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by Timothy Robson

CIM-MOCA-EveningThe current exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) is entitled DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death. As part of the programming accompanying the exhibition, a group of intrepid young performers in the Cleveland Institute of Music New Music Ensemble, under the direction of Keith Fitch, gave striking performances of iconic works composed in the last fifty years, all relating in some way to death and its rituals.

(A rhetorical question: Can one describe as “new” such works as George Crumb’s Madrigals, composed almost fifty years ago? Only the closing work on the program, Harrison Birtwistle’s 2007 Cortege, was composed in the last ten years, with Donald Erb’s Suddenly It’s Evening dating from 1997.)

The program was broken into three distinct segments, each in a different location in MOCA. The sections were separated by time allowing the audience not only to move to the next location, but also to examine the exhibition’s objects in the galleries.

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by Mike Telin

FITCH-KeithCurrently on exhibit at MOCA, DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death, explores how contemporary artists use their individual practices to capture, react to, reflect on, and make sense of mortality. On Thursday, March 20 beginning at 8:00 pm, the CIM New Music Ensemble will present a concert titled “Suddenly It’s Evening,” featuring the music of George Crumb, Donald Erb and Harrison Birtwistle. Each of the evening’s works was chosen specifically in keeping with the spirit of MOCA’s current exhibition.

There is no shortage of repertoire dealing with the subject matter,” Keith Fitch, director of the CIM New Music Ensemble, said in a recent telephone conversation. “Chris Auerbach-Brown from MOCA and I were talking about that when we were planning the program, but all three pieces just kind of said, “Include Us!”

Thursday’s performance is what Fitch calls a progressive concert and begins at 8:00 pm in MOCA’s fourth floor Main Gallery with George Crumb’s Books II and III of Madrigals. Read the rest of this entry »

by Carlyn Kessler, special contributor

CMNH-PlanetariumOn February 25, the experimental spectacle “360 Degrees of Sight + Sound: The Planetarium Project” will be presented at 9:00 pm and 9:45 pm at the Nathan and Fannye Shafran Planetarium of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. This unique project, currently in its second season, combines the talents of students from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Cleveland Institute of Art, who collaborated to produce animated films with musical scores, which audience members will experience in a 3D format in the museum’s state-of-the-art planetarium.

This is not commonly done,” remarked Steve Kohn, electronic music professor at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), who served as the musical supervisor on the project. “This is very special.” Indeed, the event creatively conjoins the three institutions in a colorful display of the interactive arts mecca that the community has become. As Kohn went on to say, “University Circle is a cultural jewel.”

In a recent conversation, Keith Fitch, head of CIM’s composition department, shed light on the original conception of the project. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

Ars-Futura-Wang-HallmanThe recently-formed new music ensemble Ars Futura describe themselves as a forward-thinking, mixed-chamber, new music ensemble dedicated to commissioning, performing and popularizing new works. The group’s mission is to insure the continuation of their art form by steadily adding to the repertoire and exposing audiences to the great artists who are composing today. “Our first season is dedicated to the Cleveland connection,” says pianist Shuai Wang who co-founded the group with flutist Madeline Lucas. “I have a great respect for musicians in Cleveland,” Wang adds, “and this season all of the compositions we performed were by Ohio composers.”

On Friday, May 17 beginning at 7:00 pm at Survival Kit Gallery, located on the 3rd floor of 78th Street Studios in the Gordon Square Arts District, Ars FuturaShuai Wang and Hyunsoo Kim, piano, Madeline Lucas, flute, Jinjoo Cho, violin and Carlos Javier, cello — present the final performance of the group’s inaugural season. The concert features the music of Keith Fitch, Marshall Griffith, Eric Charnofsky, Tim Mauthe and Joseph Hallman. (Pictured above: Wang and Hallman). Read the rest of this entry »

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