Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Experimental Music Weekend at Wesleyan

Soprano saxophonist/composerJasmine Lovell-Smith came to study at Wesleyan University in the Fall of 2012. A native of New Zealand, Ms. Lovell-Smith has lived in the United States since 2010 and released her initial Stateside CD with her Towering Poppies quintet, "Fortune Songs", before undertaking her studies.  Over the past 15 months, she's been studying, composing and being part of the extensive University music community.  I met Ms. Lovell-Smith at the Middlesex Fruitery and she informed me of the following event.

This weekend (Saturday 11/23-Monday 11/25), the Wesleyan Experimental Music Group presents a 3-night Festival dedicated to "Dualities", musical conversations for 2 instrumentalists or voice atThe Russell House, located at the corner of Washington and High Streets in Middletown.  Saturday's sets will commence at 9 p.m. with operatic vocalist Stephanie Lavon-Trotter with pianist Ben Zucker performing the songs of Wesleyan composer Nathan Friedman.  They'll be followed at 9:30 by Menschenduett, the duo of composer/clarinetist Sean Sonderegger and Nathan Friedman (here on clarinet) playing a blend of original compositions and improvisations.  At 10 p.m., Jasmine Lovell-Smith joins forces with pianist Cat Toren (who is also a member of Towering Poppies) to create their own blend of lyrical improvisations.

Sunday evening will belong to the duo of Christopher Otto (violin, left) and Kevin McFarland (cello), members of JACK, a rising contemporary string quartet.  The duo will play a set of music by the weekend's featured composers. The music begins at 9 p.m.

Monday evening, there are 2 sets opening at 9 p.m with the combination of Daniel Fishkin (daxophone?) and Matt Chilton (woodwinds, voice).  The Festival closes with Sam Pluta (electronics) and Peter Evans (trumpet), creating a whirlwind of sounds.  Evans, whose Zebulon Trio joins forces with Dave Leibman (saxophones) and Ron Stabinsky (piano) to perform at Firehouse 12 on Friday November 29, is one of the more interesting brass players on the contemporary music scene.  He's also a member of Moppa Elliott's Mostly Other People Do The Killing, a pre-emminent jazz quartet.

The Wesleyan Experimental Festival is free and open to the public.  If you need directions, call The Russell House at 860-685-2000.

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