The big discovery was Chris Rogerson, whose 'A Fish Will Rise' had both instruments going lyrically awry in ways so engaging that Rachmaninoff's Vocalise…was a slight letdown.
"From its captivating opening — with the piano playing rustling runs, the violin and viola trading searching phrases and the cello repeating a calming riff — the music seemed the manifestation of a confident new musical voice."
"…[at] the ripe age of 23, Chris Rogerson premiered his piece ‘Once’ … [a work which] revealed a confident, fully-grown composing talent."
"Chris Rogerson's ‘Once‘ bared a naturally and colorfully eclectic voice…Rogerson has a sure hand, nothing ever forced, a real naturalness…"
"Rogerson's astonishing music is neither thick nor thin but a web of lyricism that overlaps and links; it suggests light and water, contains glints of the pastoral, and offers turns that feel familiar but then surprise us….[his] music supports the emotion of the lines but without undue pathos."
"…Rogerson won the New York Art Ensemble’s 2010 competition … for his well-made String Quartet No. 1. … there were echoes of Bartok in the slashing figures of ‘Duel,’ the vigorous first movement. Passages of haunting beauty in ‘Hymn,’ the solemn second movement, gave way to ‘Dance,’ the lively finale."
"Music that suggests its young composer has a name worth remembering."
"…Rogerson's ‘Four Autumn Landscapes’ was the most overtly beautiful, a musical postcard about seasonal change, from autumn to winter."
"At its conclusion, the audience remained silent for a few moments before bursting into enthusiastic applause, a testament to its profound impact. It illustrates the power of new music as well as old to transform and enrich our lives…"
"His music is evocative, a blend of light textures with the simplicity of a film score plus big, walls of near-dissonant sound, heavy on percussion, brass blaring heroically … good enough to earn an extra measure of applause as he resumed his seat in the audience."
"…tart harmonic writing, inventive orchestral effects and stacked-up chords with a Ligeti-like bite permeate this score. Overall, Mr. Rogerson's voice came through clearly..."
"…[In] the finale, Mr. Rogerson deftly evokes flickering fireflies and children scampering to catch them. Heard in its New York premiere, the work was sympathetically played and warmly received."
"Bravo to Rogerson for creating a piece people could enjoy on first hearing. This five-minute piece charmed. …Rogerson has a flair for using the instruments’ various colors. … At the end of it, I heard someone saying he wished it were longer. That is high and rare praise in the world of contemporary music."
"There were inspired, well-devised touches throughout. …Mr. Rogerson has a gift for transitions, for moving us from moment to moment, section to section while maintaining the coherence of the work as a whole. …[and] the ending is lovely."