregular phrases. This tuba set demonstrates howt, just like a string bass, a so-called “side-instrument” in an ensemble can fully run the gamut both sonically and emotionally.

The afternoon’s finale is “Curse for Saxophones,” composed by Margaret Sullivan, who sings soprano. She’s accompanied by saxophonists Gregg Rossetti and David Wozniak. Sullivan begins by explaining that part of the inspiration for the piece is the phrase, “I want to do violent things to you because you insulted my poetry.” Her vocals are duly impassioned, the operatic lines offset by the avant-garde duetting of the saxes, featuring jazz harmonics, divergent dynamics, and synchronized rhythm patterns. The punchy sax parts are leavened by the emotionally soaring vocals as the trio builds to a climactic finish — to the piece, and to the concert.


Jack Crager is a New York City–based journalist who writes about music, visual arts, fitness, and other subjects ( He regularly contributes concert reviews to NM421.

New Music for the 21st Century
The Fresno State New Music Ensemble

March 28, 2015
Saturday at 2:00pm

On March 28, 2015 at 2:00pm the Brand Associates will present the 3rd concert in it’s annual music series. In conjunction with the Brand Library Art Galleries exhibition life100, the FRESNO STATE NEW MUSIC ENSEMBLE presents a concert dedicated to the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide featuring works by living Armenian composers from around the world. Co-sponsored by the Brand Associates, the Armenian General Benevolent Union and the Armenian General Benevolent Union Pasadena Glendale Chapter.

The pieces on the program will include works by Tigran Mansurian, Anna Aidinian, Artur Avanesov, Steven Aprahamian, Eve Beglarian, Charles Amirkhanian, and Joseph Bohigian.

Admission is free and a reception will follow the concert.

The Fresno State New Music Ensemble is a student-run chamber ensemble at CSU Fresno dedicated to the performance and promotion of music by living composers. The ensemble presents at least one concert each semester at CSU Fresno, in addition to other performances around the state.

The performance will feature the work of a wide variety of living Armenian composers from around the world, in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in April 2015. In addition, New Music Ensemble percussionist and composer Joseph Bohigian has written a new piece commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide which was premiered by the ensemble at its March 9th concert in Fresno, California and will receive a repeat performance on March 28th. The concert will also feature the winner of the New Music Ensemble’s Call for Scores by Armenian Composers, Steven Aprahamian.

Founded in early 2014 by student performers dedicated to the performance of new music, the Fresno State New Music Ensemble is in its second season. Works are chosen from a wide range of contemporary composers and performed by musicians devoted to promoting their work. The ensemble is made up of some of the top performers in the Fresno State Music Department, including percussionist Joseph Bohigian, cellist Aimee Dockum, violinist Lianna Stuart, clarinetist Katie Winter, trombonist Andrew Watkins, flutist Cassandra Barnes, guitarist Morgan Phillips, and pianist Nathaniel Musso.

Brand Library & Art Center is located in northwestern Glendale at 1601 W. Mountain Street. Hours are Tuesday and Thursday, 12-8 pm; Wednesday, 12-6 pm; and Friday and Saturday, 10- 5 pm. Admission to galleries and reception is free and open to the public. There is ample free parking. Call 818-548-2051 for additional information.

For more innformation visit:

Fresno State New Music Ensemble
Brand Associates Music Series
Saturday, March 28th at 2:00 pm
Brand Library & Art Center
1601 W Mountain St
Glendale, California 91201
Free admission
For more information, contact Blair Whittington at (818) 548-2026 or

New Music for the 21st Century

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New Music for the 21st Century
60x60 Dance Mix

Selections for:
60x60 Dance Louisiana Mix

Vox Novus is proud to announce the selections for the 60x60 Louisiana Mix to be performed by the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts Dance Department.

Vox Novus and Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts Dance Department are delighted to collaborate on a special edition of 60x60 focused on Louisiana. Curator Lisa Benner selected 60 compositions to be played continuously in a one-hour live dance concert featuring original choreography by Audra Allen, J Lillian Gray and LSMSA dance composition students. Performances are Friday, April 10th at 7pm, Saturday April 11th at 4pm and 7pm. Minimum suggested donation: $7. Because of the structure of the concert, there will be no late seating and no intermission.

60x60 is a one-hour-long show made by sequencing 60 pre-recorded pieces of music by 60 different composers. Each piece a minute in length or shorter. 60x60 has been presented in many performance formats including TV shows, radio shows, multimedia and multidisciplinary events, as well as published several albums of works. Since 2003, 60x60 has received thousands of submissions from over 30 countries. Highlighting the work of a great many artists and composers, 60x60 testifies to the vibrancy of contemporary composition by presenting a diverse array of styles, aesthetics, and techniques being used today.

Established by the Louisiana state legislature in 1982, Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) belongs to an expanding group of state-supported, residential high schools founded to serve the academic, artistic, and creative needs of many of the state's best students.

About Vox Novus
Vox Novus is new music production and promotion company. Its mission is to cultivate a music community and make new music readily available to the greater public. Vox Novus accomplishes this mission through its concert programs: 60x60, Composer's Voice concert series, Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame, and Circuit Bridges. To empower the community of new music Vox Novus make available web tools to better sccomplish the promtion of new music such as: Composers' Site, Music Avatar, NM421, and other resources.

Composers selected for the 60x60 Louisiana Mix:

Jesse Allison, Darrel Andrews, Al Benner, Rainer Berger, Kari Besharse, Justin Blackburn, Lasey Blain, Katarina Boudreaux, Luke Brouillette, Robert Caponi , Chin Ting Chan, Jay Derderian, Maronidis Dimitris, John Dorhauer, Alex Dudley, Massimo Fragala, Stelios Giannoulakis, Josh Goldman, Brian Wilbur Grundstrom, Doriam Ham, Hasse Hamalainen, Reem Hassan, Hannah Hayes, Danny Holmes, Yoko Honda, Charles Jowett, Michiko Kawagoe, Jessica Keys,, Emil Khoury, Panayiotis Kokoras, Vivek Koshti, Jed Larson, James Leach, Hoyong Lee, Anthony Manfredonia, Steve Moshier, Peter Motttram, Charles Nichols, Norberto Oldrini, Ryan Olivier, Cezary Ostrowski, Ivonne Paredes, Matt Petty, Mark Phillips, Ariel Pierre, William Price, Quaternin, Lucy Rhymes, Phillip Schuessler, Julian Scordato, Aurelio Scotto, Silvia Simons, Sirc, Jana Skarecky, David Jason Snow, Samuel Stokes, Luca Vanneschi, Clauida Wall, Patricia Walsh, Blair Whittington, DaeYoung Yoon, and David Zheng

You can find more on the program page listed here:

New Music for the 21st Century

Music Avatar


Music Avatar is a great new way to upload works for composer opportunities hassle free! You will be able to submit, update, and modify your submission all the way up to the deadline date of the opportunity.

New Music for the 21st Century
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