By Steve MacQueen, Artistic Director
A preview of TURNmusic, performing in FlynnSpace on Thursday, February 14 and May 11 at 8 pm.
Anne Decker and her musical cohorts in TURNmusic are performing some of the most intriguing, thought provoking and enjoyable music being played in the state. The Waterbury-based ensemble plays new music by big-name composers like Missy Mazzoli and Julia Wolf, but also focuses on the incredibly rich music of regional composers like Evan Premo and Kyle Saulnier.
The result is music not bound by genre or tradition. TURNmusic’s beautifully composed programs flow seamlessly, yet skip over the entire concept of genre, covering all kinds of musical bases. That’s no accident.
“We define our music by quality—not by genre,” Decker explains. “We support living composers and Vermont musicians who can perform at the highest level. And we create a welcoming atmosphere for the concerts and keeping ticket prices low or free.”
In the coming months, TURNmusic presents two programs of its series New Century / New Voices: Exposing Music of Minority and Women Composers. On February 14, TURNmusic is the ensemble-in-residence for Young Lions, a program curated by Matthew Evan Taylor, a composer at Middlebury College, featuring music by Dorothy Hindman, Valerie Coleman-Page, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Taylor himself. Taylor’s presence is not at all unusual at a TURNmusic show, where composers are frequently in the audience, and even perform with the ensemble on occasion.
“I actually feel more comfortable with the composer in the room,” Decker explains. “Sure, it can add pressure, but we are performing at a level that is high and respectful of the composer’s writing. Having the composer’s energy and input only helps us perform with more perspective on who they are.”
The May 11 program, America Mestiza, features the work of Gabriela Lena Frank, who will, naturally, be in attendance.
TURNmusic’s lineup shifts according to Decker’s (and the music’s) needs, but boasts a core group of world-class players, such as violinist Mary Rowell, the co-founder of the exquisite ETHEL. The music itself swings from lush and pastoral to Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Penelope, which features drums, guitar, and electronics. In fact, the group’s November 2018 performance of Penelope was a watershed moment for Decker.
“I loved the large ensemble of acoustic and electronic sounds. The range of emotion and genre within the piece is fantastic. The text was spellbinding and we were so fortunate to have Vermont soprano Mary Bonhag join us for the production.” Decker’s programs are brilliantly constructed, and she applies that same rigor to the audience’s experience.
“I know it can be difficult to get out of the house, buy a ticket, and sit still and quiet for two hours. I am committed to creating an experience as soon as the patron walks in the door. I want them to feel welcome and comfortable. I believe our concerts are social events as well as listening events. I would love the community to come to FlynnSpace with their friends for a drink and some live music!”