New Music Cafe to Feature Premieres of Alumni Compositions
Feb. 24, 2015
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— World premieres of music composed by Illinois Wesleyan University
alumni Brian Baxter ’07, Matthew Harder ’96 and Ben Hjertmann ’07 will be featured
March 5. The New Music Café event will begin at 8 p.m. in Westbrook Auditorium.
Baxter’s Golden Spring, Harder’s Fragile Space, and Palimpsest Panels by Hjertmann will be premiered at the concert, a School of Music sesquicentennial
event that is free and open to the public. Performers include Mark Timmerman ’14,
violin; adjunct faculty member Sharon Chung ’00, viola; Andrew Hesse ’06, cello; Associate
Professor of Music History Stephen Press, contrabass; and Adjunct Instructor of Music
Joy Doran, piano. Another work by Harder, "Short Suite," will also be premiered.
Baxter is a Chicago-based composer and drummer. He earned a master’s degree in music
composition from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. Having
co-founded the Chicago Composers Orchestra, a group dedicated to the performance and
advocacy of orchestral music by living composers, Baxter serves as a co-artistic director
and president of the board of directors. He is also the director of operations for
the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, where he oversees nearly 500 student musicians
performing across the Chicago area and around the world. He is the recipient of the
2014 Individual Artists Program Grant Award from the City of Chicago Department of
Cultural Affairs & Special Events in support of his full-length solo drum-set album,
Book of Drum. He has received six consecutive ASCAP Plus Awards.
Harder is a professor of music and director of music technology at West Liberty University
in West Virginia. He earned two master’s degrees (one in percussion and one in composition)
from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, and a Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern
University. He writes acoustic and electroacoustic music for the concert stage, video,
film, audio installations, electronic and music groups. His works have been performed
at numerous events including: the International Double Reed Society conference, College
Music Society Annual Conference, Juventas New Music Ensemble, New Music and Art Festival
at Bowling Green State University, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, U.S.
Navy Band International SaxophoneSymposium, and North American Saxophone Alliance
Hjertmann is a composer and vocalist based in Boone, N. C., and teaches composition,
theory, and electronic music at Appalachian State University. He composes and sings
with the avant-folk trio the Grant Wallace Band and the surrealist-pop band Kong Must
Dead. His music has been featured at Resonant Bodies Festival, Fast Forward Austin,
Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinics, the conference of the College Band Directors National
Association, and South by Southwest (NonClassical showcase). He has received numerous
awards including the 2014 Barlow Prize, the Third Coast Percussion Emerging Composers
Partnership, a 2014 Project Grant from New Music USA, and first prize for Grade V-VI
in the 2013 Frank Ticheli International Composition Contest. In 2013 he released a
self-produced album of chamber metal entitled “Angelswort.” He received his doctorate
in music composition from Northwestern University.