It’s not often that audiences attending prestigious performances by high-caliber musicians and composers are encouraged to actively move around during a performance.

However, Abby Aresty, a Take Five Scholar, is using her composition “Merger” to incorporate these innovative ideas into her piece’s premier performance.

While at Eastman, Aresty has studied music composition and horn performance. She also participated in Boston University Tanglewood Institute’s (BUTI) elite Young Artist Composition Program. Aresty has even studied abroad at the Royal College of Music in London for a semester during her junior year.

The world premiere of her composition will be performed by Ossia, a student-run contemporary music ensemble from Eastman.

The performances will be held at the River Campus Dandelion Square, at 11 a.m. and noon on Sept. 23 and Sept. 24. Admission to the performance is free and open to the public.

Aresty wrote “Merger,” envisioning a group of diverse individuals working together to improve society. She credits a speech she heard at the River Campus as her initial inspiration for the piece. It was a speech by “Michael Greger, M.D., given at the [River Campus] last year where he called on activists from different causes to work together and respect each others work,” Aresty said.

After the initial idea was planted, her influences broadened as she searched for different elements to integrate into the piece so that it would truly accomplish the goal its name suggests.

One of these unique elements is the environment in which the piece is performed. Instead of performing at an Eastman concert hall, she has chosen to use Dandelion Square as her stage.

This location will act as a merger in itself, helping to encourage the mixing of Eastman and River Campus students.

“I always loved to see Eastman students over [at the River Campus] and River Campus students at Eastman,” Aresty said.

She is also using the outdoor environment to encourage her audience to take in the music however it inspires them most – whether that is physically walking around, standing still, or sitting down.

The performance space will be transformed into an integrated art gallery and stage. Paintings and sculptures from primarily local artists, including Janina Dorothea Arendt, Pola Aresty, Liza Camhi, Karin Lorenc, Shirley D. Zimmer and UR junior Heather Bischof will be displayed.

The goal of incorporating the artwork is to have a “visual representation of the diverse individuals I imagined,” Aresty explained. Like the composition, the art will be an assortment of varying styles, moods and tempos.

Ossia’s performance of Aresty’s piece reflects the organization’s mission to provide unique opportunities to local artists. In fact, the organization’s name is derived from the score marking that indicates a musical alternative. The ensemble’s primary goal is to perform those compositions which might not be performed at Eastman and similar institutions.

Brod can be reached at

Live updates: Wallis Hall sit-ins

Editor’s Note (5/4/24): This article is no longer being updated. For our most up to date coverage, look for articles…

The Clothesline Project gives a voice to the unheard

The Clothesline Project was started in 1990 when founder Carol Chichetto hung a clothesline with 31 shirts designed by survivors of domestic abuse, rape, and childhood sexual assault.

Furries on UR campus?

A few months ago, as I did my daily walk to class through the tunnels to escape the February cold,…