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Contemporary Music Ensemble enchants audience with new spins on old classics.

Aleni MacKarey

Contemporary Music Ensemble gives final performance of the year

Photo Courtesy of Professor O’Riordan

There was nothing typical about the selection of music heard on Monday, April 21, at the performance of The Lafayette College Contemporary Music Ensemble (LCCME). The Lafayette students who participated in Monday’s concert were hand selected by Kirk O’Riordan, the conductor of the ensemble. “The great thing about that ensemble is that I can rely on them 100% to be prepared for rehearsal,” O’Riordan said. “These are the most motivated student musicians on campus, and they play in the ensemble because they like the added pressure of playing in ensembles in which there is no place to hide.”

The group performs music by 20th and 21st century composers: established masters, emerging artists, and students. During their final concert, they debuted a variety of works centered on the music of the renowned Estonian composer, Arvo Part.

To compliment these works were four pieces by Eric Nathan, Luming Hao, Kala Pierson, and O’Riordan. Each piece had a pensive and reflective feel to them. The music caused listeners to lose themselves and travel to a soothing place.

The group, who began rehearsing for this concert shortly after their other major performance in Lower Farinon in February, took their assignments very seriously. Some of the small group numbers only worked with O’Riordan once before hitting the stage.

The order of the pieces performed was chosen to allow audience members to feel absorbed with the show. The journey started out with the meditative and spiritual works, and was followed by O’Riordan’s original composition of “beepdotlineslashcurve.” This piece, which served as the “sorbet of the program,” refreshed the palette before the final song, “Fratres.”

“I was most happy with Fratres and Walls of Light,” O’Riordan said.  “In Fratres I thought we created a nice intensity, and I liked the pacing of the piece. Walls of Light is a very intricate and virtuosic piece.”

“It was really fun to play music where the artistry is completely in the interpretation,” Dana Lapides ‘16, who played the piano in several of the evening’s songs, said. “I usually play pretty crazy stuff, and the music for this concert for me was really simple on paper, so it was fun to make it sound fabulous.”