Michael Gordon’s “Rushes,” and David Del Tredici’s “Bullycide”

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The Shanghai Quartet

Two works, each unique in its individual power––Michael Gordon’s “Rushes,” created for seven bassoons, and David Del Tredici’s “Bullycide,” written to commemorate the suicides of young people taunted by bullies for being gay––will receive their local premieres at the Alexander KasserTheater: “Rushes” on March 29 at 8pm , and “Bullycide, ” performed by the Shanghai Quartet on March 30 at 3pm.

Both concerts are presented by Peak Performances.

When Bang on a Can composer Michael Gordon was asked to write a piece of music for the bassoon, he hesitated, then asked the potential commissioner to send him all the music that had been written in the 20th century for the instrument. Five pages arrived.

Gordon took up the challenge and created “Rushes,” a work for seven bassoons. His self-imposed challenge was to “create a beautiful landscape” through sound that would be at once dense, propulsive, rhythmic and visceral. The music’s title “Rushes,” refers to the double reeds that the players blow through and the rush of euphoria Gordon hopes to elicit in audiences.

Del Tredici’s mission is “to create a body of musical compositions that unambiguously celebrates the gay experience — happy, sad, horrible or bizarre.” “Bullycide” is inspired by the “horrible.” Like most, Del Tredici was horrified by news stories of gay people bullied by their peers until they feel so cornered that the only alternative is to take their own lives. The composer’s response is a deeply moving composition in two movements that honors the deaths of five of the victims, including Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi. In addition to the Shanghai musicians, “Bullycide,” which was commissioned in part by Peak Performances, includes guest artists Da Xun on contrabass and Orion Weiss on piano.

On a more traditional note: The Shanghai program also includes Franz Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in D Minor (“Quinten”), op. 76, no. 2 and Giuseppe Verdi’s String Quartet in E Minor.

WHERE TO GO: The Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University is located at 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey 07043. Tickets are $20, and are available at the box office, www.peakperfs.org, or by calling 973-655-5112. Charter bus service is provided from New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal – arcade on 41st Street between 8th and 9th Avenues – to the Alexander Kasser Theater ($10 per person, round trip) for all Saturday and Sunday performances. Bus reservations may be made by calling 973-655-5112 or by visiting www.peakperfs.org. For train service, available only on weekdays, go online to www.njtransit.com or call 973-275-5555.

For restaurants close to the Alexander Kasser Theater, visit www.destinationmontclair.com

Programs in this season are made possible in part by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New Jersey State Council for the Arts/Dept. of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts; Discover Jersey Arts; the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation; the National Dance Project (NDP) of the New England Foundation for the Arts; and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.co-commissioner La Jolla



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