Friday, October 18, 2019

Yarn/Wire Residency at the University at Buffalo

Yarn/Wire will be in residence at the Center for 21st Century Music at the University at Buffalo on Friday, November 1st for a graduate composition workshop and an evening concert of some of the ensemble’s favorite music. Yarn/Wire is a quartet of two percussionists and two pianists. This instrumental combination allows the ensemble flexibility to slip effortlessly between classics of the repertoire and modern works that continue to forge new boundaries.

Founded in 2005 while at Stony Brook University, Yarn/Wire is admired for the energy and precision they bring to performances of today's most adventurous music. The results of their collaborative initiatives with genre-bending artists such as Two-Headed Calf, Pete Swanson, and Tristan Perich point towards the emergence of a new and lasting repertoire that is "spare and strange and very, very new." (Time Out NY)

Yarn/Wire will read new compositions by PhD. students Alex Buehler, Joel Kirk, and Ruixing Wang during the day on Nov. 1. Their concert will begin at 7:30 PM in Lippes Concert Hall and will feature Enno Poppe’s Feld, Linda Caitlin Smith’s Morandi, and Misato Mochizuki’s Le monde des rondes et des carrés

Poppe describes his music as “dented nature”: While grounded in compositional guidelines taken from the fields of acoustics, biology, and mathematics, his pieces gradually disobey their own rules, contorting and evolving through an almost hallucinatory atmosphere of unexpected sounds. Highly respected as both a composer and a conductor, Poppe has led the Berlin-based ensemble mosaik since 1998, and has presented his orchestral, chamber, and operatic works throughout Europe. In 2015, Poppe’s Speicher received its US premiere at EMPAC, performed by the Talea Ensemble. 

Smith’s Morandi (1991) is named after the 20th century Italian painter Giorgio Morandi. While I was writing this work, I was thinking about his numerous still life paintings, which reveal a preoccupation with the same objects, in muted colours, painted over and over again. Morandi was commissioned through the Ontario Arts Council by Kitchener-Waterloo’s New Art Quartet. 

Le monde des rondes et des carrés tries to put in space and music, geometric combinations from these two forms – exploring the relationships that musicians can maintain between them: in opposition for the square, or in union for the round. Mochizuki wrote this piece bearing in mind the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, and asking herself what causes men to kill each other

From left to right: Ian Antonio, Laura Berger, Ning Yu, and Russel Greenberg

Ian is a percussionist. As a founding member of Yarn/Wire, he has performed to great acclaim across the US and collaborated with the most innovative composers alive. In addition to his work with the quartet, Ian performs with the Wet Ink Ensemble, Talujon, and the Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf. From 2003-2012 Ian was a member of the difficult-to-categorize band Zs. He also appears frequently with the International Contemporary Ensemble and S.E.M. Ensemble. Ian holds a B.M from the Manhattan School of Music and an M.M. and D.M.A. from SUNY Stony Brook. He has been a Tanglewood Music Center fellow, a Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival participant, and a member of the Mettawee River Company. Ian's playing can be head on the Carrier, Nonesuch, Kairos, Warp, Social Registry, and 31G record labels, among others.

Laura Barger is sought-after for her dedication to contemporary music and her energetic, committed performances. As a founding member of the chamber quartet, Yarn/Wire (called "fearless" by TimeOut NY), Laura has helped to commission numerous new works for the repertoire by leading composers of our time. In addition to her work with Yarn/Wire, Laura has performed with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Argento Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, and Lost Dog New Music. International appearances include the Lucerne Festival, The National Gallery of Ireland, Västerås Konserthus, Darmstadt Festival for New Music, and the Banff Centre for the Arts, among others. Laura holds degrees from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (BM) and SUNY Stony Brook (MM, DMA). She teaches at the 92nd Street Y School of Music in Manhattan.

Ning Yu brings her multi-faceted virtuosity and adventurous spirit to a wide range of music, both as a soloist and in collaborations with some of today's most distinguished artists. A member of Yarn/Wire (proclaimed "fearless" by TimeOut NY), since 2011, Ning has worked to promote new and challenging music around the United States. In addition to working with Yarn/Wire, Ning has appeared with the Bang On a Can All-Stars, Signal Ensemble, and the Mabou Mines theater group. In 2010, she won the André Boucourechliev Prize at the 2010 Orléans International Piano Competition in France, which focuses on contemporary piano repertoire. Ning has worked numerous composers including Terry Riley, Michael Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Reich, and David Lang, among others. She has performed worldwide at the Muziekgebouw, Kölner Philharmonie, Kwai Tsing Theatre, and Alice Tully Hall in New York.

Russell Greenberg is a proponent of new and experimental music spanning multiple genres. As a founder of the percussion and piano quartet, Yarn/Wire (hailed as "intrepid, engrossing" by the New York Times), he has performed at numerous venues around New York City and the United States and has worked closely with composers to creat new repertoire for the ensemble. In addition to his work with Yarn/Wire, Russell has performed with Wet Ink Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, Argento, Signal Ensemble, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and Two-Headed Calf, among others. Russell received degrees from SUNY Stony Brook (MM, DMA) and the University of California, Berkeley (BA). He has appeared internationally at the Darmstadt, Acanthes, Klangspuren, and the Lucerne festivals. He is currently on faculty at Lucy Moses School (Manhattan), and SUNY Suffolk College.

General Public Tickets: Online - $15 plus $2.18 fee and minimal credit card charge at (up to 90 minutes prior to concert time) or

In person, in advance - $19 at UB’s Center for the Arts (Tue-Fri, 12pm-6pm), At the door (one hour before concert time) - $22

Seniors/UB faculity, staff, alumni/non-UB students Tickets: Online - $10 plus $2.18 fee and minimal credit card charge at (up to 90 minutes prior to concert time) or

In person, in advance - $14 at UB’s Center for the Arts (Tue-Fri, 12pm-6pm), At the door (one hour before concert time) - $17

All UB students with a valid ID will receive one complimentary ticket to all UB Music Department events.

More information available at

Tickets available here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Slee Sinfonietta Night of Percussion

The Slee Sinfonietta is the professional chamber orchestra in residence at the University at Buffalo and the flagship ensemble of the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music. The Sinfonietta’s second concert of the Fall Semester at UB will feature percussion music by Luciano Berio, Salvatore Sciarrino, Giacinto Scelsi, and Franco Donatoni. The performance will take place on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 7:30 PM in Lippes Concert Hall.

Circles is a composition for female voice, harp and two percussionists by the Italian Composer Luciano Berio. Written in 1960 Circles is a setting of three poems by E. E. Cummings, including the poems "Stinging", "Riverly Is a Flower", and "N(o)w". Circles was written for Berio's wife, the American mezzo-soprano Cathy Berberian. The work followed by two years the landmark composition Thema (Omaggio a Joyce) in which Berio deconstructed Berberian's voice through the use of innovative electronic manipulation. Throughout Circles, Berio explores similar sound textures while limiting himself exclusively to acoustic means. The work was commissioned by the Fromm Foundation, with a dedication in the score to Mrs. Olga Koussevitsky. Berio follows an A-B-C-B-A arch form in Circles (the text from the first two poems being repeated with a different setting). In this way too the form of the composition itself expresses a circle. Berio gives precise instructions in the score for the location of the performers and percussion instruments on stage. Throughout the course of the work the singer moves backwards as if receding into the ensemble. She is also required to perform on specific percussion instruments such as finger cymbalsclaves, and various kinds of chimes.

Stage Layout and Diagram for Berio’s Circles

Circles will be performed by soprano Tiffany Du Mouchelle, harpist Kristen Theriault, and percussionists Tom Kolor and Stephen Solook. Tifanny Du Mouchelle is praised for her musical versatility, an electric stage presence, and exceptional dramatic sensibilities. Most recognized for her fearlessness in exploring new and challenging repertoire, she ushers the voice into new realms of expressivity, including a vast array of musical styles and languages, featuring over 100 different languages, and exploring the genres of classical, world, contemporary, cabaret, and theatrical works. 

Kristen Theriault has emerged as one of Canada’s most vibrant and innovative young harpists. A versatile performer, Kristen’s artistry is evident whether exploring new music,, playing with pre-eminent symphony orchestras, or engaging new audiences at downtown clubs and festivals.

Soprano Tiffany Du Mouchelle performing

Pierrot Lunaire, photo by Irene Haupt

Tom Kolor will also be performing Franco Dontoni’s Mari I for solo marimba. Dynamic evolution is used to indicate structural sections; Mari I can be seen as one large crescendo starting from pianississimo to forte followed by a diminuendo back to dal niente, or to nothing.  Donatoni was born in Verona, Italy and began studying violin at the age of 7, and attended the local Music Academy. Later he studied at the Milan Conservatory and at the Bologna Conservatory. Mari I is from Donatoni’s joyous period of composition, a period of development characterized by Donatoni's understanding of, what he referred to as, codes to found or borrowed material. These codes operate on multiple levels and control many musical parameters, the codes for Mari I deal primarily with the development of dynamics over the course of the work.

Tom Kolor will be joined by fellow percussionists Stephen Solook, Tomek Arnold, and John Bacon to perform Salvatore Sciarrino’s Un Fruscio Lundo Trent’Anni for four percussionists. Sciarrino has won many awards, among them are the Prince Pierre de Monaco (2003) and the prestigious Feltrinelli Prize (2003). He is also the first prizewinner of the newly created Salzburg Music Prize (2006), and international composition prize established by Salzburg. Sciarrino received the 2001 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award of Contemporary Music for renewing the possibilities of vocal and instrumental music and for the singularity of his sound materials. He has developed a new and unique syntax and a manner of combining extreme synthesis with richness of detail.

Composer Salvatore Sciarrino

The percussion quartet will also be performing Giacinto Scelsi's work, I Riti: Ritual March "The Funeral of Achilles" on the Night of Percussion Concert. The secretive, mystical Giacinto Scelsi saw music as a spiritual revelation. His early works are influenced by music from all eras - medieval, neo-baroque, twelve-tone - and by Eastern philosophies. His later works are distinguished by their concentration on single notes and sounds. This piece for percussion quartet is a 'Ritual March for the Funeral of Achilles'; it is quite short, brooding, and off-kilter. Scelsi uses a combination of group textures and short motifs that draw attention to themselves to create a tense atmosphere.

General Public Tickets: Online - $15 plus $2.18 fee and minimal credit card charge at (up to 90 minutes prior to concert time) or

In person, in advance - $19 at UB’s Center for the Arts (Tue-Fri, 12pm-6pm), At the door (one hour before concert time) - $22

Seniors/UB faculity, staff, alumni/non-UB students Tickets: Online - $10 plus $2.18 fee and minimal credit card charge at (up to 90 minutes prior to concert time) or

In person, in advance - $14 at UB’s Center for the Arts (Tue-Fri, 12pm-6pm), At the door (one hour before concert time) - $17

All UB students with a valid ID will receive one complimentary ticket to all UB Music Department events.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

David Felder’s new orchestral work to receive its world premiere by the BPO

David Felder’s new orchestral work to receive its world premiere by the BPO

The extended four-movement work for symphony orchestra to be performed under the baton of the BPO’s Grammy-winning conductor and music director JoAnn Falletta

BUFFALO, N.Y. – SUNY Distinguished Professor David Felder’s new orchestral piece “Die Dämmerungen” will receive its world premiere in a pair of performances by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of JoAnn Falletta at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6, at Kleinhans Music Hall.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

The extended four-movement work muses on various forms of twilight with each movement framed by accompanying poetic inscriptions, including those of William Carlos Williams, Dana Gioia, the Book of Psalms, as well as Frederick Nietzsche’s “Twilight of the Idols.”

I’m deeply honored to have been able to compose ‘Die Dämmerungen’ for JoAnn Falletta and the wonderful musicians of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and am very excited to hear the premiere at Kleinhans,” says Felder, the Birge-Cary chair in music composition in the University at Buffalo Department of Music, part of UB’s College of Arts and Sciences.
UB faculty, staff and students will receive a 30 percent discount for tickets purchased online through the BPO’s website by using the code FELDER30.

“We are thrilled to present this new work by David Felder, one of the foremost American composers today,” said JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. “The BPO has a long history of presenting new works. Our audiences have come to expect it—to love it. It’s such a joy to present the premiere performance of this great work to our audiences at Kleinhans Music Hall. The BPO and I are happy to celebrate the close relationship between our orchestra and the University at Buffalo.”
JoAnn Falletta conducting the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
For Felder, who is widely recognized as one of the leading composers of his generation, twilight (“Die Dämmerungen” translates from German as twilights) is an encompassing theme that speaks to a recurring diurnal nature as easily as it references sweeping representations of place, position and time of life.
He says light has always been a source of fascination, its shades, durations and intensities expressed in ways often specific to time and geography. Felder mentions witnessing the brief but spectacular southwestern sunsets and their longer more subtle northern counterparts, as well as looking out his backyard in East Aurora, N.Y. 

The village’s name references the Roman goddess of dawn, and inspired Felder to reflect on that mythology along with the current historical moment in “Die Dämmerungen’s” second movement, while speculating on twilights of persons, and civilizations, both their beginnings and their endings, in later movements.

Felder’s use of poetic texts in “Die Dämmerungen” represents both passion and inspiration. Poetry in this case, speaks not only to his personal interests, but creates a frame that provides what he calls an ancillary way of looking at the music.
That Felder explores cycles of time in some ways speaks to his own evolution as an artist. 
David Felder

“Die Dämmerungen” is another step in a decades-long line of collaborations with the BPO that began in 1987 with the orchestra’s performance of Felder’s double concerto for clarinet and piano, performed as part of what was the North American New Music Festival. He also wrote in 1991 for the former BPO music director Maximiano Valdes a piece titled “Six Poems for Neruda’s ‘Alturas…’” Felder served as Meet the Composer, BPO composer in residence for three years beginning in 1993 as part of a national program that put five other composers in residence with American orchestras. And since then, he has worked with the BPO on many June in Buffalo concerts, UB’s internationally celebrated new music festival.

But his current works represents his interest in speaking more directly and simply in his work.
“I think simplicity is among the qualities that clarifies one’s work as we get older,” he says. “As a younger composer, part of my focus was on the formal and technical as points of departure in working out my own language, but as you get older and more comfortable with that language, you can be more direct in how you disperse the material you have in hand for the artistic purposes you desire.”

As a younger composer, Felder was interested in writing extended single movement forms expressed in complex formal vehicles.

“In ‘Die Dämmerungen,’ as in much of my recent work, I’ve concentrated more on shorter, individual movements which are essentially binary forms,” he says. “These are more simple forms than my earlier work, basically two parts, but clearly connected – the movements rhyme in a manner of speaking.”

Purchase tickets for Saturday, October 5, 2019, at 8:00 pm, at Kleinhans Music Hall here.

Purchase tickets for Sunday, October 6, 2019, at 2:30 pm, at Kleinhans Music Hall here.

University at Buffalo faculty, staff, and students, please don't forget the codeword for a 30% discount: FELDER30

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Slee Sinfonietta Soloists and Chamber Music Concert

The Slee Sinfonietta is the professional chamber orchestra in residence at the University at Buffalo and the flagship ensemble of the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music. The Sinfonietta’s first concert of the Fall Semester at UB will feature Solo and Chamber Music by David Felder, Nathan Heidelberger, Tomek Arnold, Harrison Birtwistle, Heinz Hollinger, and John Cage. The performance will take place on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 7:30 PM in Lippes Concert Hall.

David Felder has long been recognized as a leader in his generation of American composers. His works have been featured at many of the leading international festivals for contemporary music, and earn continuing recognition through performance and commissioning programs. Felder's work has been broadly characterized by its highly energetic profile, through its frequent employment of technological extension and elaboration of musical materials (including his Crossfire video series, and the video/music collaboration Shamayim), and its lyrical qualities. Felder’s composition, Colección Nocturna (Chamber Version) (1982-83), will be performed by the trio of Michael Tumiel, Clarinet; Wei-Han Wu, Piano; and Robert Phillips, electronics.
Wei-Han Wu, Pianist

Wei-Han Wu, piano, will be joined by Soprano Julia Cordani in the performance of UB alum Nathan Heidelberger’s composition Descriptions of the Moon (2011). Recent musical preoccupations of Heidelberger's have included lists and repetition, text, distance, and ephemerality, and the distortion of traditional musical objects. Nathan received his PhD from the University at Buffalo in 2015. He also holds undergraduate degrees in Composition and English from Oberlin College and Conservatory, where he was awarded the Walter E. Aschaffenburg Composition Prize. His primary teachers have included David Felder, Lewis Nielson, and Richard Carrick. About Descriptions of the Moon, Heidelberger writes:

Descriptions of the Moon grew out of my desire to work with a few unusual quotations from a Jorge Luis Borges story. The quotes are demonstrations of how to refer to the moon in two hypothetical languages that the author imagined – one consisting only of adjectives and another only of verbs and adverbs. I wanted to write a more substantial piece than just those quotes would allow, however, so the idea of a larger moon-themed cycle was born. My process for selecting additional texts was, I supposed, rather haphazard: I leafed through all the books I happened to have on my bookshelf, scanning for any reference to the moon I could find. I compiled a list of a few dozen texts, confirmation of my theory that any book of poetry I opened would probably have a poem about the moon in it. After wading through the clichés, I arrived on the nine texts at hand, in part for their originality (it’s not every day you hear the moon described as a “luminous polyp”) and in part because most of them focused specifically on moonlight.”

UB Alum, Dr. Nathan Heidelberger

Current University at Buffalo PhD. Student Tomek Arnold will also be having a piece performed at the Slee Sinfonietta Solo and Chamber Music Concert. Tomek Arnold is a Krakow-born musician currently working and living in the US. His areas of work include: composition, percussion performance (solo and collaborative), electronic music and improvisation. In his work he tries to develop a language of understanding that can function across varieties of genres and musical expressions. He will be joined by fellow percussionists Tom Kolor and Steve Solook to perform his work, Out of Service – Ruthless Positions! (make them study, so they can be musicians) (2018) for percussion trio. Tomek Arnold writes very briefly about the piece, stating:

“There are times when you are forced to teach subjects that you don’t really believe in yourself. Writing a piece about it could be a solution to relieve some of the tension between artistic ideologies and teacher’s obligations.”

Harpist Rosanna Moore will be featured on two compositions for solo Harp; Harrison Birtwistle’s Crowd (2005) and Heinz Hollinger’s Sequenzen über Johannes I, 32 (1962). Originally hailing from the UK, award winning harpist Rosanna Moore is equally at home on stage as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. She was the first harpist ever to become a finalist in the Royal Northern College of Music’s Gold Medal Weekend (the highest accolade offered for solo performance), the first harpist to be awarded the Stan Barker Memorial Prize for jazz improvisation, and was placed third in Europe’s first Jazz and Pop Harp competition. More recently she was awarded the Robert Wayne Barlow Award for excellence in harp performance and was awarded third place in Tierra47’s pedal harp competition. Birtwiste’s Crowd is an exploration of resonance, and in the essential nature of the earliest harps. Crowd (etymologically related to the Celtic words crwth, cruit & crot) was the English term used for instruments of the lyre class, & ultimately for a frame harp  from pre-Christian to medieval times.

Harpist Rosanna Moore

The concert will close with a performance of John Cage’s composition for solo violin, Eight Whiskus (1985), by violinist Lynn Giam. The title of this work combines "Whistlin' is did" by Chris Mann (source text for the vocal version) and “Haikus.” In the original version for voice, Cage assigned syllables of the text to the notes of the F-minor scale. After consulting with Malcolm Goldstein, Cage reworked the composition "such that the vowel and consonant qualities of the poem are transformed into various bowing positions, gradations of bowing pressure, and forms of articulation.”

General Public Tickets: Online - $15 plus $2.18 fee and minimal credit card charge at (up to 90 minutes prior to concert time) or

In person, in advance - $19 at UB’s Center for the Arts (Tue-Fri, 12pm-6pm), At the door (one hour before concert time) - $22

Seniors/UB faculity, staff, alumni/non-UB students Tickets: Online - $10 plus $2.18 fee and minimal credit card charge at (up to 90 minutes prior to concert time) or

In person, in advance - $14 at UB’s Center for the Arts (Tue-Fri, 12pm-6pm), At the door (one hour before concert time) - $17

All UB students with a valid ID will receive one complimentary ticket to all UB Music Department events.