Indiana State University Newsroom

45th Annual Contemporary Music Festival begins Oct. 26

October 19, 2011

Internationally acclaimed composer Eric Ewazen has been selected as the principal guest composer of Indiana State University's 45th annual Contemporary Music Festival, which will run Oct. 26-28.

A significant event of its kind in the United States, the ISU Contemporary Music Festival attracts a national audience. The entire festival is constructed to be an educational event, combining outreach to public schools, educational sessions and performances. All events are free and open to the public.

Other guests of this year's festival include Crossroads of America Youth Orchestra, The Ambassador Brass, the Chicago Saxophone Quartet and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra.

In addition to music and a variety of free events, the festival will reach out to help others in the Wabash Valley. Monetary donations will be accepted for Indiana State's United Way Campaign at the closing concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28. Non-perishable food items will be accepted at the opening concert on Wednesday evening and Thursday evening at the "Heavy Metal" brass concert. Proceeds will be going to the Catholic Charities Food Bank.

"This year's festival, in particular, will be very appealing," said Kurt Fowler, artistic director for the festival. "The music of guest composer, Eric Ewazen, is extremely accessible, fun, and uplifting."

"School children, university students and community members all have an opportunity to learn about a prominent, living, professional composer and to explore music being written today," Fowler said. "They explore the process of creating great works of music, discuss the importance of new music, and hear new music come alive in performance."

Ewazen was born in 1954 in Cleveland. Receiving a B.M. at the Eastman School of Music, and M.M. and D.M.A. degrees from The Juilliard School, his teachers include Milton Babbitt, Samuel Adler, Warren Benson, Joseph Schwantner and Gunther Schuller. He has been a recipient of numerous composition awards and prizes with works commissioned and performed by many soloists, chamber ensembles and orchestras in the U.S. and overseas. His music can be heard on more than 60 commercially released CDs, and more than 400 YouTube clips.

Out of a total of 13 events, seven concerts will be presented. Works of Ewazen's will be performed on each of the concerts including "Shadowcatcher" for brass quintet and wind ensemble, "Cascadian Concerto" for wind quintet and piano, "Colchester Fantasy" for brass quintet, "Ballade, Pastorale and Dance" for flute, horn and piano, "Rhapsody" for saxophone quartet, "Chamber Symphony" for chamber orchestra, and "Old Settler's Picnic" for youth orchestra.

The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the festival orchestra-in-resident since 2007, will return to perform at this year's festival. The orchestra comprised of 34 professional musicians will be featured in the final concert of the festival Friday, Oct. 28. Its involvement with the festival is part of their keeping with their mission to promote music composed for small orchestra through professional concert performances and educational programs.

During the festival, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra will be premiering "Skitter" the work of 2011 Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra Composition Competition winner Nicolai Jacobsen. Jacobsen recently finished a doctoral degree at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in music composition from the University of Missouri - Kansas City's Conservatory of Music and Dance. As an instructor, Nicolai has taught aural skills, music theory and composition at Rice University and Houston Community College. He is presently on staff at the Art Institute of Houston as a professor of audio production, where he teaches classes in acoustics, audio technology and electronic music.

The Ambassador Brass, a brass quintet whose members include brass faculty from a variety of American universities including Indiana State University, Texas A& M University-Commerce, University of South Florida and Miami University of Ohio, will be one of the two featured artist groups participating in the festival this year. The group is dedicated to connecting the world through a language everyone can understand: the language of music. During the festival, the group will be featured in Ewazen's signature piece, "Shadowcatcher" to be performed on the opening concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26 and in the 7:30 p.m. Thursday evening concert entitled, "Heavy Metal: An Evening of Brass Music with The Ambassador Brass and the ISU Faculty Brass."

In addition to the performances listed in the official festival schedule, the group will also be traveling to local schools to perform and lecture as part of its involvement with the festival. The members of the Ambassador Brass include Jay Coble, trumpet; Daniel Kelly, trumpet and cornet; Brian Kilp, horn; Randy Mitchell, trombone; and Tim Olt, tuba.

The second group of featured artists participating in the festival this year is the Chicago Saxophone Quartet. Since its formation in 1968, the quartet has achieved a distinguished reputation for excellence in musical performance by taking the stage before audiences in Europe, North America and Southeast Asia. During the festival, the group will be featured in concert and masterclasses as well as visiting local schools. Members of the quartet include Wayne Richards, soprano saxophone; Paul Bro, alto saxophone; Leo Saguiguit, tenor saxophone; and Jeremy Ruthrauff, baritone saxophone.

"In addition to the professional ensembles, the festival committee is excited to have the Crossroads of America Youth Symphony (CAYO) perform for the first time," Fowler said.

The youth orchestra will be showcased on the opening concert, Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. CAYO was formed in 1961 by the Terre Haute City Council to provide youth in grades 6-12 the opportunity to perform classical music in an orchestra setting. The orchestra is currently under the direction of Indiana State's School of Music director of bands, Roby George.
Since its inception in 1967, the Contemporary Music Festival has hosted some of the most important composers of contemporary classical music including 18 Pultizer Prize winners. It is one of the longest running contemporary music festivals in the nation.

To see a complete schedule of events, visit .

Admission to all events is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the School of Music at 812-237-2771.

Festival Schedule Highlights

Wednesday, Oct. 26

7:30pm Concert: Opening Showcase Concert
Tirey Hall, Tilson Auditorium

Thursday, Oct. 27

9 am Session: Principal Guest Composer, Eric Ewazen
Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Room 159

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

2:30pm Concert: Chicago Saxophone Quartet
Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Recital Hall

7:30pm Concert: Heavy Metal - An Evening of Brass Music with The Ambassador Brass and the ISU Faculty Brass
University Hall Auditorium

Friday, Oct. 28

10:30am Concert: Faculty Chamber Recital
Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Recital Hall

6:30pm Session: Concert Comments, Kirk Trevor, ICO Winner, and Friends
Tirey Hall, Tilson Auditorium

7:30pm Concert: The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Tirey Hall, Tilson Auditorium


Contact: Kurt Fowler, artistic director, School of Music, Indiana State University, 812-237-2743 or

Writer: Raneigh Prall, arts promotion assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University,