Evolution Contemporary Music Series 2012 ~ Kickstarting a New Season

Baltimore, MD-based music series Evolution Contemporary Music Series has launched a Kickstarter campaign, and they would like your participation.

This year, the series, founded by composer and Peabody Institute faculty member Judah Adashi (whom we are about to speak to) will have special nights devoted to composers Missy Mazzoli, John Luther Adams, György Kurtág and Kaija Saariaho.

You can donate to the Kickstarter drive here or on the link on the bottom.

CM: Talk about the series for people playing catch-up, and what can we expect from it this season?

Judah: Chris, thanks for your interest in what we do! The Evolution Contemporary Music Series is a Baltimore-based concert series dedicated to the music of living composers. Since 2005, we’ve presented or premiered works by over 75 composers, with performances by acclaimed musicians from Baltimore and beyond.

In addition to the music, our events often feature pre-concert conversations. Our guests have included Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Pulitzer Prize-winning composers (and Peabody Institute faculty members) Kevin Puts and Christopher Rouse; and music critics Tim Page (Washington Post) and Alex Ross (New Yorker).

Our eighth season promises to be one of our best and most ambitious to date, with evening-length celebrations of music by four of today’s finest composers: Kaija Saariaho, György Kurtág, Missy Mazzoli and John Luther Adams.

CM: What kind of programs are there going to be as they are “evening length”? An entire night for each composer? And what can you say about the composers themselves?

Judah: These are all portrait concerts, each one devoted to the solo, chamber and vocal music of a single composer. Some highlights:

The evening of Saariaho’s work includes Lonh for voice and electronics, a prologue to her extraordinary opera L’amour de loin (Love from Afar). The concert will also feature substantial works for solo cello and solo percussion, the latter with electronics.

The concert of Kurtág’s music will focus on his extensive repertoire for piano, both solo and four-hands: selections from Jatekók (Games), as well as his beautiful transcriptions of music by J.S. Bach. We’ll also present pieces from Signs, Games and Messages for unaccompanied violin.

-I’m especially excited for the spring, when the featured composers will be joining us for their concerts. Missy [Mazzoli] will likely be performing some of her pieces for piano and electronics, and we’ll also present selections from her moving chamber opera, Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt.

John Luther Adams has garnered attention in recent years for performances of large works like Inuksuit. Our event will present an opportunity to experience his music on a more intimate scale. We’ll be doing pieces involving piano, percussion and electronics, and I’m hoping that John will also read from some of his eloquent writings on the intersections between music and the natural world.

CM: Can you discuss the musicians that usually participate for the series? Different and/or new people this season?

Judah: I think of the series as having a floating roster of players. Many of them live in the Baltimore-DC area, though we also bring in musicians from NYC and elsewhere. Miranda Cuckson, Tim Fain, Stephen Gosling, Blair McMillen, and Tara Helen O’Connor have played on the series, as have groups like ICE and NOW Ensemble. Many of this season’s artists have performed on the series in the past. While we maintain considerable flexibility on this front, it’s nice to have several players who have become regulars.

CM: Is this the first time you guys have gone through a Kickstarter campaign?

Judah: It is a first for us, and it’s an experience that is at once exciting and daunting. We are belatedly in the process of securing 501(c)3 non-profit status for the organization, and this seemed like a good way to bridge the gap between the more modest grants and donations we’ve received in the past and a more expansive approach to development in the future.

I really like the Kickstarter model. It’s gratifying to be part of a grassroots funding campaign that supports meaningful work within the broader artistic community. These campaigns create a strong sense of personal investment for backers and artists alike.

Our backers receive some terrific rewards associated with the series: everything from tickets and subscriptions, to tote bags (by our friends at http://www.icareifyoulisten.com) and brand-new Evolution Series t-shirts, to personalized items from John and Missy. Our top reward, for backers at the $1000 level, is a private concert; a few backers might consider going in together on this one.

We’re very proud of the community that we’ve built around excellent performances of contemporary music over the last seven years. I’m hopeful that people from within and beyond that community will join us in bringing this season to life!

Click here to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign for the Evolution Contemporary Music Series

Evolution Contemporary Music Series (Facebook page)


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