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Art Populi: New Concert Series Pairs Local Music With Craft Beer

As part of our ongoing Art Populi series on live, local music in the Tampa Bay Area, we're taking a look at a new group that's trying to expand the way people think of classical music. Called Terroir New Music, the group pairs live performances with craft beer. Their first concert is Thursday, May 4 at the bar c. 1949 in Tampa.

WUSF's Stephanie Colombini recently hung out at c. 1949 with head bartender Savannah Starling and the group's artistic directors, composers Susanna Hancock and Tyler Kline. Tyler is also an announcer on WUSF and a classical host on WSMR.

Scroll down to check out an extended version of their discussion, or read an excerpt below.

COLOMBINI: Tyler and Susana, what does terroir mean?

HANCOCK: Terroir is technically a French word, kind of the environment in which a crop grows that gives it a distinct flavor.

KLINE: We thought this idea of terroir could apply to music. So Susanna and I are both composers, we both went to school at USF. We both love all things local – local beer, local food, etc. – and so we thought it would be great to wed these things. Our first concert is a program of music by six local composers and each piece is paired with a Florida-brewed beer.

COLOMBINI: Savannah how did you go about curating the beer list?

STARLING: As I’m listening to music, I’m thinking about different memories, I’m thinking about different senses, I’m thinking about different stories – and same thing with beer.

COLOMBINI: You know when people think classical music, their first thoughts are often Mozart, Beethoven – how is this different?

KLINE: Well we aren’t Beethoven, we’re not Mozart – we’re about 300 years in the future. We call it “classical music” – it almost does it injustice to the kind of music we’re presenting. Kind of in our niche circle of academia we call it “new music,” but I think it’s good to just know it as “music.”

COLOMBINI: Let’s hear a sample from the concert.

KLINE: This is a piece by a local composer, Zach Hale. It’s called “Apophenia.” He’s playing stuff that I’m pretty sure he said he bought at Goodwill – cast iron skillets, he’s playing those, pieces of wood, pot lids – and these sounds are being processed electronically.

COLOMBINI: Savannah what beer would we be drinking during this performance?

STARLING: Well in my mind I’m seeing this industrial, apocalyptic kind of means of making music. The name Swamp Head Midnight Oil really rang a bell for me. It’s dark and it’s thick, it’s an oatmeal stout and I think it would go great with “Apophenia.”

COLOMBINI: So what I’m hearing from all of you is, you know, community, keeping it local – why is that important?

HANCOCK: Well I think when you keep it local the audience gets a greater sense of ownership. We hope that whoever comes out to the concert gets this instantaneous connection and sees a face and a name, and is more likely to ask questions.

KLINE: You know I think the people that we’ve found who are interested in what we’re about to do with this concert, I don’t think they’re the same people who would go to USF for a concert of this kind of music. It seems like the epicenter of new music in Tampa is the university, and that’s great, but we’d love to see it branch out into larger communities in this area. And that’s kind of what we’re trying to do, bring in people and educate them about this kind of music. It’s music that people don’t know they like.

HANCOCK: I think Tampa is kind of on the up-and-up. There are a lot of millennials coming to Tampa. We’d just like people to see what goes into making music like we do, or what goes into making craft beer in Tampa Bay, and they appreciate the backstory, they appreciate the final product and they appreciate the correlation that we make between the two.

COLOMBINI: Susanna Hancock and Tyler Kline, Artistic Directors of Terroir New Music, and Savannah Starling, Head Bartender at c. 1949. Thanks so much for joining me.

WUSF News invites you to contribute to our Art Populi series. Grab your phone and send us your thoughts and pictures of your favorite memories at Curtis Hixon Hall or other live music venues. Tweet us @WUSF, or find us on Facebook and Instagram @WUSFPublicMedia. Make sure you use the hashtag -- #WUSFMusic.

I cover health care for WUSF and the statewide journalism collaborative Health News Florida. I’m passionate about highlighting community efforts to improve the quality of care in our state and make it more accessible to all Floridians. I’m also committed to holding those in power accountable when they fail to prioritize the health needs of the people they serve.