Unique ensembles, world premieres highlight upcoming Hodgson School concert

Printer-friendly version

One of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s most innovative concerts of the year brings faculty and students together when MOD[ular] Ensemble joins the UGA Wind Symphony in Hodgson Concert Hall on Wednesday, March 22, at 8 p.m.

MOD[ular] Ensemble, a chamber ensemble composed of UGA faculty members and guest artists, is dedicated to the creation of new works in unique, mixed chamber ensemble settings. At first blush, MOD may sound quite different from the UGA Wind Symphony—one of the Hodgson School’s large wind bands—but a School of Music alumnus saw the potential for collaboration.

“The idea grew from a concert MOD performed last year in which Jackie [Hartenberger, UGA Wind Symphony director] conducted us on a new work by composer John Hennecken (D.M.A. Composition ’15),” said Connie Frigo, associate professor of saxophone and a member of MOD. 

“It was at that point that the idea of Hennecken writing a concerto for MOD to perform with Wind Symphony was discussed. All of us were on board.”

Hennecken’s idea became the cornerstone of the March 22 concert, and the rest of the program would be structured around this concept: featuring each ensemble, but also allowing for the rare intermingling of faculty and student talent in performance. 

“I am so excited about the process of collaboration that's made this concert come to life,” said Hartenberger. “Ultimately, the idea I love most about this concert is that the Wind Symphony students will get to perform alongside their studio professors. This is not the norm in a music school—talk about a learning experience.”

The unique combination of musicians makes the concert significant enough, but an unprecedented ensemble requires unprecedented music. The concert features two world premieres: the aforementioned Hennecken piece for MOD and Wind Symphony, “Athens Concerto,” and a work performed by MOD from D.M.A. Composition candidate Cody Brookshire called “Antifragility.”

“What I find so interesting and wonderful is that each piece sounds new and fresh, yet hints at each composer's musical ‘upbringing,’” said Hartenberger. “One could argue that in listening to their music one could hear each composer's influences.”

In addition to the world premieres, the concert will feature a host of in-house and homegrown talent. Teaching assistants from the Bands area will conduct three different works, including one work from Peter Van Zandt Lane, assistant professor of composition at the Hodgson School, who also wrote a piece MOD will perform. Fresca Quartet, a School of Music undergraduate saxophone ensemble, will perform as well.

“These collaborations strengthen the creative community in the Hodgson School and give us the chance to create something new and special with our fellow colleagues,” said Frigo.

Between the variety of music on the program, rotating personnel on stage and unique combinations of musicians, the concert is shaping up to be a singular experience among the Hodgson School’s calendar of events.

“The most rewarding thing for me is the creation of a new model of concert experience that features students and faculty together, presenting new or recently composed music on the stage by living composers, in groups ranging in size from a quartet to a large concert band,” said Frigo.

This performance is presented admission-free, and those unable to attend can watch the concert live on the Hodgson School’s website: music.uga.edu/streaming.

The UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music sponsors more than 350 performances each year. To view the performance calendar, subscribe to the weekly email concert listing, and to learn more about the School of Music, go to music.uga.edu.