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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.