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Within EarShot: February New Music Festival with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Image culled from the BPO web site.

If you love orchestral music, but you’re not sure what the future of the medium in America may hold, EarShot–the National Orchestral Composition Discovery Network–may provide the best clues.

This evening (February 23) at 7 p.m. at Kleinhans Music Hall, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) and Music Director JoAnn Falleta will present the “BPO New Music Readings,” a free, open-to-the-public concert of orchestral readings by up-and-coming composers Stephen Gorbos, Elizabeth Lim, David Marenberg, and Daniel Schlosberg. (Correction: Associate Conductor Matthew Kraemer led the BPO on February 23)

An ongoing collaboration between the American Composers Orchestra, American Composers Forum, the League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA, Earshot’s New Music Readings series is distinctive for its “workshop” approach to the development of new works by American composers. During the readings, mentor composers provide vital feedback to the compositions’ creators. The BPO readings’ mentor composers are Derek Bermel, Margaret Brouwer, and Sebastian Currier.

Thematically speaking, the works in question–Gorbos’s Bounce, Lim’s Disharmony of the Spheres, Marenberg’s The Abyssal Zone, and Schlosberg’s Grosse Concerto–are all highly referential works in the postmodern tradition that reveal the composers coming to terms with classical music precedents such as the canon, Scherzo and Trio form, and other paradigms in light of their personal compositional discoveries.

The New Music Readings are a part of the BPO’s February New Music Festival, running February 23 through 26, which also features two performances of violinist Mark O’Connor’s The Improvised Violin Concerto in a program that includes works by Aaron Copland, John Adams, and Roy Harris. For more information on the “BPO New Music Readings” and the February New Music Festival, visit the BPO website here.

Look for my post-performance thoughts on the “BPO New Music Readings” here on the Arts America blog in the coming days.