Friday, October 05, 2007


Sweet Music for Eastern

The Spokane Symphony plays at the Big Easy Friday night, and it will feature works by two composers from Eastern's Music Dept.
Here's excerpts from a preview in the morning paper.

start something big.

Symphony breaks from tradition
Orchestra lands at the Big Easy as part of On the Edge series

Travis Rivers
October 5, 2007

The times, they are a-changin' – even in the tradition-bound world of classical music.

The Spokane Symphony's Symphony on the Edge concert tonight at the Big Easy Concert House shows the orchestra moving away from the familiar classics into the music of today, and the doorstep of tomorrow.

Morihiko Nakahara, the orchestra's associate conductor, will lead the symphony in short works that go back as far as 1911 and as far forward as 2006 – including pieces by two local composers.

The Symphony on the Edge series started in 2004 to allow the orchestra to venture into unusual repertoire in a venue not tied to the formalities of the concert hall.

"Symphony on the Edge is really a weird infant child," Nakahara says. "People come to these concerts who have been going to symphony concerts for years. But people also come who have never been to a symphony performance in their whole lives.

"My challenge was to create a program that was devoid of standard pieces, but music that people could still listen and drink to."

For tonight's program, Nakahara has chosen works by a group of young composers including two from Spokane: Jonathan Middleton and Don Goodwin.

Middleton is a faculty member at Eastern Washington University, but is on leave teaching at Stanford University. Goodwin received his master's degree in composition at EWU last spring.

"Jonathan has became quite well-known for using algorithms in composing and we will play his 'Reciprocal Refractions,' " Nakahara says.

Middleton has developed a computer program that can convert just about any set of data, from the alphabet to baseball batting averages, into a series of musical notes.

As for Goodwin, Nakahara says, "Don may be better known for having played keyboards in several jazz groups in the area. But he is a pianist, and a bassoonist, and a conductor as well as being a composer of both jazz and classical music.

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