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Short Circuits

For everyone who complains that there isn't enough contemporary music in Washington (all ten of you), this week's for you. The Sonic Circuits Festival, which starts tonight and runs through September 27, is about showcasing the new music scene in an impressively wide range of manifestations, from the avant-garde figurehead Elliott Sharp to an evening of five Swiss experimental musicians at the Swiss Embassy to the local indie-folk duo Jamal and Anthony.

New music is hard to pin down. The festival demonstrates its catholic reach through its array of venues: the Clarice Smith Center at the University of Maryland (a co-sponsor), site of tonight's opening concert; the Kennedy Center's Millennium Statge; the Velvet Lounge, Pyramid Atlantic. This is, in short, music that's hard to compartmentalize as "classical" or "pop," and venue may do more to determine its audience than inherent taste. (I increasingly believe this is true in any case; people who are comfortable at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater might willingly listen to Sufjan Stevens there, while it's been demonstrated that young audiences in a bar can get very excited about a Bartok string quartet.)

Sonic Circuits is also the festival that is to some degree threatened by the shuttering of the DC chapter of the American Composers Forum, which Aaron Grad reported on here last month. Still, ticket prices remain low - $10 for most venues. It's a grab bag of music from all over (Germany and Switzerland, Chicago and New York, and, of course, DC) that you probably haven't heard of. No guarantees; no pressure; take your chances.

By Anne Midgette  |  September 22, 2009; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Washington , festivals  
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An advance ticket to the Todd Reynolds Quartet/Music From China Ensemble performance (nine musicians) of acoustic, processed, and computer music by composer Neil Rolnick at the Smithsonian Freer Gallery on Saturday night October 3 will only cost you $4. (And any unsold tickets are free at the door on concert night.)

Neil Rolnick studied composition with Darius Milhaud, Andrew Imbrie, John Chowning, and John Adams.

Posted by: snaketime1 | September 24, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

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