541 is a concert series dedicated to performances of challenging music by students and faculty at Stanford University. Composers in the Stanford community produce pieces that reflect a broad range of aesthetic issues, including fragmentation of structure, complex layering of musical time, narrative vs. non-narrative discourses, and the relationship of image and sound. The CD project aims at being an ongoing account of this multiplicity of musical concerns, with each CD being made up largely of performances recorded in concerts. — Professor Brian Ferneyhough
What distinguishes this CD from most other graduate student recitals? Maybe it has something to do with the two words: “World Class.” Although the composers are mostly in their 20s there is a level of earnestness and maturity about this music that satisfies the most demanding Modernist appetite. It may also be the level of performance; chamber ensembles such as Inauthentica, Ensemble SurPlus and Ensemble Ascolta (conductors include, James Avery, Karla Lemon and Mark Menzies) have no fear of pages covered in the blackest of dots. Or the sense that these young composers, of whom you have never heard, and who cite a variety of inspirations as their starting points – Derrida, flamenco, parrots, Icelandic novelists, and Jimi Hendrix–, are in training to be the backbone of culture for the next generation.