40 Years of Contemporary Classical

. October 8, 2019.
This year’s featured ensemble, New Music Detroit, will perform on Friday night. Photo Credit: Cybelle Codish.
This year’s featured ensemble, New Music Detroit, will perform on Friday night. Photo Credit: Cybelle Codish.

The Bowling Green New Music Festival

One weekend every fall for the last 40 years, Bowling Green State University becomes the center of the contemporary classical music universe. The Bowling Green New Music Festival is an exciting weekend of musical performances, art exhibitions and talks. This year’s festival, Wednesday, October 16 through Saturday evening, October 19, features music and performances by artists from around the globe.

The festival begins in the realm of visual art with a performance/talk by Los Angeles-based animator, director, designer Miwa Matreyek who “creates live, staged performances where she interacts with her animations as a shadow silhouette.” Discussing and previewing her upcoming work, Infinitely Yours, “a visual and visceral poem for an unknown future,” will kick-off the BGSU School of Art’s exhibition of Matreyek’s recorded work.

Featuring: Evan Ziporyn

Thursday, October 17 the NMF’s concert program begins with a 1pm talk by composer, conductor and clarinetist— the Festival’s featured composer— Evan Ziporyn. Finding inspiration from jazz, avant-garde classical music, Balinese Gamelan and other genres, Ziporyn has a unique voice that stands “at the crossroads between. . . cultures, east and west.” Ziporyn’s music will be performed in six of the festival’s eight concerts. His piece for drums and wind ensemble, Impulse Control— commissioned for the festival— will premiere at Thursday evening’s concert in BGSU’s Kobacker Hall. The New Music Festival will also feature the music of Christopher Dietz, Marilyn Shrude, Mikel Kuhn, Viet Cuong, John Corigliano and others.

This year’s featured composer, Evan Ziporyn. Photo Credit: Standa Merhout.

This year’s featured composer, Evan Ziporyn. Photo Credit: Standa Merhout.

New Music Detroit: Pushing Boundaries in the Motor City

Each year the NMF also hosts a featured ensemble. The 40th iteration of the festival brings New Music Detroit, “a collective of musicians dedicated to performing groundbreaking musical works from the late-20th century to the present day.” The festival’s Friday evening concert (also in Kobacker Hall) will have the group present works by Ziporyn and composer-director Amy Beth Kirsten.

Thursday night’s concert at Bowling Green’s historic Cla-Zel Theatre provides a less traditional atmosphere, as concertgoers take in some of the festival’s most unique and boundary-pushing music. In a weekend filled with incredible musical experiences, the Cla-Zel Theatre performance is always a highlight.

The New Music Festival is a rare chance to experience some very fine music-making, and, with the exception of Saturday night’s orchestral/choral performance, every concert is free and open to the public. Classical music can be daunting, but the New Music Festival, for 40 years, has been welcoming for everyone, from the connoisseur to the uninitiated. Lose yourself in the Miwa Matreyek exhibit, admire the boundary-pushing artistry of New Music Detroit, or you get a little rowdy at the Cla-Zel, the New Music Festival— the NMF is celebrating its 40th year for a reason.

Thursday, October 16, 7PM through Saturday, October 19, 8PM. Most performances are free. Saturday night Kobacker Hall concert $8; Free for BGSU Students with ID. bgsu.edu/musical-arts/maccm/new-music-festival.html