Elon University’s Contemporary Chamber Ensemble performed this Sunday at the Center for the Arts Black Box. The band played four songs that fell under the “contemporary music” style.
The ensemble was created by director Jonathan Poquette as a way for contemporary music to be a part of Elon’s musical culture. The group consists of a cello player, a violinist, a flute player and a percussion player. Despite only starting a little over two years ago, the group has begun to perform a lot more often.
The ensemble included four performers outside of the Elon faculty and also featured students in the Elon Wind Ensemble for the final piece. More information about the band and when they are performing can be found through @elonbands on Instagram and on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The band started with a song dedicated to the style of minimalism called “Double Speak.” The next song, “Chasing Daylight” is a trio cut that consists of the violin, cello and the percussion. The third piece, “Einstein’s Dream,” included multiple movements that started and ended at different times. Finally, the night ended with what Poquette described as a landmark piece for contemporary music due to its flexibility of the amount of time and the number of players who could join, “In C.”
The ensemble was only just created in 2021, so contemporary music could be new to the Elon community. Louis Raymond-Kolker attended the concert, but is not a member of the Elon University community. Raymond-Kolker said he enjoyed the show for its take on the music style.
“I am a sucker for pieces that have short movements, and so that third piece with the multi-movement structure really appealed to me,” Raymond-Kolker said. “Some of the moments kind of left me hanging at the end and I wanted more, and that’s such a good feeling to have.”
Raymond-Kolker also said it was refreshing to see a new style of music performed and hopes that this will further push new music for Elon bands to learn.
“It’s so difficult for school programs to continue pushing forward in music because there’s so much music to learn,” Raymond-Kolker said. “It's important that the artform continue moving forward just like everywhere else in the university.”
Kevin Trayner, father of freshman Tess Trayner, attended to see Tess perform with the wind ensemble in the last piece. He said he enjoys contemporary classical music in general, with Sunday’s performance being no exception. Kevin also said he liked the setting of the CFA’s Black Box.
“It was different than what I would usually would listen to,” Kevin said. “It was great to hear it, especially in this small space. It’s great acoustics and it really kind of fills out the space.”
Of all the pieces performed by the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Kevin said he was especially a fan of the second song “Chasing Daylight.” He liked the dynamics of players going back and forth for each part. He said it reminded him of one of his favorite genres outside classical music.
“I like progressive, I like prog rock, it's kind of my favorite genre of music,” Kevin said. “This, I think, is similar in some ways, anyway. It has that nature of building on a small thing and progressing out.”