Ossia is at it again. Always challenging the boundaries of music and the expectations of musical audiences, Ossia will combine elements of jazz, rock, classical and traditional Balinese music to create a show like no other. The student-run contemporary music ensemble will present a concert entitled “Laya” tomorrow night at 8 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall.

Attending an Ossia concert is never like attending a typical classical music concert. This one in particular should pique everyone’s interest, featuring music by award-winning composer Jennifer Fontana Graham, Rochesterian Ike Sturm, “Bang on a Can Allstar” Evan Ziporyn and a new mix of a John Dowland songs. This Ossia concert, unlike any before, will also feature stage art designed by senior Maddy Sturm.

The concert derives its name, Laya, from a Balinese concept. This concept is “the idea that through close and intense collaboration, a group of highly skilled musicians can learn to breathe together and play together in an almost mystical way, creating a uniquely intimate and powerful musical experience.” Rumor has it that the performers will not be seated in the typical manner, but as part of the stage design ? they will rest on the floor.

The concert opens with a reworking of John Dowland’s “Crystal Tears” for voice and jazz combo, which will include a violin, saxophone, guitar and bass.

Those who make it out to Java’s on Wednesday nights should recognize the name behind the next piece. Ike Sturm, Eastman composer and bassist, composed “Spirit” for soprano and amplified ensemble. With a strong classical and jazz background, Sturm mixes elements of jazz and concert music.

After an intermission will be Evan Ziporyn’s “Aneh Tapi Nyata,” which means “strange but true.” Ziporyn is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a clarinetist with “Bang on a Can Allstars,” a new music ensemble, as well as the Steve Reich Ensemble.

“Aneh Tapi Nyata,” which is composed for soprano, electric mandolins and guitar, strings, winds and Indonesian percussion instruments, relates the story of a foreigner’s shock and amazement in a completely different culture.

“The piece seems to focus on realizing the fundamental truths of Balinese music ? where rhythm is at the core ? and applying them to Western music,” said junior violist Justin Caulley.

“The gamelan instruments, as well, are not used in their traditional ways. You could say that the two types of music sublate to form something fresh,” Caulley said.

The concert ends with the world premiere of Eastman composer Jennifer Fontana Graham’s “Mantra for Peace,” a setting of two prayers from the Vedic scriptures of India scored for amplified female voices, strings, percussion and piano.

“We want to give the audience the polish and virtuosity they expect at an Eastman performance, with the fire, stage energy and visual appeal of a rock concert,” Graham said.

Friday evening promises to be a treat for every music lover, not just the ones living near Gibbs Street.

For more information on Ossia, check out their website at www.rochester.edu/eastman/ossia.

Swanson can be reached at kswanson@campustimes.org.



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