Doors Open Milwaukee is This Weekend

Our musicians take to the “stage” in three iconic buildings in downtown Milwaukee on Saturday, September 23rd for our third annual collaboration with Doors Open.

Three composers, Robert Laidlow, Asta Hyarvinen and Cristina Spinei, have been commissioned to write new pieces inspired by the Clock Shadow, Two Fifty and Colby Abbot buildings respectively.  On Saturday we’ll have musicians in each building to perform the music every fifteen minutes for self-guided tours.


1:00 to 4:00

Clock Shadow Building
The Clock Shadow Building is a ground-breaking, sustainable building that was opened in 2012 at 130 W. Bruce St. The building has captured local, regional, and national attention and awards for its design, sustainable technologies, quadruple bottom line approach, community-focused tenants, and for housing Wisconsin’s first urban cheese maker.

The Clock Shadow Building’s outstanding features include  The first regenerative-energy elevator in the U.S., the use of 50% salvaged material in its construction, Milwaukee’s first commercial application of rainwater harvesting, designs that enable it to consume 50% less energy and 60% less water and a rooftop garden with 360 degree city views.


Music by Robert Laidlow
Performed by Elizabeth Warne – violin and Alicia Storin – cello

Robert Laidlow is a composer and performer currently studying for a Master’s degree in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music with David Sawer. His music has been performed both in the UK and abroad, and has been broadcast on Resonance FM.

Robert has enjoyed writing commissions for a wide range of ensembles and soloists. He was recently commissioned to write for the 49th Campos de Jordão Festival in Sao Paulo in 2018, where he has also been invited to attend as a Composition Fellow in the past. His music has been performed by groups including Ensemble Modern, the Britten Sinfonia, CoMA London, Les Laurentines, the Inflexio Duo, the Blossom Street Singers and the Royal Academy New Music Ensemble, which he co-founded.

After graduating from Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, with First Class Honours, he began a postgraduate composition course at the Royal Academy of Music in receipt of the Dr. Mosco Carner Scholarship for 2016-2018. In addition to his study with David Sawer, he has also received lessons from internationally renowned composers Judith Weir, Oliver Knussen, and Bent Sorensen, among others.

He believes strongly in accessibility of new music and works hard to make sure as many performers and audiences as possible can become involved with the practice. To this end he has written for several school and amateur ensembles as well as professional groups. His music is rhythmic and lively yet often fragmentary and fleeting. Beyond composition and performance he is also a dedicated teacher, volunteer and outdoors enthusiast


1:00 to 4:00

The Colby Abbot Building
The Colby-Abbot Building, located in the heart of East Town, was built in 1885 as the home office of the Wisconsin Central Railroad. Using white marble imported from Italy and featuring wide corridors and bay windows, this five-story structure was, and continues to be, a magnificent addition to Milwaukee’s skyline. The sixth story was added at the turn of the century to meet the need for commercial office space in Milwaukee’s growing economy.


Music by Cristina Spinei
Performed by Peter Thomas and Benjamin Adler

The Nashville-based Cristina Spinei (born in Connecticut in 1984) writes music which pulses with the rhythmic energy of the American minimalist tradition – ʻpulling a lot out of only a little materialʼ, as one reviewer put it. As a result, she is much in demand with choreographers and has been commissioned by companies including the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Nashville Ballet, Gallim Dance, New Dialect, and the New York Choreographic Institute. Her collaboration with choreographers was most recently highlighted on her debut album, Music for Dance, released by Toccata Classics.

Spineiʼs compositions have been commissioned and performed by Cincinnati Sound Box, Gateway Chamber Orchestra, Intersection, the Metropolis Ensemble, the National Symphony Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de Guanajuato, Orchestra of Uruguay OSSODRE, New York Chamber Music Festival, New York Piano Quartet, Racine Symphony Orchestra, St. Michel Strings, and Trio Céleste, among others.

As a co-founder of the group Blind Ear, Ms. Spinei produces interdisciplinary concerts that fuse new technology with contemporary music. Blind Ear has been featured on BBC’s radio program World Today, at TEDxGowanus, on YouTube’s weekly Spotlight on Music section, at three World Technology Awards ceremonies, and in The Strad.

Ms. Spinei’s string orchestra piece Synched has been recorded on Alba Records with Maestro José Serebrier and the St. Michel Strings. Mahler Remixed has been recorded by the New York Piano Quartet released by Urlich Audio/Visual. Piano trio If Beethoven Danced Merengue appears on Trio Celésteʼs debut album.

Ms. Spinei received her BM and MM in composition from the Juilliard School where she studied with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Christopher Rouse.


12:00 to 3:00

Thanks to the combined vision and investment of Fulcrum and Millbrook, this building at 250 Michigan Ave., once nearly abandoned has undergone a multi-million dollar complete revamp and rebrand, and reopened recently as Two-Fifty on April 27th, 2017.

Now a multi-use coworking space focused on local businesses and artists, the building also has some of Milwaukee’s best views of downtown and boasts one of the most modern design aesthetics of any downtown building.


Music by Asta Hyvärinen
Performed by Laura McLaughlin and Kristian Ring

Asta has been working as a freelance composer since 1992.  Her list of work consists of more than 100
compositions representing all categories: vocal music, solo pieces, chamber works, works for mixed
ensembles, concertos, orchestral works, electro-acoustic music and work for stages.

Her music has been broadcast and performed at festivals and concerts in Europe, America, Asia, Oceania and Canada in following events: Núcleo Música Nova, Festival Afekt, Biennale Cologne, Ung Nordisk
Musik, Asian Music Week, Bergstadtsommers Festival, Neue Musik im Ostseeraum, among others.