Southern Exposure presents Dolce Suono Ensemble with Lucy Shelton & Jamez McCorkle

Dolce Suono  

In its third concert of the 2014-15 season, Southern Exposure welcomes the extraordinary Philadelphia-based sextet Dolce Suono Ensemble, called “stunning” by the Philadelphia Inquirer and “an ensemble that eloquently advocates for new music” by The New York Times. The free concert takes place on Wednesday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the USC School of Music Recital Hall.


Joining Dolce Suono is legendary soprano Lucy Shelton, a trailblazer in the contemporary music field for five decades, and rising-star baritone Jamez McCorkle.


Founded by flutist Mimi Stillman in 2005, Dolce Suono Ensemble includes flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion. The New York Times said about Stillman, she is “not only a consummate and charismatic performer, but also a scholar. Her programs tend to activate ears, heart and brain.”


This concert will be no exception, featuring two major works written for Dolce Suono and Shelton. “Earth” by USC’s Guggenheim Award-winning composition professor Fang Man, sets poetry by eighth-century Chinese poet Li Bai – the same poems used by Mahler in “Das Lied von der Erde.” Pulitzer-winner Shulamit Ran’s evocative “Moon Songs,” draws on Li Bai’s poetry and includes text about the moon in biblical and modern Hebrew.


The concert will be preceded by a 6:15 p.m. lecture by noted music historian and Chinese music scholar Joseph Lam of the University of Michigan. A display of Chinese-themed works by local visual artist Yisha Wang, MFA graduate of USC, will be featured.


The concert is made possible, in part, through the generosity of the USC Confucius Institute.


The recipient of the 2007 Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, the Southern Exposure New Music series features a diverse mix of guest artists from around the globe, as well as the talents of students and faculty at the university. Concerts are free in the USC School of Music Recital Hall, and most are standing room only so early arrival is suggested.

Southern Exposure New Music Series: Trinity Cathedral Chamber Singers

  “O sacrum convivium” measures 30x30 and is Acrylic on Canvas. by Roger Hutchison

Messiaen had the ability to transcribe sounds into colors (synesthesia) in their inner imagination and goes to great length describing these colors in his scores where appropriate:  “I too see colors- if only in my mind - colors corresponding to sound. I try to incorporate this in my work, to pass on to the listener. It's all very mobile. You've got to feel sound moving. Sounds are high, low, fast, slow etc. My colors do the same thing, they move in the same way. Like rainbows shifting from one hue to the next.” -- the artist, Roger Hutchison


Southern Exposure’s first concert of 2014 features one of the Southeast’s finest choirs, the Trinity Cathedral Chamber Singers, directed by Jared Johnson, Trinity’s music director and organ professor at the University of South Carolina.

The Trinity Cathedral Choir regularly tours throughout Europe, including performances at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, and the Canterbury and Gloucester Cathedrals in England. The Trinity Chamber Singers, a select group of 12-14 singers, have created a program that will plumb the depths of innovative choral music, both a capella and accompanied by the organ, from the 20th and 21st centuries. Works by the famed “holy minimalists” Arvo Pärt and John Tavener will highlight a mystical, mercurial program that includes fresh-sounding works both (comparatively) old – by quirky American composer William Albright, British master Benjamin Britten, and French icon Olivier Messiaen – and new, by some of today’s brightest stars, including Steven Stucky, Zachary Wadsworth, Daniel Kellogg, John Fitz Rogers, Gabriel Jackson and Jonathan Dove.

(arrive early for this popular series as seats fill to capacity)

Featured performers:

Trinity Cathedral Chamber Singers

Directed by Jared Johnson

With organist Christopher Jacobson

 USC School of Music Recital Hall (813 Assembly Street, 2nd floor- next to Koger Center for the Arts) February 22, 7:30 p.m.; Free

Artist Exposure: The Artist Exposure initiative is made possible by collaboration between Southern Exposure and local arts organization Pocket Productions.  Each concert features a local visual artist and their work on selected concerts throughout the series, making meaningful connections between visual arts and music and supporting Columbia's local arts scene. The featured gallery artist for this concert is Roger Hutchison, a Columbia-based painter and writer who also works at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.


Southern Exposure Website:


Trinity Cathedral Choir website:

Southern Exposure New Music Series: Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians

  Steve Reich

One of the most compelling parts of Columbia’s arts scene is the Southern Exposure New Music Series, a series of FREE concerts put on by the nonprofit each year that explore contemporary classical and world compositions as well as some of the masterworks of the 20th century. The shows are often standing room only affairs, largely because of the depth and quality of the performances, which have a reputation for being wildly eclectic and stunning in equal measure.

If you’ve never been, consider going this weekend to a performance of Steve Reich’s seminal Music for 18 Musicians. Reich is perhaps the definitive composer of the second half of the 20th century, and this is his most famous piece—a gorgeous work of pulsating musical minimalism that builds (and contracts) ever-so-slowly as melodies and harmonies are gradually added to create a mesmerizing, hypnotic effect that is best experience live. The 18 musicians comes from the fact that the piece requires at a minimum four pianists, six percussionists, four female singers, two clarinetists, a violinist, and a cellist—parts which will be ably handled by 18 of USC’s most talented students in the School of Music (many of whom will be also be tackling more than one instrument in the course of the performance). Directing the work is USC piano professor Phillip Bush (who is also performing—the composition is traditionally performed without a conductor), who has played the piece numerous times around the world with Reich himself. Bush will also be giving a short talk before each performance.

Here’s  a complete performance available on YouTube (you really have to see it live though):


And, in the tradition of the increasingly collaborative arts scene we have in Columbia, local painter Blake Morgan will have his paintings on exhibit in the gallery for both performances. His involvement is sponsored by Pocket Productions!

A note on composer: Reich’s music always feels like waves upon waves of sound to me—while the careful the listener can note the subtle, ceaseless shifts in rhythm, melody, and harmony, there is something visceral about the listening experience as well, that hits you in the gut. That’s likely the reason Reich’s music has enjoyed such popularity outside of traditional contemporary music circles as well. While his compositions are usually debuted in the finest concert halls at this point (a stark contrast from his earlier years, when his work was shunned by the elites), Reich still gets an audience outside of those confines, even at rock festivals. Check out this video, where Reich and Bang On A Can’s Dave Cossin perform to whopping audience at the rock-centered Bloc festival in east London.

The series will be giving two performances of Music for 18 Musicians: on Friday and Saturday, April 12-13, 7:30pm, at the USC School of Music Recital Hall, 813 Assembly Street (next to the Koger Center), 2nd Floor. Admission, as always, is free.


K. Petersen, Jasper Music Editor

Correction: The original post incorrectly stated that Blake Morgan would be painting live during the performance. He will not be.