Arkansas New Music Ensemble Explores Issues Inherent to the Human Condition

Arkansas New Music Ensemble Explores Issues Inherent to the Human Condition
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas New Music Ensemble will continue its concert season with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26 in the Fine Arts Center’s Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall.

The program entitled Are You Experienced? features an eclectic group of musicians from the Department of Music.

The program begins with Paul Dooley’s Salt of the Earth, a piece inspired by the Detroit Salt Mine that runs beneath the Michigan city. The music captures both the industrious sounds of mining and the uncanny spirit of the now long-abandoned mines of Detroit.

Cory Mixdorf, assistant professor of trombone, is featured in the program’s next piece Taking Sides. Composed by Matthew Tommasini, Taking Sides finds inspiration in the act of debate. The solo trombonist moderates a frantic first movement with woodwind quartets rebutting and mocking on either side. The second movement reflects on the themes of the first, and finally the third movement presents a reconciliation of those themes while the ensemble begins to follow the solo trombonist’s lead.

The program concludes with Are You Experienced? by David Lang featuring Benjamin Pierce, professor of tuba and euphonium.  Smacking of counterculture and a bygone era, Are You Experienced? is both a throwback to the radical style of Jimi Hendrix and a creation capable of standing on its own. The piece evokes Hendrix with psychedelic electric guitar rifts and finds a concert band counterpart in an electrically amplified tuba. At times sickeningly sweet and at others harshly bitter, Are You Experienced? confronts issues inherent to the human condition.

The concert is presented by the Department of Music in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.


Robert Hopper, associate director of operations


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