Irish music group Crash Ensemble brings its adventurous and contemporary music to the Moss Arts Center on March 25 at 7:30 p.m. with a performance featuring the world premiere of an electronic music piece composed by a Virginia Tech professor.

Presented by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, the performance will be held in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Moss Arts Center’s Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall. 

Known for its groundbreaking new-music performances, Crash Ensemble is committed to broadening the repertoire available to audiences. The ensemble commissions, produces, and performs new works by internationally-acclaimed composers, as well as up-and-coming composing talents.

Crash Ensemble’s performance will feature four works from the group, including the world premiere of “Dualities” (2015), a piece composed by Eric Lyon, associate professor of music technology and composition in Virginia Tech’s School of Performing Arts, and fellow at the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology.

A composer and computer music researcher, Lyon focuses on articulated noise, spatial orchestration, and computer chamber music. Electronic sound is constantly in search of an interface, and for “Dualities” (2015), the interface is an instrument called the BioMuse. Co-created by Benjamin Knapp, director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, the BioMuse is a set of sensors worn on the body to transform human biosignals into music.  

“Dualities” (2015) is a double concerto for cello and BioMuse. Knapp will perform the BioMuse for the piece, joined by Crash Ensemble cellist Kate Ellis. During the piece, the cellist inhabits the more intimate space of the sounding body of the cello, while the BioMuse is assigned the much larger space of the concert hall. A significant portion of Knapp’s BioMuse performance involves controlling motion and dispersal of recordings of Ellis and the Crash Ensemble into and around the theatre.

The concert will also include the United States premiere of “Turn” (2015) by Donnacha Dennehy, composer and artistic director of Crash Ensemble; the United States premiere of Michael Gordon's "Dry" (2013); and the world premiere of "Marbles" (2015) by Dan Truman. 

Founded in 1997 by Dennehy, Crash Ensemble has recordings on NMC, Cantaloupe, and Nonesuch labels.

The Center for the Arts will host an Irish beer tasting event before the performance, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Balcony Lobby of the Street and Davis Performance Hall. Keith Roberts, owner of the Vintage Cellar wine and beer shop in Blacksburg, has selected a host of Irish beers and ciders for this tasting and will describe each beverage’s special qualities, including insights into the brewing process, flavors and ingredients, and the similarities and differences between the selections.

The cost for the Irish beer tasting is $25 per person, which includes six tastings. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served. Registration is required and space is limited. Call the Moss Arts Center’s box office at 540-231-5300 or register online

Knapp and composers Lyon and Truman will join Crash Ensemble musicians for a special question-and-answer discussion immediately following the performance in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre.


Tickets to the Crash Ensemble performance are $20-45 for general public and $10 for students and youth 18 years old and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.



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