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Tiffany Lundquist
Margaret Bell


New Contemporary Music Ensemble Debuts at Peabody

Inaugural concert by Now Hear This brings composer Donnacha Dennehy to Baltimore.

November 5, 2015, Baltimore, MD: A new ensemble enters Baltimore’s burgeoning contemporary classical music scene on November 19 with the debut performance of Now Hear This. The Peabody Conservatory’s newest new music ensemble, Now Hear This will perform a concert built around the music of composer Donnacha Dennehy, who will visit Peabody for the event. The program also includes works by two of Mr. Dennehy’s compositional influences – Gerard Grisey and Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Wolfe – and an appearance by Trio Chimera.

“With so much unique and compelling music written recently, innovative ensembles are coalescing around music of our time, expanding the canonical repertoire, reaching new audiences, and challenging listeners. Now Hear This brings that model and an expanded vision for contemporary music to Peabody,” notes Courtney Orlando, artistic director of Now Hear This and a founding member of the pioneering new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound. “I’m incredibly excited for the Peabody and Baltimore communities to have this opportunity.”

The 17 student performers on this concert were selected by Ms. Orlando in consultation with their major teachers and will play side-by-side with Ms. Orlando and Michael Kannen, chair of the Chamber Music Department.

“This new venture changes the way we are able to think about presenting music at Peabody, with faculty making music alongside students,” says David Smooke, faculty advisor to the ensemble. “Now Hear This serves as a bridge between the student and the professional experience, while also presenting some of the most beautiful and rocking music of our time.”

Born and raised in Dublin, Donnacha Dennehy was recently appointed to the music composition faculty at Princeton University. His most recent work, the opera The Last Hotel, received rave reviews in Edinburgh, Dublin, and London. During his visit to campus, Mr. Dennehy will present to Peabody’s weekly composition seminar, meet with and coach the Now Hear This performers, and take part in a short discussion about his music on stage during the concert.

The inaugural concert by Now Hear This will begin at 7:30 pm on Thursday, November 19, in Leith Symington Griswold Hall on Peabody’s Mount Vernon Campus. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $5 for students with ID. Visit or call 410-234-4800 for tickets or more information.

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About the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University
Located in the heart of Baltimore’s Mount Vernon Cultural District, the Peabody Institute was founded in 1857 as America’s first academy of music by philanthropist George Peabody. Today, Peabody boasts a preeminent faculty, a nurturing, collaborative learning environment, and the academic resources of one of the nation’s leading universities, Johns Hopkins, with which Peabody affiliated in 1977. Through its degree-granting Conservatory and its community-based Preparatory music and dance school, Peabody trains musicians and dancers of every age and at every level, from small children to seasoned professionals, from dedicated amateurs to winners of international competitions. Among the Conservatory’s most illustrious alumni are pianist Andre Watts, vocalists James Morris and Richard Cassilly of the Metropolitan Opera, jazz bassist Joe Byrd, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Dominick Argento. Each year, Peabody stages nearly 1,000 concerts and performances, ranging from classical to contemporary to jazz, many of them free — a testament to the vision of George Peabody.


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