by Mike Telin
With so many outstanding conservatories and schools of music located in Northeast Ohio, it was only a matter of time before the area became a new hotbed for contemporary classical music. And why shouldn’t it be? On Sunday, April 12 at 6:00 pm, the most recent addition to this increasingly vibrant scene, The Syndicate for the New Arts, will make its debut with a Launch Party at the BOP STOP. The evening will feature works by Jeffrey Mumford, John Sokol, Geoffrey King, Peter Kramer, Andrew Stock, John Burnett, Jessie Downs and Joshua Rosner. In celebration of the event, the BOP STOP chefs (Scene Magazine award winners for best food truck) will prepare a special menu to accompany the concert.
“I see the evening as an opportunity to meet and learn from the people who actually made the music,” Syndicate executive director and composer Joshua Rosner said during a telephone conversation. “The launch is really about getting all of the composers and performers together with the audience, and making the event as interactive as possible. After the concert we’ll open things up for a huge party so that everyone will have the chance to get to know each other.”
Formed at Oberlin College and Conservatory, The Syndicate for the New Arts is committed to championing the works of living composers, especially those who are based in the Rust Belt. However, the inspiration for the group can be traced back to a summer that Rosner spent working for the New York City-based Wet Ink Ensemble. “During my time at Oberlin I realized that contemporary music was something that was really important to me, something I enjoyed and admired,” Rosner recalled. “I really just wanted to how groups like Wet Ink that I respected so much were making it all work.”
With financial assistance from Oberlin’s Creativity and Leadership Grants, Rosner received internship fellowship money which allowed him to go to New York and work for Wet Ink. That turned out to be a life-changing experience. “What I discovered is that New York is a great city for the arts, but it has a high cost of living and there are very few opportunities available in comparison to the number of artists who live there.”
However, that experience didn’t dampen Rosner’s desire to become a contributing member of the contemporary music scene. “I started looking at cities like Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and of course Cleveland, where I eventually ended up. I think Cleveland and the Rust Belt in general is perfectly situated to be a hub for contemporary culture in this country. So I started the ensemble with some Oberlin colleagues with the idea of trying to champion artists in Northeast Ohio. And to show other cities what incredible talent and great performance venues the area has.”
Rosner said they chose the group’s name, The Syndicate for the New Arts, specifically because it is open-ended. “Even though we are a group of musicians and composers, so much art that is being created today goes so far beyond classification or involves mixed media, that we wanted to keep things open for the future.”
Although Rosner is a founder, he quickly gives credit to his Oberlin colleagues Ben Roidl-Ward and Caitlin Mehrtens, who he said have played a crucial role in getting the group ready to launch. “Oberlin’s Creativity and Leadership program has been really helpful. We also participated in “Launch U,” the College’s incubator program. They’re also funding a Web developer to build an interactive website for the ensemble. This way people all over the world can be made aware of all the incredible things that are happening right here in Northeast Ohio.”
Sunday’s Program will include:
John Sokol’s Vermillion, performed by Max Bessesen (saxophone) and Ben Rempel (drumset).
Jeffrey Mumford’s Three Short Duos for Violin and Harp performed by
Caitlin Mehrtens (harp) and Rebecca Telford-Marx (violin).
Geoffrey King’s Buckley Songs with texts by poet Logan Buckley performed by Ann Sauter (sporano) and John Etsell (piano).
Peter Kramer’s Lucet Aurora for violin and viola performed by Tara Lynn Ramsey (violin) and Andrew Stock (viola).
Andrew Stock’s new work for solo viola performed by the composer.
John Burnett’s Astria for oboe and electronics performed by Burnett and Tim Daniels (oboe).
Joshua Rosner’s Sindoor – a trio for bassoon, trombone, and electric guitar performed by Ben Roidl-Ward (bassoon) Zachary Warren (trombone) and Joshua Rosner (electric guitar).
The Syndicate for the New Arts will also collaborate with Flor Veinte Collective, a music collective committed to spreading the work of female, trans* and gender nonconforming performers to present Jessie Downs’ Variations for solo piano performed by Geoffrey King.
Regina Larre Campuzano designed the poster for this event. Both Campuzano and Downs are members of Flor Veinte.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com April 7, 2015.
Click here for a printable copy of this article