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New Music Ensemble "SYZYGY" Presents Fall Concert, Nov. 22

First concert under direction of artist-in-residence and former eighth blackbird violinist Matt Albert pairs works by Steve Reich and J.S. Bach

SYZYGY, the new music ensemble at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, presents its fall concert Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. in the Bob Hope Theatre of the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus.

This will be only the second concert presented by the group, which formed last year, and its first under the direction of Matt Albert, new Meadows artist-in-residence and former violinist of the Grammy- and Meadows Prize-winning new music ensemble eighth blackbird.

The student ensemble, in which Albert himself plays, will be joined by Meadows faculty member Jon Lee, director of the Meadows Percussion Ensemble, and guest artists Jeff Moore, professor of percussion at the University of Central Florida, and Robert Bridge, professor of percussion at SUNY-Onondaga.

The concert juxtaposes Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians with Albert’s arrangement of J. S. Bach’s Chaconne for the same instrumentation. “Music for 18 Musicians is known as one of Reich’s masterpieces, but it’s rarely played due to its logistical complexities,” said Albert. “It’s an hour-long work that is one of the best musical depictions of joy I’ve ever heard or been a part of, featuring four pianos, a slew of keyboard percussion, bass clarinets, strings, women’s voices, and the most dramatic entrance of maracas that I know of in western classical music!”

In contrast, the Chaconne from Bach’s D minor Partita for solo violin explores the depths of pathos, Albert said. “But I was really struck by what they had in common: two pieces, written 250 years apart, each of which uses repetition as a driving force propelling us relentlessly forward from the moment it begins. Add to that the similarity in their keys, and I thought that arranging the Bach for Reich’s percussion-centered orchestration would create a pairing well worth exploring.”

Tickets are $13 adults, $10 seniors and $7 for SMU students, faculty and staff.  Parking is available at Hillcrest and Binkley and in the garage beneath the Meadows Museum. Please call the Meadows Ticket Office at 214.768.2787 or buy tickets online.

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