Thursday, October 10, 2002

Ensemble moves Gen-X classical crowd

By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer

It isn't easy to get noticed when the music scene is as big as Cincinnati's. But the Arc Ensemble has been attracting good crowds since Demetrius Fuller, then a conducting student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, founded it three years ago. Sunday, Arc Ensemble opens its third sea son with a tribute to the heroes of Sept. 11, 3 p.m. in Memorial Hall, downtown. The Salvation Army will receive 20 percent of the proceeds.

 Demetrius Fuller
Demetrius Fuller
The Enquirer sat down this week with Mr. Fuller, 25, to talk about Arc Ensemble's plans. Mr. Fuller is also the music director of the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra in Niceville, Fla.

Question: What is your mission?

Answer: To present co ntemporary classical music, or music written after 1900. That's music by composers like Aaron Copland, but also newer works by young composers, written last week.

Q: Why did you found the ensemble?

A: To fill a void; there isn't an organization like this in Cincinnati. I have an affinity for contemporary music, and the Contemporary Music Ensemble (at CCM) was disbanded. So this is the on ly outlet. It provides something the audience may not have heard before.

Q: Who is your audience?

A: It's a great mix. Our target market is Gen-X. Obviously, you're going to have the typical people who patronize classical music. But we've had a huge student-based audience the first two years; that has something to do with CCM.

Q: Is there room in the Tristate for another concert ser ies?

A: So far, we've proved there is. The audience members who come and love art have been waiting for something new to happen in Cincinnati.

What: “American Tribute,” honoring the heroes of Sept. 11. Arc Ensemble, Demetrius Fuller, conductor
When: 3 p.m. Sunday Where: Memorial Hall, downtown
Program: Samuel Barber, Adagio for Strings; Elliott Carter, Elegy; Walter Piston, Divertimento; Charles Ives, The Unanswered Question; Augusta Read Thomas, Murmurs in the Mist of Memory; Aaron Copland, Original Suite from Appalachian Spring.
Tickets: $25; 241-7469. 20 percent of proceeds will benefit the Salvation Army.
Q: How did you come up with your 9-11 tribute program?

A: We wanted to do all-American composers, and we wanted something accessible. We had performed Copland's Appalachian Spring and Piston's Divertimento before. Augusta Read Thomas' title c aught my attention: Murmurs in the Mist of Memory. It's a soundscape for 11 solo strings. She's one of the up-and-coming women composers, and you don't see women on any programs, really.

Q: You have some interesting young players, such as trumpeter Ashley Hall. Who is in the orchestra?

A: We have a core group of 15 members. It's a combination of area professional musicians, who believe i n our mission statement and want to make this a big thing.

Q: How did you get the name, Arc?

A: It's named after a group that I came across in France, called L'ensemble d'Arc (now disbanded). I thought it was a neat name.

For information about Arc Ensemble's subscription series, call 289-4972.


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