UMBC’s Livewire new music festival celebrates its 10th anniversary

From October 24 through 27, UMBC’s department of music celebrates the tenth anniversary of its fall Livewire festival, an annual event that explores the classical music of our time through concerts, lecture-recitals, paper presentations, multimedia installations, and conversation.

This year’s festival, Livewire 10: Rewind / Fast Forward, features guest composers Mercedes Otero and Mischa Salkind-Pearl, who earned a post-baccalaureate certificate in contemporary American music at UMBC in 2007. Public performances will feature the Inscape Chamber Orchestra, the Third Practice ensemble, sopranos Susan Botti and Tony Arnold, clarinetist Gleb Kasenevich, the Ruckus faculty ensemble, and UMBC students.

The Microkingdom ensemble performs in the Music Box during the 2016 Livewire festival.

During its ten years, including events this forthcoming weekend, Livewire has presented works by hundreds of composers and has featured dozens of leading new music performers from around the world. Additionally, the festival has attained statistics that position it as a leading national voice in new music:

  • 426 compositions
  • 36 world premieres
  • 4 United States premieres
  • 73 electro-acoustic works
  • 250 chamber pieces
  • 87 solo (unaccompanied) works
  • 16 electronic compositions

“Ten years of the Livewire festival speak to the commitment of UMBC and the music department here to embracing the ever-changing present while we continue to teach the past,” says Linda Dusman, chair of the department. “The liveliness of engagement of our students and faculty at this time of year has become a verb: we all are livewired at the end of October!”

Violinist Malcolm Goldstein was a previous composer-performer in residence.

While many college and university music programs across the country focus primarily on the music of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, faculty at UMBC have embraced the exploration of the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. UMBC’s faculty have been advocates of new music for decades, stretching well beyond the inaugural Livewire festival in 2010.

“Before Mobtown Modern hit the scene or the Evolution Contemporary Music Series evolved,” critic Tim Smith noted in The Baltimore Sun during a previous Livewire, “Baltimore-area fans of new sounds could get an earful at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where the music department continues to champion adventurous repertoire.”

For Livewire’s 10th anniversary, major financial support was provided by the Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts (CIRCA), with additional funding from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Office of the Provost.

A complete schedule for Livewire 10: Rewind / Fast Forward can be found on the Arts and Culture Calendar.

At a previous Livewire festival, guest pianist Paul Hoffman joined UMBC’s Lisa Cella and Tom Goldstein in a performance of music by Morton Feldman.

Featured image: Members of the Ruckus ensemble perform in 2016. Photos by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.