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pop and classical collide

yMusic, hailed by NPR’s Fred Child as “one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music,” is going to conduct a residency in the Music and Theatre Arts Department at UW-Eau Claire during the 2018-19 academic year. This innovative and collaborative project is intended to mark and celebrate the opening of the Pablo Center at the Confluence. yMusic is a unique and virtuosic chamber group of six instrumentalists, a string trio, flute, clarinet and trumpet, who met while studying at Juilliard and operate in a space where “pop and classical worlds” overlap. They have premiered important new works, collaborated with well-known musicians, including Paul Simon, John Legend, The Tallest Man on Earth, and Ben Folds, and have conducted residencies at top music programs in the country. William Robin, musicologist, wrote in the New York Times, “With yMusic the performers act as co-conspirators in the compositional process, interacting with the music as a living document, not an abstract ideal. The flexibility of the y Music players put them at the forefront of a rapidly changing performance culture…The group has set the bar high.”

yMusic works in close quarters with contemporary composers and songwriters, developing ideas into vivid, communicative performances. Since the group’s instrumentation was inspired by friendship and musical admiration rather than pragmatism, yMusic only performs works and arrangements created specifically for the ensemble. Collaborating with some of the most visible and creative pop artists of their time yMusic inspires die-hard Classical Music fandom from often uninitiated audiences via their virtuosity in both concert and pop idioms. One of the most appealing aspects of yMusic's work is the level of interaction, give-and-take the artists have with composers they work with, both in the classical and pop spheres.

The Music and Theatre Arts Department’s hope for the yMusic Residency is to engage as many students as possible. Five UW-EC students, as well as Chiayu Hsu-a faculty composer, are each writing a composition for yMusic. yMusic will work with the composers in master classes open to the public and record these compositions at the studio in the Pablo Center. Student chamber groups working on contemporary works will also receive instruction from members of yMusic. The yMusic Residency is being supported by the UW-EC Foundation, UW-EC Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and the Music and Theatre Arts Department.

Their first visit to campus will be from September 29-October 1. yMusic will be giving a concert on Sunday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Gantner Concert Hall in the Haas Fine Arts Building. Converge Radio presents yMusic.  Tickets are available through Converge Radio.