Intriguing, Delightful: HMC Concert Series

Harvey Mudd College is known for being a bit unconventional, so it’s not unusual for its concert series to follow suit. The lineup for the 2019–2020 Ken Stevens ’61 Founding Class Concert Series promises more engaging and eclectic performances that support the College’s humanities programming, enhance the music scene among The Claremont Colleges and give the local community access to top performers.

Bill Alves.

Bill Alves

Each year, series organizer and HMC Professor of Music Bill Alves seeks out the artists and unique sounds that will intrigue and delight audiences. Among the 14 events offered last year, audiences were treated to Renaissance music on novel instruments like the contrabass shawm (a wind instrument over 9 feet tall), Sea Island spirituals and stomp-down Appalachian dance tunes with Jayme Stone’s quartet, and new compositions with electronics and video performed by L.A.’s Brightwork ensemble. These and other performances have been well-received by audiences that often fill the venue to capacity.

Alves, an award-winning composer and video artist with interests in global traditional music, says, “We take pride in bringing well-known professionals performing often unusual programs quite different from those available at Scripps and Pomona colleges or Claremont Graduate University. And, of course, the great number of HMC student musicians now have a venue on their own campus where they can showcase their talents.”

Students perform regularly in recitals as well as in ensembles, such as the Claremont Chamber Choir, the HMC Early Music Ensemble, Jazz Improvisation and the HMC American Gamelan.

Alumni are also regular performers. HMC Founding Class member Donald Gross ’61 is part of the Los Angeles Clarinet Choir (returning Nov. 17), which has been a part of the lineup every fall. Rarely heard chamber music is shared by Claremont music faculty, this year including pianist Jenny-Soojin Kim (Nov. 10), cellist Maggie Parkins (Dec. 8), Baroque duo Roger Lebow and Stephan Moss (Feb. 2, 2020), and microtonal pianist Aron Kallay (Apr. 12, 2020). The series often represents diverse traditions, such as Indian classical ragas (Oct. 30) and Chi Li and the UCLA Chinese Music Ensemble (Nov. 13).

The HMC Concert Series’ innovative programming includes Daniel Corral’s electronic music ensemble (March 1, 2020), Jouyssance Early Music choir (March 8, 2020) and the four harpists of LA Harpette (March 29, 2020). For a full schedule of events for the academic year, visit the HMC Arts page.

Performances, held in the Wayne ’73 and Julie Drinkward Recital Hall (lower level of the Shanahan Center), are free and open to the public. The concert series is supported by the family of Ken Stevens ’61 and the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts.