Helix! new-music ensemble to premiere student compositions at New York City club April 12

Rutgers University’s Helix! new-music ensemble will fill New York City club (Le) Poisson Rouge with contemporary works composed by faculty and students on Sunday, April 12, 2015, at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. The two shows feature 16 pieces including musical miniatures by Rutgers faculty members Robert Aldridge and Charles Fussell. It will also contain works by Matthew Hindson, Nico Muhly, and Charles Wuorinen, plus world premieres from Rutgers University student composers.

Kynan Johns, the director of Helix!, says that the event provides a highly-visible platform for Rutgers students “to define the musical direction of tomorrow with new trends in composition.”

Helix! is a modular group that plays works by living composers, with a special interest in music composed since 1950. With the appointment of Grammy-winning composer Aldridge as director of the Mason Gross Music Department in 2012, student work has been increasingly featured in the ensemble’s performances.

The lineup at the Greenwich Village club will differ at each of the two shows and will include funk, vocal, electronic, jazz, and film scores—genres all over the musical map that demonstrate Helix! musicians’ abilities to take on a variety of challenging work, says Johns.

“These pieces have varying levels of difficulty and different instrumentation,” Johns says. “The flexibility of the ensemble allows us to present many styles of compositions.”

Dena Orkin, a Helix! clarinetist and Mason Gross graduate student, is delighted to perform the works of her colleagues and “help them realize their artistic visions,” she says.

“We spend so much time studying beside each other, so it’s great to get to know them through their works,” says Orkin, one of over a dozen musicians in the ensemble, which was founded at the university in 1990.

Graduate composition student Angelique Mouyis, whose piece “Misterioso,” will premiere at the 5:30 performance, says she is “thrilled” to have her work—a waltz for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano­­—performed “professionally and superbly” by Helix! musicians and conductors.

And for composers and performers alike, premiering a work in New York City is “is an exciting milestone for any musician,” says Johns.

Orkin agrees, saying that the event “will create some much-deserved exposure for our composers and bring to light that Rutgers is, indeed, a relevant component of this cosmopolitan city.”

Helix! new-music ensemble plays on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. at (le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street in New York City. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, or $30 for a two-show pass (advance only). Purchase tickets at lepoissonrouge.com or call 212-505-3474. For more information about any Mason Gross event, visit www.masongross.rutgers.edu or call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at 848-932-7511.

Posted March 2015