Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Inspiring and rewarding:" John Bacon Jr. on June in Buffalo


Composer/percussionist John Bacon, Jr. has been a mainstay of Buffalo's jazz and new music scenes since the 1980s. As a performer, his impressive resume includes stints with the Buffalo Philharmonic, trombonist Roswell Rudd, Bobby Previte's Voodoo Orchestra West, the Maelström Percussion Ensemble, and many others. His compositions have been performed by the Amherst Saxophone Quartet and violinist Leroy Jenkins, among others. He is now enrolled in UB's doctoral program in composition. John offers the following thoughts on June in Buffalo:

"I have been living in the Buffalo area and working as a professional musician for many years.  My involvement with June in Buffalo has been as a student in the 1980's, as a performer in the 1980's and 90's and as an audience member throughout most of the life of the festival.  I recall meeting David Felder at an early festival when he first arrived at UB. He was investigating some specifics about almglocken in B-1 Slee and I tried to help him as best I could. I remember performing in the percussion section with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra with Charles Wourinen conducting. I remember Steve Reich crediting the great Jazz drummer Kenny Clarke with being the inspiration for the rhythmic drive in his music.

"In 2009 I was finally able to participate as a composer. I have enjoyed all of my experiences with the festival and each of them holds something unique in my musical life, but participating as a composer was by far the most engaging of these experiences...You can't help but feel that the whole festival is happening for you.  The senior faculty  serve as mentors, inspiring and guiding the composers. The ensembles dedicate themselves to the wide variety of music. The staff organize and accommodate efficiently and effectively. The other composers bring their excitement and enthusiasm.  This mixture creates  an inspiring and rewarding experience.

"Last year I attended every event that the festival offered. Although quantity doesn't always equate with quality I must say that in this case, where the quality of every event is so high, seeing more of them is better... I am looking forward to this year's festival and again participating as a composer.  I will try to attend every event this year also.  I hope to see you there."

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