Tuesday, November 13, 2012

UB composers at Guadeamus Muziekweek!

We’re excited to report that UB composer Jacob Gotlib has been nominated to be a participant composer at Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2013, and has had his percussion duet Portrait Sequence (Blanching Out) chosen to compete for the prestigious Gaudeamus Prize. The University at Buffalo has a long history of composers being selected to compete for the Gaudemus Prize – first was Aaron Cassidy in 2002 with The Misprision of Transparency, for viola d'amore, and then Cassidy again in 2004, with his ten monophonic miniatures for solo pianist, then Robert Phillips in 2009, with his Mapauna mai kekahi (scent of another), for three players performing on various Hawaiian and percussion instruments, and more recently was Diana Soh in 2011, with her string quaret [Ro]ob[ta]ject[tions].   

Jacob Gotlib
More about Gadeamus Muziekweek 2013 from their blog:

“Thirteen compositions have been shortlisted for the Gaudeamus Prize 2013. Over 200 composers under the age of 30, hailing from 29 different countries, entered a composition in hopes of winning this much sought-after award. Now the jury, consisting of Peter Adriaansz (NL), Annelies van Parys (BE), and Dmitri Kourliandski (RU) has made its selection. At the end of the Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2013 it will determine the winner of the Gaudeamus Prize. All nominated works will be performed during Gaudeamus Muziekweek which runs from 1 through 8 September 2013 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

“Gaudeamus Muziekweek is an internationally renowned festival for young composers and new music. It takes place annually in various locations in the central Dutch city of Utrecht. Apart from the short-listed works, Gaudeamus Muziekweek features numerous other pieces by young composers, including the new composition commissioned by the festival from the winner of the Gaudeamus Prize 2012, Konstantin Heuer (born 1989). In addition, there will be discussions, meetings, and talks with composers as well as sound installations in unusual locations. Next year's program will be announced in June. Gaudeamus Muziekweek runs from 1 through 8 September 2013.

“The winner of the Gaudeamus Prize 2013 will receive €4,550 to write a composition for Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2014. Many composers dream of winning the prestigious prize that can help launch their international careers.”

We asked Jacob to talk a little about his piece:

Portrait Sequence (Blanching Out) is built around the question, what would happen if we did not strike percussion instruments, but instead allowed them to vocalize? Although it turns out that they can’t sing very well, with an affectionate touch, they can growl, snarl, wheeze, gasp, moan, and croak. Instruments that seemed literally far removed from innate, bodily music-making -- that were only as useful as far as they could be hit with a foot-long stick -- become prostheses for primal expression: visceral, ghastly, and heaving, but also fluent, articulate, and sensitive. The performers produce all the sounds in this piece by dragging, scraping, and scratching along the surface of the instruments with their fingers. You can see and hear some of these techniques in the promotional video I’ve made for the Gaudeamus festival.

“This piece was commissioned by and dedicated to the Crossfire Percussion Duo, Jason Bauers and Bob Fullex. It would have been impossible for me to write this piece alone. It’s rare that a composer gets to enjoy such a close collaboration, and I am deeply grateful to them for the countless hours of meetings, recordings, sight-readings through terrible sketches, and harried last-minute rehearsals over the course of many months that brought this music to fruition. The Crossfire Duo has performed the work several times now -- most recently this summer, inside the Marine A grain silos outside of downtown Buffalo as part of Torn Space Theater’s production American Grain.

“It’s an incredible honor to be nominated for the 2013 Gaudeamus Prize. I’m thrilled to be representing UB at this internationally prominent festival, just as Diana Soh (2011), Robert Phillips (2009), and Aaron Cassidy (2002 and 2004) have done in recent years. The fact that UB’s composers are regularly chosen to present their works in high-profile venues around the world says tremendous things about our program!”

Check out this terrific promotional video Jacob put together for Gaudeamus:

Also below is a video of an incredible performance of Portrait Sequence (Blanching Out) by the renowned Crossfire Percussion Duo:

Link to this post here.

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