Monday, March 22, 2010

Roger Reynolds


Roger Reynolds, another frequent member of June in Buffalo's senior faculty, returns for this year's festival. His music will be performed by the Slee Sinfonietta on June 2 and by the Arditti Quartet on June 5. An influential teacher, his students include Michael Daugherty, Paul Dresher, and the Center's own David Felder.

Born in 1934 in Detroit, he studied music and science at the University of Michigan - a background that foreshadowed his subsequent explorations of advanced musical technology.  His aesthetic outlook was jointly shaped by the American Experimental tradition and - through his teachers Ross Lee Finney and Roberto Gerhard - also by the Second Viennese School. Reynolds refuses categorization, responding to the variety of the contemporary world with a uniquely diversified output - music now increasingly concerned with myth, text and space-ranging from the purely instrumental and vocal to involvements with computers, video, dance and theater. He is a member of the faculty at the University of California, San Diego, where he was the founding director of the Center for Music Experiment (now CRCA). Writing in The New Yorker, Andrew Porter called him "at once an explorer and a visionary composer, whose works can lead listeners to follow him into new regions of emotion and imagination." Among numerous other awards and commissions, he won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for his Whispers Out of Time for string orchestra.

Reynolds's music is widely recorded. Among the items in his discography is a portrait disc titled Three Circuitous Paths to the Music of Roger Reynolds, performed by the June in Buffalo Ensemble under Harvey Sollberger and Jesse Levine, and released in 2005 on the Neuma label. It includes Transfigured Wind III (flute, tape, and orchestra), Ambrages (solo flute), and Mistral (orchestra). Sadly, it's out of print, but you might find a copy if you're lucky.

Above: Roger Reynolds at June in Buffalo, 2004. Photo by Irene Haupt.

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