Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Slee Sinfonietta Night of Percussion

The Slee Sinfonietta is the professional chamber orchestra in residence at the University at Buffalo and the flagship ensemble of the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music. The Sinfonietta’s second concert of the Fall Semester at UB will feature percussion music by Luciano Berio, Salvatore Sciarrino, Giacinto Scelsi, and Franco Donatoni. The performance will take place on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 7:30 PM in Lippes Concert Hall.

Circles is a composition for female voice, harp and two percussionists by the Italian Composer Luciano Berio. Written in 1960 Circles is a setting of three poems by E. E. Cummings, including the poems "Stinging", "Riverly Is a Flower", and "N(o)w". Circles was written for Berio's wife, the American mezzo-soprano Cathy Berberian. The work followed by two years the landmark composition Thema (Omaggio a Joyce) in which Berio deconstructed Berberian's voice through the use of innovative electronic manipulation. Throughout Circles, Berio explores similar sound textures while limiting himself exclusively to acoustic means. The work was commissioned by the Fromm Foundation, with a dedication in the score to Mrs. Olga Koussevitsky. Berio follows an A-B-C-B-A arch form in Circles (the text from the first two poems being repeated with a different setting). In this way too the form of the composition itself expresses a circle. Berio gives precise instructions in the score for the location of the performers and percussion instruments on stage. Throughout the course of the work the singer moves backwards as if receding into the ensemble. She is also required to perform on specific percussion instruments such as finger cymbalsclaves, and various kinds of chimes.

Stage Layout and Diagram for Berio’s Circles

Circles will be performed by soprano Tiffany Du Mouchelle, harpist Kristen Theriault, and percussionists Tom Kolor and Stephen Solook. Tifanny Du Mouchelle is praised for her musical versatility, an electric stage presence, and exceptional dramatic sensibilities. Most recognized for her fearlessness in exploring new and challenging repertoire, she ushers the voice into new realms of expressivity, including a vast array of musical styles and languages, featuring over 100 different languages, and exploring the genres of classical, world, contemporary, cabaret, and theatrical works. 

Kristen Theriault has emerged as one of Canada’s most vibrant and innovative young harpists. A versatile performer, Kristen’s artistry is evident whether exploring new music,, playing with pre-eminent symphony orchestras, or engaging new audiences at downtown clubs and festivals.

Soprano Tiffany Du Mouchelle performing

Pierrot Lunaire, photo by Irene Haupt

Tom Kolor will also be performing Franco Dontoni’s Mari I for solo marimba. Dynamic evolution is used to indicate structural sections; Mari I can be seen as one large crescendo starting from pianississimo to forte followed by a diminuendo back to dal niente, or to nothing.  Donatoni was born in Verona, Italy and began studying violin at the age of 7, and attended the local Music Academy. Later he studied at the Milan Conservatory and at the Bologna Conservatory. Mari I is from Donatoni’s joyous period of composition, a period of development characterized by Donatoni's understanding of, what he referred to as, codes to found or borrowed material. These codes operate on multiple levels and control many musical parameters, the codes for Mari I deal primarily with the development of dynamics over the course of the work.

Tom Kolor will be joined by fellow percussionists Stephen Solook, Tomek Arnold, and John Bacon to perform Salvatore Sciarrino’s Un Fruscio Lundo Trent’Anni for four percussionists. Sciarrino has won many awards, among them are the Prince Pierre de Monaco (2003) and the prestigious Feltrinelli Prize (2003). He is also the first prizewinner of the newly created Salzburg Music Prize (2006), and international composition prize established by Salzburg. Sciarrino received the 2001 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award of Contemporary Music for renewing the possibilities of vocal and instrumental music and for the singularity of his sound materials. He has developed a new and unique syntax and a manner of combining extreme synthesis with richness of detail.

Composer Salvatore Sciarrino

The percussion quartet will also be performing Giacinto Scelsi's work, I Riti: Ritual March "The Funeral of Achilles" on the Night of Percussion Concert. The secretive, mystical Giacinto Scelsi saw music as a spiritual revelation. His early works are influenced by music from all eras - medieval, neo-baroque, twelve-tone - and by Eastern philosophies. His later works are distinguished by their concentration on single notes and sounds. This piece for percussion quartet is a 'Ritual March for the Funeral of Achilles'; it is quite short, brooding, and off-kilter. Scelsi uses a combination of group textures and short motifs that draw attention to themselves to create a tense atmosphere.

General Public Tickets: Online - $15 plus $2.18 fee and minimal credit card charge at www.eventbrite.com (up to 90 minutes prior to concert time) or

In person, in advance - $19 at UB’s Center for the Arts (Tue-Fri, 12pm-6pm), At the door (one hour before concert time) - $22

Seniors/UB faculity, staff, alumni/non-UB students Tickets: Online - $10 plus $2.18 fee and minimal credit card charge at www.eventbrite.com (up to 90 minutes prior to concert time) or

In person, in advance - $14 at UB’s Center for the Arts (Tue-Fri, 12pm-6pm), At the door (one hour before concert time) - $17

All UB students with a valid ID will receive one complimentary ticket to all UB Music Department events.

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