Contemporary Music

Pushing Boundaries with Hub New Music


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By Michael Avitabile

Hi, my name is Mike Avitabile and I’m the founder of Hub New Music, a new music organization in Boston that seeks new ways to engage audiences with 21st century sounds.

To give you a little backstory, I founded Hub while I was studying at the New England Conservatory, and if you told me when I started school that I would be running a new music band, I would have thought you were completely insane. Throughout my whole education, I had a one track mind on playing in an orchestra. I took auditions, went to festivals, and did just about everything one should do when setting on that path.

But judging by the content of this blog post, you can probably guess things took a drastic change.

In Fall 2013 I arrived at NEC for graduate school after finishing up at the University of Michigan, where I was dead set on my orchestral path. Strangely enough, when I got there I suffered a severe case of orchestral lackluster. While the NEC Orchestra is incredible, I remember seeking something else, and found myself entranced by the stories from my teacher Paula Robison about working with famous 20th century composers like Toru Takemitsu and Luciano Berio. Conveniently for me, around the same time, a video that completely changed my life was going viral. It was Claire Chase’s brilliant speech at the Bienen School of Music’s commencement, a call to arms for a new generation of arts entrepreneurs.

“Our calling is to create positions for ourselves and others, to improvise and blow the ceiling off of anything resembling a limitation” – Claire Chase

And from those words, Hub New Music was born. I found myself in NEC’s Entrepreneurial Musicianship Office nearly every day learning more about how to be a self-starting musician. They turned my new discovered passion for the latest generation of 21st century music into a living tangible project that is now Hub.

What intrigues me most about today’s music is its fluidity. It has this ability to draw from influences outside of itself and seamlessly integrate them into a new and never-heard-before product. In my early stages of research, I remember being awestruck by the newly emergent post genre scene, a community that integrates so many disparate musical influences into composed concert music, and takes a truly global approach to music making.

I decided then to bring this scene to Boston and launch the city’s first ever post-genre concert series, a series that introduces the community to “classical music” that heavily influenced by pop, indie-rock, folk music, through three events. We call it Pushing Boundaries. Some of our featured composers this season are Daniel Wohl, Missy Mazzoli, Robert Honstein, Bryce Dessner, Judd Greenstein, Kirsten Volness, and Mason Bates.

This is Hub’s largest project to date and has three events at the Boston Conservatory, Harvard’s Club OBERON, and Arts at the Armory. Keeping with our theme of globalism, Hub decided that we have to reach beyond our city. Thus, we are creating educationally-driven interview blogs with composers to bring audiences inside the mission, and will make each performance available for free online viewing. Anyone, anywhere can connect with Pushing Boundaries.

I should probably take this paragraph here to give some thank you’s and shoutouts. We’re extremely grateful to all of our fans, supporters, and of course the composers who bring our mission to life. Specifically, I’m sending some blog-love to my family, my Hub family, NEC’s EM department who developed this project with me from day one, Claire whose work inspires me beyond the capacity of written description, composer Robert Honstein for writing the most badass piece I’ve ever worked on, and all of you for taking the time to read this!

Thanks so much for exploring this corner of the internet today and I hope you’ll come Push some Boundaries with Hub this year!

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