The group (pictured) has served since 2010 as the resident ensemble for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, which takes place each year in July, but this will be their first performance here during the regular academic year. The February 7 concert is presented by the Mizzou New Music Initiative and the University of Missouri School of Music, and is free and open to the public.
The concert will feature seven works written or arranged specifically for Alarm Will Sound, including five that will be part of their next album. According to managing director Gavin Chuck, it’s a program that shows off the group’s established ability to translate music between idioms while also exploring human performance of sounds originally made by technology.
Two of the pieces they’ll play – Matt Marks’ arrangement of the Beatles’ “Revolution 9,” heard previously as part of the multi-media show 1969; and Evan Hause’s arrangement of Edgard Varèse’s “Poème électronique” – use traditional acoustic instruments to realize music originally created using tape machines and electronic manipulation.
A different form of interaction between man and machine is explored in Alarm Will Sound’s renditions of music by Conlon Nancarrow, whose works for player piano are essentially impossible for any human pianist to perform. The February 7 concert at the Missouri Theatre will include Nancarrow’s “Study 2A,” arranged by Gavin Chuck, and “Study 3A,” arranged by Derek Bermel, which were recorded for the group’s 2008 album a/rhythmia.
The three other works on the program destined for Alarm Will Sound’s next CD are “Big Spinoff,” from the esteemed American composer Charles Wuorinen; “Will Sound,” from Wolfgang Rihm, one of Germany’s most prolific contemporary composers; and “Zoetrope,” written by the young British composer Charlie Piper for the 2012 Mizzou International Composers Festival.