LotUS provides explorations in music

The second performance of this year’s Mercyhurst College Faculty Recital Series took place Thursday in Walker Recital Hall. The group that performed calls themselves “League of the Unsound Sound” or LotUS.

The LotUS mission statement says, “LotUS is a group of musicians dedicated to exploring experimental music in all its variations. We are performers and composers and improvisers.”

The performers included core members of LotUS: Tim Feeney (percussion), David Smooke (composer/toy piano) and Mercyhurst Colleges’ own Dr. Shirley Yoo, along with special guest Stephen Buck (piano).

Junior, Marie Karbacka was excited to “have the experience of being able to listen to 20th century music that most classical music students are not exposed to.”

Upon arriving at the concert, everyone waited in the lobby, then entered the theater while two pieces “le Corps a Corps” by Georges Aperghis, and “Sound of Hand” by Huang Ruo were being performed simultaneously. Feeney and Schotzko started out their pieces to an empty space and the entrance of the audience became a part of the performance.

The first piece of the concert proper was written by John Cage in 1942 titled “Credo in Us.” This piece incorporated the modern idea of using prerecorded music in the live performance.

The next piece performed was titled “Of Risk and Memory” and written by Arlene Sierra in 1997. This performance marked the United States Premiere of this work, and included exciting moments of improvisation played without pre-set parameters.

Also in the first half of the concert, Feeney and Smooke performed an inspiring improvisation, and the group performed Thierry De Mey’s 1987 work “Table Music,” which was an innovative percussive piece that was beautiful to watch.

After intermission, Peter Graland’s 1984 composition “Penasco Blanco” filled the hall with the passionate, haunting, hollow sound of open fifths.

Concluding the performance was David Smooke’s piece titled “Hurricane Charm,” written in 2009 and commissioned by Dr. Shirley Yoo. It is currently rare to see a piece performed by the composer, so this was an exciting opportunity for all audience members to witness.

“I thought it was brilliant and that more people need to experience Mr. Smookes’ music,” said senior Mary Spenely. “Overall, the concert was a huge success, and it was an honor to be able to attend such an innovative performance.”

The next faculty recital will be held on Thursday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. in the Walker Recital Hall. This recital is titled “The Works of Robert Schumann” and will celebrate Stairways 50th anniversary.