by Mike Telin
The show must go on! Although the 19th-century phrase was originally associated with circuses, its spirit lives on to this day as performing arts groups across Northeast Ohio and around the world figure out how to bring their shows to the public.
On Friday, October 2 at 7:00 pm, the area’s premier new music ensemble, No Exit, will present the debut performance of their 12th season online. The program will feature William Grant Still’s mystical Seven Traceries (solo piano), Villa-Lobos’ Deux Chôros (violin and piano), Harald Genzmar’s Sonata (solo flute), Adam Roberts’ Bell Threads (solo viola), and the world premiere of Downfall by No Exit percussionist Luke Rinderknecht. Listeners can access the free, pre-recorded concert and download the concert program by visiting the ensemble’s website or Facebook page.
“COVID-19 has forced us all to rethink how we live, work, and go about our lives,” No Exit artistic director Tim Beyer said during a recent telephone conversation. “At the moment, the members don’t feel comfortable playing together as a group, and since I am one to err on the side of safety, that’s where the idea for solo pieces came from.”
Although a program of mostly solo works is a little out of the ordinary, Beyer sees it as the perfect opportunity to showcase each of the ensemble’s musicians. “About mid-summer we commissioned some talented composers to write solo works for all of the members of the group. So as we move forward, we’ll have a healthy supply of new music to present.”
People who are familiar with No Exit concerts know that world premieres often take center stage, and this concert is no exception. “Luke’s piece, Downfall, is very cool. He takes all of these older pieces, like London Bridge Is Falling Down, that refer to the collapse of a bridge or a country or a culture, and creates a collage. He even blows through a conch shell seven times to represent the falling down of the walls of Jericho.”
About the ensemble’s decision to pre-record the concert, Beyer said, “We’ve tried to create something that will resemble what people enjoy about our live, in-person performances. But at the same time we’re trying to do things that are specific to the medium of broadcasting.”
To assure that video and sound quality are as good as possible, each member recorded their performance at home, and those recordings were then taken into post-production. “We’ll also be inserting a lot of other material. For instance, the musicians and composers will talk about their pieces, and those segments have been recorded separately. With so many people in different places, to try to do all of this in a live-stream would have been a recipe for disaster.”
Beyer said that No Exit’s 2020-21 season will encompass at least five concerts, including their annual collaboration with St. Paul-based Zeitgeist on November 13 at 7:00 pm.
The ensemble will also continue to present guest artists. Boston-based marimba and bass clarinet duo Transient Canvas will give a concert on Saturday, October 10 at 7:00 (visit No Exit’s website at the time of the performance).
The event begins their year-long collaboration with No Exit during which the duo and saxophonist Noa Even will work with Northeast Ohio’s student composers. “This is a tough time for college students — a lot of their opportunities have now vanished. So with all that is going to be happening, this will be a pretty full year for us.”
To learn more about No Exit musicians, click here to read interviews conducted by Laura King.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com September 29, 2020.
Click here for a printable copy of this article