Saturday, November 26, 2011

Flutist Barry Crawford's many activities at UB and around the world...



University at Buffalo Flute Professor Barry Crawford currently tours as a flutist in countries all around the world (20 countries to date), performs a wide range of repertoire ranging from 19th century salon music to contemporary music’s thorniest and most demanding works, regularly releases recordings as a member of several top ensembles, and teaches a full flute studio here at UB. Early next year, Barry will perform in festivals in Europe and New York City before returning to participate with the Slee Sinfonietta in June in Buffalo 2012.
Barry Crawford

In January, Barry will be performing with the renowned Talea Ensemble at the Chamber Music America Conference in New York City. The group will be premiering a new work by John Zorn, bateau ivre, in a program filled with pieces by New York City’s major composers. Shortly after the conference, Barry will travel to Iceland to perform in Iceland’s Dark Music Days Festival with Poetica Musica, an ensemble of musicians that are currently Artists-in-Residence at Old Westbury Gardens in Long Island. The Dark Music Days Festival is named after the four-hour days that occur in Iceland during the winter, and will feature some of Scandinavia’s top musicians and composers (more info here). Barry will perform in many concerts throughout his time there, and will star as the soloist in David Felder’s November Sky, for flute and electronics.

One of Barry’s most active groups is the Manhattan-based Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, who perform a 20-week season and 40 gigs a year, and usually play in front a sold-out audience. The group enjoys resurrecting the sometimes forgotten repertoire from the 18th and 19th century – often picking pieces which have no available recording to reference and delving into the challenging work of interpreting the music and making it their own. One of the forgotten gems from the Romantic era, Aldabert Gyrowetz’s Flute Quartet, has been featured on their program and is one of Barry's personal favorites. Much of the music from that time was too instrumentally virtuosic to be regularly included in concerts, and provides a perfect opportunity for a chamber group of today to hone their skills for bringing pieces to life that lack the incredibly refined performance practice of Haydn or Schubert. The group is partly named after the late Jens Nygaard and his Jupiter Symphony, and as the New York Times puts it, mimics his “[inspiring] determination to explore rarely heard early works by Mozart and present virtually unplayed music by 19th-century composers like Louis Spohr, Ethelbert Nevin and Carl Czerny.” The Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players worked with Jens Nygaard often and continues to perform regularly to carry on his vision as a conductor and curator.

Barry has high praise for the Department of Music at UB, calling it, “an absolute pleasure to play here, with so many top new music performers to play with and a lot of really terrific opportunities to perform with the Slee Sinfonietta.” He is very active in the department, and leads the music department’s flute ensemble Plosion, who have recently commissioned and premiered works from UB graduate composers Juan Col√≥n-Hernandez, Ethan Hayden, and Chun Ting Pang. Plosion plays not only at venues in the music department, but at the Student Union and other venues around campus, bringing new music to students and faculty all around the campus community. Barry’s flute studio, which now has several students wait-listed to get in, has been quite successful, with undergrads and graduates performing regularly in competitions and festivals in Italy, the Czech Republic, and elsewhere around the world.

You can listen to Barry perform on a recent recording of Three Romances, by Milos Raickovich, now available on iTunes, as well as on a CD of Gabriela Frank’s music with Ensemble Meme, soon to be released on Albany Records (available here). 

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