The 4th Biennial Contemporary Music Symposium at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will be presented February 13-15. Featured will be guest artist Robert Black, contrabassist. Black is known internationally as a soloist and ensemble player, specializing in contemporary music for contrabass, electronic bass, and improvisation. He has commissioned over fifty new works, and has a considerable list of recordings. Black teaches at Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford, and is a member of the "Bang On a Can All Stars" performing at a yearly festival in New York City.

On Friday Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. in Roland Hayes Concert Hall at UTC’s Fine Arts Center, Black will perform a stimulating solo concert. The concert will include music for acoustic bass, bass with theatrical elements ("Valentine," by Jacob Druckman), music for electronic bass with computer-generated sound, and for electric bass with video ("The Thundering Scream of the Seraphim's Delight," by Reynold Wiedenaar).

Reviewers have said of Robert Black's performances:
"...cheerful virtuosity..." —The New York Times

" amazing tour de force." —The Huddersfield Daily Examiner--England

"If you think that a double bassist can't possibly give a riveting concert, think again. Black is not just an astonishing virtuoso who can make the bass sing like a cello or handle bursts of notes as cleanly as a violin. He's also quite an inspiration to composers..." —The Miami Sun-Sentinel

"Black played with effortless skill--he has great singing presence and excellent intonation--and great sensitivity." —The Milwaukee Journal

"...a performance enriched by Black's eloquent sonority." —The Philadelphia Enquirer

"A personable man with a delightful sense of humor and a showman par excellence, Black engendered an amazing number of different sounds from his instrument..." —The Oshkosh Northwestern

Black will also be featured in a seminar and master-class at 1:40 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13 in Roland Hayes Concert Hall, UTC Fine Arts Center at the corner of Vine and Palmetto. This event is free and open to the public.

On Saturday Feb. 15 there will be two concerts of "Music from the New South." At 3:00 p.m. Saturday there will be music by student composers and performers from UTC, Brevard College, Birmingham-Southern College, and Middle Tennessee State University. At 8 p.m. there will be a concert of music by regional professional composers. This promises to be an engaging evening of original music by active composers from Tennessee (UTC and MTSU), North Carolina (Brevard), and Birmingham, Alabama. Both events are also free and open to the public.

The Contemporary Music Symposium is supported by The Cadek Department of Music, UTC Speakers and Special Events Fund, the Ruth Holmberg Chair in American Music, and several generous patrons of the arts.

For more information, e-mail Jonathan McNair or call (423) 425-4679.


Robert Black, guest artist for this year's Contemporary Music Symposium at UTC, is excited about making music. He says:

"This is a great time to be a musician. There are so many ways to make music, so many styles going on. It is invigorating. It's fantastic. I try to be involved in as much of this variety as possible. For instance, there is all of the activity that is "Bang on a Can" (a yearly festival in New York City). We play bold music for people who are ready for it. AND I work with my computer-assisted duo, Basso Bongo, composing, as well as commissioning composers, AND I collaborate with Yoshiko Chuma and her post-modern dance company, The School of Hard Knocks, AND I tour the globe playing solo bass recitals at festivals and in residencies from Japan, to Brazil, to Europe, to North America, AND I teach at the Hartt School in Hartford (my alma mater), and the FUNDEC de Eleazar de Carvalho (Brazil), AND I make solo recordings, AND I occasionally play in an orchestra (it's a blast). In each of these situations I find that there are a lot of people who want to hear this music. It's really a great time to be a musician."