Synchromy brings new sound to Riverside’s Culver Center

Posted: Dec. 4, 2014

Michael Isberto | Staff Writer

Synchromy, a group of composers from Los Angeles brought a new sound to the Culver Center in Riverside Dec. 2.

Musicians held their instruments in front of an intimate crowd, but the sounds coming from them were not typical ones you would normally hear from these instruments. Screeching, tapping and thumping sounds filled the room. The group of composers described their sound to be different.

“I was inspired by the stained glass windows in Russia,” said Vera Ivanova, Synchromy composer. “The reflections of the windows caused self-reflection. That’s what I was trying to convey. And I’m really grateful for Sara Thornblade who played the piece.”

Many of the compositions that were featured had an experimental sound. Most of the pieces played never had a single melody. One of the musicians even played a piece without any music, improvising his way from the beginning of the piece to the end.

“The piece was my attempt to explore the world of tonation,” said John Frantzen, Synchromy composer. “It may be a difficult piece to wrap your head around. The entire piece was an improvisation done by Brian Walsh.”

At times throughout the night the crowd seemed not to understand what was happening, and a handful of people left during intermission.

“I’m here to get extra credit for my music appreciation class,” said Kathryn Becker, concert attendee. “I don’t know what’s going on. They’re not really playing music. They seem to be just making noises with their strings. We got our programs, so we’re going home now.”

Although most of the music played went over most attendee’s heads, there was one piece in particular that most people seemed to appreciate. It was a composition by Kenji Oh.

“I’m from Japan and I’m interested in exploring my Japanese-ness and combining it with western elements,” Oh said. “The title of the piece was The Nap Dragon. I tried to capture having to walk by this gigantic scary dragon sleeping without waking it up.”

This piece in particular took more of a melodic and straight-forward approach.

“My favorite was Nap Dragon because I felt like I understood and experienced what the composer intended and was trying to convey,” said Danielle Kim, concert attendee. “I was able to follow the story of the song, and was able to enjoy it more than the others.”

People say music is a universal language, but at the event the audience did not seem to understand the language of the composers.

“The concert left me a bit tense and pensive,” said Ivan Cramer, concert attendee. “It didn’t help that most of the music had a large amount of dissonance in the composition. I feel dissonance is less effective the more it is used. It didn’t help that one of the titles had ‘anxiety’ in it.”