Concert series Music On The Edge (MOTE) kicks off its 25th season this week, but don’t expect fireworks for the anniversary. The organizers — co-directors Eric Moe and Matthew Rosenblum, with Amy Williams, all of them music faculty at the University of Pittsburgh — are focusing their time elsewhere, marking the occasion with one of their busiest, most ambitious and robust seasons to date.
One example: “Musical Fusions: Chinese, Japanese and American Intersections” is a musical celebration of the ways Asian and American composers influence and interpret one another, featuring a symposium and performances by two preeminent groups, Ensemble N_JP and the Music From China ensemble.
“We give the highest priority to programming the most exciting art music that is being written right now, both in the U.S. and abroad,” says Moe, who founded MOTE in 1990. With funding from grants and the University of Pittsburgh, MOTE brings elite international performers to Pittsburgh to showcase contemporary classical music in some of its boldest forms.
“It’s concerts we want to go to,” says Williams, who got involved with MOTE in 2005. “Groups we want to hear and we think Pittsburgh should hear.”
Over its 25-year run, MOTE has become increasingly involved with other cultural institutions in Pittsburgh, including guest appearances by members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and collaborations with The Andy Warhol Museum, with whom MOTE presented the Beyond Microtonal Music Festival earlier this year.
“It’s like a rotating exhibit in a museum, where the curator’s voice really decides what is going to be shown on those walls,” says Williams. “Music On The Edge is eclectic for sure. I wouldn’t say that there’s one style of music represented, but I think the idea is that it is very high-quality, serious contemporary music.”
MOTE’s season starts Friday at Bellefield Auditorium and runs through May, including appearances by New Morse Code; Bedroom Community; Williams’ film interpretation series Cineshape; and more.