Weekend Ear Taxi Festival events include several winning premieres

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by John Von Rhein
October 9, 2016

The staggering amount of brand-new classical music that is emerging from the inaugural Ear Taxi Festival reflects a broad-shouldered synergy among local composers, performers and audience members that’s rare in this nation but particularly emblematic of the Chicago-centric event as masterminded by Augusta Read Thomas.

The marvelous Third Coast Percussion foursome began its segment with the world premiere of a jointly composed piece, “Reaction Yield,” inspired by modern science and deriving its haunting power from intricate rhythmic ostinatos that draw on a kaleidoscopic array of shifting percussion colors.

The work whetted one’s ears for one of Thomas’ own pieces, “Selene (Moon Chariot Rituals),” a Tanglewood Festival-Third Coast co-commission receiving its Chicago premiere. The impetus of dance is never far from the surface of this exhilarating score, which melds the complementary natures of a percussion quartet and a string quartet to produce a study in inexorable rhythmic dynamism. One of Gusty Thomas’ most inventive creations, it drew a supercharged performance from the combined forces of Third Coast and Spektral.

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