Liquid Music curator Kate Nordstrum is excited about the third season of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s new music concert series.
“These works are all new projects, the vast majority of them created specifically for the series,” said Nordtrum who curates the SPCO’s successful new music program. She described the artists being presented as “powerhouses.”
“Audiences will be given a very wide swath of what is happening in new music today in classical music very broadly defined,” she continued.
The series includes names well known in the modern rock world such as Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche who will join Third Coast Percussion to perform his piece “Wild Sound” at the SPCO Center Oct. 5 and 6. Bryce Dessner of The National will be the subject of a two day mini-festival co-presented with, and at, the Walker Art Center. The Dessner event will also include Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Perry.
When asked the impossible question about which show she is most excited, Nordstrum points to Helado Negro’s concert which will be part of the opening week celebrations for the opening of the new Ordway Center concert hall in March. Roberto Carlos Lange who performs as Helado Negro will use what Nordstrum describes as a “superstar cast of musicians to scale up his typical show” to mount an expanded version of his piece Island Universe Story. Guest artists include Atlanta-based vocalist Adron, electronics guru Jan St. Werner from the Dusseldorf-based electronica band Mouse on Mars , Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen, and percussionist Jason Trammell.
“It’s complicated to work out how it’s all going to come together,” Nordstrum admitted of the concert, which will also feature the newly formed Minneapolis Music Company. “We have a plan and we are moving forward but it’s truely a project that takes the year to build and that’s exciting and scary.”
Other performers on the series include a collaboration between jazz combo Dawn of Midi and Berlin based composer and kyboardist Nils Frahm (November 15th at the Walker,) composer and performer Julia Holter with the Chicago-based Spektral Quartet, which specializes in both classical chamber pieces, and brand new works (Feb 23, Amsterdam Bar and Hall.) There will be an evening of music with guitarist Noveller, synthpop chanteuse Glasser, and new classical ensemble Victoire on May 5 at the Walker, and finally a performance of new electro-acoustic art songs by composer William Brittelle by his chamber ensemble BRIGHT WAVE with indie rock duo Wye Oak, (June 11 at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall.)
Many people were not quite sure what to make of Liquid Music when it launched two seasons ago, but Nordstrum says it has quickly found an audience. And she says after a series of sold out concerts last season, its clear the audience is growing.
“Liquid Music asks audiences to let down their guard and cast off expectations, to open their minds and their ears and their hearts to new music. And I see people coming to these concerts without expectation and it’s part of the joy. No-one’s looking for a particular song to be played. A lot of people, before the show starts are asking their neighbor, ‘Do you know anything about this project? Who is this artist again?'”
“We see such a mix of people: very knowledgable about classical music, very not knowledgable, but what they have in common is an adventurousness of spirit and I see the hunger only growing for this kind of programming.”
While Nordstrum is grateful for the way the SPCO is sponsoring Liquid, she believes the program is bringing in a new audience, of people excited by the prospect of hearing something new.
“And also we push up against the restrictions of classical as hard as we can,” she said. “I think it’s exciting to do that and I like having the restriction to push up against. I think its interesting to the audience and that definition gives Liquid Music even more of a boost.”