ANN ARBOR – The award-winning ensemble Opus 21 returns to Ann Arbor’s Kerrytown Concert House with a new program of world premieres at 8 p.m. April 20 at Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor.
The concert, which will be repeated the following week in New York City, salutes the minimalist and postminimalist composers of the past several decades and focuses on the impact their groundbreaking music has had on a new generation of composers.
“The introduction of minimalism in the 1960s and its evolution since then has redefined the compositional landscape of classical music in the United States,” said Richard Adams, Opus 21’s founder and artistic director.
Its influence has been felt in other genres as well, including jazz and popular music. Minimalism was an American idea that drew inspiration from non-Western traditions, ranging from Indian classical music to Balinese gamelan to African drumming.
“A movement that in its early days was met with resistance by much of the musical establishment has evolved to become one of the most important forces in American music and has helped to revitalize relationships between audiences and composers,” Adams said. “The minimalist and post-minimalist traditions continue to provide fertile ground for emerging composers seeking to express new ideas.”
The program will feature five world premieres by both established and emerging talents who have been influenced by this defining movement in Western musical history, including Richard Adams, Anna Clyne, Mark Dancigers, Dennis DeSantis, and Bill Ryan, as well as the U.S. premiere of Louis Andriessen’s Klokken voor Haarlem, David Lang’s Stick Figure, and Steve Reich’s New York Counterpoint.
The five commissioned composers will participate in a post-concert talk funded by Meet the Composer’s Creative Connections program.
Since its debut at Merkin Concert Hall in 2003, Opus 21 has established itself as a leader in the commissioning and performance of contemporary music and was awarded the 2006 First Prize for Adventurous Programming from Chamber Music America and ASCAP. To date, the ensemble has commissioned 19 works from some of America’s most prominent classical and jazz composers.
Those who have written for the ensemble include classical composers Eve Beglarian, Martin Bresnick, Chen Yi, Michael Daugherty, Kamran Ince, Tania Leon, and Daniel Bernard Roumain; eight-time Grammy Award-winning jazz legend Paquito D’Rivera; world renowned jazz pianist Fred Hersch; and Motown Records’ original bandleader and member of the Funk Brothers, Joe Hunter. The members of Opus 21 are Judy Moonert, percussion; Alexa Muhly, cello; Henning Schroeder, saxophone; Gregory Secor, percussion; Yu-Lien The, piano; and Bradley Wong, clarinet. This performance is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs and Pfizer Inc. For more information, visit www.opus21.org.
8 p.m. April 20
Kerrytown Concert House, Ann Arbor