Monday, October 1, 2018

Brad Lubman and Ensemble Signal pay tribute to Oliver Knussen

       Ensemble Signal will offer a tribute to recently deceased British composer and conductor Oliver Knussen on Monday, October 15th at 7.30 P.M. The concert will take place in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, in the University at Buffalo’s North Campus in Amherst. Conducting the ensemble will be, as usual, longtime friend of the Center Brad Lubman, for whom this will undoubtedly be an important evening, given his strong professional and personal connection to Knussen since he worked as his assistant at Tanglewood between 1989 and 1994.
       Signal will perform four works by the British composer, from different moments of his creative trajectory: Hums and Songs of Winnie the Pooh, for voice and ensemble, and Sonya’s Lullaby, for piano solo, are earlier works. The former was written in 1970 and later revised in 1983, whereas the latter is from 1979. The other two works, Secret Psalm, for violin solo, and Songs without Voices, for ensemble, are from the beginning of the ‘90s, a time in his career when more and more of his time was being devoted to conducting. Also included in the concert will be two pieces by composers much admired by Knussen: Triple Duo, by Elliott Carter, and Rain Tree Sketch II, by Toru Takemitsu.

(Ensemble Signal and Brad Lubman)

       As Buffalo audiences have had many chances to witness, Ensemble Signal’s presentations are synonymous with outstanding performances. The last two times they played at Lippes Hall, they offered memorable versions of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians and David Felder’s Jeu de Tarot. In this occasion they will lend their talents to a repertoire they are familiar with, since they have performed Knussen’s music before, including a portrait concert in the presence of the composer himself in 2013, at Miller Theater in New York City.
       Oliver Knussen was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1952, and not only was he an admired composer and conductor, but he reached that status at an early age. He was a musical prodigy, who conducted the London Symphony Orchestra—where his father was the principal double bass— when he was 15 years old to premiere one of his works, a later withdrawn Symphony No. 1. He studied with John Lambert from 1963 to 1969, and later with Gunther Schuller at the Tanglewood Music Center in the US, between 1970 and 1973.

(Oliver Knussen)

       As a composer, he worked slowly and deliberately, focusing on the smallest details and revising his work often until he was certain he was satisfied with it. Timbral and textural inventiveness are immediately noticeable characteristics of his music. Also, not strangely for someone who once described himself as an “unwilling grownup”, he had a penchant for working with children’s books. That is the case not just of his two operasWhere the Wild Things are and Higglety Pigglety Pop, both with libretti by their author, Maurice Sendakbut also of one of the works Signal will perform at the concert: Hums and Songs of Winnie the Pooh, based on the famous character created by A.A. Milne. Scored for soprano and five players, the piece begins with the episode where Pooh, assisted by a balloon, raids the Hunny Tree. Two of Pooh’s songs form the second and third movements. In the piece, the soloist shifts from passages of humming and nonsense texts, to elegiac melodic writing, to passages where the voice leaps about in a very high register. 
       Another piece to be performed at the concert, the piano solo Sonya’s Lullaby (1979), had for Knussen a more personal kind of connection to childhood. Its title makes reference to the composer’s daughter, mezzo soprano Sonya Knussen. The post-impressionist work makes prominent use of ostinatiespecially an ascending B-F diminished fifthand repeated notes, intercut with arpeggiated figuration. The other solo Knussen piece in the concert, Secret Psalm, for violin, often described as “meditative”, is a short work of decidedly solemn mood. The composer originally wrote it in 1990 to be played at a memorial concert for Michael Vyner, who had been the artistic director of the London Sinfonietta for many years. The piece was revised in 2003.

(Elliott Carter)

       The more recent work in the program, Songs without Voices, is a collection of four short pieces for a chamber ensemble of flute, English horn, clarinet, French horn, piano, violin, viola, and violoncello. According to the composer, three of the pieces are songs with poems set to the syllable, except that the melodies are sung by instruments rather than voices. The remaining piece is a melody written after Knussen heard of the death of Andrzej Panufnik, whom he greatly admired.
       To learn more about the importance of Oliver Knussen’s work and his example as a conductor, Edge of the Center recently contacted Brad Lubman -- this is what he had to say: “Olly was one of the most selfless conductors there ever was, completely at the service of the music and the performers. With his very clear and very musical technique, his mindbogglingly awesome ears, and very logical and musical rehearsal technique, Olly gave us revelatory performances by some of the great composers of the past and the recent past. Moreover, he tirelessly championed younger and lesser known composers, giving us striking performances and recordings which shall remain a vibrant legacy to some very important music of our time (including his own excellent and inspiring works of jewel-like, crystalline wonder). This sort of thing is a role model for all conductors. He had this incredible knack for being able to say two or three things to an orchestra or ensemble after only playing a few minutes at the first rehearsal, that would then enable the orchestra to understand exactly what would make things sound immediately better. He would make just a few comments and the orchestra would then grasp the style and then proceed to polish and refine things right away. With clear, precise, and musical rehearsal technique and baton technique, Olly would achieve the greatest results. It was a miracle to watch, especially with the fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra; he would get the most amazing results in no time at all. He would look through any score and be able to sum up what the piece was about, where the trickier parts might be, what would need more rehearsal time, what would come together easily… He just seemed to be able to know everything at just a glance.”

(Toru Takemitsu)

       Lubman also reflected back on Knussen’s qualities as a mentor: “He was able to objectively guide a young composer to find ways in which said composer could find their voice, or become themselves. He did this with the greatest amount of support and enthusiasm, always maintaining the most positive atmosphere.” The importance of Knussen’s own music was a subject Lubman was also eager to address: “Olly’s compositions all exhibit the highest possible level of craftsmanship, but also (and equally as important) the highest level of imagination, mystery, color, and engagement. His works are all like finely wrought crystalline jewels. He wrote music which is utterly mesmerizing, filled with magic, childlike wonder, and the most amazing colors, the most wondrous things you could imagine. His knowledge of instruments and orchestration was truly formidable, a true master. His sense of harmony (in both tonal and non-tonal realms) was absolutely amazing. He was one of the very few greatest composers of our time.”
       With respect to the relation between the Takemitsu and Carter pieces completing the program and their composer’s connection with Knussen, Lubman said: “I think the music of Carter and Takemitsu represented the two sides of Olly’s compositional thought processes and things he admired in general in contemporary music. There’s the allure and provocative nature of Takemitsu’s music, and then the dazzling narrative and sparkling surfaces of Carter’s intricate music. One can see and hear influences of both composers in Olly’s music (and very important influences from the music of Henze) as well as a kind of childlike sense of fantasy.”
       For details about tickets, visit Slee Hall’s website.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Case Scaglione joins the Slee Sinfonietta to conduct Berio and Copland

(Case Scaglione)

     Acclaimed conductor Case Scaglione is returning to UB on September 12 for the first concert of the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music’s fall season, which will consist of two essential pieces of 20th century repertoire: Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Luciano Berio’s Folk Songs. The works will be performed by the Slee Sinfonietta, featuring UB’s own soprano Tiffany DuMouchelle in Folk Songs. The concert will take place on Wednesday, September 12th, in the Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus in Amherst. As usual, tickets are available at the Slee Hall box office, (716) 645-2921, and more detailed information is provided at the end of this post.

       The Buffalo community has had the opportunity to see Maestro Scaglione perform at UB twice before: first in 2013, when he conducted a concert with music by Maurice Ravel, Edgard Varèse and Pierre Boulez, and more recently in 2016, when Dérive, by Boulez, was followed by two pieces by Arnold Schoenberg: his Opus 4, Verklärte Nacht  (Transfigured Night), for string sextet, and Pierrot Lunaire (Op. 21), for voice and chamber ensemble. Scaglione, who in the past has conducted prominent American and Asian orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, spent much of the 2017-18 season in front of the Oulu Symphony Orchestra, the Brussels Philharmonic, the Ulster Orchestra and the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, among other European institutions.

(Tiffany DuMouchelle)

       The two works featured in the program Scaglione will conduct during the September 12th concert are audience favorites from last century’s repertoire. However, their popularity is not all that Appalachian Spring and Folk Songs have in common. They are also works that engage with pre-existing music to a significant degree. And in both cases, rather than resort to themes from the classical tradition, Copland and Berio used prior melodies which have their origin in a genre that has become the epitome of folk and popular music in the West: the song. 

       Copland’s work, originally a ballet commissioned by Martha Graham, was written between 1942 and 1944, and received the Pulitzer Prize the following year. The composer later condensed the music, scored for a chamber ensemble of thirteen instruments, to create a suite for orchestra at the behest of conductor Artur Rodzinski. This orchestration retained all the essential features of the music, omitting those sections in which the interest was primarily choreographic. The Slee Sinfonietta will perform a version of the condensed suite scored for the original ensemble of thirteen instruments.

(Aaron Copland)

       The work is structured in eight sections, originally accompanying a choreographic action focused on different scenes in the life of a young couple in the Pennsylvania hills at the beginning of the 19th century. The seventh section—one of the highlights of the work—consists of five variations on a song known as “Simple gifts”, written by Joseph Brackett, a member of a Shaker community in Maine during the 19th century.  It is perhaps partly for its use of such willfully unassuming material, that Appalachian Springs has become an enduring symbol of Americana.

       Berio’s Folk Songs was composed in 1964 on a commission by Mills College. Although the composer would eventually write a version for full orchestra in 1973, the version to be performed during the upcoming concert is the original for chamber ensemble. The work was written for Cathy Berberian, an extremely versatile American soprano with whom the composer had a prolonged professional and personal relationship. They were, in fact, married for 14 years, and their collaboration resulted in some of the most important vocal works of the second half of the 20th century, such as Sequenza III, Recital I (for Cathy), Thema (Omaggio a Joyce), Circles and Epiphanie, in addition to the piece we are discussing.

(Luciano Berio)

       As we’ve mentioned above, in Folk Songs—possibly one of Berio’s best known works, together with the voices and orchestra piece Sinfoniathe composer makes use of a characteristic strategy: the recontextualization of pre-existing music. In this case, Berio selected European and American popular melodies from clearly defined musical cultures and built a subtle and imaginative orchestration supporting them. However, contrary to the title of the work, not all the songs Berio used are folkloric in a strict sense: the melodies of the first two—”Black is the colour of my true love’s hair” and “I wonder as I wander”were composed by John Jacob Niles, and Berio himself wrote the sixth and seventh songs—”La donna ideale” and “Ballo”—while he was a student at the Milan conservatory. The seven remaining songs do belong to the folklore of Armenia, France, Sicily, Sardinia and Azerbaijan. 

       The event is not to be missed, as it will surely offer exciting performances of these admired works.

General Public: $15 plus $2 fee online at Ticketfly (up to 90 minutes prior to concert time) $15 plus $4 fee by phone at 877-987-6487 (Ticketfly) $19 in person at UB's Center for the Arts (Tue-Fri, 12pm-6pm) $22 in person at the door (one hour before concert time) Seniors/UB fac, staff, alumni/non-UB students: $10 plus $2 fee online at Ticketfly (up to 90 minutes prior to concert time) $10 plus $4 fee by phone at 877-987-6487 (Ticketfly) $14 in person at UB's Center for the Arts (Tue-Fri, 12pm-6pm) $17 in person at the door (one hour before concert time) All UB students with a valid ID will receive one complimentary ticket to all UB Music Department events.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Center for 21st Century Music announces its 2018-2019 Season!

Take a quick look at our 2018-2019 Season, details below!

The Robert & Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music
Calendar of Events

Slee Sinfonietta

September 12, 2018
7:30 pm in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
Case Scaglione, Conductor
Luciano Berio – Folk Songs
Aaron Copland – Appalachian Spring

October 15, 2018
7:30 pm in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
The Slee Sinfonietta presents Ensemble Signal
Brad Lubman, Conductor

Oliver Knussen – Sonya’s Lullaby
Oliver Knussen – Hums and Songs of Winnie the Pooh
Elliott Carter – Triple Duo

– Intermission –  

Oliver Knussen – Secret Psalm
Toru Takemitsu – Rain Tree Sketch II
Oliver Knussen – Songs without Voices

Visiting Ensemble Series

November 6, 2018
UB Graduate Composer Workshop

November 7, 2018
7:30 pm in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
Program to feature the music of Samuel Andreyev, others

April 23, 2019
7:30 pm in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
Music by Cassidy, Lim, and Barrett

April 24, 2019
ELISION Ensemble
UB Graduate Composer Workshop

May 7/8 TBA, 2019
UB Graduate Composer Workshop

May 9, 2019
7:30 pm in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
Composer Portrait: David Felder
The Arditti String Quartet performs Third Face, Stuck-stücke, and Netivot
Violin Soloist Irvine Arditti joins Ensemble Signal for David Felder’s Violin Concerto Jeu de Tarot

(ELISION ensemble)

Visiting Composer Series

Olivier Pasquet, composer, music producer, and visual artist
Berlin, Germany
Fall 2018

Aaron Holloway-Nahum, composer, conductor, and sound engineer
London, UK
March 2019

Paris, France
May 3, 2019

(Stefano Gervasoni)

Co-Sponsored Events

A Musical Feast at the Burchfield Penney

Composers’ Workshop Band
February – May 2019
Final concert date TBA

June in Buffalo

June 3 – 9, 2019
David Felder, Artistic Director

Senior Composers:
Other, TBA

Resident Ensembles:

Special Guest:
(Ensemble Dal Niente)

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Celebrating 12 Years at the Center

After 12 years of existence, the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music has progressed from strength to strength. The Center is the support system for contemporary music at the University at Buffalo, providing financial, technical, and administrative support for the June in Buffalo Festival, Slee Sinfonietta, visiting composers, visiting contemporary music ensembles, and more.

Edge of the Center recently sat down with the Center’s artistic director, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Birge-Cary Chair in Music Composition David Felder, to reflect on the institution’s history. Founded in 2006, the Center for 21st Century Music was the culmination of two decades of behind the scenes administrative efforts on Felder’s part. Professor Felder took the first step towards the creation of the Center by reviving the then defunct June in Buffalo Festival, upon joining the music department’s faculty in 1985. In doing so, he also significantly transformed the festival’s format through the addition of opportunities for young composers to have their music played by professional performers. Moreover, this model of how to run a music festival would ultimately have a crucial influence on the wider contemporary music world; developed a few years earlier through Felder’s creation of the Summer Composer Institute at California State University-Long Beach, the model would later be replicated by dozens of music festivals worldwide.

Guest ensemble Signal performs David Felder's Tweener
The second step came in 1995, when Felder, as chair of the music department, created the Slee Sinfonietta, a chamber ensemble consisting of music performance faculty, advanced students, and professionals devoted to the performance of neglected and underrepresented repertoire of the present and past. The ensemble’s regular programming, collaborations with guest artists, recordings, and tours have contributed significantly to the department’s local, national, and international visibility. Given the difficulties of funding a chamber ensemble, the Sinfonietta was fortunate Robert and Carol Morris stepped up as donors in 1996 with substantial funds to support the ensemble’s performances.

The Morrises would later go on to become central donors to the Center for 21st Century Music following its creation in 2006. The Center’s creation with support from the College of Arts and Sciences established a robust support system for contemporary music at the university enabling the significant expansion of a guest artist series, inviting leading composers, soloists, and ensembles to share their talent and expertise not only with students and faculty in the music department but also with the general public of Western New York, enriching local culture.

Guest ensemble Signal performs David Felder's concert-length
Les Quatre Temps Cardinaux
Other components of the Center’s programming were also augmented correspondingly. The Slee Sinfonietta was able to present ambitious projects the likes of which are rarely realized outside of large coastal cities, such as the Slee Sinfonietta’s performance of large-scale modern chamber orchestra masterpieces like Pierre Boulez’s Pli selon Pli and Gyorgy Ligeti’s Piano Concerto, as well as regular appearances by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at June in Buffalo, in concerts devoted solely to music by living composers. These programming successes led to notice from national press outlets, such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

The Center’s financial support system also led to less overt but equally consequential improvements in the university’s infrastructure for contemporary art music. Equipment upgrades, for instance to the projection system in Baird Hall, including the addition of high quality surround sound, ultimately benefitted all students and faculty of the music department by improving the presentation of media featured in lectures, concerts, and classes. Purchase of new equipment, such as an eight-channel rig of Meyers speakers, mixing consoles, microphones, and so forth, supported first-rate realizations of cutting edge works involving technology. The Center’s funds also led to the creation of stable professional development funding for advanced students in composition and performance, such as the Enhancement Awards for PhD students, which supported travel to and attendance at prestigious national and international festivals, culminating in the creation of exchange partnerships with the Abbaye de Royaumont’s “Voix Nouvelles” (New Voices) Course for Young Composers in France as well as a partnership in development with the Norwegian Academy of Music. In these activities, the Center functions as catalyst for creativity and connection, providing a support system for innovative creative endeavors while facilitating the dissemination of content locally, nationally, and internationally.

The Center's artistic director, David Felder
As the Center’s outputs involves a broad spectrum of people, its continued support has likewise depended upon the generosity and hard work of numerous individuals. Felder says, “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to past Deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, Uday Sukhatme, Bruce McCombe, Bruce Pitman, to present Dean Robin Schulze, for their support of the Center’s activities. I’d also like to thank President (and previously Provost) Satish K. Tripathi, and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Charles F. Zukoski, whose support has been crucial to the Center’s thriving. Professor Felder notes that, in addition to university administrators, donors have played a crucial role in establishing and sustaining the Center. “I immensely value the friendship and generosity of Robert and Carol Morris,  and Brian Baird of the Cameron Baird Foundation, for their continuing support, and extend gratitude to long time funders of June in Buffalo such as the Copland Fund, the Ditson Fund, and the Amphion Foundation."

Behind the scenes, numerous music department staff have played important roles in the Center’s logistics, often behind the scenes: Dusti Dean (Assistant to the Chair) has mastered and managed the complex financial requirements inherent in administering the Center’s funds, while Christopher Jacobs (music technology director) has assisted in the realization of numerous works with complex audio technology requirements. Phil Rehard (Slee Hall concert manager) has provided essential assistance with concert production, while Devin Zimmer (piano technician) has brought great expertise and dedication to keyboard instrument maintenance.

J.T. Rinker, the Center’s first managing director, stepped down from this role in summer 2017. A composition PhD graduate of UB, J.T. oversaw the implementation of the Center’s projects, including everything from realizing complex live electronic set-ups, to all of the smallest tasks required to produce literally thousands of events dating back nearly two decades. “It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to J.T., and we wish him the very best,” says Felder.

Robert Phillips succeeds Rinker as managing director. Phillips also holds a composition PhD from UB; since completing his degree in 2012 he has been selected for competitive fellowships and residencies at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stiftung Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, and PACT Zollverein. The Center welcomes Robert on board as it continues to build on its record of substantive programming. When asked about his current activities at the Center, Robert remarked, “Of course there’s lots to do with all of the June in Buffalo applications rolling in, and plans are underway for the 35th anniversary of June in Buffalo in 2020!”

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Irvine Arditti: Reimagining String Instruments

The Center for 21st Century Music is delighted to welcome star new music violinist Irvine Arditti back to the June in Buffalo festival. It is difficult to overstate Arditti’s importance in the new music world: he has played a leading role as advocate for the creation of new works for string instruments. Between his activities as violin soloist and his role in founding (in 1974) and leading the Arditti Quartet, he is responsible for commissioning, premiering, and recording countless important works.

Numerous important violin solos and concerti have been written for Arditti, who has appeared as soloist with distinguished orchestras and ensembles such as the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Berlin Radio Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Paris, Philharmonia Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, Asko Ensemble, London Sinfonietta, and the Nieuw Ensemble. As leader of the Arditti Quartet, he has received additional accolades. The quartet’s recordings (over 200 albums to date) have received multiple Gramophone (“Grammy”) Awards and Deutsche Schallplattenpreisen, and a Coup de Coeur Prize and Grand Prix from the Academie Charles Cros in 2004; the group has played at most major new music festivals worldwide, and is the only ensemble to receive the Ernst von Siemens Prize for lifetime achievement.

Irvine Arditti at June in Buffalo 2015
Arditti has played a crucial role in reviving composers’ interest in string instruments. In the decades after WWII, interest in strings and in particular the string quartet waned, due in part because of their (negatively perceived) associations with “high” Western culture. This medium may have become obsolete were it not for the advocacy of the Ardittis—alongside the contemporaneous LaSalle, Berner, and Kronos Quartets—in encouraging living composers to write for the medium. Today, the string quartet medium is alive and well, with a vibrant scene of younger string quartets (including June in Buffalo resident ensemble MIVOS Quartet) and an ever-growing and accomplished repertoire of works by living composers of a wide range of aesthetic persuasions.

Irvine Arditti and the Arditti Quartet have long been closely connected to UB and the Center for 21st Century Music. The Center’s artistic director, SUNY Distinguished Professor David Felder, wrote all three of his string quartets for the group (the first one dates from 1987-88), who went on to play them at prominent new music festivals worldwide. His latest string quartet, Netivot, written for both the Arditti and JACK Quartets, was premiered by the Ardittis at June in Buffalo 2016. Thanks to the Center’s support, both Irvine Arditti and his quartet have been able to visit June in Buffalo with greatly increased frequency—the quartet was resident ensemble in 2007, 2010, and 2016, while Arditti was guest soloist in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017.

At this year’s festival, Irvine Arditti will perform a solo recital of works by senior faculty Roger Reynolds, Hilda Paredes, and Hans Thomalla—all of them long-time Arditti collaborators—on Thursday, June 7 at 7:30pm in Baird Recital Hall. The recital also includes a work by the late Portugese composer Emmanuel Nunes. The following Saturday, June 9, at 7:30pm in Slee Hall, Arditti joins Signal Ensemble to give the second full performance of Center artistic director David Felder’s violin concerto Jeu de Tarot which he premiered at the Center in November with Ensemble Linea.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

David Felder: Sustaining Cultural Ecosystems

As the final post of our series introducing senior composers featured at this year’s June in Buffalo festival, we introduce the festival’s artistic director David Felder, who is also SUNY Distinguished Professor, Birge-Cary Chair in Music Composition, and artistic director of the Center for 21st Century Music at the University at Buffalo. Felder revived the then-defunct festival in 1986, and has continued as its director ever since. It is no small accomplishment to keep an arts institution running for decades, and it is due in large part to Felder’s tireless (and often under-recognized) work that the festival not only continues but flourishes today. Active on multiple fronts—composition, pedagogy, arts administration, and curation—Felder has been able make uniquely impactful contributions to the field of contemporary art music. Through June in Buffalo alone, he has opened up countless opportunities for composers and performers—both student and professional—as well as enriched Western New York’s cultural ecosystem. The composer will present his own perspective on these activities in a public lecture on Monday, June 4 at 10am in Baird Hall.

This year’s festival features performances of three Felder works, ranging from early to recent. On Tuesday, June 5 at 7:30pm in Baird Hall, the MIVOS Quartet will perform Third Face, Felder’s first string quartet (1987-88). The piece has been performed by the Arditti Quartet at a number of significant European new music festivals and was subsequently praised by Andrew Porter of the The New Yorker: “After further hearings of it I admire it even more. It is lucid, but with a controlled wildness in its making.” The work’s title originates in Kobo Abe’s novel The Face of Another, wherein “the main character is a chemist/teacher whose face horribly disfigured when an experiment explodes. He is fitted with a ‘neutral’ mask and given the opportunity to select new features that will be accomplished through plastic surgery.” Felder “borrowed only the rough scenario” as a metaphor guiding the concatenation of melodic fragments into phrases.

On Saturday, June 9 at 7:30pm in Slee Hall, Signal Ensemble will give the second full performance of Felder’s new work Jeu de Tarot, a violin concerto featuring star new music violin soloist Irvine Arditti. The work was premiered last November by Ensemble Linea—who commissioned the work—during their residency at the Center. Arditti played the solo part in this performance as well, and the solo part was in fact composed in direct collaboration with the violinist. Felder says “I’d like to express my extreme gratitude to Irvine Arditti, who generously took time out of his hectic touring schedule to work closely with me while I composed this work.” The work’s title references the Tarot deck, and each of the work’s seven movements takes its title from a particular major arcanum of the Tarot deck. Each movement explores a “scene suggested by the rich symbology of the images upon the cards,” including images by Hieronymous Bosch and William Blake as well as the textual speculations of P.D. Ouspensky in his remarkable publication “A New Model of the Universe.”

William Blake, Tarot images
Finally, on Sunday, June 10 at 2:30pm in Slee Hall, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra presents a concert consisting entirely of music by living composers. The concert includes two movements from Felder’s Six Poems from Neruda’s “Alturas…”, based on the poetry of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. The work has the distinction of being the only American orchestral composition selected by the international jury of the International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM) in 1994 for performance at its festival in Sweden that year. It is fitting that the Buffalo Philharmonic will perform this piece, given that they premiered it in 1992, after New York State Council on the Arts commissioned the piece. The quality of the piece led Mode Records to release it on disc; the liner notes describe how

Like Neruda's cycle of twelve poems on which it is based, the music weaves together images and themes such as reverence for nature, cyclical aspects of regeneration, irresistible death and its accompanying transience of the individual against a background of the collective vastness of time. This is accompanied by a strong sense of individual isolation and alienation and a powerful feeling of loss and longing for a discovery of a greater identity.

June in Buffalo 2018 Announces Participant Composers

The June in Buffalo Festival is delighted to announce 23 accomplished emerging composers selected from a distinguished pool of applicants from four continents to participate in this year's festival. Their names are below, listed with information about their piece featured at the festival. 

Mathew Arrellin (Northwestern University): Cacodemonic for string quartet

Josiah Catalan (University of California Davis): Mirages for fl, vla, vc, perc

Kai-Young Chan (Chinese University of Hong Kong): Shimmers in the Shivery Moon for fl, cl, vn, vc, pf

Weijun Chen (University at Buffalo): Watercolors for fl/pic, ob/eh, cl/bcl, bsn, hn, timp, 2 perc, hp, pf, 2 vn, va, vc, db

Yi-Hsien Chen (University of California San Diego): Breathing In Memory for string quartet

William David Cooper (University of California Davis): Epilogue for fl, cl, ob, hn, tpt, trb, hp, pf, perc, 2vn, va, vc, cb

Nathan Courtright (University of Pennsylvania): No. 305 for string quartet

Flannery Cunningham (University of Pennsylvania): We are the same as we have always been for cl, electronics

Sean Doyle (American University): regarding "Reconciliation Elegy" for vn

Kyle Puebla Dubin (New York University): Under the Glacier for string quartet

Dylan Findley (University of Missouri Kansas City): Mind of Energy for bs cl, marimba

Yotam Haber (University of New Orleans): estro poetico armonico II for afl, bcl, vn, vc, pf

Angel Hernandez-Camen (New England Conservatory): Apanahuiayan for pf

Kyle Johnson (University of California San Diego): String Quartet 

Seoung Ae Kim (Stonybrook University (SUNY)):  #metoo for bs cl, perc

Su Lee (University at Buffalo): Nachruf für Nr. 503 for pf, hpschd, perc, org

Clay Mettens (University of Chicago): Without Air for fl db pic, va, vc, hp, perc

Ioannis Mitsialis  (University of California San Diego): Saturn for fl/pic, cl/bcl, trb, perc, pf, vn, vc 

Fernando Munizaga (Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris): Ondas Primarias for fl, cl, perc, pf, hp, cb

Alon Nechushtan (New England Conservatory): Three Places in New York for fl, cl, ob, bsn, hn, tpt, trb, hp, pf, perc, 2 vn, va, vc, cb

Kurt Nelson (Temple University): strttura assente for vn, va, vc

Reilly Spitzfaden (Eastman School of Music): Touch for vla solo
Kezia Yap (University of Sydney): a structure of silences: an exploration of (*) (ma) for afl, electronics