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Classical 101

New Music in Columbus: RhythmFest and ‘California Mavericks’

Colin Currie
Marco Borggreve

Watch out, Columbus, our new music scene is pretty hot right now.

On the heels of Denison’s fabulous TUTTI Festival, Capital University and the Johnstone Fund for New Music will be presenting quite the line-up of events next week.

Capital’s Conservatory of Music is preparing for RhythmFest March 17-27 with New Music at the Short North presenting the ‘California Mavericks’ program on March 25.

What an opportunity it is for Columbus to host six concerts, two public masterclasses, and at least three U.S. premieres over the course of ten days. Artists such as Elizabeth Chang, Colin Currie, and Benjamin Ramirez will be joining forces with local musicians to perform works that are simply necessary for any avid listener.

As if all of this is not enough, the Columbus Museum of Art will be joining the melee with an exhibit featuring works of art paired with recordings. I am always an advocate for marrying visual art with music that fits its genre, historical context, and artists’ perspective. Professor Robert Breithaupt curated the collection’s musical annotations with the title: “What Does Creativity Sound Like?” Did I mention admission to the CMA is free throughout March?

Six Concerts, Two Masterclasses, Three Premieres, and a Museum Installation.

Buckle up, Columbus!

Tuesday, March 17th, 7:30 pm:

“Tropic Cascades” by Dave Maric *U.S. Premiere

“Secret Garden” by Anna Clyne * U.S. Premiere

“Hallelujah Junction” by John Adams

Dave Maric’s work, “Tropic Cascades,” mirrors Bartok’s, “Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion,” as a work for two percussionists and two pianists, specifically, Ralph van Raat, Maarten Van Veen, Benjamin Ramirez, Colin Currie.

Here is percussionist Colin Currie explaining the behind-the-scenes of Anna Clyne’s work, “Secret Garden,” which was written quite specifically for Currie.


Wednesday, March 18th, 7:30 pm:

“Mihr” by Alan Hovharness

“Realismos Mágicos” by Rolf Wallin *U.S. Premiere

“Sketch for Sub Rosa” by Gavin Bryars

“Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion” by Bela Bartok (1937)

Friday and Saturday, March 20th-21st, 8:00 pm:

Columbus Symphony Orchestra presents a collaboration with Colin Currie, directed by Rossen Milanov.

“Symphony No. 3″ by Brahms

“Incantations” by Einojuhani Rautavaara

“Bolero” by Maurice Ravel

Saturday, March 21st, 11:00 am:

Free Percussion Workshop with percussionist Colin Currie 11:00 am – 1:00 pm; sponsored by Capital University and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

Wednesday, March 25th, 7:00 pm:

New Music at the Short North Stage, an outreach of the Johnstone Fund for New Music, will be presenting a concert with works by Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison and John Cage aptly named, ‘California Mavericks.’ As if that is not exciting enough, the concert is FREE and features renowned violinist Elizabeth Chang.

https://youtu.be/1IExZiecD08","_id":"00000178-6a1f-ddab-a97a-6a3fca390000","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">https://youtu.be/1IExZiecD08">Song of thehttps://youtu.be/1IExZiecD08","_id":"00000178-6a1f-ddab-a97a-6a3fca390000","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">https://youtu.be/1IExZiecD08">Quetzalcoatl” by Lou Harrison (1941) performed by the Capital University Chamber Percussion Ensemble

https://youtu.be/Rt5vKEBXFr8">Set of Five” by Henry Cowell (1952) performed by Elizabeth Chang, Maria Staeblein (piano), and Ryan Kilgore (percussion)

https://youtu.be/f2B_k5BamD0">One4” by John Cage (1990) performed by Robert Breithaupt (percussion)

https://youtu.be/_QTauUJ3tMw">Concerto for Violin and Percussion Orchestra” by Lou Harrison (1959) conducted by Jeff Gershman and performed by Elizabeth Chang (violin) and the Capital University Chamber Percussion Ensemble

Friday, March 27th, 8:00 pm:

The Columbus Jazz Arts Group presents Ritmos Unidos ensemble as part of their Inside Track series. Led by Michael Spiro, Jacobs School of Music professor and seven-time Grammy nominee, Ritmos Unidos mixes Latin jazz, American funk, Brazilian pop, and other syncretic styles. Learn more at the Jazz Arts Group website.

If these names are unfamiliar, fear not! There will be a series of blog posts with context on the composers and their works. Also, listen to Classical101 on-air and on the web for music related to the festival throughout the week. The music being performed over the next two weeks is exceptional and the artists involved are world class musicians. I encourage you to attend, bring your children, bring your neighbors, and bring a sense of adventure to your musical palate.

Next up: Exploring Boulez and Bartok!