Friday, April 30, 2010

June in Buffalo concert schedule now posted!

Now available at the Center for 21st Century Music's official site, the complete schedule of concerts for June in Buffalo, including works by participating composers. As noted previously, a distinguished array of performers and ensembles will be on hand, including the Arditti QuartetSignalEnsemble LaboratoriumEnsemble SurPlus, and as always, the Slee Sinfoniettaand the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. All concerts are open to the public, and many are free. With thirteen new music concerts in seven days, June in Buffalo offers an exceptionally rich experience for insiders and casual listeners alike. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Olivier Pasquet

Wrapping up our series of posts introducing the senior faculty of June in Buffalo 2010, we present French electro-acoustic composer Olivier Pasquet. Noted for his multimedia collaborations, Pasquet will give two workshops during the festival as well as presenting his own work.  His workshops will explore Computer Aided Composition, demonstrating techniques for using computers to develop both electronic and acoustic pieces.

"Writing electronic music may seem like an easy task at first," says Pasquet. "All who have tried have realized that there is a difference between writing a piece that sounds either amateurish or too commercial and creating something truly unique. Electronic music is supposed to be opening new horizons towards melodic and rhythmic structures that are not limited by physical properties of natural instruments and its musicians. One can argue though, that the removal of all such intermediaries brings the composer a step closer to the ultimate barrier. Of course, we’re talking about inspiration.

Pasquet's own compositions will be heard as well, among them a work for voice and computer, and a collaborative project titled Haxan in which he and Mauro Lanza created a soundtrack for the early Swedish silent film of the same title. Here one can glimpse a bit of City of Flowers, an installation that "invites one to discover a poetic representation of the city."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A few words from a newcomer

Composer Hannah Lash, a PhD candidate at Harvard, is attending June in Buffalo for the first time this year. Hannah is a rising figure on the new music scene, with performances at the Times Center, Chicago Art Institute, Tanglewood Music Center, Harvard University, and on the American Opera Project's stage in New York City. She has written pieces for such artists and ensembles as the Arditti Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer, and Ensemble NEM. Her recent orchestral work, Leave, was selected to be performed by Harvard University's Composer's Orchestra.

"I applied to June in Buffalo because it's solely dedicated to new music and specifically geared to emerging composers," says Hannah.  "Younger composers have the opportunity to share their music in masterclasses with an array of established composers. There are concerts every night featuring the music of the composers in residence at the festival. 

"I look forward to meeting many colleagues with whom I might not have contact otherwise, sharing my music with them, and hearing their work.  I'm also looking forward to interacting with the composers in residence, some of whom are former teachers of mine; it will be fun to reconnect. 

"Also exciting for me is a performance I'll have of my recent piece for Pierrot ensemble: A Matter of Truth.  The fact that this performance is not a premiere makes it almost more interesting for me; I had a wonderful premiere of it by Talea this past spring, and I'm fascinated to discover how another performance may differ and how other performers might interpret the piece. 

"This brings me to another very important reason why I applied to JiB, and that is the resident ensembles.  I've worked with the Arditti Quartet in the past, and also the Buffalo Philharmonic in a reading, but the rest I have not yet had the chance to meet.  Although not all of them will be playing my music, I'm really excited about the opportunity to meet and talk with them, and find out what each one is all about."

(Photo: Noah Fowler)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This year's June in Buffalo participants: some demographics

Year after year, June in Buffalo draws emerging composers from around the globe, offering an ideal opportunity to exchange ideas and network with colleagues in other territories.

Applications were submitted by some 90 composers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, the UK, and of course the USA. This year, about a third of the JiB applicants were accepted.

American conservatories were represented by the Juilliard School, Peabody Institute, Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, among others.

Universities included Columbia, Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Diego, Chicago, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, plus scores of others. Foreign institutions included the National Conservatory of Paris, Hochschule fur Musik und Theater Hamburg, Robert-Schumann-Hochschule, Duesseldorf, the Conservatory Vincenzo Bellini in Parlermo, Universities of Huddersfield and Brunel (UK), Wilfrid Laurier and Montreal (Canada), Trinity College Dublin, and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

Many participants find June in Buffalo to be an eye- and ear-opening experience, as they encounter composers whose aesthetic views diverge widely from the ones they cherish. Lively discussions -- whether in seminars or in late-night bull sessions over pitchers of beer and authentic Buffalo chicken wings -- can often prove illuminating, and the bonds formed in these encounters can last for decades.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A(nother) Musical Feast

We're taking a short break from June in Buffalo business to mention an upcoming concert co-presented by the Center for 21st Century Music and Buffalo's chamber music series, A Musical Feast. Taking place at the Burchfield-Penney Arts Center on April 15 (7 pm), the typically diverse program includes Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien, played by duo-pianists Claudia Hoca and Phyllis East; Schubert's well-loved String Quintet in C Major, with an ensemble led by series director Charles Haupt; and David Felder's November Sky for solo flute and tape, with Barry Crawford on flute. 

The latter work, composed in 1992, was released on an all-Felder Bridge Records CD that earned the title "Disc of the Year" (chamber music) from the American Record Guide, and landed on the Buffalo News Best of Year list as well. That recording is available through Amazon and iTunes, among others. Reviewing a live performance, Paul Griffiths wrote, "November Sky, a duet for flutist and computer, descending from piccolo screams to the cool dark of the bass flute...showed the importance to a composer of being around performers."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Inspiring and rewarding:" John Bacon Jr. on June in Buffalo

Composer/percussionist John Bacon, Jr. has been a mainstay of Buffalo's jazz and new music scenes since the 1980s. As a performer, his impressive resume includes stints with the Buffalo Philharmonic, trombonist Roswell Rudd, Bobby Previte's Voodoo Orchestra West, the Maelström Percussion Ensemble, and many others. His compositions have been performed by the Amherst Saxophone Quartet and violinist Leroy Jenkins, among others. He is now enrolled in UB's doctoral program in composition. John offers the following thoughts on June in Buffalo:

"I have been living in the Buffalo area and working as a professional musician for many years.  My involvement with June in Buffalo has been as a student in the 1980's, as a performer in the 1980's and 90's and as an audience member throughout most of the life of the festival.  I recall meeting David Felder at an early festival when he first arrived at UB. He was investigating some specifics about almglocken in B-1 Slee and I tried to help him as best I could. I remember performing in the percussion section with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra with Charles Wourinen conducting. I remember Steve Reich crediting the great Jazz drummer Kenny Clarke with being the inspiration for the rhythmic drive in his music.

"In 2009 I was finally able to participate as a composer. I have enjoyed all of my experiences with the festival and each of them holds something unique in my musical life, but participating as a composer was by far the most engaging of these experiences...You can't help but feel that the whole festival is happening for you.  The senior faculty  serve as mentors, inspiring and guiding the composers. The ensembles dedicate themselves to the wide variety of music. The staff organize and accommodate efficiently and effectively. The other composers bring their excitement and enthusiasm.  This mixture creates  an inspiring and rewarding experience.

"Last year I attended every event that the festival offered. Although quantity doesn't always equate with quality I must say that in this case, where the quality of every event is so high, seeing more of them is better... I am looking forward to this year's festival and again participating as a composer.  I will try to attend every event this year also.  I hope to see you there."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Announcing this year's participants!

Here's the list you've been waiting for: the emerging composers who have been invited to participate in June in Buffalo 2010. As always, each of the invited composers will have one of his/her pieces performed during the festival. We invite you to check out their websites, Myspace pages, Twitter feeds, etc...links below.

Shawn Allison
John Bacon, jr.
Daniel Bassin
Shiuan Chang
Chun Ting Pang 
Carl Christian Bettendorf
Juan Garcia Escudero
Ray Evanoff
Matthew Goodheart
Jacob Gotlib
Joshua Groffman
Matthew Heap
Huck Hodge
David Hudry
Emily Koh
Jordan Kuspa
Joseph Lake
Peter Van Zandt Lane
Hannah Lash
Felipe de Almeida Ribeiro 
Mischa Salkind-Pearl
Benjamin Scheuer
Diana Soh
Gabriele Vanoni
Christopher Walczak
Ashley Wang
David Wightman
Stephen Wilcox
William Zuckerman