Monday, May 14, 2018

Roger Reynolds: Pioneering Composer Returns to UB

June in Buffalo is delighted to welcome back Roger Reynolds, University Professor at the University of California-San Diego. Reynolds is a major figure in American music, having pioneered numerous possibilities now embraced widely within contemporary art music: sound spatialization, intermedia, algorithms, live electronics, graphic notation, new approaches to music and text, and more. For this, his work has been widely recognized, for instance with a Pulitzer Prize and commissions from the Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, BBC, and National Symphony Orchestras, and the UK Arts Council, French Ministry of Culture, IRCAM, and the Fromm, Rockefeller, and Koussevitzky Foundations. Also highly respected as a pedagogue, Reynolds’s students include Center for 21st Century Music artistic director David Felder, as well as other composers in top faculty positions across the US, at Harvard (Chaya Czernowin), University of Michigan (Michael Daugherty), University of Florida (Paul Koonce), and University of North Texas (Andrew May).

Reynolds has a long-standing relationship with UB and the Center for 21st Century Music. Reynolds has appeared regularly senior composer at June in Buffalo since the mid-1980s, acting as mentor to participant composers and working with resident ensembles on performances of his music. In addition to numerous appearances in the 1990s and early 2000s, Reynolds has appeared at the Center four times since its 2006 creation. In addition to a visit on the Center’s guest artist series in 2014, Reynolds has been invited as senior composer at June in Buffalo in 2007, 2010, and 2015. During these festivals, June in Buffalo has been able to present a wide cross section of his work: violin soloist extraordinaire Irvine Arditti presented solo violin works, while the Arditti Quartet (led by Irvine Arditti himself) performed works for string quartet, UB Piano Professor Eric Huebner interpreted Reynold’s Piano Etudes, Book I, and the percussion ensemble red fish blue fish realized the composer’s ambitious Sanctuary for percussion and live electronics. Significantly, all of these performers are long-term collaborators with Reynolds—Irvine Arditti and the Arditti Quartet for decades—resulting in ideal performance circumstances for this challenging work.

This year’s festival presents a similarly wide range of Reynolds works. Irvine Arditti returns to this year’s festival to perform Shifting/Drifting, a work for solo violin and real time algorithmic transformation. The work will be performed on Thursday, June 7 at 7:30pm in Baird Hall, with technical assistance from another regular Reynolds collaborator, electronic musician Paul Hembree.
The festival is also delighted to be facilitating collaborations between Reynolds and ensembles who are newer to his work. On Friday, June 8 at 7:30pm in Slee Hall, Ensemble Mise-En will perform Shadowed Narrative for clarinet, piano, violin, and cello, and Signal Ensemble will present Positings for flute, horn, violin, cello, piano, and real time sound spatialization.

In addition to performances of his music, Reynolds will also give a public talk, on Wednesday June 6 at 10am in Baird Hall. Reynolds is renowned for his writing and his lecture curation, so the talk will undoubtedly provide unique insight into the creative process driving his decades-long career.

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