Don’t be surprised to find a brass quintet in a parking garage. 2020 changed how music is being performed; 2020 is also changing how music is written, as demonstrated by the 2020 New Music Project, created by the Los Angeles Film Conducting Intensive (LAFCI).
As live events were canceled around the world, Angel Velez, LAFCI co-founder and director, thought about ways that musicians could continue to perform. He decided to contact some composers to write new music that could reflect the emotions of the current times and be played by fewer than 20 people.
More than 60 composers, including Nathalie Bonin (Hallmark Channel), Tom Howe (“A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon”), Carl Johnson (“Looney Tunes Cartoons”), and Sherry Chung (“Riverdale”), had five to six weeks to write. Musicians including Laurence Juber (Wings) and Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band) then had 10 days to film themselves playing some of the pieces for a virtual concert.
Velez says that he encouraged composers to write freely “as long as it was true to their feelings about anything in 2020.”
One piece was written specifically for a brass quintet to play in a parking garage. Not all of the music is related to the pandemic: An Italian composer wrote a song about Kobe Bryant.
LAFCI put a cap on the difficulty level of the compositions, so that they would be accessible to high school and college musicians, Velez says. Visit lafci.org to watch the virtual concert from Aug. 1, 2020, and to download free sheet music, available until July 1, 2021.