I'm a big fan of bizarro music, and nothing in the modern musical universe is more bizarre than contemporary "classical" music. From freaky polyrhythms to scales that have no relation whatsoever to the standard 12-tone note series familiar to Western listeners, you never know what you're going to get.
Brave and perhaps foolhardy musical adventurers will want to check out UNM's 2004 John Donald Robb Composers' Symposium. The internationally renowned symposium brings in some of the best cutting-edge composers on the planet for four days of seminars, panel discussions and demonstrations along with plenty of obligatory mingling and schmoozing. More importantly, the symposium will also feature a crap-metric-ton of musical performances.
Featured composers include the likes of Robert Cogan, Pozzi Escot, Roswell Rudd, Alda Oliveira, Barbara Monk Feldman, Williams Brooks and Tim Luby. Rudd, a well-known trombonist and arranger, will perform at the Outpost Performance Space on Sunday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. A performance of pieces by John Donald Robb himself—a legendary figure in experimental 20th century music who did much of his groundbreaking work while heading UNM's music department—will occur at the Outpost on Monday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m. along with work by visiting composers and the winning composition from the 2004 Robb Composers' Competition. A bunch of performances will also occur in Keller Hall, located inside UNM's Center for the Arts, on Tuesday, March 30, and Wednesday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m.
Admission is free to all symposium events. For details, call UNM's music department at 277-2126.
In other weird classical music news, a clump of Ludwig van Beethoven's hair is currently on display at the Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe. Also available for viewing are the famous Amati quartet instruments along with some original Beethoven manuscripts. On Friday, March 31, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the Axelrod Quartet will perform on the Amati instruments at the gallery at a special gala reception. Tickets are a bit steep—$125—but the event presents a rare opportunity to hear these priceless instruments being played. If you can't spare the cash, the exhibit runs through April 1. (505) 954-5700.