The first annual NU Music Marathon–that’s “NU” for Northwestern University, but it’s pronounced “new”–consists of six consecutive one-hour sets, each featuring solo or small-group pieces by conceptualists and provocateurs from the U.S. and abroad. Among the roughly two dozen composers represented are Germans Kunsu Shim and Helmut Oehring; young Americans Vanessa Lann, David Smooke, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra resident Augusta Read Thomas; and of course standbys like Cage, Berio, and Kurtag. Among the dozen or so performers–who include local pianist Jeff Kowalkowski, violinist Clemens Merkel, and former CSO hornist Gail Williams–British cellist Anton Lukoszevieze is the standout. He interprets dense, complex pieces with great insight, making the abstract and strange seem familiar and approachable. He can fire off a flurry of microtones without sacrificing clarity, and in his hands even a simple ostinato can feel tense, its repetitions like the ticking of a bomb. Lukoszevieze will open the marathon with two “duets” for cello and tape, Phill Niblock’s Summing II and violinist-composer Malcolm Goldstein’s Gentle Rain Preceding Mushrooms (In Memoriam JC); later, in the fifth hour, he’ll play a total of six more works, including Cage’s 591/2 Seconds for a String Player, which he’ll do three times. Dangerous Bend, written for him last year by marathon coordinator and Northwestern computer-music professor Amnon Wolman, mingles his cello with taped snippets of conversation; two of the four remaining pieces were originally written for Goldstein, but will be performed here in solo cello arrangements by Lukoszevieze: jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s Trinity and Philip Corner’s Gamelan “The Gold Stone,” which borrows techniques from gamelan orchestras to arrive at its sectional structure. Saturday, 4 PM, Regenstein Hall, Northwestern University, 1965 South Campus Dr., Evanston; 847-467-4000 or 847-491-5441. Lukoszevieze will also play two programs with Ensemble Noamnesia next week: Saturday, June 10, at the Renaissance Society, and Sunday, June 11, at HotHouse. TED SHEN