April 10, 2008

Student Compser Showcase: Contrapunkt! Take Two

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On stage, brows were furrowed in concentration as student-musicians sawed back and forth on cellos. The music performed also jumped back and forth between styles, sounds and influences. But the applause from the audience was consistent — and unanimous.
The first-ever Contrapunkt! concert last November successfully premiered new pieces from six undergraduate composers. Jaws dropped at the skill of the amateur composers, and the diversity of pieces held the audience at the edges of their seats. On April 14, Contrapunkt! will return to Barnes Hall at 8 p.m. for its second group performance.
Contrapunkt! is a student-organization composed of undergraduate composers, along with students interested in learning more about composing music. Julia Adolphe ’10 started the Contrapunkt! club along with Xander Snyder ’09 last semester.
The group is a forum through which those who love to play, perform and write music can give and receive advice, Adolphe said last fall.
“[This semester’s concert is] going to be different on a couple of levels,” Adolphe said more recently. “First we’re going to have some larger scale pieces. I’m having a choral piece performed with 16 women singers.” Jonathan Bautista ’09, the group’s treasurer, will conduct Adolphe’s piece.
Contrapunkt! not only provides student-composers the chance to share ideas and develop their skills, but also serves as an opportunity for student-conductors to put skills to use outside of the classroom.
“We have members who are not composers, [but] who want to compose in the future,” Adolphe said. “The group is open to anyone who wants to talk about new music.”
New music can be expected on Monday night. Maurice Chammah ’10, a Sun columnist and member of Contrapunkt!, plans to perform violin in conjunction with an original electronic-music composition. The merging of electronics and traditional string instruments is a new pairing for the group, but also highly contemporary in style.
Among the many more traditional chamber-works for string instruments that can be expected, new-member Greg Weisbrod ’10 will premiere an original clarinet piece.
Like last semester’s concert, the array of songs on Monday night will reflect a diverse mix of styles and sentiments.