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A profile of the Society for Chromatic Art,


Twice a year, the stars align to fulfill an ancient prophecy, and the sun's fiery reign is extinguished as it dips below the horizon of a shimmering Hudson River. Composers all over New York City lay their pencils to rest, and musicians set aside their studies. When the bell tolls and the clock strikes eight, they emerge from their homes, caught in a communal trance as they make their way to the source -- Christ & St Stephen's church on 69th Street & Broadway.

James Romig and Edward Taylor
James Romig and Edward Taylor

Is this some sort of religious group? An exclusive club, perhaps? No, but it is a society -- The Society for Chromatic Art, the innovative brainchild of directors James Romig and Edward Taylor. Back in 1998, while still students of Charles Wuorinen at Rutgers University, the two composers discovered they shared a common vision: to create a unique forum where composers and performers could join forces; a place to which composers could bring their dreams, and where performers could make them realities.

James Romig and Charles Wuorinen
James Romig and Charles Wuorinen

So marked the birth of the Society for Chromatic Art. 'I approached Jake [Romig] with the idea of starting a new music ensemble', says Taylor, 'we wanted to assemble a group that would commit itself to giving the highest quality performances of new music.' 'We formed [the Society]', adds Romig, 'to promote not only our own music, but also the music of the composers whom we most admired: the beautifully complex works of Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, and other so-called 'uptown' composers. We eventually expanded our mission to include performances of a much wider variety of composers and styles.'

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Copyright © 15 November 2005 Amanda von Goetz, New York City, USA


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