Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Musical Feast 2012-2013 season opens with Julia Bentley, Kuang-Hao Huang, and the LehrerDance Company!

We at the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music are happy to be co-sponsoring Child’s Play for Adults, the opening concert of the 2012-2013 A Musical Feast season in the Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium of the Burchfield Penny Art Center, on Friday, November 9, at 8:00 p.m. The evening will showcase members of Western New York’s very own LehrerDance Company, who have been called "Stunning" by the Buffalo News, and "Breathtaking" by Dance Magazine, and are getting ready to embark on their Russian tour next month. Mezzo-soprano and longtime friend of the Center Julia Bentley will also be featured extensively throughout the concert, alongside pianist Kuang-Hao Huang. The concert has an exciting program of music and dance works by John Cage, André Caplet, Edward Lear, Oskar Morawetz, and Buffalo-based composer John Bacon.

Artistic Director: Charles Haupt, Prof. Ann Colley
 Jon Lehrer and LehrerDance Company

The Buffalo Artvoice’s Jan Jezioro provides some background on Bacon’s piece, The (Electronic) Playground, which will appear in the concert’s program notes, “While The (Electronic) Playground was composed in 2007 for a sound improviser/performer, who may also be a percussionist, it may also be performed by more than one artist, as in the case of this performance by the Fredonia Faculty Percussion Quartet. The score is a colored time grid, with the colors corresponding to the construction of the instrument, or means of sound production. The musical ideas that are played on the instruments are the performers' choice. The piece is titled The ‘Electronic’ Playground, if electronic sounds or electronic manipulation of the sounds are used in a particular performance.”

Check out the complete press release for Child’s Play for Adults below, we look forward to seeing you there!

LehrerDance Company in action

Child’s Play for Adults

Enjoy a slice of ‘Amblongus Pie’: Music, Dance, Verse and Song

The independent, cutting-edge musical group known as ‘A Musical Feast’ launches its 2012-2013 season on Friday, November 9 at 8pm, co-sponsored by the University at Buffalo’s "Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music" in its home in the acoustically superior Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium of the Burchfield Penny Art Center. With this program, which features a decidedly high whimsical content, ‘A Musical Feast’ may well surpass its well-earned reputation for presenting uniquely eclectic combinations of music from a very wide range of eras, along with poetry and dance. Special guests for the concert include the Chicago-based mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley and her collaborative pianist Kuang-Hao Huang, along with the members of the LehrerDance Company, the finest interpreters of modern dance in Western New York, just prior to their Russian tour this December.

This event is focused on celebrating the undying spirit of childhood, both in children and adults, and also honors the bicentennial of the birth of the English author, illustrator and poet Edward Lear (1812-1888), best remembered for well-loved examples of nonsense poetry and prose. SUNY Distinguished Professor Ann C. Colley is the literary advisor for this event which will include Julia Bentley offering her own interpretation of examples from Lear’s ‘Nonsense Cookery’ including recipes from his 1870 ‘Nonsense Gazette’, such as “Take 4 pounds (say 4 1/2 pounds) of fresh Amblongusses, and put them in a small pipkin.”

This year also marks the centennial of the birth of composer John Cage (1912-1992), a genuine American maverick, who, it is safe to say, never lost the spirit of childhood during his long and very influential career. Cage’s 1942 work, Four Dances was originally composed for wordless tenor voice, prepared piano, handclap and percussion. The piece was subsequently re-titled Four Dances, and this rare performance of the re-titled work by mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley and pianist Kuang-Hao Huang will feature an original choreographic interpretation by the LehrerDance Company.
Bentley and Huang will also perform three other sets of songs, including Cage’s Songs for Contralto and Piano, an early work from 1938 based on the poetry of the iconoclastic American poet ee cummings, as well as French composer André Caplet’s 1919 work Trois Fables de Jean de la Fontaine, a setting of texts by the French Renaissance fabulist Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695). Rounding out the vocal portion of the program will be an area premiere performance of Czech-born Canadian composer Oskar Morawetz’s 1984 work, Souvenirs of Childhood, based on poetry from Robert Louis Stevenson’s beloved collection A Child's Garden of Verses. Also on the program, appropriately enough, Buffalo-based composer John Bacon will perform his 2007 work  The Electronic Playground” with the Fredonia Faculty Percussion Quartet, Kay Stonefelt, Tiffany Nicely. Matthew Wilson, percussion and electronics.

Tickets: $20; Burchfield Penny members/students: $10. Phone: 878-6011. Information:, or:

Link to this post here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Performer Profile: Violinist Yuki Numata

We've been enjoying having Yuki Numata in town for rehearsals for the Second Fall Slee Sinfonietta concert on Tuesday, October, 30, at 7:30 p.m. Wildly praised by the New York Times as a violinist with “virtuosic flair and dexterous bravery,” Numata is rapidly gaining attention as a charistmatic virtuoso, having performed frequently as a soloist with our own Slee Sinfonietta, the New World Symphony, the Wordless Music Orchestra, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and the Eastman Philharmonia Orchestra. Numata was recently invited to perform Charles Wuorinen’s Rhapsody with the Tanglewood Orchestra, and, at the composer’s request and as a last minute replacement, she performed Wuorinen’s Spin Five with The Slee Sinfonietta. 

Yuki Numata

A few words from Numata’s impressive biography:

“Yuki has an avid interest in new music and as a result, has had the opportunity to work closely with some of today’s foremost composers. These include Charles Wuorinen, Steve Reich and John Zorn. At the Tanglewood Music Center, Ms. Numata was invited to be a New Fromm Player, focusing specifically on the performance of contemporary chamber music repertoire. Yuki holds a great deal of respect for composers of her own generation and has collaborated with many of them including Jeff Myers, Caleb Burhans, Nico Muhly, Andrew Norman and Timothy Andres.

“Additionally, Yuki is an active freelancer and has performed with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), the String Orchestra of New York City (SONYC), Alarm Will Sound, Signal, East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) and counter)induction. In true New York freelancer style, she wears many hats and has played and/or recorded for bands and artists including Passion Pit, The National, Grizzly Bear, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Max Richter. Yuki was a featured soloist on the Duncan Theater’s 2009-2010 season and has appeared at numerous summer festivals including Music in the Vineyards, Tanglewood, Music Academy of the West and The Banff Centre.

Yuki Numata 

“Born in Vancouver, Canada, Yuki received a Bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan. Her principal teachers include Andrew Jennings, Zvi Zeitlin and Gwen Thompson. Yuki completed a three-year fellowship at the New World Symphony, has served on the faculty of the University at Buffalo and currently resides in New York City.”

Recently, our own University at Buffalo graduate composer Robert Phillips had the opportunity to work with Numata on his piece Shindō no su, for flute, bass clarinet, keyboard + laptop, glockenspiel, violin, viola, and cello. Shindō no su was performed by the Talea Ensemble as part of the Harvard University Summer Composition Institute last August, and conducted by Eduardo Leandro. Robert reports, “Yuki is absolute magic on the violin. She has an incredibly powerful musical imagination and delves into pieces with fierce interpretive rigor, energetically exploring new works with profound curiousity and openness, and shows up at rehearsals with exciting ways of being in the music. She breathed fluidity, dynamism, and fire into Shindō, much of which I had never imagined, and I am very grateful to her for that.”

Come see Yuki Numata perform with visiting hornist Adam Unsworth, UB pianist and New York Philharmonic pianist-in-residence Eric Huebner, and the rest of the Slee Sinfonietta this Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Slee Sinfonietta
Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 7:30 pm
Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
Daniel Bassin, conductor
Yuki Numata, violin
Adam Unsworth, horn
Eric Huebner, piano

Ticket information can be found here

Link to this post here

Hornist Adam Unsworth performs with the Slee Sinfonietta!

We’re excited about our Second Fall Slee Sinfonietta concert coming up on Tuesday, October 30, at 7:30 p.m., and are happy to have received a thoughtful write-up in this week’s Buffalo Artvoice by Jan Jezioro, which is largely about the evening’s conductor Daniel Bassin, “Now in his third academic year as the UB Symphony Orchestra’s music director, Daniel Bassin enjoys his hectic schedule of music making. In addition to his duties as the UBSO music director, Bassin has also been conducting some very challenging works on this season’s Slee Sinfonietta series, yet he also somehow manages to find the time to perform often as a trumpeter with jazz ensembles in venues throughout the city. And he does this all while pursuing his PhD in musical composition at the University.” Read the entire article here.

We thought we'd do a little profile on french hornist Adam Unsworth, who will be joining us for the evening, hailing all the way from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His ensemble, the Adam Unsworth Ensemble, has recently released two CDs, Next Step, and Excerpt This!, which received rave reviews, including a terrific piece in All About Jazz, by Ken Kase, "Unsworth's debut recording does what the best jazz should do by asking questions, shunning orthodoxy and predictability and having a few laughs along the way. His virtuosity is undeniable... Unsworth and his group have created something rare and distinctive." Read more about Unsworth's work here

Next Step by the Adam Unsworth Ensemble

Some background on Unsworth from his extensive biography:

“Adam Unsworth is Associate Professor of Horn at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Prior to his joining the faculty at Michigan, he spent nine years as a member of the horn section of The Philadelphia Orchestra and three years in the Detroit Symphony. Adam has appeared as a recitalist and clinician at many universities throughout the United States, and has performed repeated solo and chamber concerts at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall. He is the leader of his own jazz group, the Adam Unsworth Ensemble, which recorded the critically acclaimed CD, Excerpt This! and now has completed a second recording, entitled Next Step. The group embarked on its first U.S. tour in October 2007.

Next Step, the Adam Unsworth Ensemble's 2008 release, is a culmination of work done after his leaving the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2007, a move made in order to devote more time and energy to teaching and creative endeavors. It features new Unsworth compositions for jazz quintet of horn, woodwinds, vibraphone, bass, and drums, and two original works by multi-woodwind virtuoso Les Thimmig.

“In 2006, Unsworth released Excerpt This!, a groundbreaking recording for the French horn that looks to redefine the virtuosic boundaries of the instrument. Highlighted on the CD are five of Unsworth's compositions for jazz sextet. The instrumentation of horn, violin, alto flute, bass clarinet, vibraphone, bass, and drums is unique and creates a texture that truly embodies the term chamber jazz. Joining Unsworth on Excerpt This! are Philadelphia jazz greats Tony Miceli, Diane Monroe, Ranaan Meyer, and Cornell Rochester, as well as Les Thimmig from Madison, WI. In addition to the works for sextet, the CD includes unaccompanied jazz works for horn by Unsworth, Les Thimmig, and Dana Wilson.”

Adam Unsworth, Yuki Numata, and Eric Huebner,
rehearsing György Ligeti's Trio for horn, violin, and piano,
in UB's Slee Hall, 

Rehearsals over the weekend have been going swimingly, as Maestro Bassin recently tweeted, “Great 1st rehearsal of Feldman's "De Kooning" - my first time conducting his music! These musicians are fantastic! #SleeSinfonietta10/30/12”

Slee Sinfonietta
Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 7:30 pm
Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
Daniel Bassin, conductor
Yuki Numata, violin
Adam Unsworth, horn
Eric Huebner, piano

Ticket information can be found here

Link to this here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Slee Sinfonietta performs seminal 20th century works!

Our September Slee Sinfonietta concert was a great success and enjoyed a huge turnout, and received a very thoughtful write-up in the Buffalo News by Daniel J. Kushner. We’re already gearing up for the second Fall Slee Sinfonieta concert, which will take place on Tuesday, October 30, at 7:30 p.m., in Lippes Concert Hall. Maestro Daniel Bassin will be conducting some of the most seminal works of 20th century chamber music, and will be joined by violinist Yuki Numata, hornist Adam Unsworth, and pianist Eric Huebner.

Daniel Bassin conducting David Rappenecker's Emergence

Morton Feldman - De Kooning
György Ligeti - Trio for horn, violin and piano

--- intermission ---

Pierre Boulez – Notations 8, 3, 9
Karlheinz Stockhausen - Kreuzspiel
Tristan Murail - Vues aeriennes
Witold Lutosławski - Dance Preludes

We sat down with Daniel Bassin and asked him about the program, how the pieces fit together, and if he could give us a sneak preview of the music in store for us: 

“They’re all major works, each and every one on the program, but the biggest work is Ligeti’s Trio for horn, violin, and piano, which Ligeti considered to be the first work of his late period, and which represents the culmination of the musical ideas he had been working with during the late 60s and 70s, and a maturation into a lyrical and autumnal style. On the other hand, there is Stockhausen’s Kreuzspiel, which Stockhausen said he considered to be his first true composition – he felt that this was his first work that wasn’t a study or copying someone else’s style, but was a true composition of his own. And we added to the program three of Boulez’s twelve Notations, for piano, written when Boulez was only 20 years old, but which present a nice context for hearing the Stockhausen, in terms of the composers’ treatment of the piano, and the techniques they employed related to total serialism. Bookending the concert are pieces by Feldman and Lutoslawski, both of whom are experiencing something of an anniversary – 2012 being the 25th anniversary of Feldman’s passing, and 2013 will be the 100th anniversary of Lutoslawski’s birth.*

“Morton Feldman’s De Kooning is a piece of chamber music with the unique instrumental combination of muted french horn, violin, cello, percussion (crotales, vibraphone, chimes, tenor drum, and bass drum), and piano/celeste. It was originally written to accompany a film on Feldman’s friend, the 20th century painter Willem de Kooning, created by German-American director Hans Namuth. Feldman once remarked of de Kooning’s work, that at first impression it seemed as if his canvases were painted quickly, but when watching de Kooning paint, he saw that he was painstakingly deliberate and slow, and I think the piece, in a way, mimics de Kooning's process. In Feldman’s composition, the individual instrumental tones succeed one another without regard to metric pulse, but rather with a cryptic instruction from the composer that each sound only begin when the preceding one starts to fade away. 

“The concert closes with the third version of Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski’s Dance Preludes.  The piece was originally written for clarinet and piano, and was derived from Polish folk dances and melodies. In an intervening version, Lutoslawski developed the work into a concertante version featuring the clarinet as soloist, however, in this final version composed for the group Czech Nonet, the composer treats the four string players and members of the woodwind quintet equally, while creating chamber orchestral textures which point forward to his more mature symphonic work.While the works in the program by Stockhausen, Boulez, and Ligeti each mark important turning points in those composer’s compositional output, it is with this final arrangement of the Dance Preludes that Lutoslawski made the artistic decision to abandon the folk arrangements and transcriptions that he had previously been compelled to write as a Soviet-era composer.

“The concert will also feature the composition Vues Aeriennes, by a Darmstadt composer from a later generation, Tristan Murail. In this work, the composer seeks to depict an object – in reality a set of musical processes – in four different qualities of light. Murail breaks it down into four movements: 1. morning light (clear light, very obtuse angles, maximum distortion), 2. light in the rain (soft-focus effect, softer angles, slighter distortion), 3. midday light (brilliant light, frontal view, no distortion), and 4. evening light (warm light, long shadows, heavy distortion). The horn player, throughout the four movements, travels an arc across the stage – he begins off stage to the right, in the second movement plays from stage right, in the third movement plays from center stage, and finally concludes the work off stage left.”

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Slee Sinfonietta
Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 7:30 pm
Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
Daniel Bassin, conductor
Yuki Numata, violin
Adam Unsworth, horn
Eric Huebner, piano

Ticket information can be found here

 * Note: Daniel Bassin will be presenting two other concerts associated with the Lutoslawski centennial: on Tuesday, February 2nd, at a Brown Bag concert in Slee Hall featuring chamber music from across Lutoslawski’s compositional career, and on Friday, March 1st, when TJ Borden will give the Buffalo premeire of Lutoslawski’s 1970 cello concerto with the UBSO.

Link to this post here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

June in Buffalo 2013 call for scores announced!

June in Buffalo 2013 call for scores announced! June in Buffalo will be very special this year with the addition of the Performance Institute, which will begin on Thursday, May 30th, and then run concurrently with June in Buffalo from Monday, June 3 – Sunday, June 9th. This will be the first year ever where emerging contemporary music performers and ensembles will be studying, practicing, and workshopping alongside participant composers. We expect one of the most dynamic, collaborative, and compelling June in Buffalo Festivals ever this year, as young contemporary music performers and composers blend together and form relationships with not only faculty composers and performers, but each other as well. Full details on applying as an auditor or participant composer below: 

June in Buffalo

Presented by the Department of Music and The Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music, June in Buffalo, a festival and conference dedicated to composers, will take place from June 3 -9, 2013 at the University at Buffalo. June in Buffalo offers an intensive schedule of seminars, lectures, workshops, professional presentations, participant forums and open rehearsals as well as afternoon and evening concerts open to the general public and critics. Each of the invited composers will have one of his/her pieces performed during the festival. Evening performances feature faculty composers, resident ensembles and soloists renowned internationally as interpreters of contemporary music.

Artistic Director

Senior Faculty

Resident Ensembles
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Ensemble Linea
JACK Quartet
Slee Sinfonietta
Talea Ensemble
Talujon Percussion Ensemble

To apply to June in Buffalo, please send all materials by mail. Applications must include the following materials:

1. A résumé or curriculum vitae detailing your education, experience, and creative activity.

2. A letter of reference from someone acquainted with your current compositional activity.

3. A proposal (including score and brief description) requesting the performance of a recent work for
a) Percussion Quartet (or subset)
b) String Quartet (or subset)
c) flute, clarinet, piano, percussion, violin, cello (or subset)
d) solo for any orchestral instrument
e) works with electronics will be considered
f) other instrumentations will be announced shortly

4. One or two scores that demonstrate your recent work and accompanying recordings, if available.

5. A $25 non-refundable processing fee. Checks or money orders should be made payable to June in Buffalo. Foreign applicants must pay by international money order in US currency. Do not send cash.

6. A SASE for the return of materials (optional) and an e-mail address at which you can be easily contacted.

If the performance of a selected work by a participating composer becomes impossible due to circumstances beyond the control of the June in Buffalo festival, every attempt will be made to arrange a substitution where possible.

To apply as an auditor, please send a résumé and the processing fee. Auditors attend all June in Buffalo events, but will not have a piece performed.

All application materials must be postmarked by
FEBRUARY 15, 2013.

Mail to:
June in Buffalo
220 Baird Hall
Music Department
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY 14260-4700

Tuition fee: $700
Auditing fee: $350

On-campus housing, 7 nights, single occupancy: $300. Additional: $30/night. No double occupancy discounts; no meals included.

For general information, contact J.T. Rinker
phone: (716) 645-0624
fax: (716) 645-3824

Link to this post here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

June in Buffalo Performance Institute announced!

JACK Quartet
The Center for 21st Century Music is excited to announce the details of the first ever June in Buffalo Performance Institute! For the first year ever, contemporary music performers around the world are invited to participate in masterclasses, seminars, workshops, and performances at June in Buffalo, and work with members of the June in Buffalo Performance Faculty, including the JACK Quartet, Talujon Percussion Ensemble, Tom Kolor, Jonathan Golove, and New York Philharmonic pianist-in-residence and Performance Institute director Eric Huebner. Complete details below.  

June in Buffalo Performance Institute

The June in Buffalo Performance Institute invites performers with an interest in contemporary music to take part in an intensive 10-day festival of concerts, master classes and seminars. Held on the campus of the University at Buffalo, the 2013 Performance Institute invites pianists, strings players and percussionists as well as pre-formed string quartets and percussion ensembles to apply. All participants will have the opportunity to study and collaborate with Performance Institute faculty and perform as well as attend June in Buffalo composer workshops and concerts. The Performance Institute coincides with the annual June in Buffalo festival for composers and will run from May 30th - June 8th, 2013.
Performance Institute Faculty:
Eric Huebner, piano
Performance Institute director
University at Buffalo assistant professor
New York Philharmonic principal pianist
Jonathan Golove, cello
University at Buffalo associate professor
Tom Kolor, percussion
University at Buffalo assistant professor
member, Talujon Percussion Ensemble
Performance Ensembles
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Ensemble Linea
Ensemble Signal, Brad Lubman, conductor
Slee Sinfonietta
Talea Ensemble, Jim Baker, conductor

Arrival day: May 29, 2013
Departure day: June 9, 2013

Tuition: $950
($750 per member for string quartets or percussion ensembles)
On-campus housing: $400 (does not include meals)
Please submit the following for consideration by February 15th, 2013:
- Full contact information including name, mailing address, phone number and email
- Short bio including education and performance experience
- A representative CD recording (preferably live)
- Application Fee: Check in the amount of $25 made out to "June in Buffalo"
Completed applications should be mailed to:
Prof. Eric Huebner
220 Baird Hall
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY 14260
For general information, contact Eric Huebner
phone: (716) 645-0637
fax: (716) 645-3824

Link to this post here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

John Cage’s Europera 5 at the Burchfield Penney Art Center!

We in Buffalo have been celebrating John Cage’s 100th birthday this year with many diverse performances of his works all around the city. In this vein, we’re happy to announce a special performance of his final opera, Europera 5, at the Burchfield Penney Art Center on Friday, October 12, from 8 – 9:30 p.m., in the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium. John Cage was a good friend to Buffalo and served as a faculty composer at June in Buffalo during the 1970s -- friend of Cage and Buffalo native Jan Williams, who is also an Emeritus Professor at UB, veteran Creative Associate of the Center for the Creative and Performing Arts of Buffalo, and percussionist extraordinaire, will be performing on the victrola throughout Europera 5, alongside soprano Martha Herr, tenor Robert Zimmerman, pianist Amy Williams, Tom Kostusiak on Lighting, and Don Metz on Truckera tape.

John Cage and Jan Williams
Europera 5 (1991) was John Cage's last and most portable opera. It is a collage scored for two singers, each singing five arias of their own choosing from the standard opera repertoire. A pianist "accompanies" them by playing six different opera transcriptions. They are joined by a single 78-rpm victrola player, playing six historical opera recordings and a performer playing a pre-recorded tape, plus the use of a radio and a silent television.

The following is a little background on John Cage and Europera 5, written by Associate Director of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Don Metz:

“John Cage (1912-1992) was one of the most influential and inventive composers of the second half of the 20th century. He was constantly looking for ways to find and invent new sounds and to organize them through unconventional means of notation and time, utilizing indeterminacy in music through chance operations. Cage is revered world-wide not only as a composer, but as a writer, philosopher, graphic artist, painter and lecturer, who influenced and inspired artists in many disciplines. Critics agree that his challenge to conquer our dislikes in order to revolutionized how we perceive and reshaped aesthetic thought in the second half of the 20th Century. Cage suggested we ‘use art not as self expression, but as self alteration.’

“He revolutionized music by emphasizing the use of silence within its vocabulary and proclaimed ‘all sound is music’ and ‘everything we do is music.’ In the 1990 documentary John Cage: I have Nothing to Say and I am Saying it, he states: ‘I have come to my music to enjoy the sounds wherever I am. I wouldn’t say that I understand the environment, I simply experience it. The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is why I don’t think it is beautiful. And very shortly after, you discover there is no reason.’
John Cage

“In 1987, Heinz-Klaus Metzger and Reiner Riehm invited Cage to write an opera that was intended to be an ‘irreversible negation of the opera as such’. Cage’s response, ‘For 200 years the Europeans have sent us their operas. Now I am returning them all to them.’ In 1987 Europera 1 & Europa 2 premiered in the Frankfurt Opera. Cage chose for his musical materials in his Europeras, fragments of eighteenth and nineteenth century operas. There is no music by the composer. Instead, there is found music that is organized by the composer using chance operations, and, in the case of Europera 5, he instructs performers to select parts to perform from their repertoire.

“Cage completed Europera 5 in March, 1991, in time for its premiere in Buffalo at the North American New Musical Festival on April 12, 1991. The work was a co-commissioned with the DeIjsbreker International Music Center in Amsterdam and, appropriately, the first European performances were in Holland that May with the same personnel. There were subsequent performances in Brussels and Ghent in Belgium and Bergen, Norway, with further performances in Ferrara (Italy), Odense (Denmark) and Geneva.

“In the summer of 1992, there were five performances of Europera 5 in the garden of the Museum of Modern Art. Between the second and third performances John Cage died. Europera 5 was the last public performance of his own work that he heard. In a sense, he became part of this transcendent theatre piece which combines elements of two centuries, never-blending, to create an emulsion of time, space and music.

"Europera 5 enlists two singers, a pianist, a technician operating a tape recorder, a television and radio, a lighting technician and a person playing records on a victrola. Each performer follows a set of rules that were determined by chance operations.”

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tom Kolor showcases "Made in the U.S.A."

We at the Center are pleased to announce that UB faculty percussionist Tom Kolor will be treating us to a solo recital of contemporary pieces by American composers this week. His recital, titled “Made in the U.S.A.”, will be on Tuesday, October 9, at 7:30 p.m., in Lippes Concert Hall. Tom Kolor is a specialist in 20th and 21st century percussion music, is one of New York City’s most in demand chamber musicians, and is the Principal Percussionist with UB’s Slee Sinfonietta.

Tom Kolor performing J.T. Rinker's Frigate

As a soloist, Tom Kolor has given dozens of premieres by American composers such as Milton Babbitt, John Zorn, Wayne Peterson, Tania Leon, and Jerome Kitzke. He has recorded for Bridge, New World, Albany, Capstone, Innova, Wergo, Naxos, CRI, Koch, Tzadik, North/South Consonance, and Deutsche Grammophon labels. Tom Kolor is a member of the NYC-based percussion septet, Talujon Ensemble, whose concerts have been hailed by the New York Times as "frenzied explosions of percussion madness”. He also performs throughout the U.S. and Europe as a member of Manhattan Sinfonietta, Ensemble 21, Sospeso, American Modern Ensemble and Newband. In addition, he is a frequent guest of such ensembles as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York New Music Ensemble, Speculum Musicae, Continuum, Da Capo Chamber Players, Group for Contemporary Music, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Tom was a featured performer last summer at the Sound Res Festival in Leche, Italy, where he gave the European premiere of Marimba Variations by Charles Wuorinen, a sophisticated 15 minute-long Marimba solo he commissioned from the composer. Tom will perform Wuorinen’s Marimba Variations during the first half of his faculty recital.

Details of the complete program and ticket information below:

Made in the U.S.A.
Tom Kolor, Percussion
Tuesday, October 9, 7:30 pm in Lippes Concert Hall

Elliot Carter: Three pieces for Four Kettledrums (19500-66)
Charles Wuorinen: Marimba Variations (2008-09)


Ralph Shapey: 2 for 1 (1988)
Ralph Shapey: Soli for Solo Percussion (1985)

Tickets are $10 for the general public, $5 for UB faculty/staff/alumni, seniors, and non-UB students. All UB students with a valid ID receive complimentary tickets to all faculty recitals.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Composer James Romig visits the Center

We’re excited to welcome composer James Romig to the Center for 21st Century Music at the University at Buffalo next week. Next Wednesday, October 10, he will offer a masterclass to UB graduate composers as well as give a presentation on his own music. Romig, who has been on faculty at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, since 2002, is currently overseeing a dizzying amount of performances of his pieces across the U.S., South America, and Europe. He recently had his duet for flute and piano, Leaves From Modern Trees, performed at the Iowa Composers Forum Festival, and his percussion trio, The Frame Problem, is scheduled for performances in Medellin, Columbia, Baylor University, University of Hartford, and Salle Stengel de Lorentzen, France, throughout the rest of October. The Frame Problem will then continue onto another 29 performances across the globe throughout the remainder of 2012. More information on upcoming performances of Romig’s works can be found on his website.

James Romig

According to his biography, Romig, "composes music that endeavors to reflect the intricate complexity of nature, where fundamental structures exert influence on both small-scale iteration and large-scale design, obscuring the boundaries between form and content. His work shows the influence of academic study with Charles Wuorinen and Milton Babbitt, interaction with the natural world through hiking and photography, and an interest in chaos theory, fractal geometry, and small-world networks."

Romig speaks very eloquently about his music, as in the following excerpt from a lecture he gave at the Timmons Chapel Lecture/Recital Series, in Pittsburg, Kansas, “In my own music, I try to maintain a high degree of what we might call, for lack of a better term, "self-referentiality." All aspects of a given work are related to a few fundamental principles that govern the work's composition. These principles might be new, and unique to the work in question, but my aim is to utilize these principles consistently, varying them subtly and intelligently, and applying them in multiple ways to multiple aspects of a composition in such a manner that musical gestures that may have seemed unusual at the beginning of a composition become, by the end, familiar. To make an analogy, I am introducing a new vocabulary (new "words" made from familiar "letters") in each composition. By using strict and consistent grammar, this vocabulary becomes internalized by an audience to the point where it will recognize the manner with which I am "playing" with the rules and forms of the work. This is my goal as an artist.”

Check out this amazing performance of The Frame Problem being interpretted by the Tak-Nara Percussion Trio:

Below is another outstanding percussion piece by James Romig, this time a solo work titled A Slightly Evil Machine, interpretted here by Caleb Herron: