The ink was almost still wet when it hit the LSU Wind Ensemble’s music stands.
And its audience on Thursday, Dec. 3, will be the first to hear the new sounds.
That’s when the Wind Ensemble will perform its concert, “Composers’ Ink: A Symposium of New American Music,” featuring world premieres of pieces by five contemporary composers in the LSU Union Theatre. But it doesn’t stop there.
“Four of the five composers will attend the concert,” conductor Damon Talley says. “They’ll each talk to the audience about their piece before we play it.”
Performing contemporary compositions has its advantages.
Whereas Mozart and Beethoven aren’t around to talk about their inspirations, contemporary composers can share he process behind their writing with musicians.
They also can tweak their music along the way.
“I’ve been sending them recordings of our rehearsals leading up to the concert,” Talley says. “They like what they’ve heard so far. But they’ll be coming to our dress rehearsal the night before the concert and working with the Wind Ensemble, and our students are very excited about that. It’s not everyday they get to work with the people who wrote their music.”
The program will feature a wide range of compositions, from comical to traditional. The concert’s highlight will be Steven Mackey’s “Ohm.”
“We were the leaders in a 20-group consortium to have this piece done,” Talley says. “This piece has been in the works for two years.”
Also on the program will be Alexandra Gardner’s “Persides” and David T. Little’s “Radiant Child,” featuring the visiting Third Coast Percussion ensemble.
Then there’s Dan Visconti’s “Junk Band.”
“Dan Visconti’s piece calls for everything from spoons to whoopee cushions,” Talley says. “The students have been having a lot of fun in rehearsal with this piece, and it’ll be a lot of fun for the audience when we play it on stage.”
Composer David Stock is the only composer on the program who will not be present. Stock died Nov. 2. His piece, “Double Take,” will feature the wind ensemble and faculty soloists Griffin Campbell, on saxophone, and Brett Dietz, on percussion.
“The wind ensemble didn’t actually commission David Stock’s composition,” Talley says. “David Stock was Brett Dietz’s teacher. It’s never been performed, and we thought we could premier it along with the others.”
Also, the visiting composers and Third Coast Percussion will conduct master classes, which, Talley says, is good for LSU and its music program.
“Everything they’re doing will help our students,” he says. “Having all of these composers together here at one time is great for our students, and premiering their works helps us establish LSU as a place that cultivates new music and art.”
And since this concert has so many firsts, Talley asked the School of Music to reduce the tickets prices to $10.
“We want to share this music with as many people as we can, so we made the concert as affordable as possible,” Talley says. “These are world premieres — they haven’t been played in public before. And we want to share it.”