SCSU music department hosts virtual concert: “Transient Canvas: Only Breath”

Bass clarinetist Amy Advocat and marimbist Matt Sharrock performed virtually on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. Photo courtesy of SCSU Department of Music

Written by: Allison Schwengler

SCSU hosted a virtual concert on Nov. 4, 2020 showcasing Transient Canvas, a clarinet and marimba duo, and giving anyone who wanted to join the opportunity to tune in virtually and experience live music.

In the time of a global pandemic, concerts seem like a thing of the past. However, thanks to technology, groups such as Transient Canvas are still able to perform and share their music with music lovers in a safe and healthy way.

Transient Canvas is a contemporary duo based out of Boston who, according to their website are “on a mission to revolutionize the modern concert experience.” Bass clarinetist, Amy Advocat and marimbist Matt Sharrock have been preforming as Transient Canvas since 2011 and maintain an active touring schedule as well as educational residencies.

Transient Canvas was supposed to perform in person at St. Cloud State last April, but due to the state of the Coronavirus, they were unable to. Sharrock shared that they are “so glad they can be here virtually.”

Transient Canvas also did a residency here at SCSU where Scott Miller, Professor of Composition Electroacoustic Music and Theory, said that “students were introduced to a new repertoire written by living composers … and learned about entrepreneurship from a successful chamber ensemble.”

Something that makes Transient Canvas stand out from other groups is their ability to “relish[s] the creative potential of working with living composers.” They created their annual Composer Fellowship Program in 2017 and have played over 80 commissioned pieces by living composers.

During their concert they premiered a new piece from one of their fellows. Their paid Composer Fellowship Program is free and open to all ages and applications for next year are still open and more information about the fellowship is available on their website.

Although a virtual concert would have been crazy six months ago, the idea of “distributing live music events over vast differences [has been around] since the earliest days of telephone and radio communication,” said Miller. With our increase in what technology can do, virtual concerts are just a step up from radio concerts.

Miller also believes that virtual concerts will not just go away when it is safe to attend live music events again as “the past six months have increased interest in and accelerated development of the technologies for virtual and telematic music making.”

When asked what advice he would offer to students struggling to find motivation or inspiration during this unprecedented time Miller said, “be curious and investigate what different performers and presenters are doing, especially those who are not trying to recreate the pre-pandemic experience, but those who are embracing the unique strengths of virtual performance to create something really new and artistically powerful.”

Professor Miller and the Department of Music will be hosting more events such as the Transient Canvas performance in the future and encourage students to attend. More information on these events can be found on Huskies Connect.

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