New Music Tonight, then Redcat Saturday

Music Director Peter Askim's viola concerto will be showcased tonight

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Tonight, in celebration of the school’s 25th Anniversary, the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra will showcase New Music by several contemporary composers. However, some compositions are only a few weeks old.

“I need to finish my orchestra piece,” Peter Askim, music director and composer-in-residence had said during Spring Break in March.

His new viola concerto was specially created for Roger Myers, a notable violist and chair of the strings department at the University of Texas at Austin. Myers is regarded as one of the foremost performers and teachers of his time. He will be performing the piece for the first time tonight.

Chris, a classical viola student at Idyllwild Arts, will be paying special attention to Myers performance from his orchestra seat. Chris took a master class with Myers earlier in the year, and plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin because of him.

“He’s an awesome teacher and performer,” Chris said. “I can’t wait to hear him perform with us.”

When asked what they think of Peter’s new viola concerto, some string students say that it’s difficult to play. But then again, all of Peter’s pieces have been known to be difficult.

For the orchestra students, New Music is a great diversion from their classical repertoire. In preparation for a piece, some students go to the library or purchase the song online.  That way, they can listen to the music  in the quiet of their practice room. However, for these New Music pieces, there is no record, CD or track to refer to, and it can be a little nerve wracking.

“We don’t just listen to songs written by dead people,” Peter chided students before a New Age concert they attended at the LA Philharmonic last year.

Besides Peter Askim, the works of three other contemporary composers will be featured at the New Music orchestra concert tonight. They include: Rufus Reid, Pierre Jalbert and Jan Radzynski.

“Spanning traditions and crossing genres, the program is a microcosm of the world of Contemporary American Music, and a celebration of the diversity of cultures and styles that Idyllwild Arts represents,” states copy on Peter Askim’s web site.

The program includes the World Premiere of a new orchestral work by renowned jazz bassist Rufus Reid. “A recipient of a Guggenheim Award, Reid’s new work blends and blurs the boundaries of jazz and classical orchestral music,” Peter’s web site states.

“Recipient of the Rome Prize, the BBC Masterprize, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Stoeger Award and a 2010 American Academy of Arts and Letters award, composer Pierre Jalbert’s astonishingly beautiful music is at once immediately accessible and refreshingly new.

“A native of Poland and former resident of Israel, Jan Radzynski writes music that transcends borders, cultures and time itself. His new work for violin and orchestra is intellectually probing, cross-cultural and deeply moving.”

There will be two chances to listen to the New Music Concert this weekend. It will be performed at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Saturday, April 7, at the IAF Theater on campus. The concert is free and open to the public. Then at 4 p.m. on Mother’s Day, Sunday, April 8, the group will perform at REDCAT at Disney Hall in Los Angeles. General admission ($25) or student tickets ($10) are available at REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd Street in Los Angeles or by visiting

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: May 7, 2011 @ 12:21

the attachments to this post:

New Music Peter

Comments are closed.