For New Orleans-born and raised Morris Rosensweig, music is at the center if his life. But at the center of that center is the desire to showcase and promote new music. For this musician, conductor and composer, now Distinguished Professor of Music, University of Utah, that is his passion – not through jazz, not funk, just extraordinarily creative, 100 percent professional, totally out there new classical compositions.
In the second annual iteration of his wildly contemporary Louis Moreau Institute’s New Orleans presentations, Morris is more than a little enthusiastic about this year’s new musical commission by another New Orleans native, composer Ray Evanoff.
Now, Evanoff’s work does not contain melody lines you can hum on the way home. But if you present yourself at the Marigny Opera House this evening you will hear this cutting edge work which Morris considers to be a masterpiece.
“This is by far the most outside piece we’re doing,” he says. “It’s the most avant garde and made up of a construction of numerical intricacies.”
Translated, what that means is there is no “music” that we listeners may be used to hearing.
“There is no sense of any kind of one steady tempo,” Morris explains. “But that’s because there are several tempos going on at the same time. So to many ears it may sounds like the musicians are making the piece up as they go along. But that is not the case. No one could just make up anything that specific.”
It’s not easy bringing together a group of highly trained and talented musicians to play works that are contemporary, but rarely performed, or ones that are totally new and different. But for Morris, the “Louie” (as he calls his musical brain child) and the Louies (his name for the six early career professionals from around the country who come to the Crescent City to perform), its all part of his contribution to his native city’s extraordinary musical heritage. And it all gets rehearsed and then performed in just over a week.
“They work really, really hard,” he says of his Louies. “But they’re happy and they’re all young,” the 60-something adds with a grin.
To hear the premier of Ray Evanoff’s work as well as music by Arnold Schoenberg, George Crumb, and Luciano Berio, go to Marigny Opera House, 725 St. Ferdinand Street, tonight, Friday, February 26 at 8:00 PM.