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Southern Exposure bringing Pulitzer Prize finalist, internationally acclaimed musicians

By David Clarey

Free Times

The University of South Carolina’s contemporary classical music series Southern Exposure returns next month to kick off its five concert season, featuring a Pulitzer finalist and winner in its slate of shows.

The series is bookended by the two Pulitzer performances: opening with Columbia native’s Andy Akiho’s “Seven Pillars,” a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music and two Grammy nominations, and concluding with Pulitzer winning novelist Richard Power narrating the piece “A Forest Unfolding” alongside musical performers.

Organized by Michael Harley, the series director and a professor at the university’s School of Music, the series is in its 21st year.

“I think this is a season that offers (and) kind of provides a snapshot of the very best of what’s happening in contemporary classical music today,” Harley said. “In this season, the diversity of ensembles and repertoire is particularly pronounced. That is a reflection of what is happening in the classical music world, where composers are drawing on style from many centuries.”

The series includes the two aforementioned performances, alongside three others. Columbia composer Meria Warshauer will premiere the complete “Ocean Calling” trilogy with pianists Phillip Bush and Elizabeth Loparits on Oct. 27. The music ensemble Hub New Music will play works by composers Nina Young and Christopher Cerrone on Nov. 18. On Feb. 4, acclaimed pianist Awadagin Pratt will perform on Feb. 4

The opening Akiho performance is on Sept. 9 and the closing Powers performance is April 14.

Harley acknowledged that Akiho’s work, which will feature co-creator Sandbox Percussion quartet, is likely to garner the most buzz this season.

He suggested the performance could be a seminal work of this era.

“It’s just a hugely ambitious project,” Harley explained. “I think this is his magnum opus in that world. It’s too early to predict these sorts of things, but I would imagine that this is going to be one of the pieces that people remember for many, many years and it could be one of the landmark works of this century.”

The Southern Exposure New Music Series began 21 years ago. It’s one of Columbia’s most esteemed musical series, despite it being set in humble performance venues and offered for free.

Founded in 20021 by University of South Carolina professor John Fitz Rogers, it often brings some of the most acclaimed contemporary classical artists in the country to Columbia, such as last season’s performance by the Bang on a Can All Stars and this year’s Akiho performance.

Harley took the program over in 2012. The respected bassoonist also co-founded the group Alarm Will Sound, a well-received contemporary classical group.

Each performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and takes place at the School of Music’s recital hall.

Read original article here.

Watch Seven Pillars teaser video here


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