Modern maestros

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In musical terms, “tutti” means “all voices or instruments playing together.” It’s the whole shebang, in other words, and that’s what Denison witnessed last month (February 21-23) with the Tutti New Music Festival on campus.

Sponsored by the Department of Music and under the direction of Associate Professor Ching-chu Hu, the festival’s featured composer was Gabriela Frank. Featured performers were the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Kevin Noe, director; and guest artists Kia-Hui Tan, violin; Mayumi Hama, marimba; Chris Froh, percussion; and Minju Choi, piano. In addition, many more internationally recognized composers and performers participated in the three-day, seven concert festival.

“It blew away every expectation I had,” said Alexandra Flower ’15 of Broadview Heights, Ohio, about her experiences at the three-day festival. “Between the seven concerts, the composers forums, the banquet, reception, and just the down-time in between, this festival gave me a whole new appreciation for new music, the composers who create it, and the way that music can bring people together from all different walks of life.”

And students found themselves with extraordinary access to the guest artists. “These composers and performers were incredibly down to earth,” Flower said. “I was able to have fantastic one-on-one conversations with some of them.”

Friday night’s concert by Froh and Hama was one of Flower’s favorites. “The intimate performance space in Burke allowed for the audience to experience their music on a more personal level because we could see every touch on the instruments and hear every breath between the notes.”

She called Saturday night’s energetic three-hour performance “a beast of a concert,” noting that, “The performances were so engaging that I didn’t want it to end.”

Shanon Daniel ’15 of Adelphia, Ohio, agrees. She attended all of the performances and said, “With each piece played, I learned more about new music.”

The weekend was full of adventures, during both the concerts and the time between them, Daniel says, also citing the importance of being able to meet and converse with distinguished composers and performers. “My only wish,” she declared, “is that the next festival would come sooner and last longer.”

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