Annual new music festival opens today at Memorial

Tara Bradbury
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Newfound Music VIII features artists from near and far

Duo Concertante will be among the many performers taking part in Newfound Music VIII at Memorial University's D.F. Cook Recital Hall. The annual event, in its eighth year of operation gets underway today.

MUN’s D.F. Cook Recital Hall has a busy weekend ahead of it, between workshops, visits from renowned composers and even a funky guitar groove experience.

Newfound Music VIII, the university’s annual new-music festival, starts today and will feature compositions and sound installations by composers and musicians from here and away, as well as some of MUN’s best student and faculty artists.

“The festival came about just because I thought it would be great having something celebrating modern music,” said organizer Clark Ross, who’s also an associate professor of composition, theory and electronic music.

“In St. John’s we have the Sound Symposium that happens every two years, and that’s a huge thing, I thought it would be good to have something on a regular basis, but a much smaller scale.”

The festival is geared towards music students — who have the day off today for the event — but is open and free to everybody.

Every year a guest composer is featured, and this year it’s Ontario’s Micheline Roi, whose pieces have been performed and commissioned around the world.

Another guest is Bonavista native Andrea Lodge, a pianist who’s finishing up a doctorate at Stonybrook University in New York.

“She was here last year to teach for us as a sabbatical replacement, and she is a huge fan of new music and had lots of great ideas, and actually got a grant from her university to send her here,” Ross said.

A student composers’ concert will take place Saturday at 7 p.m. Other performances will continue tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m., featuring a mixed bag of music.

There’s a 26-minute piece on piano and percussion by American composer Steve Reich that’s never been performed before in this province, as well as a Telematic Music event with Ellen Waterman and Andrew Staniland at MUN and Chris Chafe and Chryssie Nanou at Stanford.

“Half of the concert’s going to be improvisation between California and Newfoundland using technology that allows people to hear each other in real time,” Ross explained.

Saturday night will include Ross’ composition, “Funky Guitar Groove Experience,” with him playing electric guitar and Sylvie Proulx on classical guitar, in a classical-funk hybrid.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. shows are $15 general admission and $10 for students and seniors, and are available by calling 864-4455. A complete schedule is available online at

Organizations: Stonybrook University, Telematic Music

Geographic location: California, Ontario, Bonavista New York Newfoundland

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