Calm and Composed

In the world of 20th-century composition, George Crumb stands alone. Known for reimagining the roles of instruments in the modern orchestra and freeing the musical score itself from its rectangular bonds, he’s a Pulitzer Prize winner who’s whimsically written for marbles pinging among piano strings, amplified violins and musicians who come and go in the course of a work, among other things. Now 80, the one-time CU-Boulder music professor will return to the campus for a full-blown tribute, the four-day George Crumb at 80 Music Festival, which kicks off today at the Imig Music Building with a panel discussion, lecture and faculty concert.

The evening concerts are, of course, the festival’s true highlights, including a Pendulum Series recital tomorrow in Grusin Music Hall; Thursday night’s staging of “Sun and Shadow,” “Celestial Mechanics” and “The Ghosts of Alhambra,” also in Grusin Hall; and Crumb as Inspiration on Friday at the ATLAS building, where a video of Crumb’s beautiful handwritten spiral scores and other images will constantly flash on a video wall throughout the fest. And, as an aside, Crumb will once again be in the spotlight when CU artists-in-residence the Kronos Quartet perform his “Black Angels” in October.

The festival takes place today through September 11; get the complete schedule or download a program at
Sept. 8-11, 2009

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd

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