Monday, December 3, 2018

Recent student activities

2018 has been a busy year for UB Composition PhD students. They have received awards, international performances, important commissions, and other forms of recognition for their work. Below is a sample of their activity.

Graduate composers received performances in Europe, Asia and America during 2018. Ka Shu Tam’s Reaction I for viola solo was performed in Hong Kong in April, and was later broadcast twice through the Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK). In June, Tam’s Manjusaka for overtone singing and viola received its premiere in Hong Kong as a part of "The Cityscape II 2018" project. His fixed media composition City Story - Flying Sword was presented in the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) in Daegu, Korea, the MUSLAB International Electroacoustic Exhibition in Mexico City, and at the Asian Composers League (ACL) Conference and Festival in Taipei.

Fourth-year student Igor Coelho Arantes Santana Marques’ string trio Courante was premiered by Meitar Ensemble at Royaumont, France, where he was a participant of the Voix Nouvelles academy, receiving lessons from Philippe Hurel, Maura Lanza and Noriko Baba.

Alex Huddleston attended the Estalagem da Ponta do Sol Residency for Contemporary Music and Electronics in Madeira, Portugal, with Patricia Alessandrini. During the residency, Karin Hellqvist premiered his work I want every gun we have to fire on that man, for violin and fixed media. 

In March, Jessie Downs was a finalist in the BMP Next Generation Composition Competition for her work The Second Sight for voice and piano. She was flown into and housed for a week in Brooklyn, New York, to rehearse for a presentation of the work, which serves as the opening scene to her dissertation project, an opera-in-progress. The scene was then presented at National Sawdust Theatre with works by the other finalists.

Su Lee premiered her Nachklang für Nr. 503 (Obituary for no. 503), for microtonally tuned keyboards, at June in Buffalo 2018 to audience acclaim, and was recently awarded a grant from UB's Mark Diamond Research Fund to extend the work, which will be her dissertation piece.

Recent alumnus Colin Tucker has received several commissions for new pieces to be premiered next year, among which are a new work for listeners commissioned by the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester, with funds from Art Bridges Foundation, a work for vocalists jointly commissioned by the Canadian Music Centre-Toronto and Jumblies Theatre, and a work for ensemble and electronics commissioned by the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University.

Colin has also given several guest lectures during this year, at the Undergraduate Sound Studies Course in Princeton University, in April; the Graduate Seminar in Digital Music, in Dartmouth University in May; and the Musicology Symposium Series at the Eastman School of Music in September, among others. He has also authored two peer-reviewed publications:  “Sounding Collectivities beyond Nature and Culture: an Introduction to the Music of David Dunn,” with another UB alumnus, Ethan Hayden, and “A Listener’s Guide to David Dunn’s PLACE,” both in Sound American 19 (online).

Matt Chamberlain, who recently traveled to Royaumont to hear the world premiere of the piano solo Rejected Ballet Music by Claudia Chan, is another student who has received his doctorate in the last months. At the beginning of the year, Matt was an artist in residence at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he conducted the second ever performance of Du Yun’s Pultizer Prize winning opera Angel’s Bone. He also led their Sinfonietta and Contemporary Music Ensembles on programs of 20th and 21st century works, including his own Science Fiction Music, a new piece which was commissioned by the school.

Other UB students have also been very active as performers. Su Lee frequently performs as an organist in the Buffalo area. Her latest presentations have been two events in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, "In Flanders Fields", with the Freudig Singers of Western New York and "Duty, Honor and Valor" with the Buffalo Silver Band. In addition, she has performed Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms with Buffalo Master Chorale for the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth.

In October of 2017 Jessie Downs attended the Royaumont Répertoire Vocal Contemporain workshop with Juliet Fraser, focused on the interpretation and preparation of contemporary vocal music. On December 6th of this year, Jessie will make her debut with Nickel City Opera, performing musical theater and operatic sections. Three days later, she will be singing with a subset of the BPO as UUCB Soprano Soloist in Bach's Christmas Oratorio Part V. Part VI will be performed on January 6th, and part IV was presented last winter. Then, on December 15th, Jessie will be a guest artist at Carnegie Hall in NYC, singing as an operatic soloist with choir and orchestra on "A Night of Inspiration"—an interfaith event promoting hope and raising money for arts education.

Downs is also a singer in Sotto Voce Vocal Collective—as was until recently fellow fourth year student Brien Henderson. In the last year the ensemble commissioned and premiered works by two other PhD students: Alex Huddleston's The Sonnets, for vocal ensemble and fixed media was performed in Buffalo, Oberlin, and Cleveland, and a quartet for female voices, Ave Virgo Virginum by Coelho Marques.

Henderson was recently elected president of the Music Graduate Student Association, which is hard at work organizing a symposium for next spring.  Dan Gostelow was appointed to faculty position at Buffalo Community Music School teaching piano, trombone and trumpet lessons/classes at Montessori, Elementary, Middle, and Charter schools in the local community.

Derick Evans, who became the recipient of a Morris Scholarship Award from the College of Arts and Sciences, organized a fundraising concert for Buffalo's Friends of Night People at Flying Bison in August, where he performed 30-minutes of original music with a 10-piece ensemble. Derick performs regularly with—among other ensembles—Much Band, which in August published "Much Quintet Volumes 1 & 2" by Friendship Tapes. He is also a playwright. In September he premiered "The Fate of Indigo Pilot Six," at Indigo Gallery in Buffalo.

Derick's work has received international recognition. In April, his music was the subject of a special program that aired on Rádio MEC FM - Rio De Janeiro (Brazil's national radio station for classical and new music) and Rádio UFMG Educativa (Universidade Federal De Minas Gerais's University radio station). Another student whose work received recognition is Alex Huddleston, whose string quartet i found a few configurations :: some stripes won the 2018 Mivos/Kanter Composition Competition.