33rd annual event features theme “Music and the Physical World”
October 22, 2012 Leave a comment
By Zach Napp, First Posted on BGNews, October 22, 2012
Where music starts and nature begins was the big question that John Luther Adams, the featured guest composer, was addressing at the 33rd annual Bowling Green New Music Festival: Music and the Physical World.
Kurt Doles, festival director and musical arts dean at the University, said the festival, presented by The Mid-American Center for Contemporary Music, featured contemporary music and lectures by guest composers, artists and writers, centered on the theme of “Music and the Physical World.”
“We were very pleased to get the guests that we did,” Doles said. “This is the first year we were able to get a composer, artist and writer—and the first year we were able to get a writer.”
The diverse group of featured guests was important to Adams, who helped organize the event with Doles and suggested the theme around the “Music and the Physical World”.
“We are all kind of doing the same thing in different forms of media,” Adams said. “We are just trying to share our gift to a troubled world.”
The theme for this year’s festival was intended to be very broad in order to make for a unique festival experience. Adams’ music has been influenced by his connection with nature and its sounds. It has been performed in the Anza-Borrego desert, the New England woods and the tundra of the Alaskan Range, Adams said.
The University Lawn was scheduled to be the next outdoor venue for Adams’ experimental music undertaking, with a performance of his piece “Inuksuit” on Friday. Whether the music students hear is the planned, the eccentric beat of drums or the melody of birds chirping in the background, the unpredictable influence of nature is what the piece is all about, Adams said.
“The music is a vehicle for hearing and reconnecting with where we are at the time,” Adams said. “The piece is intentionally porous, so you do not know where the piece begins and where it ends, what is music of the place or piece.”
However, due to inclement weather, the performance had to be moved to Kobacker Hall, Doles said. Prior to the performance, Roger Schupp, professor of percussion and project coordinator for the piece said the University will try to host the festival outdoors this spring.
“Our students and other guests, who traveled here to perform, put a lot of work into the performance. Obviously we wanted to do it outside, but it is better to do it in a place that may not be ideal, than to not do it at all,” said Schupp.
Schupp set the tone for the performance in his introduction to the audience.
“This is not a piece where you will be sitting down in your chairs,” Schupp said. “I want you to move around, lie on the floor and sit on the stage during the performance … You are an interval part of this performance.”
The audience followed suit. As the performance slowly built momentum, progressing from the atmospheric sound of conch shells, to the clanking of rocks and, finally, the thunder of percussions, the audience spread around the hall. Performers and audience members were behind the stage, up in the balcony, and amid the medley was Adams, quietly sitting with his eyes closed.