by Mike Telin
“Like for a lot of ensembles, this season turned out differently than what we had imagined it would be,” No Exit artistic director Timothy Beyer said during a recent telephone conversation. “All of the music we had planned, we couldn’t do. They were all ensemble pieces, and we are not getting together as an ensemble this season, so we had to commission solo pieces on the quick — we needed to find composers who would not only write something good but also deliver it on time.”
On Friday, January 29 at 7:00 pm, No Exit will present “New Year, New Works — a Virtual Concert + Commentary Experience.” The program will feature world premieres by Tyler Adamthwaite, Inga Chinilina, and Jeremy Rapaport-Stein as well as music by Iannis Xenakis and Giancinto Scelsi. The free performance and program book are available on the ensemble’s website and Facebook page.
“Tyler, Inga, and Jeremy are very gifted and wrote some interesting pieces,” Beyer said. “I’m sure that listeners are going to really enjoy what they experience.”
How did No Exit find these young composers, and what about them instilled confidence that they would meet the deadline? “We always keep our ear to the ground when it comes to finding new, young composers. That’s part-in-parcel for what we do. We like to work with people we know — it’s a little bit safer that way — and other times we just hear about them. In this case these are people that our associate director, James Praznik, knew from Brandeis, and he knew them well enough to know they’d do a good job and deliver on time.”
The three were given carte blanche as to what instrument they would write for — “any instrument we have in the group as long as it was solo,” Beyer said. “The pieces are a little longer than we would normally ask for, but under the circumstances we felt that would be okay.”
In his bio, Tyler Adamthwaite says that he writes music that seeks to explore the existential and affective aspects of space through sound. His inspiration often comes from the Japanese aesthetic philosophy of spatial design, giving his music a shadowed quality. He received his MFA at Brandeis University and is currently pursuing his PhD in music composition and theory at SUNY Buffalo.
In an interview with No Exit’s Laura King, Adamthwaite said that Fleeting Remnants of the Severed Wonderland Spoke One Ashen Sylph Who Sang So Fervently to Death (for solo viola) is about transition of focus — from just thinking of music as sound, to thinking about the instrument as a sounding body. “I wanted to highlight the peculiar nature of the viola, which is often raspier and more subdued than a violin or cello. I didn’t use many different sounds in the work — I want the audience to marinate in each of the sound worlds and come to their own determinations.”
Inga Chinilina’s Give Me a Second is for solo violin. Born in Moscow, Chinilina holds a BM in Composition and Performance from Berklee College of Music and an MFA in Theory and Composition from Brandeis University. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Music and Multimedia Composition at Brown University where part of her duties include teaching.
“Transferring knowledge is one of the best feelings, and listening to the students’ works is the best part of teaching,” she told King. “I aim for two goals — the first is to support my students to be true to themselves. I hope that in their creative process, students feel liberated not to follow anyone’s expectations, but instead to pursue creating unique works. The second involves the craft, because beyond any idea, there is the labor and skills needed in order to bring an idea to life. I love when I can explain a concept concisely and effectively.”
Of his There was something that I had wanted to say to you but I didn’t, Rapaport-Stein told King that “the title is the third in a series of quite long ones (titles) I’ve written recently. Anxiety and a kind of ungapatchka sensibility comes through a lot in my music, so the titles are a non-sonic way of trying to capture that feeling — of something messy, fat, perhaps a little chaotic. For this piece, the title is a kind of cheap imitation of the poetry of Lydia Davis. I was reading a book of her essays on writing as I was making the piece.”
Beyer added that Adamthwaite, Chinilina, and Rapaport-Stein are people that No Exit should be working with in any case. “The ensemble has a long history of giving young composers opportunities. We like doing that and needless to say, it is important.”
Published on ClevelandClassical.com January 26, 2021.
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