To Francesca Anderegg, a concert and an album are usually two different things.
“When you’re picking concert music, there’s always a sense that you want to pick one piece that will appeal to people who like one kind of music, and then another piece that appeals to people who like a different kind of music,” the violinist says. “But with an album, it’s more of an artistic statement of what you’re about as an artist.”
Just so happens Anderegg has a new album that brings her to the University of Kentucky this week for some master classes and a Wednesday night concert at the Singletary Center for the Arts recital hall with pianist Brent Fuderburk.
Anderegg definitely approached the new album with making a statement in mind.
What I wanted to do is create a project that really puts contemporary music in the center and is not apologetic about the fact that it’s contemporary.
“For ‘Wild Cities,’ one of the features of the album is that all of the composers are young, all the composers write in their own unique style, but they’ve all been influenced by the same trends in contemporary music, so they all have that commonality, but there are also differences between them,” said Anderegg, a professor of violin at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.
The album was inspired by American minimalism, particularly of John Adams, and Allen Ginsburg’s poem “After Dead Souls” which asks, “Where O America are you, going in your glorious, automobile … toward what wild city … ”
Each piece draws inspiration from different parts and attitudes of America, including Hearne’s “Nobody’s,” which marries Appalachian fiddle music and clogging with electronic effects. Francis’ “Remix” also draws on electronic dance music, while Needham’s “On the Road” echoes beat author Jack Kerouac. Anderegg commissioned Lash’s “Adjoining,” and Moya’s “Imagined Archipelagos” shows her Latin side, well developed through tours and teaching in South America.
“With ‘Wild Cities,’ Anderegg has completed an admirable survey of contemporary American composition, revealing these composers’ stylistic influence by Adams with great skill and panache,” critic Brendan Howe wrote in Second Inversion.
That assessment is close to mission accomplished for Anderegg.
“What I wanted to do is create a project that really puts contemporary music in the center and is not apologetic about the fact that it’s contemporary, but really allows people to really experience it,” she says.
She says “Imagined Archipelagos” can be particularly hard to get on a traditional classical program where producers are looking for a nibble of contemporary music, and the Moya work is four parts and runs nearly 20 minutes. But whether heard on record or in concert, Anderegg says the piece always elicits interest and comments, as do most works on “Wild Cities.” She says every work on the album has fans, and she’s particularly happy when listeners go and search out more works by each composer.
And while contemporary music has had its decades of derision in the classical world, Anderegg finds listeners increasingly open to the 21st century work she is championing, particularly younger listeners who have encountered it on streaming platforms and through other venues.
“Part of it is the fluidity with which we hop through these media platforms that give us the ability to do that as consumers,” Anderegg says. “And that’s part of the goal, that if I play contemporary music, more people will get drawn in and hooked on it.”
And maybe a testament to the growing acceptance of contemporary music comes in the very concert she will play in Lexington, and elsewhere on this tour: It will be “Wild Cities” in its entirety.
This might be a good night to come sample.
If you go
What: The violinist performs her album “Wild Cities” with pianist Brent Funderburk
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1
Where: Singletary Center for the Arts recital hall, 405 Rose St.
Admission: Free, open seating