It's Alive!

A Monster Season for New Music New College

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein turns 200, and NMNC plans a big musical celebration.

By Kay Kipling July 31, 2017


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Frankenstein looms large in the New Music New College coming season

Image: Caitlin Burns 

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The Amernet Quartet, performing Oct. 7

Image: Justin Hearn

Ready for some monster music this season? New Music New College is happy to oblige, with a March extravaganza dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

On March 4, 2018, “It’s Alive! A Monstrous Circus on Frankenstein” will take over the college’s outdoor Koski Plaza and all levels of the college’s ACE building with a live, multimedia presentation modeled on composer John Cage’s Circus On (a template for turning text into performance). New College students, faculty and staff, joined by ensemblenewSRQ, will sing, emote, dance and more; it’s a one-of-a-kind event.

But while the monster may dominate NMNC’s season, there’s plenty of music before and after that experience. The season commences Oct. 7 with a concert featuring Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2, performed by the Amernet String Quartet with soprano Rachel Calloway. The Tuesday before the concert, Calloway and violinist Ari Streisfeld will give a free concert in the College Hall Music Room as Duo Cortona, their new project dedicated to the creation of works for mezzo-soprano and violin.

Next up is something that may feel even more unusual than the Frankenstein performance: three concerts (because of space limitations at the Black Box Theater) devoted to making music with and without the body. That’s right; NMNC’s director, Stephen Miles, will perform Vinko Globokar’s ?Corporel on his own body. Also on the program: Luciano Berio’s Thema (Omaggio a Joyce), a recorded piece based on the Sirens episode of Ulysses, will be interpreted by dancer Xiao-Xuan Yang Dancigers. R.L. Silver will perform Roger Marsh’s Dum, which fragments and reconfigures texts and also involves hurling pieces of metal into a bucket. And in between these solo works, New College students will dance to electronic music pieces composed by other NCF students. Nov. 17, 18 and 19.

Something perhaps a bit more straightforward will be a performance by the trio featuring pianist Marilyn Lerner, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Lou Grassi, Jan. 20 at Club Sudakoff. But with NMNC, never expect anything too traditional.

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The Dither Quartet

Image: Kelly Lopes

The 2017-18 season closes with an April 21 performance in the Mildred Sainer Pavilion featuring the Dither Quartet. Not your usual string quartet, either; all four musicians here play electric guitar. The New York Times has called their work “sophisticated, hard-driving and stylistically omnivorous music making.”

The season brochure becomes available in mid-August; subscriptions are $60, with single tickets priced at $15. For more info call (941) 487-4888 or visit

 (By the way, the Frankenstein image ran in Sarasota Magazine's October 2016 issue with a story about a monstrous new kind of hurricane that could one day hit Florida's west coast, which you can read here. And it's by illustrator Caitlin Burns; you can check out her site at

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