The WPI Orchestra, along with members of the Claflin Hill Orchestra, will perform Karlheinz Stockhausen's Gruppen, one of the major orchestral works of the 20th Century. This is the first performance of Gruppen in Worcester.
Gruppen is rarely performed because of its complexity and the size of the orchestra. The orchestra, totaling 109 musicians — comprising three small orchestras, each with its own conductor – is arranged in the shape of a horseshoe, with the audience sitting in the middle. Gruppen comprises a synthesis of orchestra music, chamber music, and solo music.
There will be three parts to this concert; the first performance, lasting approximately 25 minutes, will be followed by a brief lecture on the work by Jeffrey Means, a conductor and professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston. The work will then be performed again and audience members will be encouraged to change their seats for the second performance in order to have a different audio experience.
The concert is free and open to the public, to be followed by a reception.
The concert is sponsored by WPI's Department of Humanities and Arts and organized by Professor Douglas Weeks, Coordinator of Music, who is also one of the three conductors. The other two conductors are Samantha McGill (WPI '09), Assistant Director of the WPI Concert Band, and Paul Surapine, Music Director of the Claflin Hill Orchestra.
"This is a natural for WPI students," said Weeks. "It's a very mathematically based work. We want our students to be on the cutting edge of music, and Stockhausen was exploring the limit of what can be done with acoustic instruments. Part of the organizational structure is a series of independent tempi. It’s an incredible experience. It's orderly, but you have to find it."
Sunday, Nov. 10, from 3 to 5 p.m.
Mechanics Hall, 321 Main St., Worcester, Mass.