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Conductor David Bloom on Present Music's Season Finale and Working With Composers

Robert Altman

This Friday, Present Music will hold its Season Finale and Party at Turner Hall Ballroom. The group is finishing its 34th season playing new music in Milwaukee, and will feature guest conductor David Bloom, a founding co-artistic director of Contemporaneous in New York.

The "20-something" conductor will be directing the ensemble in five pieces he’s very familiar with. Not only has he conducted them before, he also knows the composers. Bloom says working with composers is part of what inspired him to become a conductor. 

"Really what prompted me to pursue a career in conducting was conducting new music; conducting music by a living composers and particularly composers that I knew and composers I went to school with initially. And now what keeps me going is working with composers that I know and whose music really excites me," he says. 

Present Music's Season Finale and Party will feature music from composers Andrew Norman, David Lang, Jeremy Podgursky, Matthew Evans and Missy Mazzoli, whose opera Song from the Uproar was recently performed by the Milwaukee Opera Theatre. For Bloom, working with these composers is not only exciting because of what they create, but also because it gives him greater insight into how their work is created. 

"To hear from them first hand sort of what their thought processes were going into this music is... informative but it's also inspiring," he says. "It causes me to think of the music in new ways that I wouldn't otherwise had I not had that experience of working with them and talking with them." 

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Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect. Before then, she was a director and producer for Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm Chicago Public Radio.