Contemporary music festival returns to Yarmouth

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YARMOUTH — The second Yarmouth Contemporary Music Festival will open Friday with a performance of electroacoustic music and musique concrete at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church on Gilman Road.

It will continue Saturday evening with “Ten by Ten,” a concert of 10 works by 10 contemporary composers.

The performances are organized by the Pytheas Center for Contemporary Music, which aims to encourage people to explore modern art music.

“It’s about having people listen to something they’ve never heard before and maybe leave scratching their heads,” Pytheas Center founder Vinny Fuerest said.

The Friday concert will feature recorded music as well as live performances. Fuerest said the oldest work on the program, a piano piece by Arnold Schoenberg, is perhaps one of the most contemporary sounding pieces.

Schoenberg was a composer who pushed the limits of listeners around the beginning the 20th century by introducing the idea of 12-tone rows, utilizing all 12 notes in the scale rather than following traditional melodic and harmonic rules.

The concert will also feature “found sounds,” such as recorded sounds from jet planes and trains manipulated into music.

The Saturday concert will feature 10 works by 10 different composers, at least four of whom will perform their own works at the concert. Additionally, Fuerest will perform a Philip Glass piece for piano.

Fuerest described some of the music on Saturday’s program as “new-agey soundscape” music that is more about sound than form.

The Pytheas Center also hopes to use the concert to increase interest in its “10 by 5” listening group, which asks people to listen online to contemporary music for 10 minutes five days a week. The group’s website,, provides the music and a blog gives people a forum to discuss what they’ve heard.

“It’s amazing how many people out there are writing this kind of music,” Fuerest said. “Lots of people are buying the CDs and really like listening to this type of music.”

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.