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:

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