Robert Ceely's "Synoecy" for clarinet and tape, featured by Ensemble SOLI, Oct. 14-15


Oct 14 2019 - 7:30pm

San-Antonio based SOLI Chamber Ensemble, presents the 2019-2020 season, collectively titled “Rarified Air,” beginning with the sounds of nature --the “Nature’s Voices” program Oct. 14-15.

"Commissioning new music has been a key part of SOLI’s mission since its beginnings in 1994. Of over 100 pieces commissioned over the last 25 years, “there isn’t a dud among them,” according to clarinetist Stephanie Key, and “we have all this repertoire now to pay forward."

Only one piece of music to be performed during the season was written by a composer who’s no longer alive. Synoecy by Robert Ceely (1930-2015) , Key’s mentor at the New England Conservatory, serves as an anchor for the entire “Rarified Air” season, “sculpted” by Key as a means to “lift our audience … to give them that clarity, and lift them up and out of the congestion of our time.”

The title Synoecy refers to two typically opposing sides with nothing much in common, Key said, which she sees as nature versus technology, expressed in the piece as the “natural” clarinet against electronic and synthesized sounds. In the 1970s and ’80s when Ceely wrote the composition, “they really had nothing in common and butted up against each other a lot. Slowly over the course of the piece, they learn how to live together. They’re not intermingled, they’re not one, but they’ve learned how to live side by side.”

Other works in the series include Steven Snowden’s Land of the Living, Yvonne Freckmann's commissioned piece, Nest, uses recordings of cicadas and other creatures on a ranch south of San Antonio, and Red River by composer Mason Bates features field recordings from along the length of the Colorado Riverand a world premiere of music by Lukas Ligeti.