chamber music

Pushing musical boundaries

School of Music blends traditional and contemporary classical music in new concert experience

Pushing boundaries is intrinsic to music. That’s why it wasn’t a surprise to see the School of Music merge its classical chamber series with a contemporary one to create a bold, new way to experience world music.

Music dean Tayloe Harding says the Freeman Sundays @3 concert series, now in its third year, is realizing that vision. 

“We’ve seen the audience expand enthusiastically to the blended program and concerts offered mostly monthly. In today’s world, many of us are now used to getting the musical experiences we desire from devices and not live concerts,” Harding says. “This series showcases the international quality of our faculty performers, reveals what is being created and re-created in the musical world today, and does so in a live environment. As a result, both traditional and new audiences experience life in new, interesting and exciting ways.”

The series combines the Cornelia Freeman September Concerts, a classical chamber series established in the mid-1970s, with its contemporary counterpart, Chamber Innovista. Harding says benefactor Cornelia Freeman was a driving force for chamber music until her death at age 101, never having missed a concert.

He says Freeman Sundays @3 embodies the School of Music’s promise to offer the highest quality performance of diverse music for diverse audiences. Contemporary classical music fits right into that. For those not familiar, Harding describes it as music written in the last two decades that was born out of the mastery of classical training and whose composers are influenced by rock, country, world, and vernacular musical expression, as well as other musical languages.

Pianist Marina Lomazov loves the dynamic direction of the series.

“The electric combination of the best of the established classical music canon and the exciting new works on the same program is what makes the new series so exciting and unpredictable,” says Lomazov, the Ira McKissick Koger Professor of Fine Arts. “The newly formed Freeman Concerts present not only the prodigious talents of the School of Music faculty but also what is best in chamber music today, from established masterpieces such as Brahms, Schumann, Beethoven and Mozart iconic works written for traditional string or wind ensembles and piano to the dazzling variety of modern chamber repertoire that features unusual combinations of instruments and timbers.”

The next concert of the series is Sunday (Oct. 1). Seven faculty members will perform three pieces — an original work by Carolina professor and composer Fang Man and ones by Russian composer Sergei Taneyev and Johannes Brahms.

In the spirit of the concert series, the works span time and cultures. Man’s “Lament” is an inventive contemporary piece for bassoon, while Taneyev’s “5 Songs” for voice and piano makes clear why the composer, a contemporary of Tchaikovsky, is considered a master of counterpoint or the relationship between harmonizing voices and rhythm. Brahms’ “Trio in A minor for Piano, Clarinet and Violoncello,” written by the German composer late in his life in 1891, sounds like a warm and intimate conversation among the instruments.

The Freeman Sundays @3 series continues Nov. 19, Feb. 4 and March 25. Concerts take place in the School of Music’s recital hall, and tickets cost $15 for adults, $10 for faculty, staff and seniors and $5 for students.

In keeping with the original Cornelia Freeman Concerts series, proceeds from the series benefit music scholarships. To date, more than 100 students have benefited from more than $100,000 distributed in music scholarships.

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