‘Many Worlds’ concert Feb.16 in Syracuse

Published Feb 8, 2018 at 4:00pm

SYRACUSE — “Many Worlds,” a concert that will include two of the Society for New Music’s Israel winners, will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, as part of the Society’s 46th winter season.

All four works on the program reference nature and humanity’s relation to it. The concert will be at Park Central Presbyterian, 504 E. Fayette St.

Opening the show is Cornell professor Kevin Ernste’s 2016 “Interregnum,” commissioned as part of the National Park Service’s centennial celebration. In “Interregnum,” Ernste writes music for traditional instruments (representing the human contribution), alongside “nested” music for bowls of water (representing nature’s contributions).

He said the piece “reminds us that we are mere keepers at the watch, in terms of nature and the National Park system, and, if we can manage to acknowledge it, stewards of our own survival. These Parks were here long before us and hopefully they will be here when we are gone.”

New York Federation of Music Clubs Israel winner Simon Frisch, an American-Breton composer, will travel to Syracuse for his string quartet “Provost,” which he describes as a meditation on transcendence. It was inspired by Flemish Renaissance painter Jan Provost’s painting, “Allégorie chrétienne,” a serene allegorical depiction of the soul’s redemption. That quality is reflected musically by the composer in this four-movement quartet. Frisch is on the Music Advancement Program faculty at Juilliard, having earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at that school. 

Alex Burtzos, a previous Israel winner, will hear the second performance of his “Many Worlds,” setting poems by Jonathan Aprea. “Many Worlds” is an interpretation of quantum physics which argues that, whenever an outcome is observed, reality itself splits into multiple branches, each fork representing a different possible result realized. Burtzos said: “For every wrong choice I’ve made, somewhere out there, across that dimensional divide, there is a me who made the right one. What if it was possible to reach out to that other me and say to him: what is life without regret? Is it somehow less... human?” Burtzos teaches composition at Stevens Institute of Technology, and composition, musicianship and songwriting at Ramapo College of New Jersey.  

Jonathan Aprea’s work has appeared in Prelude Magazine, the Atlas Review and Metatron. Selections from his chapbook “Dyson Poems” (coming from Monster House Press in March) were scored by composer David Bird for the new music quartet Loadbang. A graduate of Syracuse University’s creative writing program, he lives in Philadelphia. You can find his work at jonathanaprea.com. 

Rounding out this program of music from this past year and a half is the second performance of Society-commissioned composer Stephen Ferre’s “Labyrinth,” which will be recorded prior to the concert. Ferre wrote: “The associations for a labyrinth are: Sanctuary (a place to get away from it all), in its free other-worldliness; the Labyrinth Room itself (in the chorale), where the Marble Church choir rehearses (in NYC); and finally, the mythological labyrinth with a Minotaur at its center, in which it is a mad dash for survival.” Ferre’s ideas for “Labyrinth” began in the Labyrinth room of Marble Collegiate Church in lower Manhattan in November 2014 during a break between dress rehearsal and New York City premiere of Brent Michael Davids’ “Purchase of Manhattan” by the Society. Ferre taught for several years at Syracuse University Setnor School of Music before heading to University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music a year ago for a teaching position.  

The Society All-Stars for this concert are: Peter Rovit, Sonya Williams, Josh Lohner, Gregory Wood, Kelly Covert, John Friedrichs, John Raschella, Julie Bridge, Heather Buchman, Sar Shalom Strong, Rob Bridge and tenor Dan Fields. 

Tickets will be available via PayPal on the Society’s website, www.societyfornewmusic.org, at the door the evening of the concert or by calling 315-251-1151.