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Music festival comes to OSU this week

OSU is celebrating the art of classical music this week.

The Second Annual Festival of Contemporary Music begins Tuesday and runs through Thursday. This festival, performed by the Frontiers New Music Ensemble, will feature many unique classical pieces to the student body and the Stillwater community.

Assistant Professor of piano Michael Kirkendoll said, “This year, the Frontiers Ensemble is performing one of the most important works of the 20th Century, ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ by Arnold Schoenberg; it is one of the most challenging works in the repertoire.”

“In addition, we are featuring works by Elliott Carter who just passed away in December at the age of 103,” Kirkendoll said. “A very interesting work by Dutch composer Jacob Ter Veldhuis, featuring electronic samples taken from the Jerry Springer Show, is also on the poem, as is a very cool piece by living composer Martin Bresnick, entitled My Twentieth Century.”

The festival will include guest artists and introduce new work by composer Forrest Pierce performed by cellist Kivie Cahn-Lipman, soprano Sara Tannehill Anderson, flutist Mary Fukushima,and OSU faculty members Jeffrey Loeffert on saxophone and Michael Kirkendoll on piano.

Each day will display different groups and pieces for the event. Frontier New Music Ensemble will perform Tuesday evening, Forrest Pierce and the Cortona Sessions Wednesday evening and The Contemporary Cello will conclude the series Thursday evening.

“The students in the ensemble have an enthusiasm for the challenges, sounds, and meanings of this music and this inspires me,” Kirkendoll said.

Kirkendoll is also excited for the audience to experience many of the festival’s diverse pieces.

“Voice of the Whale is a piece that was written in the early ‘70s after the first underwater recordings of humpback whales were released,” he said.

“It is written for flute, cello and piano, each musician wears a mask utilizing incredible techniques to produce different sounds associated with the sea; whale song, sea gulls and the eternal passing of time,” Kirkendoll said. “It is a remarkable piece.”

Kirkendoll believes this is the most complete and diverse festival of its kind in the state of Oklahoma.  The combination of contemporary art and music facilitates the influence and education of new perspectives to the culture of the arts.

“I believe the best of this art will stand the test of time just as well as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the Mona Lisa. We, as a society, just have to be willing to open our eyes and ears and allow it to affect us in the same way,” he said.

The Festival of Contemporary Music is free and open to the public.  The concerts all take place in the Seretean Center at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening.