Northwestern music prof leads ensemble to NYC

A chamber ensemble for which Dr. Luke Dahn, associate professor of music at Northwestern College, serves as co-artistic director and composer, is preparing for its Carnegie Hall debut. Ensemble: Périphérie will perform in Carnegie’s Weill Hall on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 2 p.m. as part of the DCINY Distinguished Concerts Artists Series.

Dahn and co-artistic director Dr. Joseph Dangerfield, associate professor of music at Coe College, founded Ensemble: Périphérie in 2010 with a mission of communicating and sharing with others a love and joy for new music. The group, conducted by Dangerfield, presented concerts at Coe and the universities of Iowa, Minnesota, Northern Illinois and Wisconsin in March. The Carnegie Hall performance will feature the same repertoire, which includes new works composed by Dahn and Dangerfield as well as by Irina Dubkova, David Gompper and Louis Karchin.

Ensemble: Périphérie,, includes strings, clarinet, flute, percussion, piano and soprano vocals. All of the members have completed advanced degrees in music—many at the University of Iowa—and have performed and recorded widely. The ensemble includes musicians who teach at Augustana College of Illinois, Notre Dame, the University of Florida and Western Michigan, among other institutions.

The ensemble members will gather at Fayetteville, W.V., on Oct. 21 to rehearse. They will perform concerts in Fayetteville; Charleston, W.V.; and at West Virginia University in Morgantown leading up to the New York City performance.

Ensemble: Périphérie raised $8,000 through to help defray costs for travel, instrument transport, lodging and rehearsal space for the Carnegie Hall event.

“This is an incredible opportunity,” says Dahn. “Carnegie is the concert hall in New York. I hope this establishes the ensemble a bit. The next step for us is to get nonprofit status, and the Carnegie performance could open up grand opportunities such as being invited to serve as a resident ensemble at festivals and conferences.”

Dahn will be the second Northwestern music professor to appear at Carnegie Hall in October. Dr. Juyeon Kang will present a solo piano recital in Weill Hall on Oct. 19.

A professor of music theory and composition at Northwestern since 2007, Dahn received the Northwestern Teaching Excellence Award in 2011. He earned a doctorate in music composition from the University of Iowa, a Master of Music degree from Western Michigan and a bachelor’s in music from Houston Baptist.

Dahn’s compositions are heard throughout the United States and abroad, with recent performances given by groups such as the Moscow Conservatory Studio for New Music, the NODUS Ensemble, the NEXTET Ensemble, and the violin/piano duo Wolfgang David and David Gompper. He has won the League of Composers/ISCM Composition Competition and the Max Di Julio Prize, and several of his works are available on the Albany label.