Color Field Festival for Contemporary Music: Sept. 4-7, Madison

Never heard of the Color Field Festival? Well, here’s your chance to explore new shades of contemporary music, including a UWSOM vocal workshop and two performances by Madison’s Clocks in Motion percussion ensemble. 

We received word of a special event happening in September, sent by Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, a soprano and member of the five-person Color Field Ensemble, a group devoted to contemporary music  consisting of Bartlett; saxophonist James Fusik; pianist Karl Larson; percussionist Owen Weaver; and Jeff Weston, composer and string bassist. Here is what Amanda sent to us:

On September 4-7, the Color Field Ensemble returns to Madison to present their fourth annual Color Field Festival for Contemporary Music. Performances will take place at the Frequency, Audio for the Arts, and the Capitol Square. The 2013 festival will feature the performances of four newly commissioned works for the Color Field Ensemble as well as sets by the Anubis Saxophone Quartet from Chicago, the TIGUE Percussion Trio from New York City, Clocks in Motion from Madison, and the Brothers Grimm from Madison. A call for scores has also be release for pieces from Wisconsin student composers.

Clocks in Motion, a Madison percussion ensemble.
Clocks in Motion, a Madison percussion ensemble.

Currently in its fourth year, the Color Field Festival brings composers and performers from around the country to Madison. The purpose of bringing these creative minds together is both to create a rich cultural event in the city of Madison and to provide young musicians and composers with an opportunity to meet, collaborate, and build lasting professional relationships. Curated by the members of the Color Field Ensemble, the Color Field Festival ties together the group’s outreach, performance, and commissioning goals into a multi-faceted new music event.

About our Festival

The Color Field Ensemble formed in Bowling Green, Ohio, but the members are from around the country – Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan, and Madison, Wisconsin. We believe that good music should spread and be heard by as wide of an audience as possible, so early on we made touring a priority. We’ve toured the Midwest four times, and love exposing the music of living composers to our home states.

Karl Larson, the pianist of the Color Field Ensemble, was born and raised in Madison, WI, and still has strong ties to the area. His parents live in McFarland, and long-time friends runs the music program at his former high school. In fact, his father, Ron Larson, is a local historian, specializing in the history of the area, and we’ve loved learning about the region.

Karl Larson
Karl Larson

Before we organized our first festival in Madison, we performed at Bethel Lutheran Church, and the ensemble was so charmed by Madison, we decided to plan a whole festival in the city, celebrating new classical music and introducing artists from around the country to a town we’ve come to love.

This year, we’re bringing artists from Chicago, New York, Phoenix, Minot, and Omaha to work with amazing Madison-based groups. The only problem? Every time we bring groups of musicians to town, they want to come back the next year! We’ve had a lot of repeat guests… : )

Wednesday, September 4 @ the UW Music Hall (free event)

3:30 PM – Workshop with Prof. Mimmi Fulmer’s voice studio members. Members of the Color Field Ensemble discuss contemporary performance techniques and music entrepreneurship.

Thursday, September 5 @ the Frequency:

7:00 PM – The TIGUE Percussion Trio performs original works and Rob Honstein’s An Index of Possibility.

8:00 PM – Color Field Ensemble, TIGUE Percussion Trio, and Clocks in Motion perform Aaron Siegel’s Science is Only Sometimes Friend.

Friday, September 6 @ Audio for the Arts:

7:00 PM – Clocks in Motion perform works by Steve Reich, John Cage, and Marc Mellits.

8:00 PM – The Color Field Ensemble performs new works by Ryan Carter, Ravi Kittappa, and Chris Cerrone. Also, premiere of the winning piece of the student composer call-for-scores.

Saturday, September 7 @ the Capitol Square (free event):

12:00 PM – The Color Field Ensemble performs Anthony Marasco’s new composition derived from Twitter feeds.

Saturday, September 7 @ the Frequency:

7:00 PM – The Brothers Grimm perform a set of original material.

8:00 PM – The Anubis Saxophone Quartet performs music by Donatoni, Reich, and Weber.

About the Ensembles:

The Color Field Ensemble is dedicated to the creation, performance, and promotion of contemporary classical music. We commission, perform, and curate music of the 21st century by emerging composers from diverse artistic frameworks, focusing on multi-disciplinary experiences and works which reflect the interrelationship between the visual and performing arts. (www.colorfieldensemble.com)

We define ourselves as a post-modern chamber ensemble. Rather than conforming to a single aesthetic sensibility, the Color Field Ensemble commissions and performs works by artists and composers operating in a wide variety of genres and artistic philosophies. By doing so, it is our intention to enrich the American contemporary music society by continuing to break down stylistic barriers between various schools of composition and performance.

Anubis Quartet is dedicated to reshaping the saxophone quartet genre and reconceptualizing the way listeners experience the instrument through contemporary music. The quartet acts as a performer, presenter, and educator; through hands-on collaborations with composers, inventive programming and curating, and a business structure as a publicly supported nonprofit arts organization, Anubis Quartet forges a model to meet the demands of 21stcentury artists and composers while engaging new audiences with the saxophone through groundbreaking new works. (www.anubisquartet.com)

From instruments to garbage; from the composed to the improvised, TIGUE Percussion is focused on creating new sounds in every way. TIGUE is the latest project by percussionists Matt Evans, Amy Garapic, and Carson Moody. Founded in early 2012, TIGUE presents new compositions by themselves and their contemporaries through a lens of percussive elements. The three members have performed together extensively over the past 6 years during their studies together at The Ohio State University and the Eastman School of Music, highlighted by performances at PASIC and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This season, TIGUE has appeared at Spectrum, the Contagious Sounds Series at the Gershwin Hotel, and as guest soloists with Ensemble Contemporaneous.

Hailed as “nothing short of remarkable” (ClevelandClassical.com), Clocks in Motion performs new music, builds many of its own instruments, and breaks down the boundaries of the traditional concert program. With a fearless and uncompromising ear to programming challenging and adventurous contemporary percussion ensemble repertoire, Clocks in Motion consistently performs groundbreaking concerts which involve performance art, theater, and often the construction of new instruments. (www.clocksinmotionpercussion.com)

For over a decade the Brothers Grimm have been performing string music together on Guitar, Cello, and Chinese string instruments. Separately, Brian studied Chinese music in Hong Kong and AJ studied Flamenco in Granada, Spain. They draw upon these experiences in addition to contemporary classical music forming flexible approaches in composition and improvisation practices.

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