Fest of New Music brings in eclectic composers, musicians

“It’s the only time in the school here that we do concerts that are focused specifically on very recent music.”

Marshall University’s School of Music and Theatre will begin its Sixth Annual Festival of New Music noon Friday at the First Presbyterian Church in Huntington.

The three-day festival will start with a performance by the Millefiori Trio.

Mark Zanter, Marshall coordinator of music theory and composition, said the festival focuses on contemporary music composed from 2005 to the present.

“The New Music Festival is kind of a unique event,” Zanter said. “It’s the only time in the school here that we do concerts that are focused specifically on very recent music. In the concert music world, 10 years is still pretty recent music.”

Zanter said one of the festival’s goals is to bring in regional composers. Marshall students and faculty will also be featured in the festival.

“This year is the most eclectic mix of composers that we’ve had,” Zanter said. “Elsewhere in the state, there are people who are interested in promoting contemporary music in the region and developing connections between our various institutions. From the outside, that might not sound that interesting, but one of the things about concert music in this time, is that the universities end up being the important institution presenting and, if you will, preserving concert music.”

Zanter said the festival was created to help promote new music. The Society of Composers, Inc. student composer concert was added to the festival this year to allow students to perform their own pieces.

“Making those regional connections simply makes it easier to take the content we create and give it a life beyond local performance here,” Zanter said. “Maybe you follow artists on Spotify or iTunes or whatever, but in the music business, nobody is going to pay any attention to you unless you’re out there. In our own small way, this is a way to get this out.”

Zanter encourages students to attend the concerts because the music is different from classical music. He said the contemporary music chosen for Saturday’s concert will have elements of classical music, but will use electrical instruments.

The SCI Student Composer Concert will take place 4:30 p.m. and guest artist Alex Lubet and Maja Radovanlija will perform 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Jomie Jazz Forum. Marshall staff and other guests will perform 7:30 p.m. at Smith Music Recital Hall. Richard Kravchak, director of the School of Music and Theatre at Marshall, will end the festival 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Smith Music Recital Hall.

All concerts will be live streamed on Marshall’s College of Arts and Media website.

Mikaela Keener can be contacted at [email protected].