(Originally published in the Lincoln Journal Star on December 26, 2003)
New Music Agency dedicated
to contemporary music
BY JEFF KORBELIK / Lincoln Journal Star
On Tuesday, local guitarist-composer Rusty Banks will premiere his new
piece for flute, clarinet, guitar and ... boomboxes. The work, "Long
Pine Creek: New Year's Day," will feature four of the small stereos strategically
placed around the room.
Each boombox will play the same CD but will start at different times in
order to produce an echo effect.
"I like to call it my poor-voice surround sound," said Banks, who joined
the other musicians of the New Music Agency for a sit-down interview last
week at MoJava Coffee.
The New Music Agency is a newly formed chamber music organization dedicated
to playing contemporary music.
The group is presenting its second concert, "Timepeace," at 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday at the Lincoln Unitarian Church.
The ensemble describes the concert as "an evening of contemporary music
to lead you gently into 2004."
The New Music Agency is testing the waters of Lincoln's music landscape.
The group grew out of the successful contemporary concerts performed at
least once a season by Lincoln's Third Chair Chamber Players.
In November 2002, Third Chair featured pieces by Luciano Berio, Karlheinz
Stockhausen, Libby Larsen and John Cage.
"I noticed the audiences were younger and more energetic (for those concerts),"
said Karen Sandene, New Music Agency member and former Third Chair co-artistic
director. "They were really getting into it."
In addition, the musicians loved performing the modern, often avant-garde
pieces the kinds of works that didn't have histories or audience expectations.
"We can take risks," Sandene said. "We can try new stuff and try new techniques."
The plan is eventually to create a contemporary concert season, if the
audience is there.
"I realized when I was programming for Third Chair that nobody else was
doing this stuff," Sandene said.
The New Music Agency is made up of Lincoln musicians who have worked together
on numerous occasions and in various configurations around the city.
The Agency includes university professors, Lincoln Public Schools music
staff and members of the Omaha and Lincoln symphonies.
Performing at the concert will be Sandene (contrabassoon), Banks (guitar),
Scott Anderson (trombone), Christy Banks (clarinet), Betsy Bobenhouse (flute),
Diana Frazier (cello), Joe Holmquist (percussion) and Joan Kucera (piano).
Tuesday's concert - the first performance was in October - will
feature four other pieces in addition to Banks' composition.
The featured work will be Arthur Jarvenin's "Timepeace," which uses amplified
analog timepieces and other "welcoming sounds" rather than actual musical
Holmquist called the work contemplative.
"The idea is to look to the future, while at the same time, to sit back
and ponder the past," he said.
What: "Timepeace," The New Music Agency
Where: Lincoln Unitarian Church, 6300 A St.
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Tickets: $10, $5 students at the door; children 12 and under free
Copyright © 2003, Lincoln Journal Star. All rights reserved.