Friday, May 31, 2019

Dal Niente: Redefining the listening experience

In anticipation of Ensemble Dal Niente's third visit to June in Buffalo in the last four years, this post will offer a brief introduction to their work. The group was founded in Chicago in 2005, and is one of several ensembles responsible for the great importance that the Windy City's New Music scene has attained in the last decade.

(Ensemble Dal Niente)

Beyond their virtuosity and musicality, their dedication and the intense concentration of their performances, there are two traits that characterize Dal Niente and distinguish the ensemble from many of their peers: one is the extremely careful curation behind their events, as demonstrated by the section of their website detailing their programs, and the other is their adventurous commissioning, that includes work from unique, individual voices like Erin Gee and UB alumnus Evan Johnson, among others.

(Spahlinger's Verlorener Weg performed by Dal Niente, 2015)

During Dal Niente's evening concert, the audience will have a chance to hear music by five of the six senior composers in this year's faculty: Anna Clyne, David Felder, Brian Ferneyhough, Stephen Hartke and Lei Liang. Felder's partial [dist]res[s]toration from 2002, will open the program. Hartke's Meanwhile, for flute, clarinet, percussion, viola and cello, will be the next piece, followed by Clyne's Steelworks, for flute, bass clarinet, percussion and tape. This work was composed in 2006, and it has common traits with other works by the English composer, among which are the use of spoken word in the tape part, and the fact that the music was part of a collaboration including film and dance. Next will be two pieces by Brian Ferneyhough: Four Miniatures for flute and piano, and Mort Subite for flute, clarinet, vibraphone and piano. The concert will end with Lei Liang's My Windows, performed by UB piano professor Eric Huebner.

The Karlsson-Holmertz Duo will perform Wallin at June in Buffalo

The first evening concert in June in Buffalo 2019, to take place on Monday 3rd, will feature the Karlsson-Holmertz Duo, formed by Cikada ensemble's pianist Kenneth Karlsson and soprano Elisabeth Holmertz. The two worked together for the first time in 2005, in the opera Ophelias: death by water singing by Henrik Hellstenius, where Holmertz sang the main part. After this, Cikada—where Karlsson is also the artistic director—invited Holmertz to sing on several projects. One of these became the critically acclaimed CD Nordheim, that was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy award. The duo was formed at Karlsson's 2010 birthday party when, late in the night, he and Holmertz started playing Swedish romantic pop songs.

(The Karlsson-Holmertz Duo)

Although a big part of their repertoire consists of contemporary classical music, and they enjoy working closely with composers such as Helmut Lachenmann, Klaus Lang, Rolf Wallin and Carola Bauckholt, the duo also has a burning passion for lieder, Swedish Romantics, and the performance of well-known popular music—like Bob Dylan, Josephine Baker and others—in new and different ways, often using Karlsson's Indian harmonium. They have also formed the group Vollen United, an experimental ensemble that freely mixes genres like baroque, contemporary, pop, and improvisation. Vollen United has different incarnations, and members have included Fredrik Bock playing the theorbo, Per Bure on baroque violin, and Karin Hellqvist on violin.

During their Monday 3rd concert, the Karlsson-Holmertz duo will offer a Rolf Wallin portrait concert, in colaboration with the composer himself. The program will begin with Three poems by Rainer Maria Rilke for voice and piano, followed by a work for a decidedly less common instrumentation: Scratch, for balloon, played by Wallin. Karlsson will then play Seven Imperatives, a solo piano work divided into seven movements, as announced by the title: Seek, Push, Sink, Spin, Stab, Lean and Quit. After that, Wallin will again take the stage to perform Seven Imperatives Remix, where he reprocesses and modifies recorded material from his piano work on the computer. The concert will end with another voice and piano duo, the 1987 piece ...though what made it has gone...

(Wallin - ...though what made it has gone...)

The text of ...though what made it has gone... was taken from the poem Whoever finds a Horseshoe, by the polish-born Russian poet Osip Mandelsam, who died in 1938 in one of Stalin's prisoner camps. In his piece, Wallin set fragments of the original Russian and also an English translation, to provide occasional glimpses of the meaning of the poem for people who don't know the original language.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

David Felder: Vision and persistence

The last in our series of June in Buffalo Senior Composer profiles features David Felder, the festival's director for thirty-four years, and the person responsible for its current form, where each participant composer has a piece performed by a professional ensemble. It may be hard to believe now, when so many summer programs for emerging composers have adopted a similar model, but in 1985, when Felder began his tenure as director of the festival, this was almost unheard of.

A SUNY Distinguished Professor and the Birge-Cary chair in Music Composition at the University at Buffalo, Felder is indefatigably active as composer, arts administrator and pedagogue.

(David Felder)

Recent compositional projects include Les Quatre Temps Cardinaux, for voices, chamber orchestra, and electronics, the string quartet Netivot, the violin concerto Jeu de Tarot and an orchestral piece, Die Dämmerungen, a preview of which will be presented at June in Buffalo this year. There is also a work in progress for violin and ensemble that has allowed Felder and longtime collaborator Irvine Arditti to continue working together.

Felder is also active as a composition teacher and arts administrator: he is the artistic director of the Slee Sinfonietta, UB’s resident faculty chamber ensemble, focused is the performance of 20th century classics and new works. He is also the director of the Center for 21st Century Music, and, together with Bruce Jackson, he founded and co-directs UB's Creative Arts Initiative, a university-wide platform dedicated to the creation and production of new work upholding the highest artistic standards of excellence, which includes a very successful program of artistic residencies.

The 2019 edition of June in Buffalo will feature four works by Felder. In their Wednesday 5th concert, the Mivos Quartet will play his second string quartet, Stuck-Stücke, written in 2007. They offered memorable performances of his first quartet Third Face in 2015 and 2018, so it is reasonable to expect that their version of Stuck-Stücke will be equally impressive. The next day, Irvine Arditti will play the violin solo Another Face in his recital. The piece is connected to Felder's first string quartet, Third Face, and has been recently recorded by Arditti for an upcoming portrait CD.

Next, on June 7th, Dal Niente will present partial [dist]res[s]toration, for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, cello and electronics. As the composer explains, "[n]umerous materials are brought together in this composition: both newly composed fragments and those rescued from older sketch
pads-all are subjected to both 'restoration' (making the older appear refreshed), and 'distressing' (newer materials are treated to 'age' them). And the word 'partial' refers both to incomplete presentation, and to the harmonic series, which serves overtly to harmonize different things." The work is in seven movements, but these fragments sometimes run together and sometimes remain discrete. Their titles are: 1. a puro sol escribo... (I write in the pure sun.), Pablo Neruda; 2. I remember, I remember, Memory the great pretender, Robert Creeley; 3.a. I sing...; 3.b. because I sing...; 3.c. and because I sing..., Pablo Neruda; 4. Ris de ton nom... (laugh at the sound of your name), Rene Daumal; and 5. Die Felder sind grau... (The fields are grey). Interestingly, this will be the first time that the electronics in the piece—which happens to be Felder's most performed composition—are done live. J.T. Rinker will be in charge of that aspect of the work.

(Felder's partial [dis]res[s]toration performed by Ensemble Linea)

As we mentioned above, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor JoAnn Falletta will include a preview of Felder's new orchestral work Die Dämmerungen (The Twilights) in their Sunday 9th matinee concert, which has become a June in Buffalo tradition. The premiere of the complete version will take place in October 5 and 6th, as part of the BPO's concert season.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Rolf Wallin: Unheard places

The group of senior composers in the 2019 edition of June in Buffalo has a decidedly international character. In addition to the already profiled Lei Liang, Anna Clyne and Brian Ferneyhough, Rolf Wallin will be the fourth composer born outside the US out of a total of six.

One of today's leading Nordic composers, Wallin was born in Oslo in 1957. With a musical background spanning from jazz, avant-rock and early music, he is as comfortable working with generative systems for producing musical material as he is using using more intuitive methods, and the textures in his works have been compared to those of Ligeti and Xenakis.

(Rolf Wallin)

The lack of dogmatism in his work is also manifest in its generic diversity: Wallin’s works list includes both instrumental and electro-acoustic works, absolute music and stage music; his continuous crossing of borders between genres and styles has resulted in a number of fruitful cross-fertilizations.

Wallin was the first ever composer in residence with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra during their 2006-07 season, which included the release of a portrait CD on the Ondine label and performances of his work accross Europe. In addition to his many orchestral and chamber works, Wallin has composed a large number of mixed media works (e.g. the popular performance works Scratch for balloon and Yo for computer and controller suit), installations (such as Feelings, where participants get to hear the sound of their own brainwaves), and created electroacoustic music for several of Norway’s foremost contemporary dance groups, choreographers and visual artists. His dance work Urban Bestiary (2008) was the first work performed in the new Opera House in Oslo when it opened in April 2008.

June in Buffalo will provide many opportunities to hear Wallin's music. On Monday 3rd, the duo formed by soprano Elisabeth Holmertz and pianist Kenneth Karlsson will perform two of his works. The first will be ...though what made it has gone, an important piece for the composer, since by receiving the Norwegian Society of Composers' 1987 "Composition of the year" award, it signaled Wallin's arrival on the Nordic New Music scene. Holmertz and Karlsson will also play Three Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, from 1994.

The next day, the Slee Sinfonietta will play Under City Skin, with Irvine Arditti as soloist on the violin. And in his June 5th solo recital, Arditti will feature Wallin's music yet again, this time offering the world premiere of the recently completed Whirld Alone. Finally, on Saturday June 8th, Signal will perform The Age of Wire and String, one of Wallin's most successful compositions, written in 2005 for the French ensemble Court-circuit, and performed since then by many other groups. The piece is titled after a book by American author Ben Marcus, and consists of eight movements, also taking their titles from Marcus' strange, fascinating, unclassifiable work: Snoring, Accidental Speech; Dog, Mode of Heat Transfer in Barking; Half-life of Walter in the American Areas; Food Storms of the Original Brother; The Golden Monica; Leg of Brother Who Died Early; Food Costumes of Montana; and Swimming, Strictly an Inscription. Wallin saw a strong connection between Marcus' "consistent, yet ungraspable" laws and logic and the often deliberately enigmatic nature of modern art music.

(Wallin's The Age of Wire and String performed by Crash Ensemble)

Friday, May 24, 2019

Brian Ferneyhough: Forces and energies

Continuing our series of profiles of the June in Buffalo 2019 Senior Composers, we'll write about Brian Ferneyhough, a longtime friend of the festival, and one of today's most important composers, whose return to Buffalo after his last visit in 2015 is eagerly awaited.

Born in Coventry in 1943, Ferneyhough enrolled at the Birmingham School of Music, and then at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he studied with Lennox Berkeley. In 1968 he moved to Amsterdam to study with Ton de Leeuw after receiving a Mendelssohn Scholarship, and the following year a further scholarship allowed him to pursue his studies with Klaus Huber at the Basel Conservatoire. During this early period, his work began to attract attention, being awarded prizes in three successive years at the Gaudeamus Composers' Competition (1968-70). Two years later Firecycle Beta was given an honourable mention (second place) by the Italian section of the ISCM, which also awarded Ferneyhough a special prize in 1974 for Time and Motion Study III as the best work submitted in all categories. In the same year, the performance of several of his works at the Royan Festival established Ferneyhough as one of the most brilliant and controversial figures of a new generation of composers.

(Brian Ferneyhough)

By then, Ferneyhough had discovered a parallel vocation as a teacher of composition. Thanks to Klaus Huber's support, he was appointed onto the teaching staff of the Freiburger Musikhochschule in 1973, remaining there until 1986. Following his move to the United States in 1987 he has taught at the University of California at San Diego (1987-1999) and most recently Stanford University, where he served as William H. Bonsall Professor in Music until last year. Alongside these permanent appointments, he has been associated with the most prestigious teaching institutions and international summer schools for contemporary music. From 1984 to 1996 he was Composition Course Co-ordinator at the biennial Darmstädter Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik, and from 1990 to 2014 the principal teacher at the annual Composition Course of the Fondation Royaumont. He has held Guest Professorships at the Royal Conservatoire, Stockholm, the California Institute of the Arts and the University of Chicago, and a Guest Professorship at Harvard University in 2007-8. In addition, he has given guest lectures and master-classes at the Civica Scuola di Milano, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham, and at several North American universities and colleges. The fruits of the more formal lectures have appeared, alongside interviews and texts that have their origins in more personally motivated analyses and stock-takings, in his Collected Writings (Harwood Academic Press, 1995). Goldsmiths College, University of London awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2012.

Five Ferneyhough compositions for different chamber forces—and belonging to different periods in his career, covering 52 years of creative activity—will be performed during the festival. On June 3rd, Michael Matsuno will open the first concert with Superscriptio for solo piccolo, the initial work in Ferneyhough's monumental Carceri d'Invenzione cycle. The following day, Tyler J. Borden will play In Nomine (from Umbrations) for solo cello, from 2017. The work is part of a more recent but equally expansive cycle based on music by English Rennaissance composer Christopher Tye.

Mivos will play Ferneyhough's String Quartet No.2 on Wednesday 5th. The work is, in words of the composer, about silence: "not so much about literal silence (although this, too, is an obvious feature of the opening section) but, rather, that deliberate absence at the center of musical experience which exists in order that the listening subject may encounter himself there." Buffalo audiences have already been able to experience the ferocious intensity of Mivos' version of this piece two years ago, and it is to be expected that the intervening years have produced further improvement.

(Ferneyhough's String Quartet No.2)

On Friday 7th Dal Niente will offer their renditions of the 1965 Four Miniatures for flute and piano—the earliest of Ferneyhough's works to be performed this year—and another miniature of a different kind: Mort Subite for piccolo, clarinet, piano and vibraphone. While the first work is notated in a somewhat less exacting way than Ferneyhough would eventually become known for, and the coordination between flute and piano is not specified at all times, in the latter work, from 1990, the ensemble is divided into two duos (piccolo and piano and clarinet and vibraphone), each with its own metric structure, and the coordination is assured by the use of two concurrent click-tracks for the performers.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Stephen Hartke: Imaginary traditions

We continue our series of profiles of the Senior Composers at this year's June in Buffalo with a short introduction to the work of Stephen Hartke. Born in Orange, New Jersey, in 1952, Hartke began his musical career as a boy chorister, performing with, among others, the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra. He studied at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California at Santa Barbara. He taught at the University of Southern California—from where he retired as Distinguished Professor Emeritus after a 26 year tenure—and as Fulbright Professor at the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil. He has been Professor and Chair of Composition at Oberlin Conservatory since 2015.

(Stephen Hartke)

Hartke's output is extremely varied, from the medieval-inspired piano quartet The King of the Sun, and Wulfstan at the Millennium, an abstract liturgy for ten instruments, the blues-inflected violin duo Oh Them Rats Is Mean in My Kitchen, and the surreal trio The Horse with the Lavender Eye, to the Biblical satire Sons of Noah, for soprano, four flutes, four guitars and four bassoons, and his recent Symphony No. 4 for Organ, Orchestra, and Soprano, commissioned for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has composed concerti for renowned clarinetist, Richard Stoltzman, and violinist, Michele Makarski, and his collaboration with the internationally-celebrated Hilliard Ensemble has resulted in three substantial works, including his Symphony No. 3, commissioned by Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic. Other major commissions have come from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Harvard Musical Association, the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony, the Library of Congress, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Barlow Endowment, Chamber Music America, the Fromm Foundation, the Institute for American Music at the Eastman School of Music, Meet The Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, among others.

Stephen Hartke has also won the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, two Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission Grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Stoeger Award from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Charles Ives Living from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Deutsche Bank Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin.  In 2008, Hartke's opera, The Greater Good, commissioned and premiered by Glimmerglass Opera, received the first Charles Ives Opera Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2009, he was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  Most of Hartke's music is available on commercial CDs released by Albany, BMOP, Bridge, Cedille, Chandos, CRI, Delos, ECM New Series, EMI Classics, Genuin, Naxos American Classics, New World Records, and Soundbrush Records.

A Senior Composer in the 2014 edition of the festival, Hartke is no stranger to June in Buffalo. This year, in addition to lecturing and conducting master classes, he will attend performances of three of his works. On Tuesday 4th, the Slee Sinfonietta will play Ship of State, from 2017, a chamber concerto for piano and 20 players inspired by The Building of a Ship, a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Three days later, Dal Niente will perform Meanwhile, a work from 2007 for flute, clarinet, viola, cello, percussion and piano. The composer gave the piece an evocative subtitle: "Incidental Music to Imaginary Puppet Plays", and states that the composition grew from his fascination for Asian court and theater music. Although played as a single movement, the work has six sections: Procession, Fanfares, Narrative, Spikefiddlers, Cradle-songs, and Celebration. This work earned Hartke the Grammy award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2013.

The last of Hartke's work that Buffalo audiences will have the chance to hear at the Festival is Pacific Rim, from 1988, which will be performed on the June 9th Sunday matinee concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.  The piece, described by the composer as a processional and a fugue, provides another opportunity to observe how certain aspects of extra-European musics have affected Hartke's work.

(Hartke's Pacific Rim)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Anna Clyne: Collaboration and dialogue

The second in our series of June in Buffalo Senior Composer profiles is dedicated to another first-time faculty at the festival: Anna Clyne. Born in London, Clyne is a Grammy-nominated composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music who has been described as a "composer of uncommon gifts and unusual methods" in a New York Times profile and as "dazzlingly inventive" by Time Out New York,
Her work often includes collaborations with cutting-edge choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians worldwide.

(Anna Clyne)

Clyne has served as composer in residence for several important American and European orchestras, such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (2010-2015), the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (2015-16), the National Orchestra of Île-de-France (2014-2016) and the Berkeley Symphony (2017-2019). The Scottish Chamber Orchestra recently announced Clyne as its Associate Composer for the next three years, through the 2020-2021 season. She has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, BBC Radio 3, BBC Scottish Symphony, Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Houston Ballet, London Sinfonietta, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, and the Southbank Centre, and her work has been championed by such world-renowned conductors as Marin Alsop, Pablo Heras-Casado, Riccardo Muti, Leonard Slatkin, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Clyne, a member of the compositon faculty at Mannes / The New School, was nominated for the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for her double violin concerto, Prince of Clouds. She is also the recipient of several prestigious awards including the 2016 Hindemith Prize; a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; awards from Meet the Composer, the American Music Center, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Jerome Foundation; and prizes from ASCAP and SEAMUS. Recent premieres include Restless Oceans with the Taki Concordia Orchestra and Marin Alsop at the World Economic Forum; Beltane with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard; Three Sisters, her mandolin concerto for Avi Avital and the Kremerata Baltica; Pocket Book VIII for Roomful of Teeth; Threads & Traces for 100 cellos, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and performed at Disney Hall; and her violin concerto, The Seamstress, performed by Jennifer Koh with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra Hall, and with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Center, London.

This year's edition of June in Buffalo will feature four of Clyne's works. On their June 5th concert, the Mivos Quartet will play Roulette, a work from 2007 for string quartet and tape, whereas on June 7th, Ensemble Dal Niente will perform Steelworks, for flute, bass clarinet, percussion and tape, and the next day, it will be Signal's turn with Just as they are, for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano (all amplified), and tape. The works have something in common connected to the use of fixed media: all three tapes include vocal sounds (breath sounds and melodies sung by vocalists Caleb Burhans and Martha Cluver in Roulette, interviews with employees of a Brooklyn factory in Steelworks, and a recording of John Cage in Just as they are).

(Clyne's Roulette)

Last but not least, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will play Clyne's Within Her Arms, for string ensemble, during their matinee concert on June 9th. The work, which has been described by Alex Ross as "a fragile elegy", was premiered in 2009 by the LA Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Peka Salonen, and is dedicated to the composer's mother.

(Clyne's Within Her Arms)

Monday, May 20, 2019

Lei Liang: Using music to free the imagination

This week we begin our series of Senior Composer profiles for the 2019 edition of June in Buffalo by presenting the work of Lei Liang, whom we are happy to welcome in his first visit as Festival faculty. Born in China in 1972, Liang has authored works that have been described as “hauntingly beautiful and sonically colorful” by The New York Times, and as “far, far out of the ordinary, brilliantly original and inarguably gorgeous” by The Washington Post.

Winner of the 2011 Rome Prize, Lei Liang has received other important distinctions, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Aaron Copland Award, a Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission and a Creative Capital Award. His concerto Xiaoxiang (for saxophone and orchestra) was named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. He has been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, the Taipei Chinese Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, the Heidelberger Philharmonisches Orchester, the Thailand Philharmonic, pipa virtuoso Wu Man, the Fromm Music Foundation, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, the National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the Manhattan Sinfonietta, Arditti Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, the Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, New York New Music Ensemble and Boston Musica Viva.

(Lei Liang)

Lei Liang studied composition with Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Robert Cogan, Chaya Czernowin, and Mario Davidovsky, and received a Bachelor's and Master degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and a PhD from Harvard University. He taught in China as a distinguished visiting professor at Shaanxi Normal University College of Arts in Xi'an; served as honorary professor of Composition and Sound Design at Wuhan Conservatory of Music and as visiting assistant professor of music at Middlebury College. He is professor of music at the University of California, San Diego, where he served as chair of the composition area and Acting Chair of the Music Department. Starting from 2018, Lei Liang serves as the Artistic Director of the Chou Wen-Chung Music Research Center in China.

Seven portrait discs with his music have been released on several specialized labels, along with more than a dozen compilation discs. Between 2013 and 2016, Liang served as Composer-in-Residence at the Qualcomm Institute, where his multimedia works preserve and reimagine culture through combining advanced technology and scientific research. In 2018, Liang returned to the Institute as its inaugural Research Artist-in-Residence.

Also active as a scholar, Liang has published articles in many specialized magazines, including Contemporary Music Review (on the music of Chinese composer Xiaoyong Chen), Sonus, and the Journal of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. He has particular interest in the research and preservation of traditional Asian music, but his texts also examine issues at the intersection of national identity and music, as he did in "About being Chinese", which provides an interesting discussion of the place of Western Classical music in contemporary Chinese society. Liang himself, however, conceives music as "a way to free one's imagination from the artificial confines of cultural identities".

During June in Buffalo, local audiences will have several opportunities to hear Liang’s music. On June 5th, the Mivos Quartet will play Serashi Fragments, from 2006. The title is a reference to a Mongolian musician from the last century whose work Liang helped preserve by co-producing a release containing his historical recordings. Although not an imitation of the Mongolian traditional music that inspired it, the center section of the Liang's quartet does contain a brief allusion to this repertoire. The work has enjoyed an active performance history: after its premiere by the Arditti Quartet is has been taken up by JACK and the Left Coast Ensemble, among other groups.

Liang's piano solo My Windows will be performed at Dal Niente’s evening concert on June 7th by Winston Choi. The work is in four movements, titled Tian, Seven Rays of the Sun, Magma, and Pausing, Awaiting the Wind to Rise… Finally, on June 8th, Signal Ensemble will perform Aural Hypothesis, from 2010, a composition for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and vibraphone. The composer has described the piece, which was inspired by a comment made by Chou Wen Chung and is dedicated to him, as “a quasi-fantastical study on how lines may find expression in sound.”

(Liang's Seven Rays of the Sun, from My Windows)

Friday, May 3, 2019

June in Buffalo 2019 Participant Composers Announced

The June in Buffalo Festival is pleased to announce that 25 talented emerging composers have been selected from a distinguished pool of applicants to participate in this year's festival. Their names are listed below, with additional information about their pieces featured at the festival. 

Charles Colwell (CUNY): (re)voicings, for fl, cl

William David Cooper (Walnut High School for the Arts): Dyptich, for fl, cl, perc, vn, vc

Georgi Dimitrov (University of Southern California): Growing Bell Peppers, for fl, ob, cl, bsn, hn, tpt, tbn, tba, perc (2), pno, vn (2), vla, vc, cb

Jessie Downs (University at Buffalo): Excerpt from The Second Sight Act I, Scene 2, The Rain Scene, for sop (2), ch (SSAABB), fl, cl, eh, hn, perc, hp, pno, vn, vc, db

Miles Friday (Cornell): A Corpus Resounding, for pno, vn, vla, vc, cb

Eren Gümrükçüoglu (Duke): Bazkir, for string quartet

Brien Henderson (University at Buffalo): Missa Brevis, for ch (SATB), ob, cl, perc, vn, vla, vc, cb

Manuel Hernandez (CUNY): Field of Change, for fl, cl, perc, pf, vn, vc

Scott Kehoe (Peabody Institute): In a restaurant, for sop, pno

Jihyun Kim (Rice University): A Gentle Whisper, for afl, bcl, pf, vn, vc

Tonia Ko (University of Chicago): Hum Phenomenon, for cl, pno, vn, vc

Vasiliki Krimitza (NYU): Gra-V, for fl, cl, perc, pno, vn, vc

Dongryul Lee (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign): Unending Rose, for string quartet

Joungmin Lee (Ohio State University): Abandoned, for fl, cl, pno, vn, vc

Christopher Mitchell (Arizona State University): Spaces Between, for fl, cl, vn, vla, vc, cb

Bryndan Moondy (University of California Santa Cruz): Entwined to Fray, for string quartet

Reagan Mullin-Martin (Peabody Institute): Nimbus, for bcl, pf, cb

Zvonimir Nagy (Duquesne University): Anima Animae, for string quartet

Qi Shen (University of North Texas): The Voice of Mountains, for string quartet

Jinwei Sun (University of California Santa Cruz): Quintet, for perc, vn (2), vla, vc

Ka Shu Tam (University at Buffalo): Reaction II, for vn

Joseph Vasinda (University of California Davis): Mikro Atmos, for vn

Mengmeng Wang (University of Wisconsin Madison): Dream, for fl, cl, pno, vn, vc

Kyle Wernke (Missouri University of Science and Technology): Trio, for pno, vn, vc  

Hua Xin (New England Conservatory): Moon is a Distant Bear, for fl, cl, pf, vn, vc