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Fringe Festival : Five Laid-back Composers Have Bond In Locale, Film

September 19, 1987|GREGG WAGER

Perhaps the days when composers were overtly dogmatic about the direction of music or niches in history are waning. Many young composers, like those in the L.A. composer group The LoCal Composers, opt rather for a more casual, relaxed approach to carving their initials into the world of music.

"We are five composers with very different musical roots and influences," insists Carl Pritzkat, one of the founding members of the LoCal composers along with Lucas Richman and Carlos Rodriguez. Paul Francis Witt and Murielle Hodler-Hamilton complete the eclectic personnel of this group who will present five world premieres today at the Ambienti in Redondo Beach as part of the Fringe Festival.

Pinpointing a particular musical influence, style or dogma that bonds these composers together is a difficult task.

Rodriguez explains: "When you're a student, you want your music to sound different than any other music and sometimes you avoid ideas simply because they originate from your deepest and closest influences. That's not right. You should never try avoiding musical ideas simply because you grew up with them or somebody else has used them first.

Yet all five did express an overwhelming interest in the concert music of film composer John Williams and film music in general. On whether or not they consider film music in the same light as concert music, Pritzkat remarks, "It's a bit like architecture: if someone asks you to build a house, you accept that that house is going to have a roof, windows, a door, a foundation, etc. It's up to the architect to come up with something creative and aesthetically attractive. It's the same when a composer is asked to write a piece for a certain situation--like for a concert hall, or for a film."

With the exception of Hodler-Hamilton, who's from Geneva, Switzerland, all of the members consider their music to be exceptionally influenced by Los Angeles.

"The LoCal Composers started back in 1984 about the time of the Olympic Arts Festival and that was really the beginning of the multivenued festival in Los Angeles," explains Richman. "When we heard that the Fringe Festival was an attempt to re-create the spirit of the Olympic Arts Festival, we were naturally very interested in participating."

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