First year MFA in Electronic Music, Nathan Wheeler, did not spend his weekend getting ready for the onslaught of midterms like the rest of Mills College. Instead, he had a recent quartet he wrote performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Alongside 14 composers from all over the country, as well as artists such as Bartok, Dvorak, Bruno Mars and Leaha Maria Villarreal, Wheeler’s work was premiered by Adrianna Mateo and her quartet both Friday and Saturday.
Mateo, called a “rising artist” by the New York Times, has been curating music since she was in high school and has performed at the American Museum of Natural History, the Winter Garden Atrium, the Times Center and Waldorf-Astoria’s Grand Ballroom.
Although Wheeler and Mateo have been friends for a long time, they had never collaborated on anything until now.
“I am thankful that I got to write a piece of music for a friend to perform; the Met was icing on the cake,” Wheeler said.
This was Mateo’s fourth run of shows at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, courtesy of Ensemble-in-Residence ETHEL who gave her the reins to design her first evening of music this past July. Since then, each opportunity has led Mateo to branch out so that when she got the call asking about shows in February, she knew she wanted to open the opportunity up to include more musicians and composers through an open call for submissions through Facebook.
The goal she says was to have contemporary music that appealed to a wide audience.
But in order to ensure the evenings to be successful, she reached out to composers she knew and asked for them to contribute as well. Along with five others, Wheeler was who she called.
The composition of Wheeler’s takes inspiration from a class he took with Fred Frith last semester called Structured Improvisation. The piece is structured so there are opportunities for controlled improvisation throughout it and the relationships between the four players, Wheeler said, has a direct effect on the experience as a whole.
With submissions from across the country and music influenced by Classical, Electronic, Hip-Hop, Soul and Jazz, Mateo is proud to showcase this music at one of the largest art institutes in the world.