This weekend, some of the most interesting and unconventional modern musical sounds that Maine has to offer will be heard at the 2nd Annual Back Cove Contemporary Music Festival. This festival features performers and composers from all around the state, a lineup that includes several Bowdoin students.

Bowdoin Professor Emeritus Elliott Schwartz, a featured composer at the event, commented on the wide range of music that will be performed at the festival.

"The entire festival presents a fascinating combination of unity—all the composers are from Maine—and great contrast of musical styles and genres," he said. "We'll have examples of jazz improv, multi-media, electronics, the use of computers, video images, theatrical elements, and of course old-fashioned classical recital pieces for solo instruments."

Bowdoin College will be well-represented at the festival: Applied Music Instructor Frank Mauceri will perform an original composition and the New Music Ensemble (comprised of Bowdoin students) will perform two pieces as well. One of these pieces was composed by Schwartz specifically for the group.

Mauceri, who performs on Sunday evening, will be playing saxophone, accompanied by Megumi Sasaki, a violinist from Portland. The unusual duo of instruments in many ways mirrors the unique nature of the music that they will perform.

They will be playing Mauceri's own recent piece "Mortal Engines". Though the composition is played by only two instruments, the use of a digital audio processing computer program in the performance makes it sound much more complex than a normal duet.

"The computer program is in many respects the score of the composition," said Mauceri. "The computer takes audio input from the live performance of both the saxophone and violin. The sound is stored, manipulated and played back as part of the ensemble."

Mauceri pointed out that the computer program adds variation and prompts improvisation throughout the performance.

"The structure of the piece and the specific variables for the processing of sound are different with each performance," he said. "Consequently, performers must improvise responses to the computer's re-presentation of their sound and gestures."

The message behind this piece is concerned not only with the way that we interact with technology in music, but also how technology affects and influences many different aspects of our lives.

The Bowdoin student group—the New Music Ensemble—will perform on Saturday night, playing two pieces, one of which was recently composed by Schwartz.

"Round Robin," Schwartz's new piece, is not the first piece of music that he has written for the New Music Ensemble: last year, in the group's first performance, they performed "The Facebook Chronicles," a piece written about the phenomenon of Facebook that used text from each of the performers' profiles in the piece itself.

Members of the current New Music Ensemble include Peter McLaughlin '10 on percussion, Abriel Ferreira '10 on the trumpet, Olivia Madrid '10 on percussion and piano, Katie Cushing '10 on piano and Akiva Zamcheck '11 on guitar.

"Round Robin," the first of two pieces that the group will perform, much like "Facebook Chronicles," takes actual material from its subject and incorporates it into the music.

"The piece deals specifically with robins and birdsong," said McLaughlin. "It features toy birds, recordings of birdsong, and musical and textual quotations from music and poetry having to do with robins."

It is clear from Schwartz's piece that the New Music Ensemble is capable of performances that go beyond the usual scope of musical acts, and their second piece—a movement from Josha Drescherer's "Labyrinthine Trilogy"—accentuates this facet of the group's ability.

Ferriera will also be performing a trumpet solo by composer David Sonenberg entitled "Invocation" to kick off the Saturday evening program.

The performances by members of the Bowdoin community at the festival are unique and varied, and judging by the weekend's program, the other performances should be just as exciting.

Ferriera's trumpet solo will be at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and the New Music Ensemble's performance will follow soon after. On Sunday evening, Mauceri's performance will be around 8 p.m.

The Back Cove Contemporary Music Festival will take place in the Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland.

The New Music Ensemble will perform closer to home with a show at Studzinski Recital Hall on April 25.