On Wednesday night amidst the beginning blazes of summer swelter, 250 people ventured to Goodale Park’s Shelter House to experience the rare and adventurous sounds of “new music” performed by Carpe Diem String Quartet and OSU’s New Music Collective.
New music is consistently unpredictable. It’s daringly experimental. And it has taught me it’s that music, like many things, needn’t have borders. When you expand your mind enough to embrace sounds free of traditional structure and melodies, you embrace new ways of listening. And that leads to new ways of hearing and interpreting. Factor in a standing-room-only audience as diverse as the musical pieces, and you have an organic musical terrarium.
The seven pieces that were performed at this free concert weaved a complex yet fluid tapestry of emotion and rigor. Plus I got to witness a couple of personal firsts, like a bass clarinet solo performance. Gunnar Hirthe’s interpretation of Press Release by David Lang was a veritable woodwind explosion. Having played the clarinet for six years as a youngster, I was equipped with enough knowledge to realize that 1) If I played the clarinet for 40 years, it would never sound like Gunnar, and 2) This guy should be training Navy Seals on lung capacity. Thanks to Mark Lomax’s String Quartet, Movement II, I got to witness my first string quartet play an entire piece by plucking instead of bowing. It was a warm invitation to look beyond the conservative personalities of stringed instruments.
Thanks to the Johnstone Fund for New Music, community members united to try something different. University students had the chance to perform with accomplished professionals. And free scoops of Jeni’s Ice Cream perfectly punctuated a sweet evening. Click here for more photos.