Composer Jessica Meyer recently had the kind of experience that gives musicians nightmares. She traveled to the desert in northwestern Colorado to perform a new piece in concert on her viola. It was built on layers of electronic loops. But the unique acoustics at the venue -- known simply as The Tank -- caused those loops to dissolve into a squall of feedback. So Jessica tossed aside the music she’d carefully composed and created something unlike anything she’d written before. She called it “Luminous Prison.” Hear the world premiere of the piece, and the emotional backstory, in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
“Centennial Sounds” spotlights contemporary classical music performed in Colorado.
The episodes also feature interviews with 21st-century composers who call Colorado home as well as internationally renowned composers whose work is performed here.
Daniel Kellogg, who teaches composition at the University of Colorado, loves the string quartet. Some of history's greatest composers wrote their most extraordinary music for two violins, a viola and a cello. So Daniel took the job seriously when he set out to write a big statement that he ultimately called String Quartet No. 1. He had worked up to it. He wrote a half-dozen pieces for string quartet before he composed this one. Hear a recording of the world premiere of String Quartet No. 1 -- played by the Grammy-winning Pacifica Quartet at the Aspen Music Festival & School -- in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
Composer David Ludwig wrote his piece "Pangaea" as a "prehistoric 'Carnival of the Animals.'" It's about a time in Earth's history when there was one supercontinent, a vast ocean and a frightening die-off that wiped out most species on the planet. Hear the haunting "Pangaea," performed at the Bravo! Vail music festival by Anne-Marie McDermott, Calder Quartet, Lyris Quartet, Aeolus Quartet and bassist Rachel Calin -- and get the story behind David's piece -- in the Season 2 premiere of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
Centennial Sounds -- a podcast about modern classical music, and what inspires some of today's most talented composers -- returns soon for its second season. The series, hosted by Brad Turner, features exclusive recordings of music by 21st century composers and stories about what inspires the music. The new season features a twist: It's a musical road trip through the Rocky Mountains, with recordings from outstanding summer music festivals and other venues around Colorado.
Composer Nathan Hall is fascinated with the huge, vibrant paintings of abstract painter Clyfford Still. Nathan recently set out to compose music about about Still, and combed through the painter's writings to set some of the colorful passages to music. Hear "Notes From Clyfford Still," performed by the Playground Ensemble in the CPR Performance Studio -- and hear how Nathan created the piece -- in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
Composer Michael Ippolito tried an unusual approach when he wrote a piece for the Altius Quartet. He sat down with a cello, instrument he'd barely played since middle school. His experiments with an instrument he’d largely forgotten how to play took his music to surprising places. Hear Michael Ippolito’s String Quartet No. 4 performed by the Altius Quartet in the CPR Performance Studio -- and the backstory of this new piece -- in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
Composer Julia Wolfe lives in Lower Manhattan, just blocks from where the Twin Towers once stood. She and her family watched 9/11 unfold around them, and dealt with the aftermath. She wrote one of her most stark, concise works as a response. She called it “Compassion.” Hear the piece performed in concert by pianist Conrad Tao at the Aspen Music Festival and School -- and more of Julia's story -- in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
Composer Loretta Notareschi remembers early motherhood as one of the hardest moments of her life. She felt completely in love with her infant daughter but she also grappled with a frightening postpartum mood disorder. She decided to use music to tell her story, and start a conversation with others going through the same thing. Hear Loretta’s piece, “String Quartet OCD,” performed by the Playground Ensemble String Quartet in the CPR Performance Studio, and the story behind the composition, in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
Composer Kevin Michael Olson used to work in a lab that developed military technology. And he wrote about that experience in his music. It sounded pretty dark. So one day, he wanted to write something that sounded less heavy. The piano music that came out sounded more complicated than he intended. It’s filled with stark contrasts. He called it “Dichotomiae.” Hear pianist Hsing-ay Hsu play the piece in an exclusive CPR Performance Studio session, and the story behind the composition, in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
Composer Egemen Kesikli spent last summer in his home country of Turkey. He was waiting to return to the United States, where he studied composition at the University of Colorado. Then Egemen heard about the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Forty-nine people died at the popular gay club. Egemen, who is gay, felt horrified. He dealt with the shock by writing a string quartet. Hear an exclusive CPR Performance Studio recording of the piece played by Playground Ensemble -- and the story of how Egemen shaped his sadness into music -- in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.