I played a very interesting program last week with the Towson New Music Ensemble. The director is Bill Kleinsasser with Julien Benichou as conductor. First off, let me say that the program was engaging and well-presented (at least 88% was performed extremely well!) Being live music and contemporary music at that, things happen, folks lose their place or don't come in because somebody else didn't come in. It's not like playing traditional chamber music - meters can change every bar and individuals regularly play on different portions of the beat. It's challenging!!....and I love it! Hats off to Kleinsasser for organizing such inviting and significant programs.
The program consisted of Cindy Cox's Axis Mundi; Samuel Nichols Axis; Bonnie Miksch Inklings on the loose; and Donald Martino's 1971 Pulitzer prize winning composition, Notturno. Kudos to flutist Sara Nichols solo performance of the Miksch work. Nichols was totally in command of this work for flute and computer-realized recording. Besides nailing one technical spot after another, she brought forth amazing colors and contemporary techniques. Bravo Sara!
The other Bravo goes out to conductor Julien Benichou. With all of the meter and tempo changes, one really needs a conductor who will be there every step of the way. Benichou doesn't miss a beat and makes what could be an ensemble disaster, music making every step of the way.