Livewire Explores the Transformative Power of Music

Published: Oct 17, 2023

By: Tom Moore

In a sepia-toned photos, a group of seven musicians with instruments

From October 18 through 21, Livewire, UMBC’s annual festival exploring the music of our times, takes center stage in Linehan Concert Hall. This year, Livewire investigates the power of music to transform. A recital by pianist Idith Meshulam Korman and her collaborator Reese Todd Basile opens the festival with an intimate view of how music has delivered hope and possibilities in a correctional facility; on Saturday, the Decoda ensemble will perform songs and music written by incarcerated musicians.

“We’re asking some challenging questions,” says Airi Yoshioka, professor of music and violinist, who serves as director of this year’s Livewire festival. “What is the role of music in our society? What are the inherent powers that lie within music to transform our lives?” At times, Livewire’s exploration of the transformative power of music is more subtle and layered, ranging from personal journeys through Covid to challenges of political instability.

A graphic logo says Livewire 13 Transformation

Student, alumni and faculty collaborations and premieres

UMBC faculty, students, and alumni are featured throughout the festival, especially on Thursday, October 19, when the Ruckus faculty ensemble performs, and on Saturday, October 21, when UMBC’s music students present a concert of their own, as both performers and composers. Livewire includes premieres of works by music alumni Kathryn Blake ’21 and Karena Ingram ’16, a premiere by faculty member Linda Dusman, and premieres of works by student composers D’Juan Moreland and Aaron Statham. The music of Vittoria Tchotche, an exchange student from Piacenza Conservatory in Italy, is also featured.

While many college and university music programs across the country focus primarily on the music of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, faculty at UMBC have embraced the exploration of the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. UMBC’s faculty have been advocates of new music for decades, stretching well beyond the inaugural Livewire festival in 2010.

In a black and white image, a woman on the left and a man with a cello on the right
The Stick&Bow duo performs on Saturday, October 18.

Six concerts over four days

The complete concert line-up includes three evening and three daytime performances:

Wednesday, October 18, 1 p.m.
Pianist Idith Meshulam Korman and poet-creator Reese Todd Basile

Thursday, October 19, 7:30 p.m.
Ruckus, the UMBC faculty new music ensemble

Friday, October 20, 12 p.m.
Duo della Luna

Friday October 20, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 21, 1 p.m.
UMBC Student Concert

Saturday, October 21, 5 p.m.

Financial support for Livewire has been provided by the Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts (CIRCA), with additional funding from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Office of the Provost, the Linehan Fund for Excellence in the Arts, and an Alumni Engagement Grant.

Header image: the Decoda ensemble performs on Friday, October 20.

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