So AtlantaMusicCritic (AMC) drove up to the Kennesaw State Festival of New Music 2013 http://www.kennesaw.edu/newmusicfestival/. It was raining hard but Georgia's highways are so nice that it was not a challenging drive. But AMC did notice that Kennesaw State University, like Georgia Tech, has signs that are useful for only those who already know the campus. AMC would like to encourage the great minds at KSU to think about making signs for those not familiar with the campus, especially providing direction to venues that might actually attract the public, such as the Bailey Performance Center. Clayton State does it well for Spivey Hall so it certainly is possible!
The New Music Festival provided an opportunity for student composers and instrumentalists to collaborate in performance of the former's new music. AMC has a policy not to review nonprofessional performances, but suffice it to say that the compositions were quite good.
The reason AMC journeyed to Kennesaw was to see gloATL and Sonic Generator perform "The Child Project", a collaboration between Composer David Lang and choreographer Lauri Stallings (http://gloatl.org/upcoming/). AMC admired the energy of the dancers and their ability to remember choreography that seemingly never repeated a move. The dancers performed in the front of the stage, with sonic Generator arrayed behind them in a semi-circle. The dancers were dressed in black and there was there was only white light. AMC would have liked a bit more color but am sure that Ms. Stallings chose this bleak setting on purpose.
David Lang (http://davidlangmusic.com/about/bio) is a contemporary American composer and Pulitzer Prize winner. AMC likes his music greatly. It has a minimalist quality but also contains sections that are a bit more traditional (e.g., the section where Brad Ritchie played what reminded AMC of Bach's Suites for Solo Cello). The music is hypnotic and compelling. The finale includes several members of the ensemble circling a metal tube with a wand to make almost a high pitched drone. The effect was far better than AMC's description. As usual, Sonic Generator provided a challenging and interesting program, especially with the addition of the gloATL artists.
A final word- AMC often finds a composer's/choreographer's descriptions of what they are attempting to achieve a bit perplexing, probably because AMC is a bit concrete!