St. Petersburg, Russia 2008
The Ithaca College School of Music Contemporary Ensemble, performed at the 20th International New Music Festival, "Sound Ways," in St. Petersburg, Russia, this November. The concert took place at Glinka Hall of the Philharmonic, one of St. Petersburg's most beautiful and prestigious halls.
The ensemble combines six faculty members and eight students under the artistic leadership of Sally Lamb and is conducted by Jeffery Meyer. Lamb teaches composition in the School of Music, while Meyer, who conducts the two Ithaca College orchestras, is also the music director of the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic. That orchestra has been participating in the "Sound Ways" New Music Festival for the past four years; its director, composer Alexander Radvilovich, invited the Contemporary Ensemble to perform this year.
The Contemporary Ensemble's festival program included music of Schoenberg, Mackey, Carter, and Ligeti, as well as the world premieres of "Joy Ride" by Lamb and "Weierstrass" by Rezetdinov.
In addition to the concert, the students had the opportunity to play with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic during the festival.
The Contemporary Ensemble Vision
Lamb's vision for the ensemble is multifaceted. Combining students with faculty brings a "family" approach in which students learn challenging repertoire alongside experienced musicians in an environment that is both stimulating and supportive. Commissioning and premiering new works is another important aspect of the ensemble's programming, as is performing works by composers who visit Ithaca College, which have included Jennifer Higdon, Joan Tower, and Karel Husa.
Lamb also began the Contemporary Ensemble Composition Competition, which is open to all IC composition students. The 2008 winner was Jared Cowing, whose work, "Metropolis Inhabitant 7S2L5D3," was premiered November 11 in the Hockett Family Recital Hall on the IC campus.
Lamb noted: "This trip to Russia provides the Contemporary Ensemble with numerous opportunities: to grow as an ensemble, to contribute a substantial program to a prominent international festival, to connect with musicians from Russia and other countries being represented at the festival, and to foster cultural literacy so critical to a harmonious global society."
Besides the performance in Russia, there were three opportunities to hear the Contemporary Ensemble Festival concert program:
- Friday, November 14 -- Hockett Family Recital Hall (Ithaca College), 8:15 p.m.
- Thursday, November 20 -- Setnor Auditorium (Syracuse University), 8:00 p.m.
- Friday, December 5 -- NYSSMA conference (Rochester), 7:15 p.m.