Monday, August 31, 2009

Gallery show

More than 150 images from the 2009 June in Buffalo festival are now on view at the Center's searchable photo gallery. They were taken by Irene Haupt, who has been chronicling the Center's activities since its inception, and capture JiB seminars, rehearsals, concerts, and assorted candid moments. Here, David Felder looks over a score in a master class with JiB Participants Andrew Ly, Christian Gentry, Matthew Schreibeis, Todd Tarantino and Eleanor Aversa.

They join the Center's ever-expanding library of images, which currently stretch back four seasons, with more to come.

Monday, August 24, 2009

20th-century Italian flute: a primer

The Center's 2009-10 season includes a number of concerts co-sponsored with UB's Slee Visiting Artist Series, offering topnotch performers and ensembles in a mix of 20th-century classics and current scores. Leading Italian flutist Roberto Fabbriciani comes to Baird Recital Hall on Friday, October 9 (7:30 pm), the ensemble Music from Copland House pays a visit on Friday, November 13 (7:30 pm at Lippes Concert Hall), and the NY-based Talujon Percussion Ensemble is coming in on Friday, March 19 (7:30 pm, Lippes Concert Hall).

The first visitor, Fabbriciani, has an impeccable artistic pedigree: he studied with the pioneering master Severino Gazzelloni, for whom Luciano Berio wrote his very first Sequenza in 1958. (Gazzelloni's flute students included another pioneer: jazz visionary Eric Dolphy.)

Fabbriciani himself has collaborated with a fairly staggering list of composers, including Berio, Bussotti, Cage, Carter, Donatoni, Ferneyhough, Krenek, Kurtág, Morricone, Nono, Pousseur, Rihm, Sciarrino, Stockhausen, Takemitsu, and Yun. His concert on Oct. 9 promises to offer a guided tour through the contemporary literature:

Bruno Maderna - Cadenza
Luciano Berio - Sequenza
Aldo Clementi - Fantasia su roBErto FABbriCiAni
Ennio Morricone - Cadenza
Franco Donatoni - Midi
Salvatore Sciarrino - Come venegono prodotti gli incantesimi
Luigi Nono - Das atmende klarsein, fragment

(Left: "Who's that with Roberto Fabbriciani?")

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

JACK plays a little Sharp

The JACK Quartet's open reading of student works on October 14 is part of a short residency that includes a concert the previous evening, Oct. 13, at Baird Recital Hall. JACK is particularly noted for its command of technically demanding avant-garde repertoire, and this program is an apt showcase for the group's skills. Their program opens with Iannis Xenakis's Tetora, also heard on JACK's new disc surveying all four of Xenakis's works for string quartet (Mode Records 209).

Next is Aaron Cassidy's String Quartet; on his website, the composer avers his "uncompromising dedication to instability and fragmentation." The world premiere of experimental composer Robert Morris's Arc follows.

After intermission, Italian master Salvatore Sciarrino's String Quartet No. 7 is heard; his music is noted for its use of extended playing techniques and sonorities that seem to skirt the edge of perception. The program closes with The Boreal by Elliott Sharp (right), an alumnus of UB's graduate composition program who has gone on to international renown in a variety of genres.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Welcome JACK

As noted below, the Center's 2009-10 season features visits by a tempting array of topnotch ensembles. On October 14, the NYC-based JACK Quartet will perform as part of the Center's Wednesday Composer Series, reading a selection of works by students in UB's composition program.

Lucky students! JACK - the name is an acronym derived from the first initials of its members, John Pickford Richards (viola), Ari Streisfeld (violin), Christopher Otto (violin), and Kevin McFarland (cello) - is rapidly gaining notice for high-energy performances of today's most demanding works for string quartet. The New York Times called the quartet's performance of Iannis Xenakis' complete string quartets one of the "most memorable classical music presentations of 2008," and in 2009, the group received an ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.

Commissioning and performing new works for string quartet is central to the group's mission, leading them to work closely with composers Helmut Lachenmann (who'll be visiting the Center in April), György Kurtág, Matthias Pintscher, Wolfgang Rihm, Elliott Sharp, Samuel Adler, and Aaron Cassidy. Upcoming premieres include works by Caleb Burhans, Peter Ablinger, and Alan Hilario.

Here's a clip of JACK playing the opening movement of New York composer Christian Amigo's String Quartet No. 1.