SU Humanities Center, Society for New Music present program of music, film and video Oct. 28
The world premiere of “Cantos,” an ambitious multimedia work by New York State composer Rob Deemer, is part of the next installment of Syracuse Symposium, whose theme this year is “Memory-Media-Archive.” The premiere is part of a program titled “Aural Auras and Their Reflections: A Sound/Image Dialogue,” taking place Sunday, Oct. 28, at 4 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel on the Syracuse University campus. The concert is free and open to the public, and is followed by a reception. For more information, call 315-443-5708, or visit syracusehumanities.org.
“Aural Auras and Their Reflections” is organized and presented by the SU Humanities Center for The College of Arts and Sciences and the campus community. It is co-sponsored by the Society for New Music (SNM), a Syracuse-based national composer service organization that is celebrating its 41st season.
“Our concerts with the Society of New Music have become something of a fall tradition on campus,” says Gregg Lambert, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities and founding director of the SU Humanities Center. “This event is particularly exciting because it uses the changing concept of film music to illustrate the possibilities of humanistic inquiry. It also showcases original music by several outstanding regional composers.”
Adds SNM founder Neva Pilgrim: “It’s almost impossible to think about the digital humanities, not to mention the public humanities, without considering film and video music. We’ve assembled a first-rate group of musicians whose art reflects the general culture of our time.”
Commissioned by SNM, “Cantos” reminds Deemer of how film scoring techniques may fit within a composer’s toolbox. “Members of our own audience, including potential composers, [have] grown up with film and video game music,” he says. “It only makes sense, then, to look at these fields not as curiosities and targets for scorn, but also as genres rich with tradition and techniques that could easily be incorporated into a contemporary composers’ palette.” Deemer is assistant professor of music and head of composition at SUNY Fredonia.
Also an accomplished composer and conductor, Deemer first came to national attention in 1993, when he was named the college winner of the DownBeat Magazine Student Music Award for “Best Extended Composition.” Since then, his career has taken him all over the world, from jazz clubs in Chicago to stage shows on a Caribbean cruise liner, to Hollywood scoring studios. His music has also been performed at the Cannes International Film Festival (France); various Directors Guild of America conferences in New York and Los Angeles; the San Francisco Latino Film Festival; and at film festivals throughout North America and Africa.
Demmer is also co-author of “Hearing the Movies: Music and Sound in Film” (Oxford University Press, 2009) and creator of the nationally syndicated radio program “The Composer Next Door.”
For “Cantos,” Deemer has teamed up with Courtney Rile ’04, an accomplished videographer and co-founder of Syracuse’s Daylight Blue Media Group. “The video for this project will focus on the nature of musical instruments, and will further the work by incorporating a live performative element,” she says.
The Oct. 28 program includes the following:
- the second performance of a guitar concerto by Andrew Waggoner, professor of music composition, theory and history in the Setnor School of Music in SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts;
- “Chaw,” a Copland-inspired folk tune by Rob Smith, a Syracuse native who is associate professor of composition and director of the AURA Contemporary Ensemble at the University of Houston;
- a suite from the 1936 documentary “The Plow That Broke the Plains” (performed in conjunction with the film) by the late Virgil Thomson; and
- “Analogous Sets” for video robot drummer, clarinet and cello by Patrick Long ’91, associate professor and chair of music at Susquehanna University.
Conducted by Cynthia Johnston Turner, the performers include VPA faculty members Kenneth Meyer, guitar; Steven Heyman and Adrienne Kim, piano; Gregory Wood G’05, cello; and Edward Castilano ’03, double bass. Rounding out the ensemble are Ann McIntyre ’96 and Sonya Williams, violin; Kitt Dodd, viola; Kelly Covert, flute; John Friedrichs, clarinet; Ralph Dudgeon, trumpet; Dave DiGennaro ’90, trombone; and Rob Bridge, percussion.