by Daniel Hathaway
Youngstown State University’s Dana New Music Festival XIX held its ultimate concert at St. Columba Cathedral on Wednesday evening, May 1, featuring new works by faculty, student and community composers, a couple of not-so-new-music selections by French and American composers and several Polish pieces performed by four members of the Sobieski family (left) who had also been featured at a noontime concert at the Butler Institute of American Art. The Festival Orchestra was conducted by composition professor Robert Rollin and other performances featured members of the Dana Composers Ensemble (directed by Gwneth Rollin). The two-hour concert, played without intermission, offered an intriguing buffet of musical styles.
Youngstown composer Richard Zacharias’s All Right, Time to Go, ironically opened the evening with intriguing back-and-forth monologues between violin (Natalie Sahyoun) and piano (Alison Morris) who only later joined in dialogue. Both in the opening work and in Zacharias’s Duo Two (a first performance), the pairs of instrumentalists seemed to be trying to start up a conversation but communication proved difficult. Duo Two was distinguished by strong horn playing from Stephen Klein, with the fine assistance of pianist Maria Fesz. [Read more…]