In case you weren’t aware, the Tufts Music Department puts on a show every month in a concert series entitled “New at Noon”. These concerts exhibit modern music, with styles ranging from classical to contemporary. This month’s concert, “Alone – A Tufts Composers Solo Spectacular” featured songs exclusively composed by Tufts students.
The first piece, Jeffrey Shivers’ “petal,” was the most avant-garde of the three pieces. Philipp Staudlin, a member of Tufts’ Music Department faculty, beautifully navigated the piece’s obfuscated structure and made what could’ve been difficult to listen to in less capable hands quite enjoyable.
Wei Yang’s “Xing-Four Pieces for String Quartet,” performed by the Tufts Composer’s String Quartet, could’ve been the score to a space epic. Each movement told a different part of a story which began in the midst of space and ended with what seemed to be the beginning of life. It was impressive how well Yang was able to create a narrative with his music.
The following two pieces, both composed by Ryan O’Connell, were performed by Professor John McDonald. The first piece utilized a juxtaposition of simple melodies and dissonance to create a piece that was both haunting and beautiful. His second piece, “Aware,” had a larger character and was much more dramatic.
The concert ended with a reprise of “petal,” which allowed the audience to truly appreciate the pieces’ slow-burning decline through the pairing of what Shivers describes as “sweetness and tension.”
Overall, I was genuinely impressed by each composer’s unique style and artistic ability. If this concert is indicative of the quality of other New At Noon concerts, they are most definitely worth your time. All New At Noon shows take place at 12:00 pm in Distler Auditorium, located inside Granoff Music Center. Check the music department website here to see when they’re scheduled.
Photo: Tufts Music Department