Latitude 49 is a dynamic mixed-chamber ensemble exploring new sounds, engaging diverse audiences, and holding hands with composers of today. From its beginnings at the University of Michigan, L49 has grown into a major presence on the new-music scene with performances and residencies throughout the Midwest and beyond.
The ensemble’s 2015/16 season is headlined by a NYC adventure, as L49 joins forces with the Attacca Quartet on a new work by composer Jared Miller. L49 has become known for a vibrant, passionate onstage presence, which the group has brought to past performances at the Ravinia Festival, Chicago Cultural Center, Constellation Chicago, and New Music Detroit’s annual Strange Beautiful Music. At the Detroit Institute of Art this past May, L49 presented “Time Past and Time Present: A Musical Remembering,” a program exploring the theme of memory through music (including Perotin’s Sederunt Principes, written around 1199), words (of Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot), and images (from Vienna-based artist Hye Lee, a regular L49 collaborator).
L49 carries its contagious energy beyond the concert hall, with extensive educational work at colleges throughout the Midwest. The group enters its second year as ensemble-in-residence at the University of Illinois-Chicago, where it has worked closely with composition students of Prof. Marc Mellits. And L49 will deepen its Chicago roots in the coming year, completing a residency at Concordia College and appearing as featured ensemble at the 2016 MGMC Composers Conference, jointly hosted by the University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Northwestern University. The ensemble will also venture south for a residency at the University of Western Kentucky, where it will be featured at the 2015 Kentucky Music Teachers Association Conference. Past years have included residencies at Elmhurst College and University of Toledo, where the ensemble has worked with student composers and given workshops on commissioning and entrepreneurship.
L49’s work with living composers is at the heart of its mission, yielding over thirty premieres since the group’s founding. But L49 seeks to go beyond the premiere, developing relationships with composers that are lasting and meaningful. The ensemble’s extended family of composers includes Jared Miller, who workshopped a new work with L49 at the 2015 Avaloch Farms Music Institute, and Garrett Schumann, whose work Bound was recently premiered by L49 (and another close collaborator, soprano Megan Ihnen) and featured on icareifyoulisten’s Spring 2015 mixtape. During the coming season, L49 will welcome several new composers into the family, premiering new works by Joseph Bozich, Natalie Moller, Virgil Moorefield, Reinaldo Moya, and Gabriella Smith. The season will culminate with the release of L49’s debut album, featuring seven works written for the ensemble.
With its name taken from the parallel that serves as the Canadian/American border, Latitude 49 is committed to crossing borders of all kinds, serving as a bridge between the composers and the listeners of today.