Series showcases new, unique music

Although many people think classical music is a dying art, the Sound-Bytes music series brings classical and modern sounds to campus with a twist.

Whether it’s making new sounds on a traditional saxophone or a guitarist with electronic influence, the artists of the Sound-Bytes music series strive to change the way people think about new, creative and experimental music.

Originally founded in 2006 by Brian McWhorter, University assistant professor of trumpet, Sound-Bytes offers free creative and experimental music performances in the EMU Concourse Lobby every Monday this term from precisely 11:54 a.m. to 12:08 p.m.

Sarah Viens, a third-year graduate student in trumpet performance and principal trumpet for the Eugene Symphony, fully took over the Sound-Bytes series this year as McWhorter’s graduate teaching fellow.

“He wanted to create a space for contemporary, weird, bizarre and experimental music to be presented in a way that’s not completely overwhelming and in a space where people who don’t normally go to see that kind of music can experience it,” Viens said.

Jenifer Jaseau, a master’s student in the University’s Intermedia Music Technology Program, played solo saxophone for Monday’s Sound-Bytes performance.

“I hope people appreciate what kind of technology is available for use today and see how technology can affect music,” Jaseau said. “I also hope that someone will feel an intrinsic connection to the sounds I generate.”

After playing the saxophone for 20 years, Jaseau now incorporates pre-recorded sounds and other effects into her music to emphasize the instrument at-hand. The Sound-Bytes music series opens up experimental music to the public by showcasing artists who use modern technology to manipulate and enhance classical instruments.

“The only way art can progress through time is if the lay person is exposed to what artists are doing in the current day,” Jaseau said. “We can only progress when we have an understanding of where we have come from. Then we can appreciate where we are going.”

The Sound-Bytes series gives students walking to and from class during the day a few minutes to listen to new music. The series features several types of experimental artists, as well as some mainstream style music.

“It’s a great way for someone to just get a little taste of something new and exciting,” Viens said. “Hopefully it will just spark something in their mind and they’ll go check it out.”

Guitarist and singer Caleb Paul, the next Sound-Byte performer for Monday, Jan. 25, has been playing acoustic percussion for more than 10 years.

“It’s a compilation of music you wouldn’t normally hear, so someone can just stop by and hear something fresh,” Paul said.

Paul’s music incorporates more than just strumming guitar sounds, he said. Many of his songs feature percussion and bass, as well as more of a melodic guitar sound.

“I hope that people will be able to relate to my music,” Paul said. “My favorite thing about performing is connecting to people and individuals.”

The Sound-Bytes music series gives students a glimpse of modern and fresh music that has evolved from classical music.

“Part of finding your own individuality is finding a smaller niche of music that you can identify with, and you won’t find that unless you sample a lot of different flavors and personalities,” Paul said.

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