Group for New Music is not a standing ensemble, but a collaboration of music students. The group includes a variety of music from the gamelan ensemble at BYU to a clarinet quartet and even an electronic piece created in studio. Each piece will include a different group of student performers.
According to director Michael Hicks, ‘Group for New Music’ stands for both a group of people performing new music and an imperative as in Group for New Music.
“It’s more of a venue than an ensemble,” Hicks said. “We have these concerts each semester and we bring together performances of different pieces from around the country and around the world that sort of fit our particular rubric.”
The theme for this performance is different traditions found on the East Coast and West Coast.
Representing the East Coast will be composer David Liptak who teaches at the Eastman School of Music. Liptak will make a few remarks before the ensemble performs his Piano Trio No. 2 as well as his viola and organ piece, Ballast. Apart from Liptak’s pieces the East Coast portion of the performance will include an electronic piece by Paul Koonce.
For the West Coast the gamelan and viola will perform Threnody for Carlos Chavez by Lou Harrison celebrating the centennial of Harrison’s birth. Harrison taught at San Jose State for most of his career, but he is well known for popularizing gamelan ensembles in American universities.
“Harrison was deeply interested in the gamelan music of Indonesia and composed several pieces for gamelan including gamelan with the addition of western instruments and his own invented just-intoned gamelan,” said assistant director of BYU’s gamelan ensemble Stuart Wheeler.
The other west coast piece is Sacral Segments (for four clarinets) composed by Hicks.
This will be the 25th anniversary performance of the piece.
‘Group for New Music’ was started in 1986 and is devoted to doing work primarily by living composers. While the music is not commercial music, it is still highly contemporary.