Everyone knows the Twin Cities is a great place to make music, including a rich classical music scene. And within that scene, there exists an expansive community of tried and true experimentalists who are working every day to challenge and redefine what it means to compose and perform classical music.
This environment has provided an impressive growth of community-building initiatives that allow for realities such as the 113 Composers Collective.
"113 began as a University of Minnesota student-led response to the lack of regular performance and residency opportunities for experimental music at the university and in the Twin Cities," the members of the collective, led by executive director Joey Crane, said in an email in which they all contributed to the responses for this feature. "One of the things that plagues most composers of new music is the fact that many pieces are performed just once and never heard again. 113 strives to make challenging, experimental new music available and accessible to everyone, regardless of their knowledge of or experience with such music."
In a nutshell, they said, the collective "provides access to the world of experimental art music through concerts, education and score publishing."
The 113 has been going strong since 2012 and focuses its seasons on finding ways to meet the needs of composers and performers while also "checking off bucket lists." All of the members have dream projects "and want to see amazing local performances of pieces that are rarely programmed in the United States," they said. "113 tries to make all of that happen."
In doing so, the collective builds partnerships locally and nationally. Along with performing music rarely heard in the city, it tries to provide meaningful performance opportunities for local musicians, which includes partnering with local ensembles and bringing together an ever-expanding list of individual performers.
The 113 Composers Collective also holds a yearly international Call for Scores and chooses several pieces from among the submissions. This is going on right now, by the way. Deadline to submit an entry for Call for Scores is May 31.
These initiatives challenge 113 to keep growing and evolving what it means to the community.
"Each season must incorporate opportunities for education and community-building," the members of the collective said. "We accomplish this by creating participatory workshops and presenting concerts in primary and secondary schools, universities, senior centers, art galleries and artist co-ops."
This weekend, the 113 will be premiering new works with the TAK Ensemble from New York.
"All of the works by 113 composers are world premieres written specifically for TAK and incorporate the instrumentation of flute, clarinet, voice, percussion and violin," they said. It's a chance to "work with performers that the Twin Cities rarely has a chance to experience in a live setting."
In the spring, the 113 also will be premiering new works for the Zeitgeist New Music Ensemble, the longest-running such ensemble based in the Twin Cities. Unlike TAK, Zeitgeist's members have served on the 113 board and perform in many of its events. They also manage Studio Z, where many of 113's events take place. So the relationship is different, more personal.
"When we compose for Zeitgeist, we are composing for specific performers and the performance space, not just the ensemble's instrumentation," the collective's members said. "We have always tried to find a balance between presenting renowned touring artists that one normally only experiences in larger cities like New York or Chicago and working with acclaimed, established, local artists who are important to our community."
Check out the 113 Composers Collective's latest work with TAK this weekend and find out about other performances and workshops in its 2018-19 season.