Music Review: Rain sounds inspire impressive New Music concert

From Herald  November 11, 2018

A New Music New College concert built around rainfall data

In its “Inter/Action” concert Saturday night, New Music New College once again led the Sarasota music scene into welcome new territory.

Already well-known and welcome for its devotion to bringing more contemporary music to our rich-but-mostly-traditional musical climate, Artistic Director Stephen Miles and producer Ron Silver led a large and mature audience through new sounds created by the compositional gifts of New College faculty member Mark Dancigers. He employed the impressive skills of both professional musicians and New College students to realize his musical aims.

Taking full advantage of technical support in both the audio and visual requirements of this program, Dancigers delivered an ambitious concert ranging from violinist Samantha Bennett’s energetic presentation of “Skyline,” with electronic processing supporting her excellent live presentation of the solo score, to trombonist Brad Williams using his instrument to punctuate the fixed electronics in “Everything Happens for the First Time.”

The highlight of the concert was the nearly-overwhelming rendition of Dancigers’ “When It Rains, It Rains,” in which pre-recorded sounds of rainfall from around the Tampa Bay area are put to impressive use. He had given his students the recordings of different pulses and tones taken from eight weather stations and asked them to improvise around them.

The stunning recorded sounds were supplemented and reinforced by impressive student performers, performing from memory or improvising, and by the choreography created and performed by Xiao-Xuan Yang Danzigers.

In an strong addition to the program, Mark Danzigers improvised a lengthy, mesmerizing solo for electronics and guitar. The audience went crazy, as they should have in the presence of so much talent and risk-taking.

Sarasota is lucky to have so much skill and daring in our community.

Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay is home to more than 700 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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