June 12: Fifth House Ensemble

In anticipation of Fifth House Ensemble’s upcoming June 12 performance with Rush Hour Concerts, Fifth House’s Adam Marks was kind enough to answer some questions for our audience members:

 

Adam Marks

Adam Marks

What inspires you to do what you do?

Fifth House Ensemble taps the collaborative spirit of chamber music to create engaging performances and interactive educational programs, forging meaningful partnerships with unexpected venues, artists of other disciplines, educational institutions, and audiences of every type. In particular, we are delighted to celebrate the inaugural year of the fresh inc festival, bringing together adventurous and talented musicians from across the country to create new music and pave the way for the next generation of chamber music artists.

You can read the rest of the interview after the break. For more details about next week’s performance, click here.

Here’s the full text of the interview:
How did you choose the repertoire for this performance?
The opening work, Party at the Last Resort, by Alex Temple, was awarded this performance as a special prize at the fresh inc festival. From the twenty-four works commissioned for the festival, Fifth House voted to select this work for performance on the Rush Hour broadcast. Its charming reinterpretation of bossa nova made us smile in our first sight reading, and we knew the Rush Hour audience would love it as well.

To complement Alex’s piece, we’ve selected a few short movements from one of our favorite pieces to play, Pacquito D’Rivera’s Aires Tropicales. The sweeping dance gestures remind us of warm summer evenings much like Rush Hour concerts themselves!

And finally, we wanted a way to incorporate all of the participants from the fresh inc festival. We couldn’t imagine a better celebration of young musicians exploring new works together than a large-scale (but sadly quite short) performance of Terry Riley’s landmark work from 1964, In C.

Is there anything interesting about the program that our audience should know?
Our first two pieces are traditionally scored. The closing piece (Riley) is partially indeterminate. It is scored for any number of players on any instruments, and consists of 53 cells of music to be played in succession to a common pulse. Each cell can be repeated any number of times, creating a joyous cacophony of harmony that will ring throughout the cathedral.

What inspires you to do what you do?
Fifth House Ensemble taps the collaborative spirit of chamber music to create engaging performances and interactive educational programs, forging meaningful partnerships with unexpected venues, artists of other disciplines, educational institutions, and audiences of every type. In particular, we are delighted to celebrate the inaugural year of the fresh inc festival, bringing together adventurous and talented musicians from across the country to create new music and pave the way for the next generation of chamber music artists.

How do you see yourselves as musical innovators?
There are many musical innovators out there, and we are excited to be a part of Chicago’s vibrant community. In particular, we’ve been interested in pursuing narrative chamber music, working with artists of other disciplines to illuminate the stories inherent in the music we choose to play. In particular, we developed the Black Violet series with graphic novelist Ezra Claytan Daniels, twisted fairy tales together in The Weaver’s Tales, and explored the impact of social media on our individual storytelling through our most recent series, In Transit.

How do you see classical music changing?
It’s exciting to see more performers and ensembles taking their music to new venues and finding common ground with new audiences. There is an exceptional bounty of rising talent creating music that breaks down boundaries between genres, and audiences are taking note.

How did your ensemble form?
Fifth House Ensemble was founded by members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in 2005. Mainly as an outcropping from experiences as part of MusicCorps program, the players decided to continue their work bringing music to people where they were. This began by operating on physical spaces, playing in cafes and bars, but expanded over the years to create experiences that serve as a meeting point for communities of different interests and backgrounds. At the end of the day, doesn’t everyone want to hear a good story?

What is the fresh inc festival, and how is it connected to the performance on June 12?
fresh inc is a one-of-a-kind chamber music festival that redefines the training process for emerging musicians. Fifth House Ensemble is joined by Composers-In-Residence David Rakowski (Brandeis University) and Stacy Garrop (Roosevelt University) to guide aspiring composers and instrumentalists in creating performance experiences for audiences of all types, covering repertoire both canonic and newly inked. Participants perform with 5HE members at venues including the Ravinia Festival, Milwaukee Art Museum, Rush Hour Concerts at St. James Cathedral, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and The Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha.

Having a piece played on Rush Hour was a prize for one of our participating composers. ALL of the festival’s commissioned works will be performed over two concerts in the weekend following our Rush Hour appearance. We’ll present new works at Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall on June 16th at 6pm and University of Wisconsin Parkside at 2pm.

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