By HPO Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte

Today’s “contemporary classical” or “new” music can be anything, a result of hundreds of years of change in music composition.

For much of classical music history, composers writing during the same time period often used a similar musical language. In the late 19th century-early 20th century, this language (harmony) was pushed to its limit. As a result, music fractured into many different areas including impressionism, twelve tone, modernism and minimalism, to name just a few.

During the 20th century, all elements of music were stretched further, and this included performance. Musicians were asked to push their instruments and technique over the top of what used to be considered impossible. Today, you might hear musicians play higher notes than used to be possible or even circular breathe on a clarinet, the seemingly impossible task of playing a note while breathing in at the same time. Indeed, instruments may be used in new ways such as playing “inside” the piano (plucking and scraping strings), or you might hear a simple lyrical melody.

With this in mind, today’s composers have a myriad of styles to draw from when writing new works, and mid-century the Canadian League of Composers, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Canadian Music Centre were formed to help organize, commission and promote new Canadian composition. These organizations have been very successful in developing a strong Canadian music scene, including supporting festivals like the HPO’s What Next Festival of New Music.

Join us for the 2015 What Next festival and experience new Canadian music of today. All festival events are PWYC (pay what you can) at the door. Click here for complete festival details.

FESTIVAL EVENTS

Fri., April 10
What Next Festival Preview: The Dark Side of the Flute

Wed., April 29
Cocktails & Culture Opening

Thurs., April 30
Concert: Discover the Unusual

Sat., May 2
Invisible Orchestra – Electronic Works

Sun., May 3
Coffee with Composers

Tues., May 5
Concert: Alter Egos


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