This past Saturday, LyricLion, an ensemble of Columbia and Juilliard musicians and composers, performed in Furnald for the second year in a row. Bwog Arts Editor Madysen Luebke checked it out.
LyricLion may only be a two-year old group, but the quality of their concert did not show it. I showed up to the Furnald lounge five minutes early on Saturday night and was shocked by how many people were there for the concert! I found a spot against the wall, and waited for the performance to begin.
Now, going into Furnald that night, I knew that LyricLion was a group focused on bringing student compositions to concert. However, I was not aware how talented Columbian composers are. From the first piece on, there was not a moment when I was not fully engaged in the pieces. The performers all worked very well together, knowing how to blend their sound in the acoustically strange Furnald lounge. The performers consisted of Caroline Sonnett, (flute), Cynthia Jung (bassoon), Joe Betts (French horn), Elizabeth Sun (violin), Joy Pai (violin), Corinna Boylan (cello), Maddie Tucker (cello), and Solomon Hoffman as the conductor.
A large part of why the concert was so engaging was due to the programming. The pieces ranged from excerpts of student-written musicals to a waltz and then back to a song that could be heard on an indie album. Instrumental pieces were interspersed with pieces written by singer/songwriters arranged for the orchestration. Each and every piece had its own personality and its own moment in the concert. I cannot emphasize enough just completely outstanding the entire program was.
Although the entire night was filled with talented composers and musicians, there were certainly standouts in the evening’s lineup. Katy Rea’s “Deliver Me Home” started out with a rough, but the musicians took a moment to breathe and began again, making the audience forget the accidentally dissonant start. This duet, with vocals by an unnamed singer and the incredibly talented Andrea Ross, built beautifully into a melody that swept through the audience. Tareq Abuissa’s “Seasonal: IV. No Ears” finished the first act with a melody that seemed saccharine but deepened and swelled as the piece continued. Abuissa also brought in Ellie Kirk on the harp to fill out sound and transport the audience. Alex Spangher’s “Meaningless Conversation” gave the instruments each their own character to tell a story with an air of drama and urgency. “Glimpses” by Daniel Lazour began by merely flirting with dissonance, but quickly its ugly side as it spiraled deeper into complexity. But the pair of pieces that took the cake for the evening were written and performed by Sarah Dooley. Performing “Peonies” off of her just released album Stupid Things, she drew the crowd into her story and into a piece that flawlessly intertwined the vocals with the orchestra so that one would have never guessed it hadn’t been written just for this group.
LyricLion may be one of the newer musical groups on campus, but they certainly fill a niche that Columbia has been looking for. Whether you’re a composer who isn’t sure where to have your music performed or just someone who can appreciate a catchy tune, you will find what you’re looking for in LyricLion.
Crowd getting’ rowdy via Shutterstock