by

June 14, 2012

Do you like this?

You know that jarring sensation when you repeat a word over and over and over until, suddenly, all of its meaning fades away, leaving you with the feeling of something being both innately familiar yet totally alien?  

Composer Tim Hinck not only encourages that experience, but he also wants you to take it in—to process and relish it, embrace the dissociative. That’s why in 2009, Hinck founded the New Dischord Festival, a four-day event that combines top-level classical performers with avant-garde experimentation and conceptual visual art, taking place in venues across the city.

The result is a concentrated exercise in juxtaposition. Classically trained symphony performers and UTC instructors gather to play highly abstract, decidedly contemporary works. Instead of taking place in recital halls or chambers, the pieces are presented in lofts, museums and even out in the open air. The velvet curtain is put away and events are brought out into the public, allowing the adventurous patron, the artsy enthusiast, and the unexpecting pedestrian to meet and mingle in an environment without the stuffy connotations of a stage and theater seating.  

It’s all part of an experiment—an attempt to expose the general population to something that they would otherwise have to seek out. And as a testament to the evolving cultural palette of the city, the results have all been positive.

New Dischord, by its very nature not an easy event to market, has managed to garner attention from multiple major media outlets in the city, and its Kickstarter campaign has already surpassed its opening goal of $800. That gives you a sense of the size (still small), but also a hint of the ambition behind it. At a time where developing, non-corporate branded festivals are falling through the cracks and closing up shop, New Dischord has grown slowly but steadily over the last three years and is now poised for real growth in the upcoming year, thanks in no small part to growing community interest and a hometown appreciation for locals bringing the new and innovative to the people.

Hinck himself is a native Chattanoogan (he spent his undergrad years at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale before receiving a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue his Master’s in the Netherlands) and he works here both in residency at the Easy Lemon and as an instructor at UTC. However, it wasn’t just his connections to the Scenic City that made bringing this festival to Chattanooga the easy choice. Capitalizing on the second-fiddle image that the Chattanoogan music scene has when compared to Nashville, Atlanta, and even Knoxville, New Dischord is also an attempt at contributing to a soundscape that is refreshingly devoid of sonic predisposition.  

“I wanted to do this in Chattanooga because, especially on the Southside, there is a thriving community of visual artists and yet there is no real established musical arts scene.” Hinck said. “The city is a blank slate in that regard.”  

To combat this, Hinck draws from the pool of local talent, collaborating with members of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and Shaking Ray Levi Society, but for a little scenic diversity, the festival also brings in New York City imports such as Aaron Roche and Evan Lipson—artists with some national touring experience that can help cultivate the developing sound.   

The focus this year is on a premiere entitled “Blue Monsters.” This piece features a brass quintet, visual multimedia, and a young boy soprano by the name of Ethan Dickenson leading a call and response against the movement of the brass. Interestingly, Ethan is not only involved in the performance, but was also a major part of the concept itself. The title stems from Hinck’s interviews with Ethan about his dreams and nightmares, and the resulting imagery is an interpretation of those subconscious images. The visuals and performers are positioned in various yet carefully arranged locations around the hall, resulting in a surreal dreamscape in which the individual is encouraged to reflect inward upon their own subconscious tendencies and confront their “monsters” that pervade both waking and non-waking life.  

Yes, it’s disarming and, frankly, very different than most performances that you’ll find in the area. It’s also exactly the type of thing that has to be experienced to be understood.

New Dischord Festival (In collaboration with the Shaking Ray Levi Society) www.newdischord.org


June 14 • 8 p.m.

Evan Lipson and Tim Hinck

Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave.

June 15 • 8 p.m.

CTRL + ALT + SPEAK:

A Collaboration with Ashley Hamilton

Easy Lemon Loft, 1440 Adams St.

June 16 • 11 a.m.

New Dischord Ensemble

Aquarium Plaza, Aquarium Way

3 p.m.

Songs of the Sea

Hunter Museum of

American Art, 10 Bluff View Ave.

8 p.m.

CTRL + ALT + SPEAK:

A Collaboration with Ashley Hamilton

Easy Lemon Loft, 1440 Adams St.

June 17  • 3 p.m.

New Music for Chamber Ensembles

Hunter Museum of

American Art, 10 Bluff View Ave.

8 p.m.

“Blue Monsters”

Lindsay Street Hall, 901 Lindsay St.

by

June 14, 2012

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