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Monday, Aug. 27, 2012

Present Music Embraces 'Change'

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Music, Milwaukee's premier new music ensemble, begins its 31st season with “Change,” a concert showing the progression of contemporary music and highlighting the next generation of modern composers. Artistic Director Kevin Stalheim leads the Present Music Ensemble in performances of works by Steve Reich, Georg Friedrich Haas, Anna Clyne and Judd Greenstein.

The program will pair the old with the new, exploring microtonal and electronic elements and different takes on instrumentation, like the use of rock band setup. The concert kicks off with Haas' Tria ex uno, a six-instrument work inspired by a movement of 16th-century composer Josquin des Prez. Electro-acoustic music finds a welcome home in the works of Clyne, here represented by fits + starts, as well as Blush, for baritone (Kurt Ollmann), laptop, and chamber ensemble. New-music giant Reich composed 2x5, his first piece for rock band setup, in 2008. It uses the combination of two electric guitars, electric bass, drums and piano, cast as a doubled quintet.

Shifting gears, Present Music will close with a performance of Greenstein's Change. Born and raised in New York City's Greenwich Village, Greenstein is currently completing his doctorate degree in hip-hop music at Princeton University.

“There has been strong development in classical music over the last 15 years,” Stalheim says, while explaining the program. “Concerts are performed in a variety of alternative venues, and the instruments and influences of today's young composers are new. There is always 'change' in contemporary music, because youth always changes.”

The performance takes place 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts' Vogel Hall. Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra's steel drum band, Calypso, will appear before the program, from 6:30-7:15 p.m., on the Milwaukee riverfront (www.presentmusic.org).
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