Classical Music in the Modern Age
Classical Convergence, Music, University Center for the Arts | April 13, 2015
Artistic collaboration between the Fort Collins Lincoln Center and CSU’s School of Music, Theater and Dance ends season in spectacular style
By Spencer Gillard
Classical music is often portrayed in our modern mainstream culture as a superfluous or extraneous genre. With the digital explosion of the fast-paced, simple, and insanely catchy pop music of late, where relevance and success are counted in YouTube views and iTunes downloads, it’s easy to see how music that is often more than a century old might be perceived as long, archaic, and dull and is on its way out after a significant overstay.
That is, until you meet the Borromeo String Quartet.
Redefining and reshaping the interaction with classical music, the members of Borromeo: violinist Nicholas Kitchen, cellist Yeesun Kim, violist Mai Motobuchi, and violinist Kristopher Tong, aren’t looking to reshape that idea – they’ve already been doing it for over a decade.
Gone are paper musical scores, wooden metronomes, and metal tuning devices; now sitting on a specially-designed music stand sits an Apple MacBook. But Borromeo isn’t just digitizing an old form of music; they’re changing the way it’s performed. The MacBook display allows each member to not only see their own music but to also have a copy of the complete score, something unheard of in string quartet performance and essentially impossible now, with each performer using a foot pedal to turn each digital page before them.
This digital approach to performing isn’t the only innovation you’ll find with the Borromeo, however. Their music selection also makes the quartet groundbreaking. The quartet has performed pieces from a wide-ranging collection of composers, including classical greats such as Beethoven, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky.
The ensemble has, however, also expanded the typical quartet repertoire selections often chosen by classical performers to reach far beyond convention, including works from many modern and recent composers such as John Cage; one of leading figures of the post-war avant-garde, who pioneered such musical theories as the indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and the non-standard use of musical instruments. Borromeo has also included the works of Jennifer Higdon, a Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winning musician considered one of the most performed living American composers. Her musical style uses elements of traditional tonality in combination with intense dynamic changes and dense textures creating vivid and colorful pieces. In addition to these pioneers, the quartet is also fond of the dynamic Curt Cacioppo, whose compositions come from a wide cultural background such as poetry of Dante as well as aspects of Native American culture.
The final installment in the inaugural season of the Classical Convergence Music Series, a collaboration between the Fort Collins Lincoln Center and the CSU School of Music, Theatre and Dance featuring traditional classical solo artists and chamber ensembles who explore new projects and concepts that continually branch out of the genre, the Borromeo String Quartet performs on Saturday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Griffin Concert Hall at the University Center for the Arts at 1400 Remington Street.
Read more about the concert
Tickets for this event are available at www.lctix.com.