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School of Music

  • Alarm Will Sound

Southern Exposure New Music Series

The Southern Exposure New Music Series is devoted to exploring the rich variety of contemporary classical and world music written in the past 30 years and masterworks of the 20th century.

Southern Exposure’s 2020-21: CONNECTIONS

The Southern Exposure New Music Series’ 19th season is about making connections: between humans and the natural world, the present and the past, one of today’s foremost ensembles and UofSC students and faculty, and a father and son.

All Southern Exposure concerts are FREE

The safety of our audience and performers is paramount and will be ensured through outdoor performances, social distancing, mandatory face coverings and limited audience sizes.

Fri., April 16, 2021
“Idyll of the Misbegotten”

6:30 pm at the Thomas Cooper Library Fountain

UofSC music faculty and students perform an outdoor program of music at Thomas Cooper Library Fountain that both celebrates nature and laments the role humans have played in its decline.  The School of Music’s flute and percussion studios, led by Jennifer Parker-Harley and Scott Herring, are especially featured.  Pieces include Chen Yi’s joyous Happy Rain on a Spring Night, for a quintet of strings, winds, and piano; Toru Takemitsu’s evocative percussion trio, Rain Tree; John Luther Adams’ animated flute octet, Strange Birds Passing; and Southern Exposure Assistant Director David Garner’s lovely, layered Eternal Song, a mixed wind / strings/ percussion / voice septet inspired by Richard Powers’ powerful novel The Overstory.  The program’s namesake and emotional center is George Crumb’s An Idyll for the Misbegotten, for flute and percussion. This work, meant to be heard “from afar, over a lake,” is inspired in part by the haunting theme of Debussy’s solo flute piece Syrinx, as flute and mixed percussion instruments evoke “the voice of nature.”

This outdoor, socially distanced concert for a limited audience will be held at the Thomas Cooper Library Fountain, accessed from Greene Street on the UofSC campus. For those who cannot attend in person, the performance will be livestreamed.

Chen Yi, Happy Rain on a Spring Night
Toru Takemitsu, Rain Tree
John Luther Adams, Strange Birds Passing
George Crumb, An Idyll for the Misbegotten
David Garner, Eternal Song

Featuring Jennifer Parker-Harley, flute, and Scott Herring, percussion Rachel Calloway, mezzo soprano; Laurie Baynard, Dana Crytser, Jennifer Davis, Annie Eaton, Roya Farzaneh, Ziqing Guan, Chris Kowaleski, and Blair Mothersbaugh, flutes; Joseph Eller and Carmen Borregales, clarinets; Michael Harley, bassoon; Ari Streisfeld, violin; Claire Bryant, cello; Joe Jones, Daniel Myers, Andrew Patzig, and Bailey Seabury, percussion; Phillip Bush, piano.

Fri., Feb. 19, 2021
Alarm Will Sound: Video Chat Variations, music by John Fitz Rogers, Meredith Monk, Tyshawn Sorey and others

7:30 p.m. Livestream (your living room!)

Alarm Will Sound returns to Southern Exposure fifteen years after the group’s first appearance, this time in an online concert. The adventurous group has explored new ways to make music together virtually during the pandemic, including recording a series of commissioned works called “Video Chat Variations” that take advantage of the medium’s quirks and idiosyncrasies. 

This livestream, hosted by Southern Exposure’s artistic director and the group’s bassoonist, Michael Harley, includes new pieces by Meredith Monk, Tyshawn Sorey (conducting the group in an extended free improvisation), and Rohan Chander, and features the world premiere of “Respiration,” a major new piece by UofSC composer John Fitz Rogers. “Respiration” was written for AWS; on this special recording the group is joined by New Sounds +, a quintet comprised of UofSC string students.

Anthem, by Meredith Monk
Autoschediasms, by Tyshawn Sorey
Prayers are Made of Silicon, Book I, by Rohan Chander (sneak preview)
Respiration, by John Fitz Rogers
Post-Concert Discussion with Alan Pierson, Gavin Chuck, John Fitz Rogers, and Erin Lesser, hosted by Michael Harley
Alarm Will Sound, conducted by Alan Pierson

Live Q&A:
The concert will conclude with a live discussion and Q&A with Rogers; Alarm Will Sound’s conductor, Alan Pierson; Executive Director Gavin Chuck; and flutist Erin Lesser. The audience will be encouraged to submit questions via chat in real-time during the broadcast.


Sun., Nov. 1, 2020
Glory: A Tribute to Richard Greener

3:00 p.m., Russell House Patio Stage  (UofSC campus between the Russell House Student Union and Cooper Library)
Free / limited audience / reservations required
Reserve seats here. (limit 2 per person); season patrons will receive priority registration.
UofSC music faculty and special guests perform works originally commissioned for the 2018 unveiling of the Cooper Library statue dedicated to Richard T. Greener. Greener was the university’s first African American professor, the first Black graduate of Harvard, Dean of the Howard University Law School, and served as a diplomat in Vladivostok, Russia, among his many accomplishments. “Glory” by Valerie Coleman (Performance Today’s 2020 “Classical Woman of the Year”) and “A Pioneer’s Opus” by Jeff Scott, celebrate Greener’s life and legacy, setting his own words, original poetry and Langston Hughes’ “Let American be America Again.”  Featured artists are Columbia baritone Kendrick Williams and narrator Isaiah Hogue.

This is an outdoor, socially distanced concert for a limited audience. The audience will be required to wear face coverings. For those who don't attend in person, the performance will be live-streamed. More info about the program here.

Greener’s biographer Katherine Reynolds Chaddock, author of Uncompromising Activist: Richard Greener, First Black Graduate of Harvard College, will give a short talk to open the concert.

Opening Remarks by Katherine Chaddock
A Pioneer’s Opus (2018) by Jeff Scott
Glory (2018) by Valerie Coleman
Ari Streisfeld and William Terwilliger, violins; Daniel Sweaney, viola; Claire Bryant, cello; Craig Butterfield, bass; Jennifer Parker-Harley, flute; Rebecca Schalk Nagel, oboe; Joseph Eller, clarinet; Dakota Corbliss, French horn; Michael Harley, bassoon; Kendrick Williams, baritone; Isaiah Hogue, narrator. Conducted by Jabarie Glass.

A part of Bridging Our Distances, an initiative imagined by the faculty and student leaders of the School of Music.


Sat., Oct. 3, 2020
Ten Thousand Birds by John Luther Adams, developed by Alan Pierson

6:00 p.m., UofSC campus, Historic Horseshoe
5:30 audience check-in outside McKissick Museum
Season patrons receive registration priority. 
Free / Limited access
A part of Bridging Our Distances, an initiative imagined by the faculty and student leaders of the School of Music.

Ten Thousand Birds is a celebration of the music of the natural world and our relationship to it by one of America’s foremost living composers, Pulitzer-winner John Luther Adams. The piece, meant to be performed outdoors, features the composer’s stylized renderings of birdsong (20 bird species are represented) and other sounds from nature, played by a chamber orchestra of strings, winds, brass, percussion and keyboards. This special event, staged on the heart of campus, UofSC’s historic Horseshoe, was performed by UofSC students, socially distanced, with discreet areas for audience members and performers. Staging and direction by Michael Harley, original concept and design by Alan Pierson. For more information about this event, including pictures, videos, and a special Southern Exposure interview with the composer, please see our Ten Thousand Birds website.

Get the details here.

Founded in 2001 by UofSC associate professor of composition and composer John Fitz Rogers, the nonprofit series has grown steadily and attracts standing-room-only crowds from throughout South Carolina and neighboring states.

The series has achieved a national reputation for the quality and adventurous spirit of its four yearly concerts, unparalleled in the southeast for their mix of artistic quality, audience education and cutting-edge programming.

Award for Adventurous Programming

Southern Exposure was awarded a 2007 Chamber Music America / ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming in its 2005-2006 season.

Reserve a seat

These free concerts are often standing room only and early arrival is suggested for seating. For a donation of $100 or more, you can reserve one seat for the entire Southern Exposure season. Donate online.

If you prefer to pay by phone, contact Polly Lafitte at 803-777-4337. You can also mail a check payable to "Southern Exposure New Music Series" to:
Southern Exposure New Music Series School of Music, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208

Premiere performances

Groups and artists of international repute who have made their Columbia and South Carolina premiere performances in a Southern Exposure concert include:

  • So Percussion
  • Brooklyn Rider
  • Karel Dohnal
  • Argento Chamber Ensemble
  • Tony Arnold and Jacob Greenberg
  • International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
  • Alarm Will Sound
  • Imani Winds
  • Los Angeles Piano Quartet
  • Music from Copland House
  • Calder and JACK string quartets
  • Matt Haimovitz, internationally renowned cellist
  • Kartik Seshadri, sitar virtuoso
  • Lisa Moore, esteemed New York-based pianist
  • Gamelan Galak Tika

For more information: Michael Harley, Southern Exposure New Music Series artistic director.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.