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by Daniel Hathaway

Lars-BröndumSoon after arriving at the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University, composers Robert and Gwyneth Rollin founded the Dana New Music Society and the New Music Festival. This week, the Festival celebrates its thirtieth anniversary with a series of performances and premieres on Wednesday, April 30 and Thursday, May 1.

The free performances begin with a Music at Noon concert on Wednesday at the Butler Institute of American Art, followed by a gala concert in Bliss Recital Hall on Wednesday evening featuring Robert Rollin and the Festival Orchestra. Guest pianist Holly Roadfeldt will play a solo recital on Thursday evening in Bliss Recital Hall (see the calendar listings for details).

Swedish composer and performer Lars Bröndum (above) and California-based composer Kathy Henkel will be the featured artists this year, each of them premiering a new work. Bröndum will be returning to the university where he first matriculated as a guitar major but soon encountered the new music scene. “When they introduced us to the curriculum as freshmen,” he said in a telephone conversation, “they warned us about taking a certain course because it was all ‘strange music’.” Read the rest of this entry »


by Daniel Hathaway

Sobieski-FamilyYoungstown State University’s Dana New Music Festival XIX held its ultimate concert at St. Columba Cathedral on Wednesday evening, May 1, featuring new works by faculty, student and community composers, a couple of not-so-new-music selections by French and American composers and several Polish pieces performed by four members of the Sobieski family (left) who had also been featured at a noontime concert at the Butler Institute of American Art. The Festival Orchestra was conducted by composition professor Robert Rollin and other performances featured members of the Dana Composers Ensemble (directed by Gwneth Rollin). The two-hour concert, played without intermission, offered an intriguing buffet of musical styles.

Youngstown composer Richard Zacharias’s All Right, Time to Go, ironically opened the evening with intriguing back-and-forth monologues between violin (Natalie Sahyoun) and piano (Alison Morris) who only later joined in dialogue. Both in the opening work and in Zacharias’s Duo Two (a first performance), the pairs of instrumentalists seemed to be trying to start up a conversation but communication proved difficult. Duo Two was distinguished by strong horn playing from Stephen Klein, with the fine assistance of pianist Maria Fesz. Read the rest of this entry »

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Daniel Hathaway
founder & editor
Mike Telin
executive editor
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assistant to the editors

James Flood
J.D. Goddard
Jarrett Hoffman
Nicholas Jones
Timothy Robson
Robert & Gwyneth Rollin
Alexandra Vago
Tom Wachunas