MOVING FORWARD / LOOKING BACKWARD

Tom Benoit / Arts and Entertainment Editor

On Wednesday, February 17, Keene State College music faculty Dr. Christina Wright-Ivanova, in collaboration with HUB New Music and Ashley Stone, performed a concert entitled, “Moving Forward/ Looking Backward.”

“The whole idea of this is that I was thinking about music that I’ve been recording over the past year during COVID, both with collaborators, and by myself,” said Dr. Wright-Ivanova, “I realized that the theme of a lot of the repertoire and pieces that I’ve been recording, have actually been about different concepts of journeying and identity.”

Dr. Wright-Ivanova said the pieces performed reflected people finding themselves during the COVID pandemic.

“So many people actually have journeyed, both psychologically kind of finding themselves, more alone, more coming to terms with being alone, and in that, in and of itself, that’s kind of a journey,” said Dr. Wright-Ivanova.

Dr. Wright-Ivanova also said the pieces can reflect a physical journey, as many people have moved from the city to the country, including Dr. Wright-Ivanova herself, as her and her husband recently found a place to live in Keene from Boston.

“There’s a piece on the program [about] the journey of a French Canadian immigrant down south to New England. And, actually, we have a lot of French Canadian heritage students on campus. So generally, this idea of moving forwards journey into a new time and place in your life, and looking backwards with some nostalgia about where you came, [and] where your history is. And that’s what this whole program is about different aspects of that journey,” said Dr. Wright-Ivanova.

Ashley Stone, a member of the vocal faculty at University of Nevada Las Vegas, who also performed at the concert, talked about the pieces played.

“Cynthia Lee Wong’s “Six Gupta Songs” tie in to the theme of Moving Forward/ Looking Backward in a way that feels contemporary and quite literal. The music and text present the varied but deeply relatable journey of a young woman exploring her world and life experiences though charming vignettes– the observation of nature, the considered wisdom of her elders, the exploration of personal creativity, the lesson gleaned from a withered relationship, the thrill of finding a uniquely fulfilling activity, and the shattering awareness of loss looking upon a past love. This active balance of reflection, presence and drive are something we regularly engage in each day as we struggle, grow and thrive,” said Stone.

The concert was performed in conjunction with HUB New Music, a four person ensemble based out of Boston. Pieces performed included one titled “Rogue Emoji” by Kati Agocz. “We’ve known Kati for almost eight years now and she was one of the first composers that HUB ever worked with back when we were students,” said Michael Avitabile, a member of HUB New Music.

The concert was pre-recorded, with HUB New Music performing from Boston.

“With COVID, all of our concerts are broadcasted digitally, so we recorded our program at the Boston Athenaeum in December, and it air[ed] for a residency we’re doing at Keene State,” said Avitabile.

Along with the concert, HUB hosted a lecture for KSC music students. “We absolutely loved the lecture, the students had such brilliant, wonderful questions, it was so easy to start that dialogue about what HUB does as an organization, how we started and we talked a little bit about what we’re doing right now with COVID,” said Avitabile.

To learn more about events at the Redfern Arts Center, and to see the schedule for Spring 2021, please visit https://www.keene.edu/arts/redfern/.

 

Tom Benoit can be contacted at:
a.e@kscequinox.com

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