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New Music New College Season Preview

A mix of new and returning artists highlights the 2019-20 schedule.

By Kay Kipling August 1, 2019

The members of Yarn/Wire.

Image: Bobby Fischer

October brings more than (slightly) cooler temperatures to Sarasota. For new music fans, it also heralds the return of the New Music New College series, now entering its third decade.

The 2019-20 season, which commences Oct. 5, offers some familiar faces and some new ones in the musical mix. Each of the five scheduled concerts lasts about one hour with no intermission, takes place in traditional and nontraditional venues on the New College campus, and comes with Pre-Concert Talks, free Artist Conversations on dates before the concerts, and free post-concert receptions. Tickets are free for New College students, faculty and staff, as well as for students, faculty and staff of partner CCA institutions (USF Sarasota-Manatee, Ringling College of Art and Design, State College of Florida, FSU/Asolo Conservatory and Eckerd College) as well as Booker High’s VPA program. But even if you’re not part of those institutions, a subscription costs just $60, with single tickets $15—not a bad price for five evenings of entertainment and enrichment.

The season begins with first-time guests Yarn/Wire, a unique quartet featuring two pianos and two percussion instruments, which means some unusual sonic possibilities. The ensemble will perform Klaus Lang’s contemplative molten trees and Misato Mochizuki’s rousing Le monde des rondes et des carrés in the Mildred Sainer Pavilion at 8 p.m. Oct. 5. Time Out New York has called this quartet “fearless” and “restlessly curious.”

The November concert (Nov. 16, also in the Sainer) will feature animations and scores by New College students and professors Kim Anderson and Mark Dancigers in Images. That evening also welcomes the electric guitar/piano duo Grand Electric and presents new works for electronic media produced by students and faculty at New College.

From Images, by Kim Anderson

Image: Kim Anderson

Next, NMNC welcomes back multitalented artist Jen Shyu, a former Hermitage Artist Retreat fellow who’s performed with such musical luminaries as Wadada Leo Smith, Vijay Iyer, Bobby Previte and Steve Coleman. Shyu herself plays a host of instruments including piano, violin, Taiwanese moon lute, Japanese biwa and Korean soribuk drum, all of which play a part in her solo piece here, Nine Doors, on Jan. 18 at Club Sudakoff. She’s also a composer, dancer and vocalist who sings in eight languages, and a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow.

Multi-instrumentalist, composer and vocalist Jen Shyu

Image: Lynn Lane

Experimental theater is the focus of the next performance, an updated version of a piece first created by Margaret Eginton and NMNC director Stephen Miles in 2009. Employing movement and vocal sound, inspired by Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and performed by a small ensemble of New College students, Living and Dead: The Gettysburg Project will be presented twice, Feb. 15 and Feb. 16, in the College Hall Music Room.

The JACK Quartet

Long recognized as one of the world’s premier new music ensembles, the JACK Quartet (named Musical America’s 2018 “Ensemble of the Year”) made its NMNC debut in 2008 and has been so popular here ever since that the April 4 performance in the Sainer Pavilion will be their sixth visit. This time around, JACK will perform John Zorn’s The Alchemist, together with works by other contemporary composers.

In addition to these concerts, NMNC also presents several special events; for more about those and to ask for a brochure (available in mid-August) or purchase tickets online, head to

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