Thursday, December 3, 2009

From Copland's house to ours, part II

As noted below, Music from Copland House came to the Center in November for a well-received concert, preceded by a session in which the distinguished ensemble played through a trio of works by UB students. Michael Boriskin, the ensemble's pianist and Executive Director of Copland House, had this to say about the experience:

"All of us in the Music from Copland House ensemble had a really rewarding and enjoyable visit to UB for our all-too-short mini-residency in mid-November.  Besides our public concert celebrating the legendary Nadia Boulanger and her American students (including, most prominently, Copland himself) and several performance master classes for UB piano, wind, and string students, our activities on campus included our public reading of three strong new works by UB students:  (Dis)tenzione for clarinet and piano by Paolo Cavallone, the String Quartet No. 2 by Moshe Shulman, and Spate (Resonantia Machina) by Ethan Hayden. 

"Two things struck us about all three compositions, despite the fact that they were very different works, reflecting highly diverse idioms, objectives, character, and creative approaches.  They all had very distinctive musical profiles and artistic personalities, and were solidly, expertly crafted.  Paolo’s delicate work had a very definite European sensibility, inhabiting an ethereal, mysterious sound world.  Moshe’s wide-ranging quartet explored all kinds of musical gestures and was full of flamboyant and dramatic flourishes, sometimes complemented by the percussive sounds of tapping instruments and stamping the floor!  Ethan’s short but dramatic composition was a driving, rhythmically spiky study of massed or opposing instrumental lines and sonorities, interrupted by a brief spare, serene interlude.  Our individual and collective suggestions about these works generally involved instrumental possibilities and minor technical or expressive refinements, as well as issues regarding how composers interact (through their works) with their performers and their audiences. 

"We really wished we could have spent more time with all these works and their composers, just as we were sorry we weren’t able to stay longer at UB.  We’re very grateful to our hosts, David Felder, Carol and Bob Morris, the UB Music Department, and the Center for the Study of 21st Century Music, for making our visit possible.  UB’s illustrious history supporting the music of our time is well known.  As performers who, both individually and representing Copland House, enthusiastically champion contemporary composers and America’s rich musical heritage, we were thrilled to see how UB’s vibrant legacy continues to thrive so impressively!"

BTW, this coming Sunday (Dec. 6), Music from Copland House is presenting a talk called "Off the Record" by Alex Ross, taking place at Copland House at Merestead, Mt. Kisco, NY.  Further information available here.

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