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Friday December 3rd

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Student ensemble celebrates American chamber music

Richard Drehoff, a senior music composition and math double major, has built a reputation within the music department as a tireless, but effervescent, student musician.

Drehoff recently founded the UNC American Music Ensemble, which performed in a crowded Kenan Music Building Sunday afternoon.

Drehoff said the Ensemble’s mission is to perform challenging and important American chamber music that is not frequently heard live.

Conducted by Drehoff, the group consists of about 20 student musicians who have volunteered their time to take part in promoting American composers.

“There is an incredible repertoire of 20th and 21st century American chamber music that is often overlooked in exchange for its European counterparts,” said Danny Jones, a junior Kenan scholar who plays piano in the Ensemble.

“It’s great that Richard has taken the time to share this music with new audiences.”

Though its members rehearse and perform for free, buying the sheet music for the group came at a significant cost.

“Even though we only played four pieces, the cost of the sheet music was several hundred dollars,” Drehoff said.

“I decided to set up a Kickstarter fund, and thanks to some really generous donors, we ended up raising enough money to put on a great concert.”

The ensemble performed “Scherzo: Over the Pavements” by Charles Ives, “Divertimento” by Walter Pison, “Septet” by Conlon Nancarrow and “Double Sextet” by Steve Reich.

“As soon as I put the group together, I knew I definitely wanted to play ‘Double Sextet,’” Drehoff said.

“Every other piece complements ‘Double Sextet’ in a different and interesting way.”

For his honors thesis, Drehoff composed a piece titled “Effervescent Widgets,” which will be performed by the UNC Wind Ensemble on April 7 at Memorial Hall.

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