Capital University, Columbus arts organizations launch RhythmFest Columbus 2015 | Capital University


    • Introducing RhythmFest Columbus 2015

      Capital Communications


      Capital University, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Museum of Art, Jazz Arts Group, Johnstone Fund for New Music and the New Music at Short North Stage series have partnered to celebrate rhythm in the Capital City in March with the launch of RhythmFest 2015.

      The new festival will feature six concerts, two workshops and display of artwork in a cross-section of musical experiences connected by the beat of the drum and the pulse of the audience.

      Artists include new music pioneer and percussion soloist Colin Currie with Columbus Symphony Orchestra Principal Timpanist Benjamin Ramirez, a faculty member in Capital’s Conservatory of Music; pianist and musicologist Ralph van Raat; classical pianist Maarten van Veen; Robert Breithaupt, master percussionist and Capital professor of music; Latin jazz ensemble Ritmos Unidos; violinist Elizabeth Chang; Capital University Chamber Percussion Ensemble and more in a celebration of percussion and new music.

      Currie, Ramirez, van Raat and van Veen will kick things off with two days of free concerts at Capital University March 17-18, featuring the U.S. premiere of Trophic Cascades, a new work for two percussionists and two pianists by British composer Dave Maric. Trophic Cascades mirrors the instrumentation of the iconic Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion by Bela Bartok. Both concerts begin at 7:30 pm in Mees Hall.

      The quartet will have just returned from performing the world premiere of the piece in Rotterdam February 25, and again in Amsterdam February 26. The premiere of Trophic Cascades is a product of a collaboration between Capital University and de Doelen, a major performing arts center Rotterdam.

      Along with Trophic Cascades, the Tuesday, March 17, concert will feature two additional works: 

      • Hallelujah Junction, by noted American composer John Adams. Composed in 1996, this highly rhythmical, two-piano work is named for a truck stop in California near a cabin Adams owned. 
      • Secret Garden, for drum set and tape, the U.S. premiere of a new work by Anna Clyne, a London-born composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music, with Currie as drum set soloist. 

      The Wednesday, March 18, program will feature works from two iconic composers — Alan Hovhaness and Bela Bartok — along with two other emerging composers:

      • Mihr, by the American composer Hovhaness, is a two-piano work written in 1945 and named for the Armenian fire god; 
      • Realismos Mágicos, is a new work for solo marimba by Rolf Wallin and titled after a set of short stories by the author Garcia Marquez. Currie premiered Realismos Mágicos in April 2014, and this will be the U.S. premiere; 
      • Sketch for Sub Rosa, by Gavin Bryars, a two-piano work that will be newly arranged with the addition of percussion parts performed by Currie and Ramirez; and 
      • Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, composed by Bela Bartok in 1937 out of his fascination for combining piano with other percussion instruments. This sonata is an enduring staple of work for combining percussion and other instruments and is viewed as one of the most important works in the percussion repertoire. 

      Currie will return to Capital University on Saturday, March 21, from 11 am to 1 pm to give a percussion workshop at the Conservatory of Music. This workshop is free and open to the public, and is co-sponsored by Capital University and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

      The cadence of RhythmFest will continue March 20-21 with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Currie will be featured in a program with Brahms’ Symphony No. 3; the electrifying percussion concerto Incantations, by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara; and Maurice Ravel's masterwork, Bolero, conducted by the new CSO Music Director Rossen Milanov. Both concerts begin at 8 pm at the Ohio Theatre. Get ticket information here.

      On Wednesday, March 25, the New Music at Short North Stage series, located at the Garden Theatre in the Short North, will present a concert of works titled California Mavericks, featuring percussion and other instruments. On this program will be the Concerto for Violin and Percussion Orchestra by American composer Lou Harrison featuring violinist Elizabeth Chang, and Set of Five, by Henry Cowell.

      California natives Cowell and Harrison were among the most prolific composers to experiment and develop the modern approach to contemporary American classical music, and to use percussion as a key component in their works. The Capital University Chamber Percussion Ensemble will also be featured. Presented by the Johnstone Fund for New Music, the concert is free. It will begin at 7 pm.

      RhythmFest Columbus will conclude with the Jazz Arts Group’s Inside Track series Friday, March 27, followed by a Jazz Academy workshop on Saturday, March 28. Both events will take place at the Lincoln Theatre.

      On Friday, JAG will present Ritmos Unidos in concert. Led by seven-time Grammy nominee and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music professor Michael Spiro, Ritmos Unidos is a high-energy ensemble that mixes Latin jazz, American funk, Brazilian pop and other syncretic styles. Ritmos Unidos is a name that loosely translates as “rhythms together.”

      The following day, JAG will present Ritmos Unidos in a workshop at its Jazz Academy. This will be an interactive workshop that will discuss the aural traditions of jazz and Latin music, including the fundamentals of “clave” – the African-inspired rhythmic foundation of Latin music found in the history and development of jazz, Caribbean and South American music. Get ticket information here.

      The Columbus Museum of Art will acknowledge the Rhythmfest Columbus activities by displaying various works at the Museum during the month of March.