Contemporary music in school of music spotlight

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The Sam Houston State University will host the 53rd annual Contemporary Music Festival beginning today.

Director of the School of Music Scott Plugge, D.M.A., said the events feature local talent and noteworthy composers.

“There are both student and faculty performances over the three-day span,” Plugge said. “It is a festival focused specifically on contemporary classical music featuring some of the most prominent composers in the field.”

Plugge noted the integral contributions that director of composition studies Kyle Kindred, D.M.A., gave to the festival by leading the committee who organizes the weekend. Kindred said his team is essential to pulling off the festival.

“This festival is a true collaboration that involves a number of faculty soloists and chamber musicians as well as five SHSU student ensembles,” Kindred said. “A number of SHSU faculty and student composers will also have works featured on the three festival programs.”

Kindred said the Contemporary Music Festival strives to bring prominent performers to appear during the weekend events.

“Every year for the past 53 years, the school of music brings in important guest composers or performers to participate in the celebration of new music,” Kindred said. “Our history of guests features a few Pulitzer-prize and other award-winning composers.”

Samuel Adler will be this year’s featured guest composer. Kindred said Adler’s appearance will be accompanied by several SHSU faculty performances.

“Friday morning we will get to hear from Samuel Adler as he speaks about his life and music in an interview by SHSU professor of musicology, Dr. Sheryl Murphy-Manley,” Kindred said. “Included in the session will be short performances by faculty bassoonist, Dr. Nathan Koch, and the SHSU old main brass choir, conducted by SHSU student composer Joey Vranas.”

Kindred said the festival will provide audiences with a unique experience.

Rarely do audiences have the opportunity to view a performance with the living composer present available to say a little bit about their music, especially with regard to the most important composers and compositions of our time,” Kindred said.  “Audiences can expect a wide variety of music that they have likely not heard before, including some world premieres of works by SHSU composers. They will hear new sounds and a variety of styles in the music of Professor Adler.”

The 2015 Contemporary Music Festival begins today at 8 a.m. with “Discussions of Orchestration with Samuel Adler” in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Recital Hall.

The festivities will conclude Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with the SHSU chorale, orchestra, symphonic band and wind ensemble concerts.