Kenji Bunch with Coffee, a rescued pitbull mix.
Kenji Bunch with Coffee, a rescued pitbull mix.

Kenji Bunch and EarWarp: Modern music for modern people

The EarWarp chamber concert series -- which regularly spotlights some of Colorado's best classical musicians -- is still growing, but it helps to have friends like Kenji Bunch, a nationally recognized violist and modern composer, whose work is derived from contemporary folk/roots music, as well as the classical canon. Bunch returns to play with EarWarp tonight at 7 p.m. at the Denver School of the Arts Concert Hall

Bunch will perform with EarWarp's founder, the vibrant Colorado Symphony violinist Erik Peterson, and the Ivy St. Ensemble (Cathy Peterson, flute; Natalia Sim, piano; Margaret Soper Gutierrez, violin;Jeffery Watson, cello; and Phillip Stevens, viola) in a program featuring Mozart's Quintet in C Minor, Maria Newman's Pennipotenti for Flute, Violin and Viola, and three pieces by Bunch.

Bunch describes his own three compositions (which include an ode to his dog, Coffee) as follows:

"The first one, 'Étoufée,' is inspired by the open tuning of a slide guitar," he explains. "This allows me to slide around a lot, evoking the music of the Delta and Cajun melodies.

"The next piece is kind of goofy: It's called 'Dogbreath Express,'" Bunch continues. "I have a dog that's very helpful with the compositional process. She sits with me in the office when I'm working, and it's sort of tone poem about a typical day in her life."

The last piece, "Velocity," is an arpeggio-driven modern flute work inspired by the eighteenth-century Mannheim Rocket School.

This program is a special treat since Bunch's composing schedule is on hold right now, with an eight-week-old baby in the house. But he says there are things in the works, just as soon as he and Coffee can get back to work: a string quartet and a trio for Erik and Cathy Peterson and Phillip Stevens among them.

Tickets for Earwarp are $15 (or $5 fro students); for information and reservations visit the website.

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