Thursday, February 16, 2012

Clarinetist Jean Kopperud pushes musical boundaries with a full schedule of tours, recordings, and commissions.

UB Clarinetist Jean Kopperud has just finished a lengthy recording session for her next CD release, Rated X II, an album featuring recent works she commissioned from some of the top composers in the new music scene. Jean, a Juilliard School graduate whose performances have been called “absolutely smashing” by the The New York Post, has already started premiering the commissions in venues around the country in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York.
Jean Kopperud

As a relentless explorer of the new and unknown, Jean chose five of the most innovative composers alive today to commission for the project. The album’s five new works are:  Louis Karchin’s Evocations, John Aylward’s Twin Suspension, Mathew Rosenblum’s Throat, Jeff Stadelman’s wills & wonts, and Yiorgos Vassilandonakis' X-asti. Jean explains some of her motivations for seeking out and commissioning music that breaks new ground, “I keep trying to get wilder in this conservative time. As a child of the ‘60s and ‘70s, I was influenced by a lot of the experimental and theatrical music going on at the time – I like to keep that sense of boundary-pushing alive.” Famed UB percussionist Tom Kolor joins Jean on the album, which will be released next Fall on Albany Records.

Several other projects are on Jean’s plate at the moment as well. She frequently performs and tours with The New York New Music Ensemble, an ensemble dedicated to finding new audiences for contemporary music that has commissioned over 120 new works from living composers and released over 20 recordings, and has been described by The New York Times as, "admirable for continuing to champion the more rigorous end of the contemporary repertory." Since 1976, they have traveled to Europe, Asia, and South America to perform, teach and record, and throughout their existence have branched out into theatre music, adventuresome electronic music, and readily embraced interactive new technologies. The New York New Music Ensemble has a plethora of exciting concert premieres coming up in April and May at the University of Pennsylvania, the College of Charleston, and Merkin Hall in New York City, which will include world premieres of Eric Chasalow’s On that Swirl of Ending Dust and Zhou Long’s Cloud Earth, as well as some slightly older favorites like GĂ©rard Grisey’s Vortex Temporum and Franco Donatoni’s Ave (visit NYNME’s website for the complete Spring schedule).  

The New York New Music Ensemble

The New York New Music Ensemble is also a veteran of the June in Buffalo Festival and will be returning this year to perform works by participating students and faculty composers: Robert Beaser, Jacob Druckman, Fred Lerdahl, Stephen Stucky, and David Felder. Details about this year’s June in Buffalo festival can be found at the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music’s website. NYNME has developed a reputation through the years for working closely with young composers at the festival and being willing to take on daring and experimental projects. After the festival, the ensemble will begin preparing for their tour to Cambodia for a 70th birthday celebration of the music of Grawemeyer Award-winning Cambodian composer Chinary Ung.

Below is a small excerpt of Jean performing David Felder’s Colleccion Nocturna with UB pianist Eric Huebner in Orlando, Florida, as part of the Timucua Arts Foundation White House Concert Series:

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