The NEC Young Composers Forum is an open space in which young composers from anywhere in the world are invited to present their work not in the context of a performance, but rather in a presentation or lecture format. Eight young composers have been invited to talk about their music as a way for specialized audiences —composers, performers, and theorists— to learn more about what is currently happening in new music composition not only in Boston, but also around the world. Therefore, this entrepreneurial project is outwardly beneficial: not only does it benefit audiences, but it also helps young composers gain valuable skills, increase awareness about their work, and possibly make important personal connections that will help them advance their careers.

Simon Hanes on Trevor Bača's lecture

At the New England Conservatory Young Composer’s Forum on December 13th, 2010, Trevor Bača gave a lecture/presentation about himself and his music. He spent the better part of an hour deftly speaking about his influences, beliefs, compositional practices and techniques. He played his piece Lidércfény (2008), a tense, shimmery 15 minute work that lithely slithered back-and-forth through erratic, sharp colors and steely harmonies. Then he answered some questions.

After hearing Trevor Bača speak for only a short time, it becomes apparent that he has developed a deep capacity for abstract thought, the effect of which shows clearly and beautifully in his music. His relationship to the world around him seems comparable to that of a child in the world’s largest candy emporium; bright-eyed, he explores aisle after aisle, hungrily searching out the most promising morsels and using them, in this case, as inspirations/associations for his work.

What is most inspiring about Bača is his awareness of and aptness in exploiting the resources of our time that were not available to artists of previous generations, such as open source notation and editing software that allow a composer to do the “drudge work” in a fraction of the time it would take by hand, allowing him/her to focus extensively on the inventive, generative aspects of writing music. This, when combined with an up-to-date, reflective and thoughtful relationship to the history of modern/experimental music, accounts for a compositional practice that feels completely new, a development in the syntax of art music spurred by technology, science, and individuality.

Simon Hanes is a Contemporary Improvisation Major at NEC.

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