Lumia Musica 2023

October 29, 2023

Interdisciplinary Brilliance Lights Up UNT
Benjamin Shirey

In an environment where the boundaries of art-making are being pushed daily, the 3rd annual Lumia Musica event at the Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theater (MEIT) at the University of North Texas is a beacon for discovery and innovation. Artists from diverse backgrounds and a broad spectrum of creative aesthetics come together to create pieces culminating in an event that fosters collaboration and innovation. This year, Lumia Musica commenced on October 29th in UNT's Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theater (MEIT), with works ranging from installations to mixed media pieces and live performances.

(photo above: Post-show group photo, featuring participating composers and artists)

Every fall, Lumia Musica brings together two different hubs of creatives at UNT: the New Media Cooperative from CVAD (the College of Visual Arts & Design) and the Composers Forum from the College of Music. Pairing groups of composers and artists, the newly joined collaborators have just one week to create a piece and present it in a culminating show. As preparations began ramping up for the event this year, I had the opportunity to discuss the Lumia Musica of the past year and this year with both organizations' presidents. 

Reflecting on the event's trajectory and collaboration between the two organizations, Alvin Leung, president of the Composers Forum, remarked, "I think we learn from each time and make it better. I think this time it has been even smoother than last time."

(photo above: Confluence by Agustín Alonso and Kimberly Martinez)

Lumia Music is also a significant tool to provide students with real-world experience. As students encounter challenges that require inventive solutions and critical thinking, they learn to adapt and develop collaborative skills directly applicable to a professional context. Past events have produced works that have gone on to be presented at galleries and festivals, including the Leicester Convergence in the UK.

For this reason, Lumia Music bridges the gap between classroom learning and practical industry demands, preparing students for the intricacies of their future careers. Discussing this aspect of Lumia Musica with Diana Gonzalez (President of the New Media Cooperative), "It's the foundation of what we do... Everything that we do, all of these events. That can go into your cover letter. That can go into your resume. And you can have all the technical skills you're exploring." 

(photo above: untitled.004 by Christina Vasquez, William Bender, and Mak Sabren)

Over the past decade, we have seen a growing trend towards interdisciplinary work amongst the arts. Regarding this trend, Leung remarked, "I really think that collaborative and interdisciplinary is the current and future trend for art making." This growing trend of interdisciplinary approaches transcends traditional boundaries; artists from various fields and backgrounds challenge the norms of their respective practices. Collaborative movements like Lumia Musica reflect this ever-evolving landscape of future art-making. As institutions and artists further embrace this integrative philosophy, the future of the arts looks to be a vast world of inclusive and collaborative potential.

List of works, in concert order:

Christina Vasquez, William Bender, Mak Sabren - untitled.004
Joseph Storey, Mica Alexander, Nolen Liu - tranquility | turmoil
Justin Friello, Litzy Rea Valdez, Ben Shirey - Justin Plays an Organ, Ben Plays a Bass; Litzy 
has Rendered a Sound-Responsive Video…in the Midwest 

Aidan Barboza, Nathaniel Gustafson - Abominations
Agustín Alonso, Kimberly Martinez - Confluence
Stephanie Hernandez, Jacob Lord, Paige Noelle Hoffman - < liminal
Insun Choi, Julia Caswell Freund - Espresso
Dust Bunny, Heather “Jo Jane” Pryse - Madame Eve
Cricket Wier, Isaac Morgan - collagE MOTION collapsE moVEmeNT
Clayton Graves, Michael Casiano, Noah Salem - Flowering

New Media Coop Instagram
Composers Forum Instagram