Students experiment with music

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    By Kelli Urry

    Ellinor Bergqvist can improvise musically, but her improvisation isn?t jazz.

    Bergqvist, a music composition major from Stockholm, Sweden, is a member of the BYU School of Music?s Group for Experimental Music.

    Last fall, an eight-student group formed under the direction of Christian Asplund, professor of music theory and composition.

    The students meet weekly to focus on improvisation and practice pieces than contain non-jazz improvisation. Students ?jam? with the tuba, violin, guitar, and voice.

    Last week, the group performed their first concert. In a piece written by Professor Asplund titled the ?Time and Speech Series.? Asplund led the group through several musical sets. After the musical set was performed, students and the professor then improvised together on the musical themes in the set.

    Lenore Skinner, a marriage, family and human development major from Agoura, Calif., joined the ensemble this fall semester and said the group has allowed her to come out of her comfort zone.

    ?The group is refreshing,? Skinner said. ?By nature I?m an experimental person. ?You realize there?s no right or wrong when we practice.?

    Students said they like the feeling of not knowing what the next note or measure will bring while performing or practicing.

    ?You don?t know what?s going to happen next, so you have to trust the music and the trust the people you?re performing with and not hesitate,? Bergqvist said.

    Performing music audiences are not used to hearing is not an obstacle for the group, because they find their audiences usually have open minds when listening.

    ?The BYU student body is one of the most intelligent, curious and open minded I have ever seen,? Asplund said. ?They are also very spiritually sensitive, which is very important to the appreciation of artistic expression.?

    The ensemble has seen success with concerts they have performed.

    ?Our concerts have always had very good audiences both in terms of size and receptiveness,? Asplund said.

    In November, the group will perform at Vermillion Skies, a local Provo cafe.

    Students interested in joining the group should register for Music 441 R. An audition is not required, but permission from Asplund is needed to join.

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