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Northeastern University Composer Bridges Musical Worlds With Unique Score Featuring DJ Spooky

Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) will perform Devolution, an original piece composed by Northeastern professor Anthony De Ritis and featuring DJ Spooky (Paul D. Miller) on May 19th at 8 p.m. at the Sanders Theater, as part of the Bank of America Celebrity Series.

Devolution: A Concerto for DJ and Symphony Orchestra received significant recognition on both coasts, with premieres in Oakland and New Haven, respectively. The piece is based on Ravel’s Bolero and incorporates several elements uncommon in orchestral compositions: electric guitar doubling electric base, three drum sets, and a DJ soloist, contributing real-time remixes from samples created by De Ritis, who is also chair of the Department of Music and director of Multimedia Studies at Northeastern University.

The BMOP, one of the few full-sized orchestras in the world dedicated to the works of living composers, will perform De Ritis’ re-imagination of Ravel’s Bolero and Beethoven’s Seventh. Unlike his fellow musicians, DJ Spooky will give the composition a sense of spontaneity that is rare in orchestral music, because improvisation is uncommon in most orchestral scores. Devolution’s score gives the DJ general directions in terms of dynamics and mood, but Spooky is free to remix De Ritis’ melodies and music of his own choosing in any way that he can imagine.

“In this performance, the choices DJ Spooky makes in performance will profoundly affect the final outcome – Devolution is a spectrum, or dialectic, of musical activities with fixed composition and free improvisation as its two end points,” said De Ritis. “It means that the final result may be very different from one performance to the next.”

The world premiere of Evan Ziporynn’s Hard Drive and the North American premier of Steven Mackey’s Dreamhouse are also part of the evening’s program.

For more information, please contact Matt Collette at 617-373-5471.

About Northeastern: Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university located in the heart of Boston. Northeastern is a leader in interdisciplinary research, urban engagement, and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. The university’s distinctive cooperative education program, where students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. The University offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in six undergraduate colleges, eight graduate schools, and two part-time divisions. For more information, please visit

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