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WVU New Music Ensemble performs spring concert March 13

New Music Ensemble

The New Music Ensemble in the West Virginia University School of Music takes the stage at 8 p.m. March 13.

Matthew Heap, assistant professor of composition and theory, founded the ensemble in the fall 2016 semester to offer students an opportunity to work with contemporary music. Heap challenged the musicians by shifting the focus for this concert.

"This semester's concert takes a different tack from last semester's,” Heap said.  “In the Fall, we focused on four big pieces.  This time, each instrument, including tuba, gets a chance to shine in smaller individual works from across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, anchored by three bigger works for larger portions of the ensemble.”

Pieces on the program include “Scherzo” by Charles Ives, “Particle Acceleration” by Heap and “Erlosung” by Anton Webern. Frederic Rzewski’s “Les Moutons de Panurge” ends the program and encourages audience participation.

“’Les Moutons de Panurge’ requires the ensemble to maintain complete focus to stay together, yet encourages the audience to join in the music making with clapping, singing or whatever they feel comfortable doing,” Heap said. “The goal of audience participation is to cause the players to make mistakes.  Once a player gets separated from the group, they have to stay separated, creating a really rich and interesting sound, and making for a unique performance and listening experience every time."

WVU student musicians comprise the group on saxophone, flute, clarinet, piano, electric bass, guitar, viola, tuba, mandolin, cello and percussion.

The New Music Ensemble will perform in Bloch Learning and Performance Hall in the Creative Arts Center. The concert is free and open to the public.