funcoast.com: March 28, 2007

Cleveland composer Margaret Brouwer says it can be exciting to go to a classical music concert and hear a brand new work. After all, every famous composition once began as a new piece.

“You might be part of a historical thing if it turns out to be a wonderful piece,” she said.

Brouwer could make a little history herself this week. Her new violin concerto will be premiered in a series of free concerts given by CityMusic Cleveland over the next few days. The concert closest to Sandusky will be at 7:30 p.m. March 29 at St. Mary Church, 320 Middle Ave., in Elyria. The performance also will feature Mozart’s 39th Symphony and Igor Stravinsky’s “Danses Concertantes.”

Brouwer, perhaps Cleveland’s best-known local composer, claims she doesn’t think about whether her music will survive the test of time, like her other favorite composers such as Debussy, Stravinsky, Beethoven and Bartok. She’s busy doing her thing. “I love composing,” she said. “It’s like working a hard puzzle.”

Brouwer said her new concerto, to be performed with CityMusic Cleveland violinist Michi Wiancko, is in three movements. The middle movement is a “slow movement with a beautiful melody,” while the final movement is fast and showy, she said. “I’m big on contrast in music. I guess that’s one reason I’m big on three movements,” she said. “I guess I am into traditional forms somewhat.”

Several CDs have been issued of Brouwer’s music. Last year, the Naxos record label released an album of her orchestral music, including a percussion concerto, “Aurolucent Circles.” “Light,” on New World Records, is a collection of chamber music.

Brouwer, who teaches composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music, says it’s an exciting time for new classical music. Composers are no longer pressured to write in a certain style, as they were for part of the last century, she said. And much new music is worth listening to.

“So much of it is really beautiful and exciting,” said Brouwer, who said she likes composers such as George Crumb, who was one of her teachers, John Corigliano and Steve Stucky. “The problem with new music is you never know whether a piece is going to be good or not,” Brouwer said.

There’s less uncertainty with performances of composers such as Beethoven, because when works by established composers are performed, “the ones that aren’t as good are never played,” Brouwer said.

Concert dates for CityMusic Cleveland: 7:30 p.m. March 28, Fairmount Presbyterian Church, Cleveland Heights; 7:30 p.m. March 29, St. Mary Church, Elyria; 8 p.m. March 30, The Andrews School, Willoughby; 8 p.m. March 31, Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus, Cleveland; and 7:30 p.m. April 1, Rocky River Presbyterian Church, Rocky River.

Tom Jackson also is a Cleveland resident. Hooray! E-mail him at hello@funcoast.com.

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