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Saint Rose Camerata

Join the musicians of the Saint Rose Camerata on October 26 at 7:30 p.m. to wish a happy 90th to composer George Crumb, a real American original.

One the most famous avant-garde composers from the United States, George Crumb is known for his exploration of unusual timbres and sonorities, using both traditional and nontraditional classical instruments in novel ways. A Crumb score may call for a pianist to open the piano lid and tap the strings with a glass rod; have a flutist sing while playing; or direct performers to play a toy piano, clay jug, mouth harp, musical saw, or crystal glasses. Some works call for lighting changes, projected images, or specific costuming.

Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1968 and a Grammy in 2000, Crumb has been composing and teaching music for more than seven decades, and currently holds a residency at Arizona State University. He has defined music as “a system of proportions in the service of spiritual impulse.”

For the composer’s 90th birthday, the Saint Rose Camerata will showcase a variety of Crumb specialties on October 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Massry Center for the Arts, such as electronic amplification, extended techniques, and lighting. Vocal selections include “Three Early Songs” for voice and piano (1947) and “Apparition” for soprano and amplified piano (1979). “Night of the Four Moons” (1969), which was written during the Apollo 11 flight, features texts from poems by Federico Garcia Lorca, and is performed by a novel combination of mezzo-soprano, flute, electric cello, banjo, and ethnic percussion instruments.

The Camerata musicians will use special lighting to perform “Celestial Mechanics: Cosmic Dances” for amplified piano four-hands (1979), the fourth and final installment in Crumb’s most ambitious work, “Makrokosmos” (1972-1979).

Artists include Suna Gunther, soprano; Susan Boddie, soprano; Yvonne Chavez Hansbrough, alto flute and piccolo; David Bebe, cello; Emily Pinkerton, banjo; Mark Foster, percussion; Young Kim, piano; Akina Yura, piano; Josiah Stocker, piano; and Thomas Odell, guest student pianist.

What: Saint Rose Camerata Celebrates George Crumb’s 90th Birthday
When: 7:30 p.m., October 26
Where: Massry Center for the Arts
Cost: Free and open to the public