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by Mike Telin

NoExitOn Friday, April 11 in SPACES, the contemporary music ensemble No Exit begins their spring concert series, three extraordinary evenings of music. In addition to SPACES, concerts will take place at Heights Arts on Saturday, April 12, and in Cleveland State University’s Drinko Hall on Monday, April 14. All performances begin at 8:00 PM. Performances include two world premieres performed by Cara Tweed, violin, James Rhodes, viola, Nicholas Diodore, cello, Sean Gabriel, flute, Nicholas Underhill, piano, and Luke Rinderknecht, percussion.

Artistic director Timothy Beyer said, “Music is perhaps inherently the most abstract medium amongst the arts. And yet, it has the ability to evoke and convey a very real visual world. There is this remarkable synergy between organized sound and what our minds do with it. It’s profound, really. A composer such as Morton Feldman has been able to sonically represent what a painter like Mark Rothko accomplished visually. So in this respect, there is, or at least can be, a very iconographical element to certain music. This is the very thing that the ensemble will be focusing on in this series of concerts.” Read the rest of this entry »

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by Daniel Hathaway

SCOTT-RaymondToday’s genre-bending musicians have nothing on Raymond Scott (born Henry Warnow in 1908), possibly one of the most eclectic musicians ever to have come out of Juilliard. Before suffering a debilitating stroke in 1987 — he died in 1994 — Scott had transformed swing music with the intricate, improvisation-suppressing compositions he crafted for his six-man band, called the Raymond Scott Quintette because it sounded “crisper,” made breakthrough experiments with electronic music, and somewhat inadvertently contributed to the soundtracks of Warner Bros. cartoons, through which you may have heard Scott’s music without knowing it.

Cleveland’s classy and enterprising new music ensemble, No Exit, led by Timothy Beyer and comprised of violinist Cara Tweed, violist James Rhodes, flutist Sean Gabriel, percussionist Luke Rinderknecht, cellist Nicholas Diodore, pianists Nicholas Underhill and James Praznik and assistant artistic director and composer Eric M.C. Gonzalez, invited guest performers Russ Gershon, saxophones and flute, percussionists Dinesh Joseph and trumpeter Scott McKee to celebrate Scott’s legacy in three concerts last weekend in Cleveland and Buffalo. I caught the third show on Monday evening in Drinko Recital Hall at Cleveland State University. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway & Mike Telin

STRAUSS-MichaelEven before the Labor Day weekend, many of Northeast Ohio’s universities, colleges and conservatories were already up and running. Because students have only just moved in, concerts at the beginning of the term usually feature faculty recitals and performances by visiting ensembles, and there are several of them scheduled for the early days of September.

The first faculty event at the Oberlin Conservatory this fall will feature violist Michael Strauss (left) and his colleagues Alexa Still, flute, and pianists Monique Duphil and James Howsmon in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata, op. 147, Maurice Duruflé’s 1928 Prélude, Récitatif, et Variations for Flute, Viola, and Piano, Op. 3, and Paul Hindemith’s Viola Sonata, op. 11, no. 4, in a free concert in Kulas Recital Hall at the Oberlin Conservatory on Saturday, September 7 at 8.

The staff discussed who would perform the first recital of the semester”, Strauss told us by phone. “I said, yeah, I can do that. I’m sure that many of the faculty would have been fine with the slot, it’s just that no one had made the move.”

Now in his second year as associate professor of viola and chamber music, Strauss admits that opening with Shostakovich’s last work is a little risky. “It’s quite a dark piece and it is a big test in keeping your wits about you. I started looking at music that would fit and I thought of going heavy and then lightening up.” Read the rest of this entry »

by Jarrett Hoffman

SPACES3A wide spectrum of new music, by turns casual and intense, pre-determined and spontaneous, was on display in a performance by the new music ensemble No Exit on March 23 at SPACES Gallery. It was the final concert of the group’s March series, which included performances of the same program the previous two nights at MOCA Cleveland and Cleveland State University’s Drinko Auditorium.

SPACES provided a small, intimate setting, with three rows of chairs for the audience located only feet from the performers in the first room of the gallery. This, along with the art visible in the next room such as the “Twinkling Tricycle”— an antique tricycle wrapped in an absurd length of lights — lent a casual atmosphere to the concert.

The first piece, however, was anything but casual. Guest artist and virtuoso flutist Carlton Vickers performed Brian Ferneyhough’s first essay for solo flute, Cassandra’s Dream Song. Ferneyhough is known for his stunningly deliberate, complex pieces, and this one was no different. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

No-Exit-VickersBeginning on Thursday, March 21 and continuing through Saturday, the new music ensemble No Exit presents concerts at MOCA, Drinko Auditorium at Cleveland State University and Spaces Gallery. All three programs include Brian Ferneyhoughʼs Cassandraʼs Dream Song and the U.S. premiere of Sisyphus Redux, Andrew Rindfleischʼs Trio for Piano, Violin and Violincello, and Alberto Ginasteraʼs Puneña No. 2 for Cello (“Hommage à Paul Sacher”). Also featured on the program is the world premiere of Matthew Ivicʼs Piano Quartet No. 2. We spoke to Carlton Vickers and Matthew Ivic by telephone.

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by Mike Telin

Currently onNoExit view at The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is Bezalel on Tour, an exhibition that celebrates the 106th anniversary of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel’s oldest institute of higher education and a leading international academy of art, design and architecture. On Wednesday, December 12, members of the No Exit New Music Ensemble and guest performers presented an engaging concert of music by Shulamit Ran, Morton Feldman, Andrew Rindfleisch and Corey Rubin, all of whom are Jewish and/or Israeli composers.

The only non-Jewish composer represented on the program was Maurice Ravel, whose setting of Kaddish, arranged for cello and piano by Nick Diodore, was given a heartfelt performance by Diodore and pianist Nick Underhill to open the program. For some reason it seems as though the area has recently enjoyed a number of recitals of works for solo cello; Diodore continued the program with a vibrant performance of the first and second movements of Ernst Bloch’s Second Suite for Cello. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

Currently onNoExit view at The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is Bezalel on Tour, an exhibition that celebrates the 106th anniversary of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel’s oldest institute of higher education and a leading international academy of art, design and architecture. In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum will also present films, an artist talk, and on Wednesday, December 12th beginning at 7 PM, members of the No Exit New Music Ensemble will present a concert program inspired by Bezalel on Tour.

There are all sorts of interesting objects included in the exhibit, so the idea behind the concert is for it to be an exhibit in itself,” No Exit’s artistic director Timothy Beyer told us by telephone. The program includes works by Shulamit Ran, Morton Feldman, Miklós Rózsa, Andrew Rindfleisch and Corey Rubin, all of whom are Jewish and/or Israeli composers. “We want to create an intimate and ‘singular’ experience for the listener with each piece being very much it’s own thing — a standout in it’s own right.” The only non Jewish composer represented on the program in Maurice Ravel, whose setting of Kaddish, will be performed by vocalist Corey Rubin and pianist Nick Underhill. Ravel’s arrangement of the work for cello and piano will also be performed by Underhill and cellist Nick Diodore. Read the rest of this entry »

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Daniel Hathaway
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Mike Telin
executive editor
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