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September 28, 2007
Vol. 49 No. 4

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Faculty unite music and water

FLUID concert series involves 2007-08 university theme

Music and the 2007-08 university theme of "Water" find themselves coming together this year in a series of concerts by the Department of Music titled, "FLUID: Music, Water and Motion." The events will take place throughout the year.

Jennifer Sacher Wiley, associate professor of music, said the idea for the series "started after a concert last year when many of the music faculty were at BJ's."

Wiley said, "We started thinking about the properties of water and how those properties could relate to music, with an eye toward the flexibility in programming."

Patrick Long, associate professor of music, said there are a lot of pieces named after water, "but that's not what they were going for."

The goal was to find pieces of music that didn't have the word "water" in the title because it's "too literal," according to David Steinau, assistant professor of music. Thinking of the university theme, he said, "Music is fluid like water is fluid."

Long said, "Our idea is we would do concerts where there is a blurring of boundaries."
The music used in "FLUID" is "hard to pigeonhole into categories," according to Steinau.

"The way water can determine borders between countries, the fluidity of music can change borders between two genres," Long said.

Wiley said, "The concept of 'FLUID' can include styles that cross or eras that intersect, the act of improvising, which is an unpredictable, flexible art form, or genres that are fluid."

Several pieces for "FLUID" will be performed throughout the season, and according to Long, "each concert comes at [the theme] in a different way.

Wiley said, "We all brainstormed about what kinds of performances would fit this theme."

She added: "Some are designated or highlighted as part of the 'FLUID' festival. Other concerts may include one piece that is intended to contribute to the theme."

All the pieces performed in the series are existing pieces, with the exception of "Nosferatu," said Steinau.

"Nosferatu," the second piece in the series, will be presented by Long on Oct. 10.

Long said there are a lot of people performing music for silent films that is authentic to the silent movie period. He said he thought it would be fun to do horror music live while the film "Nosferatu" is showing.

Long said, "It is fluid in a sense of, 'Is this a film or is a concert?' and also fluid in that it's almost entirely improvised."

Thirteen musicians will be performing the piece and at every moment have instructions of what to do, but no notes to play, so every performance will be different.

"L'Orfeo" by Claudio Monteverdi will be the final piece to be performed in April and will be conducted by Steinau.

Choosing the piece in regards to the theme "all kind of happened at once," Steinau said, adding that "the thought of borders" lead to the "thought of all kinds of pieces that seemed to have loosely defined bordered themselves."

Steinau said "L'Orfeo" is the earlier opera still being performed regularly. He said it is an example of "borders redefined by music the way water can be defined by borders."

Steinau said, "Monteverdi took some genres of his day such as madrigal, drama, sacred music, festival plays and dance and combined them into a new genre."

All events for "FLUID: Music, Water and Motion," will take place in Stretansky Concert Hall and are free and open to the public. All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend.


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