TUTTI Festival Brings Musicians, Athletes Together

Feb 25, 2020

Teamwork is the name of the game at Denison University’s TUTTI New Music Festival this year.

Musicians and athletes will explore together the key ingredients of working successfully in teams during TUTTI Festival 2020, March 3-7 on Denison’s Granville campus.

The festival - the first in Denison's new Michael D. Eisner Center for the Performing Arts - will feature the Denison University men’s and women’s basketball teams with visual and performing artists. TUTTI pairs them in concerts, art exhibitions and classes that explore new connections among a range of disciplines and artistic mediums.

“We have brought together a variety of composers, artists and musicians that are really going to bring a lot of life into our brand-new building,” said composer Ching-chu Hu, director of the TUTTI Festival and chair of Denison’s Music Department.

The festival also will showcase the performance and exhibition spaces of the Eisner Center, which opened in fall 2019.

“The diversity among and within the eleven concerts of TUTTI mirrors the diverse spaces and works being produced within the Eisner Center,” said Eisner Center Director Michael Morris. “TUTTI, like Denison, embraces this diversity, and that was front-of-mind during the planning of the Eisner Center.”  

The festival’s opening event will highlight teamwork in sports and in the arts. “Artistic Athletes/Athletic Artists” is Tuesday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Mitchell Recreation and Athletics Center. The festival’s featured composer (also a violinist) Daniel Bernard Roumain, along with members of the Denison men’s and women’s basketball teams and Denison music students will form teams and, together, complete basketball drills and musical tuning and listening exercises.

“We are going to bring together musicians with the men’s and women’s basketball teams to see how teamwork, how communication happens across genres,” Hu said. “And we’re just going to see what happens when we start thinking about how we communicate as an ensemble, and how we communicate as a team.” 

Daniel Bernard Roumain performs his Symphony for the Dance Floor:

Roumain and guest ensemble Sybarite5, the string quintet known for an eclectic cutting-edge repertoire of original works and inventive covers, will team up with Denison faculty and students to improvise “Musical Portraits.” These are musical works in response to visual artworks in the Denison Museum’s exhibition Say It Loud, a showcase of work by contemporary black artists. The “Musical Portraits” event will take place Wednesday, March 4 at 8 p.m. in the Denison Museum.

Along with the improvised “Musical Portraits,”  artwork that Denison printmaking and digital art students have created in response to musical works will be exhibited in the Eisner Center throughout the festival, highlighting TUTTI’s breadth as a celebration of all the arts.

“We’ve grown from a new music festival to a new arts festival,” Hu said. “And we’re trying some new technology, too. If you go up to the painting or the print you can snap your camera onto the print and it will then bring you to the music that inspired it.”

Roumain also will perform a movement of his Voodoo Violin Concerto in a version for solo violin and wind ensemble on Thursday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Eisner Center’s Martin Hall. The concerto is one of Roumain’s signature works and features a blend of rock and jazz, along with an amplified solo violin part.

Percussion soloist Cameron Leach
Credit Jolesch Enterprises / Courtesy of Cameron Leach

Percussion soloist, new music specialist and Columbus native Cameron Leach will perform a solo concert Friday, March 6 at 1 p.m. in Martin Hall.

Los Angeles-based animator and performance artist Miwa Matreyek will give a performance of her experimental animated work on March 6 at 7 p.m. in Martin Hall. Matreyek’s work combines projected animations with moving silhouettes of Matreyek’s own body in work that bears the mark of Japanese and Western influences.

“She performs within the world of the animation,” Hu said of Matreyek’s work. “it’s something where you really have to see it.”

Miwa Matreyek performs Glorious Visions:

The festival will conclude with a performance by Sybarite5 on Denison’s Vail Series on Saturday, March 7 at 7 p.m. in Denison’s Swasey Chapel.

ETHEL Quartet
Credit Mathew Murphy / ETHEL

Other festival events include a performance by the Denison University Jazz Ensemble (Friday, March 6 at 4 p.m.), a concert of electronic music (Saturday, March 7 at 10 a.m.), a program featuring ETHEL, Denison University’s string quartet-in-residence, performing musical works by Denison composition students in response to this author’s poetry (Saturday, March 7 at 1 p.m.) and a performance by the Columbus Symphony Wind Quintet (Saturday, March 7 at 3 p.m.).

All TUTTI performances are free, with the exception of Sybarite5’s March 7 concert on the Vail Series, for which there is an admission charge.

“There’s a lot going on,” Hu said. “We’re really excited for the different connections that we’re making across our campus and bringing that out to central Ohio audiences.”