New Music Festival to promote living artists


(From left) Laura Barger and Ning Yu, the pianists of Yarn/Wire, sit opposte of Ian Antonio and Russel Greenberb, the percussionists of the group. Yarn/Wire will be performing at 11 a.m. today and 8 p.m. tonight and Wednesday in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall in the Music Building

By Jessica Cabe

Move over, Beethoven.

The New Music Ensemble, under the direction of Greg Beyer, associate professor in the School of Music, will deliver the second annual New Music Festival, a 7 p.m. lecture and 8 p.m. concert, tonight and Wednesday in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall.

Beyer created the festival to give students a unique opportunity to hear music most concert bands and orchestras do not focus on.

“Whereas a typical orchestra concert will feature music from past centuries, the New Music Ensemble only performs music from the 20th and 21st centuries,” Beyer said. “We strive to play and promote living composers and recent musical compositions.”

The concert tonight will feature music by composers Luciano Berio and Igor Stravinsky, and Wednesday’s performance will feature music by George Crumb.

Those who don’t know a thing about these composers are in luck. A lecture from Brian Hart, associate professor of music history, will preface the concert. His lectures will cover the composers’ lives and works.

The concert itself begins 8 p.m. and will feature the New Music Ensemble, Cor Cantiamo, Yarn/Wire and other guest musicians from the NIU family.

Founded in 2009, Cor Cantiamo is a semi-professional choir directed by Eric Johnson, founder and choral studies professor. The majority of the choir’s members live in the Chicago area, and many are alumni of the NIU choral program. Cor Cantiamo focuses on contemporary music, so Beyer asked if the choir would like to be involved in the festival, Johnson said.

Yarn/Wire is a New York City-based ensemble consisting of two pianists and two percussionists. Berio and Crumb composed pieces especially for this group.

The lectures and concerts are the main attractions for the New Music Festival, but there are also events during the day.

An All-School Convocation with Yarn/Wire is at 11 a.m. today in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall. Yarn/Wire will perform and discuss what it’s like to be musicians in New York City as well as how they formed their group.

Yarn/Wire percussionists Ian Antonio and Russell Greenberg will coach percussionists in chamber music settings 2 p.m. today in Beyer’s percussion studio, Music Building Room 468.

Yarn/Wire pianists Laura Barger and Ning Yu will listen to NIU student pianists in a master class setting at noon Wednesday at the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall.

Every part of the New Music Festival is free and open to

the public.