by Mike Telin
On Saturday, April 9 at 8:00 pm at the Bop Stop, The Syndicate for the New Arts will continue their season with a triple bill evening that highlights the diversity of today’s contemporary classical music scene.
The evening will kick off with Costa Rica-born composer Julio Zúñiga’s 24 (2014) performed by Syndicate members Ben Rempel (percussion), Caitlin Mehrtens (harp), and Austin Lewellen (contrabass). The Syndicate set will also include Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Particles (2007) — a duo for harp and percussion performed by Rempel and Mehrtens.
The evening will continue with the duo Patchwork, Noa Even (saxophone) and Stephen Klunk (drum set), performing Axamer Folio (2015), a new commissioned work by pianist, composer, educator, and former Ohio resident Eric Wubbels.
In his composer notes Wubbels explains that Axamer Folio is “a modular network of 25 pieces for saxophone and drum set, with no pre-set order, form, or duration. The individual pieces (which include duos, solos, and duos that can be separated and combined with other pieces) project a small number of musical objects in an extremely diverse range of performative and notational contexts, from rigorously specified to indeterminate, graphic, and text scores; from tightly synchronized duo music to phasing loops, list structures, and free improvisation.”
The duo’s set will also include Cincinnati-based composer Nate May’s Fun With Teeth (2015), which the composer describes as “death metal wrapped in a pink ribbon.”
The evening’s third set will feature trumpet player and improviser/composer Peter Evans performing a solo set of improvised music that defies categorization. After graduating from the Oberlin Conservatory with a degree in classical trumpet in 2003, Evans moved to New York and quickly established a reputation as a versatile musician who comfortably taps into the traditions of free jazz, contemporary classical, and electroacoustic music. “I’ve been doing this solo improvised stuff for about fifteen years now,” Evans said during a recent interview. “It’s always changing, and that’s exciting to me. It’s been a couple months since I did a solo concert so I’m looking forward to the Bop Stop performance.”
Evans is a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and Wet Ink. His busy career has found him collaborating with a range of figures in modern music, including Weasel Walter, Evan Parker, Matana Roberts, Tyshawn Sorey, John Zorn, Mary Halvorson, Peter Brotzmann, Aaron Burnett, Okkyung Lee, and Nate Wooley. He has premiered works by Brian Ferneyhough, George Lewis, Eric Wubbels, Anthony Braxton, and Barry Guy. In 2014 Evans served as Artist-in-Residence at the Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, NY.
Evans said that his performance on Saturday will be similar to some that he did during his Issue Project Room residency (watch a video here). “The music can be different depending on the venue’s acoustics. And the concert structure can also change: sometimes it’s a sequence of shorter pieces, and other times it can be a really long unbroken improvisation like the one on the video. Once I get there, I’ll talk to Josh Rosner and the other players and get a feel for the space, and we’ll decide in the moment.”
Evans is a musician who is always experimenting, eyeing where the next level of experimental music will take him. “Once you’ve started doing it for a long enough period of time, you can’t just put it away when things become difficult,” he said. “You keep unpeeling layers of the music. There are periods where I feel like I’m getting stale, so I go to the woodshed and discover new things. It’s like a loop that goes on and on and on.”
When asked about the sudden explosion in experimental music, Evans said it’s exciting that younger musicians are more eclectic, more diverse, and more comfortable moving between all musical styles. “Every batch of musicians is doing more and more stuff, which doesn’t mean it’s always better, it’s just that the available options are greater — and that’s really exciting. I play with a lot of older musicians — very futuristic-minded players who I’ve been very lucky to get to work with — who I think were waiting for this moment to happen. And now they’re regularly playing with people who are 40 or 50 years younger than themselves.”
The evening will conclude with a collective performance of Pauline Oliveros’ Thirteen Changes.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com April 5, 2016.
Click here for a printable copy of this article