X-Music | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Establishment concert presenters and music educators may despair over the lack of enthusiasm for serious music among the under-30 set, but the truth is that Generation Xers have found their own outlets, such as the HotHouse and Green Mill. And contrary to opinion in certain quarters, composers in their 20s are putting out interesting stuff in their search for styles and idioms relevant to the sensibilities of their generation. Brian Leber, Andre Marquetti, and Todd Merrell, three Chicagoans who operate outside the Northwestern-DePaul-University of Chicago axis, have organized this survey of their latest chamber pieces under the topical title "X-Music." They also have enough gumption to include for comparison works by two famous musicians that were written when they were in their 20s: the eerily impressionistic Trols Gymnopedies (1886) by the 22-year-old Satie and the uncharacteristically formal Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (1942) by the 26-year-old Leonard Bernstein. In fact, Bernstein's eclecticism seems to be a model: Merrell, a graduate of Boston's Berklee School, admits to all sorts of influences, from jazz to Baroque polytonality. Leber, a Columbia College alum, likes to juxtapose pop phrases and Messiaenian passages, as he does in his Five Pieces for Piano. Marquetti, who's from Brazil, also adds twists to his essentially Schoenbergian sound. Merrell is represented on this program by his string quartet Three Inventions for Marconi and his percussion solo Detritus, Marquetti by his Sketches for clarinet and piano and his Fantasia I for string trio. Marquetti and Leber, whose First String Quartet is also on the program, are studying composition with the highly regarded pianist Gerald Rizzer, who will perform along with percussionist Steve Butters, pianist Renee Jakovcic, and four members of the Civic Orchestra. Friday, 7.30 PM, Getz Theater, Columbia College, 72 E. 11th; 477-6621.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Patricia Sotarello.

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