The Akropolis Reed Quintet is a unique, nationally acclaimed chamber music ensemble dedicated to new and dynamic classical music. Akropolis has showcased its blend of contemporary and classical masterworks by winning prizes at five national chamber music competitions, and today they lend this award-winning precision to the performance of a blossoming reed quintet repertoire. Akropolis has commissioned 19 reed quintet works which now comprise a published catalog called Akropolis Collection. As the Young Artist in Residence with the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Akropolis continues to blaze a trail for fresh and innovative ensembles.
Created in 2009 at the University of Michigan, Akropolis is determined to establish the reed quintet as a new paradigm in classical music. Through a commitment to educational outreach, collaborative commissioning projects, and dynamic concerts, Akropolis has become a powerful voice for innovative and accessible classical music.
The music on this album results from a collaborative effort between Akropolis and several talented and generous composers. As the first ever album of entirely original reed quintet music, these composers will be remembered as trail blazers for chamber music's next relevant genre. The list of composers who have composed for Akropolis continues to grow and now includes talent from 6 countries. With every piece the legitimacy of a five reeds lineup grows and reaches a wider audience. The musical palette accessible by Akropolis and by the reed quintet in general allows for a generation of composers to rally around an exciting and growing genre of chamber music. Akropolis is committed to reaching audiences via both classical and contemporary masterworks, showcasing the latter on this debut album.
Akropolis first dedicates this album to the 84 supporters who pledged to a successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign, raising $5,049 to the completion of the album and its associated expenses. The album is also dedicated to the family, friends, mentors, and audiences who give Akropolis' journey special meaning and purpose.
Thank you for listening!
Notes about the composers and their works:
1. High Speed Reed
Commissioned and premiered by Akropolis in 2012, "High Speed Reed" is a crossover between Heavy Metal and Classical music. We grind, pound, and turn on the distortion, all within contagious grooves. "High Speed Reed" places classical music in today's element. As classical musicians, we crave the opportunity to declare that our music must not just flaunt that it represents the world around us, but must actually sound like it!
American composer Garrett Schumann began his doctoral studies at the University of Michigan in the Fall of 2012. His teachers include Evan Chambers, Erik Santos, Sydney Hodkinson, Samuel Adler, Richard Lavenda, Karim Al-zand and Robert Edward Smith. In addition to his activities as a composer, Garrett is head music critic for Washington Public Radio, for whom he produces the weekly music podcast, "We Are Not Beethoven." Garrett is also a contributing editor for Sequenza21.com, a CD Reviewer for ChamberMusicianToday.com and a music blogger for UMSLobby.org and his own website where he probes critical issues in the world of contemporary music. Akropolis is thrilled to have Garrett's expertise and passion for new music as a critical component to the "High Speed Reed" project.
Because Mr. Heetderks is a music theory scholar, "Pitchblende" (commissioned and premiered by Akropolis in 2011) does not introduce any motif it cannot explain, and no set of pitches it cannot reassemble. Every melody is thoroughly passed around, and both movements properly please our ears as much as they please score analysts. "Pitchblende" is what all new music ensembles dream to have on their music stand - a piece of music which is as fun for performers as it is for professors!
David Heetderks completed his PhD in Music Theory at the University of Michigan and is currently Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the Oberlin Conservatory. Additionally he received a Master's degree in composition from the Yale School of Music and has received a Young Composers' award from ASCAP, a commission from the Renee B. Fisher competition for solo piano work, and a commission from the Connecticut division of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). His music has been featured at Music03 and Music05 in Cincinnati, the Orleans piano competition in France, and the EARPLAY series in Berkeley.
4. De Vrouw Die Eieren Uitbroedt (The Woman Who Hatches Eggs)
Known for creating titles for his works as striking as the music itself, composer Chiel Meijering's "The Woman Who Hatches Eggs" is relentlessly forward-driving, and it takes no prisoners in its path. After a languid opening, the saxophone introduces a theme which, after passed around the ensemble, is contorted to a conclusion of incessant energy.
5-8. Nuclear Child Games
Nuclear Child Games is the most comprehensive work in the Reed Quintet repertoire. The performers are responsible for conveying grief, spite, cynicism, and hope. Unison love songs unwind into searing dissonance, and 10/8 metered rhythms drive a powerful conclusion to a work which opens with a simple and heartfelt melody.
Composer Babur Tongur is a native of Istanbul, Turkey, where he was trained at the Istanbul State Conservatory and Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. He conducted the MSFAU state orchestra between 2000 and 2006, and he co-founded and conducted the Istanbul Theatre Orchestra from 1978-1993. Mr. Tongur taught composition at the State Conservatory MSGSU from 1997-2007. He continues composing now as a resident of Calgary, Alberta. Nuclear Child Games was composed for the Calefax Reed Quintet in 1994, and revived by Akropolis in 2010 to more than 20 performances over the last 2 years.
9-11. Fun Fun Fun Fun
Commissioned by Akropolis in 2011, "Fun Fun Fun Fun" is quoted from Youtube sensation Rebecca Black's song, "Friday." Each of the three movements is a different "type of fun." From the composers: "Back Seat Fun" features a conflict between two motives which constantly interrupt each other, a frantic race, and a chill section. "Uncomfortable Fun" has a minimalistic flavor. "Techno Fun" celebrates electronic dance music and emulates techniques of sound production typically used in this type of music.
A native of Hod HaSharon, Israel, Asaf Peres' music may largely fall into the category of concert music, but he is fascinated with contemporary pop culture, and he is becoming increasingly involved in projects which embrace that culture. Mr. Peres has earned degrees from Tel-Aviv University's Buchman-Mehta School of Music, Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, and he is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Theory at UM.
Comprised of 7 short and dense vignettes, "Circusmuziek" is perhaps the most played reed quintet work today. Brief and playful, each movement has a unique and accessible character. "Circusmuziek" is an ambassador for our music, a great way to introduce uninitiated audiences to the versatility of the reed quintet.