JCA ensemble plays new student music

WRITTEN BY HANNAH HARTZELL, STAFF REPORTER

The Jordan College of the Arts Composers’ Orchestra is not a typical orchestra.  It plays strictly new music and brings unique and envelope-pushing music to the stage.  The group will showcase this unique focus at its first concert of the year Oct. 10.

According to Michael Schelle, JCACO founder and director, one of the largest challenges for student composers in music schools across the U.S. is getting their music heard and performed.

With this in mind, JCACO specializes and plays only the music of living or recently deceased composers, Butler student composers and “classics of the avant garde.”

Schelle said JCACO concerts involve “various kinds of theatre, extra musical elements and music that is outrageous, sublime, sensitive and insensitive.”

The upcoming concert in particular will be “a mix of Butler student composers’ music and a few entertaining ‘new music’ classics,” Schelle said.

The concert will feature student pieces, a few old favorites and  some musical games and audience participation.

“The student pieces are always the best part,” JCACO percussion player Hannah Varnau said.  “I am always amazed by the creativity and brilliance of my colleagues.  They never fail to surprise and delight me.”

Varnau said the orchestra serves an important purpose in teaching the young musicians to put their music out there and get used to accepting a range of reactions.

“I’ve learned things from rehearsing pieces with real people and instruments that I never could have fully understood from reading in a textbook,” she said.

Varnau said JCACO is the best place to loosen up and take a break from regular concert etiquette and expectations.

“Even some of the ensemble members are usually surprised by what comes out of a typical concert,” Varnau said.

While JCACO exists to serve the needs of Butler student composers, it is also raising awareness of contemporary music through performances, creating a diverse Butler experience for audience members.

The concert will be held in Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall at 8 p.m. Admission is free and the concert is open to the public.

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