New Music Detroit explores distance and depth
The collective of classical musicians brings their groundbreaking and adventurous performances to northern Michigan this week.
If you're looking for the newest cutting-edge classical music played in innovative and startling ways, New Music Detroit has it.
Their concerts include some of the newest classical music out there, and it includes instruments being played in surprising ways - plus, items being played musically that you might not think of as musical instruments.
Members of the group are here in northern Michigan giving two concerts this week: Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Glen Lake School Auditorium in Maple City, and Friday at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral Barn at Historic Barns Park in Traverse City.
Both concerts are presented by IPR and the Glen Arbor Arts Center.
New Music Detroit itself is a collective that includes core members along with a variety of guest artists.
The ensemble that's currently touring northern Michigan includes New Music Detroit core members cellist Úna O'Riordan, pianist and creative director Justin Snyder and vocalist Jocelyn Zelasko. They're joined this week by guest percussionist Matthew Duvall of Eighth Blackbird.
These four musicians visited Studio A give a preview of some of this week's concert repertoire.
Artistic director Justin Snyder explained that this repertoire is inspired by themes of distance and span.
"I was reading about the history of the cell and cellular biology," he said. "So I was thinking about the distances between the heartbeat that has to pump the blood to the outer reaches of the body, and then I was thinking of those seemingly infinite distances of the universe."
The first piece on the concert examines the smallest distances, those within the body. In "Heart and Breath" by Richard Reed Parry, Snyder wears a stethoscope while playing piano in rhythm with his own heartbeat. Duvall will play the vibraphone in connection with his own inhalations and exhalations.
The size of the distance examined in each piece grows and grows, culminating with the United States premiere of "Obscure Atlas SG-3" by Aart Strootman.
In that piece, the composer examines the mission to drill a hole twelve thousand meters into the earth and the infinite nature of those depths.
"We know so much about galaxies that are too far away to comprehend," Snyder explained, "but we know so little about what's under our feet. The composer is exploring the mystery and awe of that depth."
Click HERE to learn more about how you can attend their concerts in person this week in Maple City and Traverse City. Both concerts are free and open to the public.
New Music Detroit will also perform this concert repertoire on Saturday, Sept. 9 in Detroit, during their annual Strange Beautiful Music festival. Learn more HERE.
Music performed in Studio A
Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade, Etude
Aart Strootman, Obscure Atlas SG-3
Kelley DiPasquale engineered this recording session.
Emily Duncan Wilson is IPR's digital content manager.