The Pro Musica organization of Detroit has been around for most of the 20th century until the present. This organization has brought in top musicians and has created an audience that provides a sense of respect and pride within anybody who participates in it. I count myself among these people.

At this point in time, many of the more elderly in the audience are dropping out due to the limitations of their age. The organization is doing its best to bring in new audiences, who might also be attracted to newer styles of music. The problem is to do so without losing the older audience, so that there might be a sense of continuity.

The Joel Peterson Ensemble is made up of top musicians who live and work in our own area. Joel Peterson himself is a composer of newer music. The ensemble performing at Pro Musica on Friday, May 10th, 2019, included Lisa Raschiatore clarinets, James Greer viola, Abigail Alwin cello, Sonia Lee violin, Mary Riccardi violin, Clem Fortuna piano, Marcus Elliot tenor saxophone, Zac Brunell vibraphone.

The program included two string quartets, one piano-tenor sax-double bass trio, one quintet for violin, clarinet, viola, cello, and guitar, and a suite called Eclipse Quartet for clarinet, viola, cello, and guitar. These pieces, all new and unknown, featured their own individual types of motifs, set-ups, and harmonies. I found the music had some substance, but I would not consider it to have a universal appeal. The program did not list the movements of works that contained several movements, causing the audience to applaud between movements. Some verbal explanations might have aided in this process.  

The second half of the program continued somewhat in the same vein. This program featured three pieces. Because of being exposed to this type of music in the first half, this second half seemed to be more solid and went by more quickly.

It is my belief that Peterson’s music has a certain amount of substance. It might not appeal to me directly, but it seems to appeal to the younger generation. I consider this music to fit into the category of “I will probably enjoy it tremendously about twenty years from now”. That’s in the event that I am still around.

Pro Musica’s program for the coming season of 2019-2020 is featuring exceptional performers – Roman Rabinovich piano on 9-27-19, Beijing Guitar Duo on 2-14-20, and Wei Yu cello on 5-15-20. The programs will include among other pieces, some short, new music which will appeal to the younger generations.


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