LSM Newswire

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New music for international summer music festival

Calgary, AB Throughout the thirty days of the Morningside Music Bridge festival, works by famous composers, such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Igor Stravinsky and Antonio Vivaldi will be performed at Mount Royal College and around the city.

But this year, newly-written music is also on the agenda. John Abram, an instructor at the Mount Royal Conservatory and music consultant for Morningside Music Bridge, has written a piece especially for the young musicians who will perform in the festivals final gala, taking place July 31 at the EPCOR Centres Martha Cohen Theatre, starting at 7 p.m.

Every year Morningside Music Bridge invites really excellent young musicians from around the world to take part, and you can basically throw the most difficult pieces from the classical repertoire at them. My goal was to write a new piece for string orchestra that will challenge them in a different way, based on ensemble playing versus solo playing, says Abram.

The result is Pluck a modern and fun composition of four movements. Abram describes the first movement as being very intense because of some unusual playing techniques that create a sense of tension; the second, he says, is very easy going at the beginning but becoming frenzied at the end; in the third movement, the music slows down and is quiet, featuring solo playing; the last movement follows without a break and is very fast and energetic, and rhythmically quite complicated.

Abram chose the title with equal deliberation. At its most basic, Pluck refers to the plucking of the strings, but I also wanted a name that reflects the gusty nature of the students and the courage it takes to follow a career path in music, Abram explains.

According to Paul Dornian, director of the Mount Royal Conservatory, Abrams piece is the first of many organizers hope to commission with other composers over the coming years. We, along with the sponsors, decided that it is part of our responsibility to upcoming generations of performers to encourage engaging new works of music that complement the historical repertories of Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart.

As for Abram, he hopes the students and audience will enjoy his work. I had an absolute blast composing the piece and hope everyone who hears it becomes lost in the music.

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