New Music and Electronic Ensembles electrifies the stage

The New Music and Electronic Ensembles shared the stage during their electrifying concert on Nov. 25.  

The New Music Ensemble made its concert debut at Cal Poly Pomona, since this is the ensemble’s first semester as a class. The concert also showcased students of the newly offered composition degree program in the music department; most of the songs were student-composed.  

The concert opened up with an invisible piano arrangement of “Key Jane” by Michael Beil. It was performed by Marissa Aronson, a student musician of the Electronic Ensemble. It was a unique way of listening as well as watching music being performed.  

After the invisible piano opener, student musician Adrian Chavez took the stage with guitar in hand. He performed a classical guitar song called “Eihwaz Rune,” which he composed. The arrangement was graceful and soothing.  

The next two songs were piano pieces composed and performed by students, which were beautiful and haunting.   

First was the song “Nate’s Piano,” composed by Joshua Cooley. As the crowd listened, the mood shifted from calmness to complete sadness. The song portrayed a story of so much vulnerability and sorrow in the most gorgeous way.   

Next, director Isaac Schankler performed “Glass” by student composer Mark DeGonia. He wrote this piece “for someone so delicate, they broke.” This song also portrayed the same sadness as the previous song, but differently.  

“Gongs” by student composer Nathaniel Hall took the concert in a different direction. The song transported the audience into a horror film. The song changed tempos frequently, which made the audience’s hearts beat faster and palms sweat as it sped up. 

Guitarist Roger Mantero (left) and synthesizer Henry Ly (right), play with the Electronic Ensemble to close the show.
Anela Miki-Han | The Poly Post

The student-composed songs concluded with an arrangement by Esther Kala called “Trio for Violin, Guitar and Accordion.” The song portrays a story of darkness at first, but sheds light and turns the audience’s mood from sorrow to joy.  

“This piece itself pictures darkness and incertitude at first, just like the night would bring,” Kala said in the program notes. “Until the morning bells ring to bring forth hope and joy, just like a song would bring comfort during troubling times.”  

Throughout the arrangement, the accordion was the main focus. The use of the instrument reminded the audience of an accordion player on the streets of Paris; a surreal and lovely tune to listen to.  

After the student-composed song, the New Music Ensemble took the stage for two more songs before the intermission of the concert.  

The first song performed was “Thick Line” by Alex Temple. The arrangement changed for the inclusion of a hodgepodge ensemble, or confused mixture. The ensemble somehow took chaos and transformed the mixed sounds into a controlled song that does the original song justice.  

The last song before intermission, “Still Life with Avalanche” by Missy Mazzoli, was another hodgepodge arrangement. The original piece was a “pile of melodies collapsing in a chaotic free fall,” according to Mazzoli in the program notes.  

The last two songs were definitely a new and surreal experience in the best way.  

The Electronic Ensemble performed the last three songs after the intermission. “Stronger” by Kanye West was a crowd-pleaser. The ensemble took its own twist of the widely popular song and had a musician rap to the song.  

 The other two songs, “Les Moutons de Panurge” by Frederic Rzewski and “Eight Lines” by Steve Reich, were two very strong songs performed by the Electronic Ensemble. It showcased the group’s skills with synthesizers. 

The Electronic Ensemble was a great closer to a night full of new and unique ways of experiencing music.  

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