Indiana State University Newsroom

Contemporary Music Festival set for Oct. 27-29

October 20, 2010

Twelve events during two and a half days will introduce Indiana State University students and the Terre Haute community to new and innovative musical compositions during the 44th annual Contemporary Music Festival.

This year's event runs Oct. 27-29 and features free concerts each night.

"The festival is about bringing a high level of artistry to Terre Haute and learning more about the way music is created ," said Kurt Fowler, ISU music professor and festival artistic director.

The festival features performances and speaking events that center around a guest composer, this year Gabriela Lena Frank.

"It's important for the students to realize there are composers out there and that they're making a living creating music," Fowler said.

Frank exemplifies the theme of this year's festival "Musica del Sol" (Music of the Sun). The theme represents a regional connotation of Central and South America as well as the character and soul of the people that live there, according to Fowler. Frank has travelled extensively throughout South America and shapes her pieces to reflect and refract her studies of Latin-American folklore as she incorporates poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework.

In 2007, Frank spent a year in residency with the Indianapolis Symphony, where she developed a relationship with the Indianapolis Hispanic community and wrote a piece based on her experience with them. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Latin Music Grammy Award in 2009.

Frank's work will be featured in the opening showcase concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, in Tilson Auditorium. Frank will lead a session at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, followed by a concert by ISU student performers at 10:30 a.m. in the Center for Performing and Fine Arts Recital Hall.

Frank has previously worked with the festival's guest pianist, Michael Kirkendoll, and recently completed a piece for him to perform at the festival, Fowler said.

"I think this is exciting for our community and students to experience," Fowler said.

Kirkendoll, who also has performed with the Indianapolis Symphony, is currently assistant professor of piano at Oklahoma State University.

Kirkendoll attempts to fill the concert experience with emotional hills and valleys of laughter, nervousness, and passion, keeping both himself and his audiences connected and involved throughout the program.

He is scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, in the Center for Performing and Fine Arts Recital Hall. He also will be leading a master class on Friday at 4 p.m.

The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra also is slated to perform on 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, in Tilson Auditorium.

"One of the things that makes this festival unique is that we hire a professional orchestra to come in and perform," Fowler said. "We also hold two composition contests during the year, both of which receive numerous applications from composers around the country."

As part of its concert on Oct. 29, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra will perform composition winner Joseph Dangerfield's "Two Vestiges for Chamber Orchestra." In addition, the orchestra will perform Gabriela Frank's "Peregrinos," the piece that she composed for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The program will also include a violin concerto and a set of fairy tales for accordion and orchestra.

Events for Friday, Oct. 29, will feature the Faculty Chamber Recital at 10:30 a.m. and a 2:30 p.m. Music Now Recital, both in the Center for Performing and Fine Arts Recital Hall.

Frank, the ISU Faculty Brass Quintet and ISU students also will visit Vigo County School Corporation schools leading up to the festival.

"The festival is an educational festival, that is the crux of it," Fowler said. "If we just limit it to our students, we don't really reach the community as we should or can. It provides a good way for our department to reach out to the community."

To see a complete schedule of events, visit

Gabriela Lena Frank

Michael Kirkendoll

Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra

Contact: Kurt Fowler, Indiana State University, music professor and festival artistic director, at 812-237-2743 or

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at812-237-7972 or