Young composers featured in annual local music showcase
For The Review, Tidings
In the sixth iteration of its highly anticipated annual concert event, Locally Sourced Sounds, Fear No Music showcases a kaleidoscopic array of new music from composers with strong ties to Oregon.
Locally Sourced Sounds VI will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, at the Old Church Concert Hall, 1422 S.W. 11th Ave., Portland.
Online presale tickets are $10 each for students and seniors and $20 general admission (fearnomusic.org); or $15 for students and seniors and $25 general admission at the door.
The 2020 installment of Locally Sourced Sounds features music from young composers specifically.
Millennials face unnecessary injustices passed down through decisions made by prior generations (such as the student loan debt crisis, higher incarceration rates for noncriminal activity and the effects of climate change), but are often the most passionate and active organizers around restorative justice, offering fresh solutions to decades of accumulated problems. The concert highlights their talent and unique voice.
The program includes:
n Jake Safirstein, Sonata for viola and piano. A former student of Fear No Music Artistic Director Kenji Bunch, Safirstein is in his first year at The Julliard School studying composition.
He wrote this piece for Bunch a few years ago, exploring the use of traditional classical forms in a contemporary American context, while presenting the viola as a virtuosic instrument.
n Li Tao, "Gu Yan Er (A Little Wild Goose)" for soprano, bass clarinet and cello. A graduate of the University of Oregon, Tao uses ancient Chinese ideology combined with contemporary Western techniques to create her own distinct musical language.
Chinese traditional culture profoundly influences her music, and she maintains a deep interest in the inner connections between composer, performer and instrument. "Gu Yan Er" is a setting of a poem by 11th century Chinese poet Li Qingzhao.
n Nicholas Emerson, the world premiere of "Piano Trio. Portland-born composer and sound engineer Emerson is deeply rooted in the Pacific Northwest through his Nez Perce heritage and family on the Colville Reservation.
A student of composition and music production at Portland State University, Emerson recalls his prior experiences working as a combat medic for the U.S. Navy through his powerful emotional piano trio.
n Kirsten Volness, "Year Without a Summer" for clarinet, marimba and fixed media. Volness is a visiting composition professor for Reed College and Fear No Music welcomes her to the Portland new music community. This work draws inspiration from nature, as well as from current social and environmental issues.
n Allen Skirvin, "Sanguine" for viola and piano. Originally from the forests of Clatskankie, violist and composer Skirvin hails from a logging family and among other unique abilities, grew up a champion logroller.
Currently studying at Boise State, Skirvin offers this short, beautiful work for viola and piano that Bunch is excited to bring to Fear No Music audiences.
n Jennifer Wright, "X Chromosome" for mixed ensemble. Longtime Portlander Wright is an active member of the new music community. Her compelling work often involves theatrical elements and a sense of humor.
Originally scored for five toy pianos, "X Chromosome" utilizes a flexible instrumentation which lends itself to toy piano, violin, clarinet, soprano and marimba in this context.
"Invited by my charming friend Dan to be the token female composer on an all-male concert, naturally I decided to contribute a piece entitled 'X Chromosome,'" Wright said.
"I was intrigued by the X and its suggestions of intersection and the synchronicity of chance meetings ... at a crossroads of intention, whim and chance, the energy of this piece emerges as individual lines phase in and out of the texture — overlapping, causing unintended interactions, and possibly lining up with one another occasionally — like children on playground swings."
Fear No Music will pay homage to the region's foodie culture by way of a complimentary reception following the performance, featuring samples from local food and beverage vendors.
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