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How These Fit Together: New Music, UNLV And The Yellow Pages

UNLV’s Nextet music series just might be the best kept musical secret in Las Vegas. If you’re a fan of contemporary classical music you’ll want to take note.

Jennifer Bellor is Nextet’s current. artistic director. Bellor is also a visiting lecturer at UNLV, a composer, and a singer.

“We have a variety of concerts each year and our mission is to share music by a wide variety of living composers,” she said of the concert series.

Bellor said the series features faculty members, students and guest composers. 

“What’s wonderful about these concerts is that there are so many living composers today and all of us who compose write different music,” she said.

She described the concerts as "musical tapas" with a variety of styles and instrumentation. 

Wednesday night's Nextet features Las Vegas-based composer Michael Torke. Torke describes his music as easy and fun to listen to but, "it engages the mind as much as the heart."

His music is considered contemporary classical, a term that covers a lot of sub-genres.

“I think it means that we’re writing concert music for the groups that play traditional classical music but we’re writing music of today," he said.

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One of the pieces that will be featured Wednesday is called "Yellow Pages." Torke said he likes to pick titles that make sense to people and when the piece was first composed yellow pages were familiar to people. 

Of course, now, the composer admits they are "old hat."

“My music tends to be rhythmic. I feel that rhythmic music has a sense of aliveness. I want my music to be alive,” he said of the work.

Bellor said many of Torke's chamber music pieces will be featured, along with music composed for singers. Torke will be playing the piano for some of the concert.


Jennifer Bellor, visiting lecturer/composition and artistic director of the Nextet new music series, UNLV; Michael Torke, composer



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