For the first time in the history of the University of Pittsburgh, its music department will have an ensemble-in-residence. IonSound Project, a new-music sextet based in Pittsburgh, will take the post this fall.

"The IonSound residency will be great for our undergraduate and graduate composers because our students will be able to work with this ensemble on an ongoing basis," said Mathew Rosenblum, chair of the music department. "The group is open to new music of all styles, and will help the students develop their craft through rehearsing and performing their compositions." IonSound will perform one public concert of student compositions a year and two concerts of its own repertoire.

While the robust tradition of ensembles taking residencies at universities worldwide is argument enough for Pitt's maneuver, it is crucial for a school such as Pitt to have one, says Rosenblum.

"Because we are a liberal arts department, not a conservatory, we lack the performance resources of those institutions," he said. "Instead, we bring professional ensembles to perform on our Music on the Edge new music series and then invite them to stay to work with our graduate composers.

"Working with professional musicians, and a distinguished composition faculty, is the best way to learn the art of composition. Now Pitt will have both."

IonSound's members are active in other groups. Violinist Laura Motchalov is a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony, and percussionist Eliseo Rael and flutist Peggy Yoo occasionally perform with it. Pianist Rob Frankenberry is a sought-after local performer (also as a tenor), Kathleen Costello is principal clarinetist of the Alabama Symphony and Elisa Kohanski is principal cellist of the Wheeling Symphony.

The group publicly begins it tenure with a concert Sept.20 at Pitt's Bellefield Hall Auditorium.

Post-Gazette classical music critic Andrew Druckenbrod can be reached at or 412-263-1750. He blogs at
First published on August 18, 2008 at 12:00 am

Make a Free Website with Yola.