BU Today Feature: CFA Ensemble Time’s Arrow to End the Year with a Zoom Concert

This article was originally published in BU Today on April 29, 2020. By Joel Brown

For the members of Time’s Arrow, the new music ensemble at the College of Fine Arts, there’s an upside to performing on videoconferencing app Zoom, where they cannot truly synchronize sound, audio quality, or internet speeds.

“The bright side of this is it gives us the perfect excuse to play music that might seem strange to newcomers,” says cellist Michael Frontz (CFA’21). “Of course we’re not all playing rhythmically with each other—it’s impossible.”

Time’s Arrow will give its end-of-semester performance Thursday, April 30, at 7 pm as a webinar on the Zoom software platform, which has become a lot more familiar to listeners now than it was a couple of months ago. Time’s Arrow Remote and Connected includes compositions by three ensemble members and Times Arrow’s director Rodney Lister, a CFA School of Music lecturer in music, composition, and music theory. Enjoy the concert here.

“My piece was specifically written to utilize Zoom’s algorithm for picking up sound,” says composition student Brad Barker (CFA’21), whose “Leisure” will open the program. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out the algorithm and what kinds of things were going to work in the Zoom environment. Lister describes Barker’s composition as a “follow the leader” piece.

“Like everything else we’re experiencing, this is uncharted territory,” says  guitarist Barker, who will also perform the piece with other ensemble members. “When we first rehearsed it, we realized this may very well be the first piece written for Zoom, something that has become the center of all of our worlds. A really cool—and bizarre—thought.”

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