New music chamber ensemble at UGA features art collaboration

One small music ensemble at the University of Georgia is testing the limits of modern composition.

Incongruency, a new 8 member student chamber ensemble, performed a collaborative concert on April 9th at 5pm to demonstrate the flexibility and changing potential of modern music.

Between the four black walls of the Dancz Center for New Music, frequently referred to as “the black box”, musicians Alexis Letourneau, Tyler Jones, Sean Askin, Mitchell Powers, Kathryn Koopman, Sahada Buckley, Noah Johnston, and conductor Matt Sedowski kicked off a creative concert experience combining music and art.

In the midst of the intimate concert setting, artist Logan Shirah sat with the musicians and used color to portray the sounds swirling around him and the audience.  Illuminated by the florescent glow of small black-lights posed throughout the room, Shirah freely painted along with the music to create an original piece inspired by the recital.

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Artist Logan Shirah painted live to the music of the small chamber ensemble Incongruency. Photo/Sahada Buckley

Modern music typically features complicated rhythms and unconventional chords.  Without the strict constraints of meter and key that were once imposed on musical minds, most modern composers now have the ability to flow freely through sound to create innovative and organic pieces.

Kenneth Hubbard, a fourth-year economics major and trumpet player, shares how he appreciated the creativity of the concert.

“If something’s incongruent it doesn’t really fit together,” reflects Hubbard.  “To me that kind of makes sense with modern music because a lot of people don’t think that the sounds fit, or you wouldn’t look at a chamber ensemble that’s trumpet, flute, clarinet, and three strings and think that it fits, but it works.”

He continues on to share his experience attending the recital.

“I enjoyed it because when I hear modern music it feels very cinematic to me,” says Hubbard.  “People often say, ‘Well, there’s no melody,’ but there doesn’t need to be because you can picture the feeling.”

This mirrors the sentiments expressed by the musicians as they wanted to incorporate the visual element of experiencing music through Shirah’s painting.

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