Coming Together

A unique collaborative performance is taking place on May 20 at Lawrence University’s Memorial Chapel in Appleton. “Coming Together” is part of the New Music @ Lawrence series and showcases university musicians presenting important works of our time.

“‘Coming Together’” is the title of one piece on the program, but it also represents what we are doing with this concert,” says Michael Mizrahi, associate professor of music and co-director of New Music @ Lawrence. “We are coming together as a community of musicians to perform major contemporary compositions.” 

In 2016, Lawrence musicians united for a similar event to present Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians.” 

“That seemed to be incredibly meaningful for the students and faculty,” Mizrahi says. “Many community members described that experience as transformative, powerful and exemplary of what Lawrence can do.”

This year’s collaborative performance stands out in its size and scope. Six faculty members and about 30 students will represent the entire Lawrence conservatory. Members from departments including keyboard, brass, woodwinds, strings, music education, voice, composition and percussion will be present.

The performance includes three pieces: Frederic Rzewski’s seminal work “Coming Together,” alongside major ensemble works by Louis Andriessen and George Antheil.

“We wanted to find pieces that had open instrumentation so students and faculty could collaborate,” Mizrahi says. “We wanted pieces with qualities of improvisation and performer directed choices so everyone could participate deeply in the musical experience.”

Antheil’s avant-garde musical compositions explore the mechanical sounds of the early 20th century. In a rare performance of Antheil’s “Ballet Mécanique,” four pianos will sit side by side on the chapel stage and sound effects will represent airplane propellers. 

“Theses performances are immersive for the audience. The openness of the score allows for pieces to develop in real time,” Mizrahi says. “There are guidelines, but generally the performances have an incredibly live quality to them.” 

The free concert takes place on May 20 at 8 p.m. at Lawrence Memorial Chapel In Appleton. For more information, visit 

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