The Program for Oct. 28th's "Night of the Living Composers"
(Click on the links below to read more about the compositions)

Hautposaune for Trombone and Drum Machine (1990) - Anders Hillborg (born 1954)
In a Deep Funk: Dance Set for Unaccompanied Contrabassoon (1997) - Daniel Dorff (born 1956)
Mundus Canis ("A Dog's Life) for Guitar and Percussion - George Crumb
Three Nocturnes for Flute, Clarinet and Cello - W. L. Altman

(go to photos of the concert by clicking here)

(Opening remarks in the program notes for the concert)

 Confessions of a Dangerous Contrabassoonist's Mind
by Karen Sandene

When you are a third wind player in a symphony orchestra, the arrival of next season's proposed repertoire is often greeted with anticipation, but sometimes with dread.  You see, first and second wind players get to play all the time, whereas the piccolo, English horn, bass clarinet or contrabassoon players only get to play when the music director chooses pieces that implement larger resources, and music that is more recent than, say, Beethoven's time.

Last winter, when the Omaha Symphony (of which I am the 3rd bassoon/contra player) announced its proposed season, the pieces included Pictures at an Exhibition (not again!), La Mer (not again!), Beethoven 5 (God, not again!).  If they would have thrown in Brahms 1, their season would have been complete for me: another recycling of some really quite nice pieces of music that should be retired for at least 50 years in favor of, well, in favor of anything else.

Classical musicians - and symphony orchestras in particular - have to strike a balance between giving the audiences what they know (and therefore must want), with creating rewarding musical experiences for the musicians.  Unfortunately, most of the ears in the industry are hearing that audiences desire the tried and true, and are turned off by what might be considered as challenging musical esperiences.  This seems so odd, though, because in most of the other arts disciplines (theatre, dance, visual art), patrons often look for the exciting and different: the up-and-coming new artist's opening, the thought-provoking new play.  These patrons also don't seem to mind artists taking risks.  Heaven forbid a symphony orchestra do that!

I once played the contra part to Overture to Candide by Bernstein in a symphony concert, by memory (having left my music at home), because I had played it so many times before.  The notion of performing on concerts with music is original and fun and NEW is exciting.  In fact, after performing a concert with the Third Chair Chamber Players a couple of years ago where I got to dress up like Elvis and play the bassoon, I decided that new music was WAY more rewarding than Beethoven 5 (again!).

I am grateful that there are several like-minded people floating around Lincoln, who are interested in promoting contemporary music.  Rusty, Christy, Joe, Diana, Betsy, and Scott.  I look forward to seeing what we can come up with to "inflict" on Lincoln's ears and what we can do - in our own little way - to create some "cool" in this town and open people's minds to other possibilities.  it needs to happen.  The future is being created now, so let's get it out there.  We're glad you're here tonight; enjoy the show.

The Agency would like to thank the folks at the University Place Art Center for the use of the space and their interest in providing a venue for contemporary music, as well as the Violin Shop and Computer Hardware for being sponsors of the concert.