Newest of the New

The Wave Dash duo: Magdalena Meitzer and Camilla Hoitenga

Lovers of new music for chamber ensembles may soon be in nirvana. The 49th Annual John Donald Robb Composers’ Symposium is offering four days of concerts, masterclasses, lectures, an interactive new music installation and meet-the-composer opportunities at the University of New Mexico.

“We’ll have 10 world premieres, including many performed by legendary new music flutist Camilla Hoitenga and composer-percussionist Magdalena Meitzner, who perform together as Wave Dash,” says Peter Gilbert, associate professor of music composition. “No single style or sound encompasses these pieces, and that’s the fun of it — each work is like its own world, and you never know what will happen next.”

Three distinguished guest composers will be in residence throughout the symposium.

Lei Liang is a Chinese-born American composer who just won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for his A Thousand Mountains, A Million Streams, an orchestral work that evokes the perils of climate change.

Amy Williams is best known for her Cineshape series, five chamber music pieces inspired by films ranging from the Alfred Hitchcock classic Rope to Chunhyang, which is based on a classic Korean form of musical storytelling.

The New Yorker described Anne LeBaron as an “admired West Coast experimentalist who is an innovative performer on the harp as well as an unusually inventive composer.” Her seven operas celebrate such legendary women as Pope Joan, Eurydice, “Voodoo queen” Marie Laveau, and the American housewife.

The symposium, which runs through Wednesday, Feb. 5, kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 2, with a concert by the Albuquerque-based ensemble Chatter. Violinist David Felberg leads a quintet in Liang’s Trio, Williams’ “First Lines,” LeBaron’s “Four” and “Fore,” and Meitzner’s “The High Priestess.” It’s at 10:30 a.m. at Las Puertas, 1512 First St. NW, Albuquerque. Tickets are $16, $9 for students and those under 30,

After that, everything takes place at UNM’s Center for the Arts, 203 Cornell Drive NE, with free admission; no reservations are required. For the full symposium schedule and more information, visit

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