The new music group Deviant Septet will present the world premiere of “Focusing,” a new work by composer David Liptak, as part of their concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, February 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall, 151 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Admission is free and open to the public.
The performance will be the final event of simultaneous residencies that week at Mizzou for Liptak and Deviant Septet (pictured), with the premiere of “Focusing” representing the culmination of a three-year process that began in 2013 with a commissioning grant from the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation.
Started in 1942 by Serge Alexandrovich Koussevitzky, the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a famous advocate for modern music, the Foundation over the years has commissioned works from a “who’s who” of 20th and 21st century composers, from Bartók, Berio, and Bernstein to Stockhausen, Stravinsky, and Varèse.
In addition to the concert and world premiere, the residencies of Liptak and Deviant Septet will include a public convocation of the School of Music at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, February 25 at Whitmore Recital Hall.
Liptak also will coach the Mizzou New Music Ensemble in a rehearsal, and give a master class at 4:00 p.m. Friday, February 26 in Fine Arts Building Room 146. Deviant Septet’s visit will include a session in which they’ll read works from student composers at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 24 at Whitmore Hall.
Liptak is professor of composition and former chair of the composition department at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, where he has been on the faculty since 1986. Before Eastman, Liptak taught at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois.
His music has been performed by ensembles including the San Francisco Symphony, Montreal Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Youngstown Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera of Illinois, New England Philharmonic, and more.
Hailed as “exciting” by the New York Times, “superb” by the Washington Post, and “exceedingly fun” by Time Out New York, Deviant Septet is an ensemble of top classical and avant-garde musicians that for this concert will include Mizzou’s own assistant visiting professor Bill Kalinkos (clarinet, executive director), Mike Gurfield (trumpet, artistic director), Gabriela Diaz (violin), Brad Balliett (bassoon), Doug Balliett (double bass), Michael Lormand (trombone), and Jared Soldiviero (percussion).
Their musical mission is to fulfill the vision that Igor Stravinsky had for the ensemble instrumentation used in his composition “L’Histoire du Soldat,” creating a distinctive repertoire for the unique blend of instrumental voices that includes “the soprano and bass voice of every instrument family.”
Individually, the members of Deviant Septet also perform with various contemporary groups including Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Signal, International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble ACJW, Wordless Music Orchestra, and Talea Ensemble, and have collaborated with artists such as The National, David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens, The Dirty Projectors, Tyondai Braxton, St. Vincent, John Zorn, and many others.