Renowned musician David Baker headlines Contemporary Music Festival

October 26 2007

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Indiana State University department of music will present its 41st Contemporary Music Festival Nov. 7-9.

The premier event of its kind in the United States, the ISU Contemporary Music Festival attracts an audience from throughout the world. With the exception of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra concert Nov. 9, all events are free and open to the public.

This year’s principal guest composer will be renowned jazz musician David Baker. Other guests include the Indianapolis-based Ronen Ensemble and composition contest winner David Dzubay.

Baker, an Indianapolis native, is chair of the jazz department of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where is also a distinguished professor of music. A performer of multiple instruments and considered by many to be tops in his discipline, he has taught and performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. In addition to his duties at IU, he serves as conductor and musical/artistic director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.

A 1973 Pulitzer Prize nominee, Baker was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1979 and has been honored three times by Down Beat Magazine - as a trombonist, an inductee to their Jazz Education Hall of Fame and for lifetime achievement. Baker was awarded an Emmy Award in 2003 for his work on the PBS documentary “For Gold and Glory” and will be honored in 2007 by the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts with their Living Jazz Legend Award.

A prolific composer, he has completed more than 2,000 compositions, including jazz and symphonic works, chamber music, ballet and film scores. Baker has more than 65 recordings, 60 books and 400 articles to his credit.

The festival begins with the Fusion Showcase concert at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in Tilson Auditorium, featuring ISU student and faculty performers. A reception, open to the public, will follow the concert in Heritage Lounge.

The Ronen Chamber Ensemble will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8 in the Recital Hall of the Center for Performing and Fine Arts at Seventh and Chestnut streets.

In its 24th season, the ensemble, comprised of members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) and guests, delights in exploring the rich tonal palette of the repertoire for winds and strings. Directed by ISO principal clarinetist David Bellman and ISO cellist Ingrid Fischer-Bellman, Ronen programs feature a balance of well-known and hidden gems of the literature, along with contemporary and commissioned works by Indiana composers. More than 15 compositions have been composed for and premiered by the Ronen Chamber Ensemble by such composers as Baker, Michael Schelle, Jan Bach and Christopher Rutkowski. The ensemble presents an annual series of four concerts in downtown Indianapolis, performing at the Hilbert Circle Theatre and the Basile Theater of the Indiana History Center.

New to the Festival is the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra (ICO), which will perform at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in Tilson Auditorium.

The orchestra, comprised of 35 professional musicians, focuses on programming that is unique to its composition and size by presenting an annual concert series of masterworks from four centuries of music composed for the small orchestra. In keeping with its mission, the ICO performs a body of music that most audiences have traditionally had few opportunities to hear in live performance. In addition to presenting the full breadth of chamber orchestra repertoire, the group’s concerts feature internationally recognized concert artists as well as superior local talent, present aspiring young soloists, and showcase the talents of contemporary composers. The ICO has commissioned several new works and has performed a number of world and American premieres during its twenty-three year history.

Tickets are still available for this concert, which is part of ISU’s Performing Arts In the Spotlight Series, from the Hulman Center ticket office. Tickets are $16 for the general public. ISU students are admitted free with a valid student ID. Contact the Hulman Center box office at (877) ISU-TIXS for more information.

Dzubay, a professor at Indiana University, will participate in the festival as the Contemporary Music Festival/Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra composition contest winner. The composition competition was established to recognize outstanding composers of orchestral music.

Dzubay, who serves as chair of the Jacobs School of Music composition department, will have his composition, “Double Black Diamond,” performed by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra during the festival. This is the second time Dzubay has been awarded this prize. In 1992, he won first place for his composition “Snake Alley.”

“Double Black Diamond” is about a ski run and was originally commissioned by the Utah Arts Festival. It premiered in 2005 at the festival and has also been performed by the IU New Music Ensemble, for which he is director and conductor. For the competition, Dzubay made several revisions -- adding tuba and synthesizer parts -- and made the piece longer.

Dzubay has conducted at the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals, and his work has been performed all over the world. He was the composer in residence for the Green Bay Symphony for the 2005-2006 season and is a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow.

Other festival activities include a recital by ISU student composers/performers at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 8 in the Recital Hall and sessions with the different festival guests. A panel discussion featuring the festival guests will take place at 1 p.m. Nov. 9 in room 159 of the Center for Performing and Fine Arts. The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra will have an open rehearsal at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in Tilson Auditorium.

The ISU Contemporary Music Festival gives students a glimpse into the lives of professional composers and performers; promotes the work of up and coming composers; and presents new music to the public. Since 1967, more than 175 established and emerging composers-including 17 winners of the Pulitzer Prize and four winners of the Grawemeyer Award-have participated in the Festival.

For more information, contact the ISU music department at (812) 237-2771 or go to .


Wednesday, Nov. 7

7:30 PM Festival Opening Concert
Tilson Auditorium

Post-concert Reception (open to the public)
Heritage Lounge


Thursday, Nov. 8

9 AM Session: David Baker
Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Room 159

10:30 AM ISU Student Performers/Composers Recital
Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Recital Hall

2 PM Session: David Dzubay
Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Room 159

3:30 PM Session: Conversation with David Baker
Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Recital Hall

7:30 PM Concert: Ronen Ensemble
Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Recital Hall


Friday, Nov. 9

9 AM Session: Improvisation with David Baker
Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Room 159

1 PM Session: Panel Discussion with Guests
Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Room 159

2:30 PM Open rehearsal: The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Tilson Auditorium

6:30 PM Concert Comments: Kirk Trevor and Friends
Heritage Ballroom

7:30 PM Concert: The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Tilson Auditorium

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Contact: Kurt Fowler, Contemporary Music Festival Chair, (812) 237-2743, or

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783,

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The Indiana State University department of music will present its 41st Contemporary Music Festival Nov. 7-9.

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