Opus 21, an ensemble of classical and jazz musicians founded by composer Richard Adams, will launch its spring concert tour with the world premieres of seven new pieces written for the group by prominent composers. The works will be performed in New York City on May 3, 2005 at 8 p.m. at the Knitting Factory; in Ann Arbor, Mich. on April 29, 2005 at 8 p.m. at the Kerrytown Concert House; and in Kalamazoo, Mich. On May 6, 8 p.m., at the Wellspring Theater. Additional performances will take place in Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago during the 2005-06 season.
Opus 21 has commissioned composers representing a variety of genres, from classical to jazz to Motown, to write short instrumental works in their own respective styles around a common theme. Some of the composers involved in the project include former composer-in-residence of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Michael Daugherty, jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch (pictured) and Motown’s original bandleader, pianist and arranger Joe Hunter.
According to Richard Adams, Opus 21’s artistic director and founder, “A generation of musicians destined for careers in popular, jazz and classical music grew up listening to and being influenced by the Motown sound. The boundary-crossing nature of the Motown sound seemed to fit naturally with Opus 21’s commitment to crossing boundaries in its own concert programs. This commissioning project is our way of paying tribute to this important era in American musical history.”