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Musicians embrace minimalism in upcoming concert

Joseph KleinMusicians from the College of Music will embrace a return to the foundations of minimalism with a performance of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. The free performance takes place at 8 p.m. Oct. 13 in the Music Building, Voertman Hall.

When Reich, who won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Music, traveled to West Africa in the 1970s, he met and studied daily for a brief time under Ghana native Gideon Foli Alorwoyie, an internationally renowned performer of traditional West African music and dance who now serves as both director of UNT’s African Percussion Ensemble and as a professor of music.

This non-Western drumming influence helped Reich to continue his work toward becoming a pioneer of minimalism, and it helped Reich compose Music for 18 Musicians, a title which reflects the minimum number of performers required to make the piece come to life.

Joseph Klein, above, chair of the Division of Composition Studies, said that because of its significance for the genre, Music for 18 Musicians is one of the pieces he regularly discusses in the courses he teaches at UNT.

“It’s very hypnotic,” said Klein, who is the faculty coordinator for the performance. “The gradual transformations result in a unique experience for people that have never gone to a performance of a minimalist piece.”

Reich’s work features a series of repetitive, melodic patterns set to a pulse, which requires the listener to focus on the gradual changes.

The Reich ensemble includes UNT students Shelby Blezinger, Jaime Esposito, Nick Guiliano, Jacob Garcia, Tim Feerst, Adam Davis, Jonathan Carr and Corey Robinson (percussion); Connor O’Meara and Nathan Beatty (clarinet and bass clarinet); David Falterman, Michael Fowler, Ryan Ayers and Michelle Brite (piano); Leah Greenfield (violin); Kourtney Newton (cello); and Isabel Crespo, Ashlie Dance, Amanda Ekery, Anna Jalkeus and Marion Powers (vocalist).

—Monique Bird, News Promotions

Above, Joseph Klein conducts rehearsals for Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians. Photo by Erin Lancaster/UNT College of Music.

Posted on: Mon 06 October 2014

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