This week, in our series of profiles of June in Buffalo resident ensembles, we introduce Signal. A “new music dream team” (TimeOutNY) of players highly regarded as soloists in their own right, Signal continues its annual residency at June in Buffalo. The ensemble will present four works by faculty composers: ensemble works by David Dzubay and Eivind Buene, and violin concertos—with guest soloist Irvine Arditti—by Brian Ferneyhough and June in Buffalo director David Felder. The Felder piece will be a preview of a new work for solo violin and ensemble, featuring a few movements from what will eventually be a 25 minute multi-movement work. June in Buffalo audiences will recall the ensemble’s excellent performances in past festivals—for instance of Hans Abrahamsen’s Schnee in 2016, David Felder’s Les Quatre Temps Cardinaux in 2015, or Brian Ferneyhough’s Terrain (with Irvine Arditti) in 2013.
Founded in 2008, Signal has been recognized as one of the leading new music ensembles in the US. In the past, they have appeared at festivals and venues such as Lincoln Center Festival, Walt Disney Concert Hall, BIG EARS Festival, Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, Tanglewood Music Festival of Contemporary Music, Ojai Music Festival, Miller Theatre, (le) Poisson Rouge, Cleveland Museum of Art, the Wordless Music Series, and the Bang on a Can Marathon. The group has released nine albums to international, acclaim including a coveted Diapason d’Or and an appearance on the Billboard Classical Crossover charts. Emphasizing close collaboration with composers, the group has worked with many of today’s most well-known composers, including Steve Reich, Helmut Lachenmann, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Oliver Knussen, Hilda Paredes, and Charles Wuorinen.
Notable past projects have included stage works such as Steve Reich’s video opera Three Tales, David Lang, Michael Gordon, and Julia Wolfe’s video opera Shelter, and Lincoln Center Festival’s production of Monkey: Journey to The West, with music by Damon Albarn, directed by Chen Shi-Zheng. The ensemble has maintained a particularly close relationship with Steve Reich, giving a headline performance of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians and Radio Rewrite at the 2014 BIG EARS Festival in Knoxville, TN, and co-commissioning a new work for 19 musicians by Reich to be premiered during 2017. Signal’s current season has included events for Reich’s 80th Birthday at the Guggenheim and Miller Theatre, a concert curated by Reich at Carnegie Hall with works by Terry Riley and John Adams, and a portrait concert of Johannes Maria Staud at the Miller Theatre; the season closes with a revival of Ornette Coleman’s neglected chamber music and film music at the Lincoln Center Festival.
At this year’s June in Buffalo, the ensemble will be led by its long-time conductor Brad Lubman. Lubman. A leading conductor of new music, Lubman has appeared with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony, and major radio orchestras in France, Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands, and with many of the world’s leading new music groups, such as Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble MusikFabrik, Asko|Schönberg Ensemble Amsterdam, Ensemble Resonanz, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Chicago Symphony MusicNOW, and Steve Reich and Musicians. Currently on faculty at Eastman School of Music and the Bang on a Can Summer Institute, the conductor has premiered works such as Steve Reich’s Three Tales, Daniel Variations, Radio Rewrite, and Variations for Vibes, Pianos and Strings, and works by Helmut Lachenmann, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Philip Glass, Charles Wuorinen, John Zorn, and Hilda Paredes.