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[VIDEO] Composer Paul Rudy Enters 'Martian' Territory

Julie Denesha

Composer Paul Rudy's favorite moments in music are accidents. His new work, Martian Chronicles, will have a different sound each time it is played. Rudy takes gleeful pleasure in allowing musicians so much freedom.

"I can't compose that kind of music anymore where it's about me controlling the ensemble, and my will being faithfully reproduced by a bunch of people in tuxedos," said Rudy.

The world premiere of Rudy's new piece, Martian Chronicles (based on Ray Bradbury's novel The Martian Chronicles) is a part of newEar's 20th anniversary season. Unusual musical experiences are familiar to fans of newEar. The ensemble focuses exclusively on contemporary music. Rudy's piece brings together newEar's ensemble and a featured performer, jazz musician and horn sculptor Mark Southerland.

Rudy and Southerland have been collaborating since early December 2012, often working in Southerland's downtown studio, surrounded by the many instruments the musician has built over the years.

"A lot of the challenges for me are that I am expected to still have that great sense of freedom on my instrument,” Southerland said. "That I could go anywhere, do anything, but I still have to keep one foot on the ground. I have to know where these other entrances are and when other people are coming in."

For Rudy, there were magical moments hearing his work performed for the first time in rehearsal. "Oh man! That just made my day," said Rudy in response to an unexpected sound from the percussionist.

"The piece really ends with the big question mark that I felt at the end of reading that book," Rudy said. "There was nothing that was answered for me. So maybe one night it's going to be an exclamation point, the next night it is going to be a question mark. I don't know. It's not up to me. I relinquish command."

Strangely Familiar, the third concert of newEar's 20th Anniversary Season will be held at dual venues: All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Pre-concert talk begins at 7:15 p.m. Concert begins at 8:00 pm.

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