Saturday, September 28, 2013

Interview with Emi Ferguson, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Flute Performance at UB

Emi Ferguson, a flute player dedicated to expanding the boundaries of contemporary performance, has been hailed by critics for her "tonal bloom" and "hauntingly beautiful performances." Emi's unique approach to the flute can be heard in her use of the silver flute, historical flutes and auxiliary flutes to play repertoire stretching from the Renaissance to today.

Emi was a featured performer alongside Yo-Yo Ma, Paul Simon, and James Taylor at the 10th Anniversary Memorial Ceremony of 9/11 at Ground Zero, where her performance of Amazing Grace was televised worldwide. Her playing can be heard live in concerts and festivals around the world as well as in her adopted hometown, New York City. Extremely passionate about championing new flute works by contemporary composers, she has premiered pieces by Wayne Oquin, Kendall Briggs, Elliott Carter, and even CPE Bach to name a few. Emi has been a featured performer at the Marlboro Music and Lucerne Festivals, and this past summer, performed and taught with Juilliard GlobalPianoSonoma in California, Juilliard Baroque in Germany, and Les Arts Florissants in France. In addition, she was awarded 1st Prize at the National Flute Association's prestigious Young Artist Competition

Emi is currently on the faculty of the Juilliard School and was recently appointed to the faculty of the University of Buffalo where she teaches flute and ear training. She was the first person to have graduated from Juilliard with Undergraduate and Graduate degrees with Scholastic Distinction in flute performance, as well as a second Graduate degree in Historical Performance as a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow.

Please tell us about yourself. Bonus points for an insider's view of Emi, delightful tidbits not covered in a standard bio.

Well, I guess the most important things are that I hate cheese, but absolutely love Japanese food which I blame on my being born in Japan. If anyone wants a partner in crime for Japanese dinner in Buffalo let me know! I also have a serious weakness for English candy since I grew up there. :)

I also play the flute ... I started when I was six and haven't stopped yet! I seriously considered studying epidemiology instead of music but decided to stick with music and sneak in articles and studies about various diseases on the side. Boston is my hometown in the US but I have lived in New York City for the past eight years and love it there!

How did you become interested in contemporary music?

I started really playing contemporary music while as a student at Juilliard.  I worked with a lot of composers there, played in the New Juilliard Ensemble and AXIOM Ensemble (Juilliard's contemporary music ensembles) where I fell in love with the music and the challenges posed and was lucky enough to be surrounded by people who were incredibly enthusiastic about it as well. All of this was solidified for me my junior year where I was so fortunate to work with some of the titans of new music – Elliott Carter, James Levine, and Pierre Boulez – both in New York and at the Lucerne Festival Academy.

Do you still have a strong relationship as a performer and listener with traditional/classical music?

Absolutely! In addition to my work with contemporary music I also play early music on historical instruments, a lot of Baroque and Classical music on those with various groups around the world. I'm also a huge fan of late Renaissance music, which unfortunately doesn't usually have flutes, so I'm just a listener there.  Of course the core of the modern flute repertoire comes from the romantic period onwards so I'm always searching for new gorgeous pieces from that time period to play.

What brought you to Buffalo/UB?

I was contacted by the Department of Music this past summer and the rest is history! I'm so thrilled to be here.

Do you have a "mission" as a performer/musician/artist(/human)? If so, please share.

I believe it's incredibly important for musicians to make sure that they do not live or perform in a vacuum.  It's so easy for us to get caught up in the details of our craft as we strive for perfection, but it is so important to take a step back and see that the most important things are often communication and the power that we have to truly affect people with our music.

What new and exciting things do we have to look forward to this year from Emi Ferguson?

Well, I'll be in Buffalo for one! I'll be playing the October 28th concert with the Slee Sinfonietta, the November 8th birthday concert for David Felder, and will be joining my former teacher Carol Wincenc, a Buffalo native, on her April 15th recital. I also recently finished a record of composer Kendall Briggs' flute music, much of which was written for me, which should be available sometime this year.

For performance listings, audio and video recordings and more, please visit:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Interview with Yuki Numata Resnick, Assistant Professor of Music, Violin & Viola Performance at UB

Yuki Numata Resnick is rapidly gaining attention as a charismatic virtuoso, having performed as a soloist with the New World Symphony, the University at Buffalo's Slee Sinfonietta, the Wordless Music Orchestra, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and the Eastman Philharmonia Orchestra. With a penchant for performing new music, she is a member of the Talea Ensemble and performs frequently with Alarm Will Sound and Ensemble Signal. Yuki has appeared at numerous summer festivals including Music in the Vineyards, Tanglewood, Music Academy of the West, the Banff Centre and in recent summers, she has been teaching and performing at the Wellesley Composers Conference and UB's Summer String Workshop. Having been a New York freelancer for several years, in addition to her new music and classical playing, Yuki has also had the pleasure of performing and recording for bands and artists including Passion Pit, The National (where she met her husband), Grizzly Bear, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter, and John Cale.

Originally from Vancouver, BC, Yuki holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan. Her primary teachers include Zvi Zeitlin, Andrew Jennings and Gwen Thompson. She also spent three years living in the sunny paradise of South Beach where she was a fellow at the New World Symphony. Having happily traded her cozy one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn for an entire floor of a house in Buffalo's Elmwood Village, she is very excited to be starting a new life here in town. Yuki shares her three-bedroom palace with her husband Kyle Resnick, both of whom are thrilled to be welcoming their first baby around Thanksgiving of this year.

How did you come to be interested in contemporary music?

I first became interested in contemporary music when I went to the Eastman School of Music for my undergraduate degree. There was always much excitement and energy surrounding the new music scene there so it was an undeniable draw. In a curiously dorky way, it was almost as if all the "cool kids" were playing new music!

I had a lot of terrific experiences at ESM when it came to experimenting with contemporary music. I played with the student-run ensemble, Ossia, which collaborated with Alarm Will Sound in a recording of Steve Reich's Desert Music. I also played with conductor, Brad Lubman's school-based group, Musica Nova, which performed regularly throughout the year. It was through Musica Nova that I had my first run-ins with the music of John Zorn and Charles Wuorinen and I haven't looked back since!

Do you still have a strong relationship as a performer and listener with traditional/classical music?

Definitely. With the violin in particular, there is a such a sense of history with its large traditional repertoire and the many great violinists who have come before, that when I was a student, I treated this historical connection as baggage. It was – and can still be at times! – intimidating to play older music. I never had a real answer for why the world needed my version of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto when so many others before me had played it with such great technical and musical prowess. With the confidence that I have built through playing new music which has none of those intimidating historical ties, I find that I can return to playing traditional classical music with a renewed sense of self.  I have a greater appreciation for the traditional concepts of beauty of sound and tonality. And the technical challenges of playing new music have only served to solidify my technique in approaching the performance of "old music." Vice versa, I find that I can also bring older concepts of melody and line to my performance of new music. So both inform each other in a positive way.

What brought you to Buffalo/UB?                                                

My position as Assistant Professor at UB was the main reason for coming to Buffalo, though I've had a connection to the school for much longer. My first experiences with the Slee Sinfonietta were back in the early 2000s when I was still a student at Eastman. I also remember coming to play Steve Reich's Triple Quartet  at the June in Buffalo Festival in 2003. After I moved away from Rochester, my connection with Buffalo diminished, but it resumed in 2007 when I came back to play Charles Wuorinen's Spin Five. Since then, I've been in Buffalo regularly about 4-5 times a year to perform. I taught one year as an Adjunct Instructor in 2010, and for the last three years I've been teaching at UB's Summer String Workshop alongside Prof. Jonathan Golove. I'm happy to be able to say that, rather than traveling to and from Buffalo every few months as I did for the last six years, I am now a proud Buffalo resident!

Do you have a "mission" as an  performer, musician, artist?

I find that my goals are always evolving as I myself evolve, although they generally center around two aspects of my musical life: the first my desire to use new music as a way to reach new audiences, and the second my dedication to using teaching as a way to impact people on a very personal basis. As exhilarating and rewarding as being a performer in the spotlight can be, it can also be a lonely world, with an invisible barrier between the stage and the audience. So I find that my relationships with my students is a direct way for me to see how all of my training and experiences can affect and hopefully benefit other human beings.

With regards to my first mission, it is becoming more and more obvious that the tried and true model of classical music training and concert presentation is no longer sufficient for the current musical and social climate. It is my hope that new music can be a way of attracting listeners who are hungry for new sounds and ideas. I strongly believe that as daunting as new music can be, if it is presented in a way that is less intimidating – whether it be in more intimate and casual venues like Professor Jon Nelson's art space, Pausa Art House, or by juxtaposing new music with old music – it is an excellent way for us musicians to reach people who are just waiting to have their ears opened in a way they've never been opened before.

What new and exciting things do we have to look forward to this year from Yuki Numata Resnick?

Well, I suppose the biggest news is that my husband and I are expecting our first baby around Thanksgiving of this year! Musically speaking, I'm looking forward to an all-Brahms program that I'll be playing in March with my colleagues, Professors Eric Huebner and Jonathan Golove, as well as a Berio Sequenza evening at Kleinhans Hall in April, organized by Professor Huebner. With this being my first year in official teaching capacity at UB, there's a bit of a learning curve to settling in here and discovering all of the terrific things UB and Buffalo have to offer. I'm really looking forward to see how my presence can make a positive impact both at school and in the community.

For more about Yuki, please visit:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

2013-2014 Calendar of Events

I am very happy to announce the 2013–2014 Calendar of Events for The Robert & Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music. We've put together an outstanding set of musical events this season. Adventurous listeners are sure to be both delighted and challenged by the rich selection of pieces, performers, and venues. We look forward to seeing you in the avant-musical trenches! – David Felder, Director

Music of Boulez, Ravel and Varèse
Case Scaglione, conductor, and Julia Bentley, mezzo soprano
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Music of Martino, Milhaud, Revueltas, and Stravinsky
Robert Treviño, conductor
Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Music of Reynolds and Varèse
James Baker, conductor, and Laura Mercado Wright, mezzo soprano
Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Faculty Composers: David Felder, Joshua Fineberg, Philippe Hurel, Hilda Paredes, Bernard Rands
Resident Ensembles: Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Court-Circuit, Ensemble Signal, Meridian Art Ensemble, Norrbotten Neo, Slee Sinfonietta
Special Guest: Irvine Arditti
Monday, June 2 – Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ensemble Son and Either/Or
Monday, September 30 – Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wilhem Latchoumia, pianist, and Franck Bedrossian, composer
Wednesday, October 16 – Thursday, 17, 2013

Composer/Choreographer Workshop Presentations
Monday, December 9, 2013

Arditti Quartet
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Third Coast Percussion Residency
Monday, March 24 – Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Roger Reynolds
Monday, April 7 – Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Musical Feast
Burchfield Penney Art Center
Friday, October 11, 2013

Birthday Concert for David Felder
Burchfield Penny Art Center
Friday, November 8, 2013

Music in Buffalo’s Historic Places
Christopher Guzman, pianist
Greatbatch Pavilion, Darwin Martin Complex
Sunday, December 15, 2013

UB faculty performs Berio’s Sequenzas
Kleinhans Music Hall, main stage
Thursday, April 3, 2013

For well over forty years, the Music Department at the University at Buffalo has maintained and nurtured a commitment to creative and performing artists at the forefront of contemporary music. The Center for 21st Century Music is built on this legacy, featuring the internationally renowned “June in Buffalo” festival, the Slee Sinfonietta Chamber Orchestra concert series, The Wednesday Series of performances, lecture presentations, and workshops, and the performance activities of the Hiller Computer Music Studios. The Center for 21st Century Music is dedicated to the creation and production of new work upholding the highest artistic standards of excellence while simultaneously fostering a complementary atmosphere of creative research.

The activities of the Center are made possible through funds from Robert G. Morris and Carol L. Morris, the Cameron Baird Foundation, the New York State Music Fund, the Aaron Copland Fund, the Ditson Fund, the Birge-Cary Chair in Music, the College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Buffalo and other generous supporters.

For more information please visit