A communal concert experience by the pioneering new music ensemble Wild Up blends some of today’s greatest musicians into an orchestra that celebrates tradition while reshaping it.

See the experimental music collective’s latest creation, “Future Folk,” complete with several surprises, at the Moss Arts Center on Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

The performance will be held in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.

A flexible band of Los Angeles musicians, Wild Up’s programs reflect the emerging cultural leadership of a generation — lines are blurred, rules are broken, concerts become events, and events become enduring memories.

“Three of the pieces represent fascinating and unique approaches to composition,” explains Margaret Lawrence, director of programming at the Moss Arts Center. “Works from Frederic Rzewski, Meredith Monk, and Alexander Scriabin bring perspectives that range from employing words to fuel social uprising; to moving beyond words altogether in playful, game-like forms; to plunging listeners into a trailblazing, impressionistic, completely maverick creation of a new universe.”

Many of American composer Frederic Rzewski’s works are inspired by socio-political themes. The ensemble performs his work “Attica,” which is a musical celebration of the famous revolt that occurred in the American prison in 1971. Full of pathos, the piece is incisive, unnerving, and melancholic, embroidering a solid minimalist repetition. 

Composer, singer, and director Meredith Monk creates at the intersection of music and movement. Her pioneering work using the voice as an instrument has expanded the boundaries of musical composition. Wild Up performs “Panda Chant II,” an energetic piece that involves coordinating the vocal material with rhythmic stamps and claps.

The ensemble also performs “Mysterium,” an unfinished work by Russian composer Alexander Scriabin. The composer started on the piece in 1903, but never finished before he died in 1915. Scriabin planned that the work would be synesthetic, exploiting the senses of smell and touch as people listened, and intended for it to be performed in the foothills of the Himalayas in India.

Called an “…irresistibly exuberant … fun-loving, exceptionally virtuosic family” by Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times, Wild Up was founded in 2010 by artistic director Christopher Rountree, who had a vision of a group of young musicians that rejected outdated traditions and threw classical repertoire into the context of pop culture, new music, and performance art.

Over the past decade the group has accompanied Björk, premiered David Lang and Mark Dion’s “anatomy theater” at LA Opera, played the score to “Punch Drunk Love” live with the film, and held performance and educational residencies at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Colburn School, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, National Sawdust, University of North Carolina, and the Hammer Museum, among others.

Related events

Select musicians from Wild Up will perform at downtown Blacksburg’s Market Square Park on Sept. 18 from 4:30-6 p.m. and socialize with market-goers at the weekly “Mingle at the Market” event.

Members of the ensemble will also visit several Virginia Tech classes, including a music composition class with students in the School of Performing Arts; a collaborative policy and planning class, where they will discuss linkages between deliberative civic processes and embodying democracy through music; a music history course; and an urban affairs and planning/theatre arts course to explore the artist’s role in political and social change. Students living in Studio 72 and Innovate, Virginia Tech’s living-learning residence communities focused on entrepreneurship and the arts, spoke with Wild Up about the ensemble’s unique mode for engaging audiences with classical music.


Tickets are $20-45 for general audience and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

While Virginia Tech students can always attend any Moss Arts Center performance for only $10, the center also offers free last-minute rush tickets for students who sign up for text notifications. To receive these notifications, text “arts” to 31996. Availability of rush tickets varies by performance and tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last in the box office. Virginia Tech ID will be required for admission.


Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email kmcallis@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to an event.

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