Friday, November 22, 2019

Ensemble Mise-En Residency at the University at Buffalo

Ensemble Mise-En will be in residence at the Center for 21st Century Music at the University at Buffalo from Friday, December 6 through Sunday, December 8 for a graduate composition workshop and two rehearsals of David Felder’s Jeu de Tarot 2. Ensemble Mise-En is a New York-based contemporary music collective led by composer Moon Young Ha. Comprised of talented young musicians, their personnel strives to bring a repertoire of challenging new sounds to diverse audiences. Mise-En wishes to impart an experience that is simultaneously multicultural and intellectually and aesthetically pleasing. As a collective, the multinational personnel has coalesced around a real aesthetic agenda, crystallized in the name “mise-en”: “mee,” in Korean, means “beauty,” and “zahn,” “to decorate,” and the group unabashedly promotes “beautiful” artwork to increasingly diverse audiences of contemporary sounds.

Ensemble Mise-En

The ensemble promotes large-scale, dynamic performances of contemporary music featuring the works of established and budding composers. Since its inception in 2011, Ensemble Mise-En has collaborated with such esteemed partners as Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, International Alliance for Women in Music, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Open Meadows Foundation, New York University, New York Foundation for the Arts, I-Park, Goethe-Institute Boston, Villa Gillet (FR) and others. To date, the ensemble has presented a total of 281 pieces, including 114 works written for the group, and 86 US/NY premieres. The ensemble has performed at exciting venues such as (le) poisson rouge, Bohemian National Hall, Italian Academy, the DiMenna Center, Tenri Cultural Institute and the cell.

Mise-En will read, workshop, and record new compositions by PhD. students Tyler Adamthwaite, Matias Homar, Kenneth Tam, and Richard Wang during their residency. 

Adamthwaite’s composition for alto flute, clarinet and bass clarinet, violin, cello, percussion, and piano is titled Silent Embers. The work is based on a poem that he wrote:

“The process of node flowing to path.
The feeling of ruminating.
A particular image.
Emotion. Idea. Identity.”

Homar’s composition is Metamorphosis, based on Kafka’s homonymous text. He has used the text to derive the musical elements, from the formal structure to the motivic ideas both in the melody/harmony as well as in the rhythms. The three sections of the piece develop the idea of metamorphosis by transforming the elements from more ’simple’ to more ‘complex.' The use of the live effects, as well as the way in which the sonic objects accumulate throughout the two thirds of the piece, is a way to represent the idea of metamorphosis following his own interpretation of the story being told by the author of the text. It is scored for flute, clarinet, percussion, and electronics.

Cover of Kafka’s short story, The Metamorphosis

Tam has written his composition, Path of Earth, for a large chamber ensemble of flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, and cello. Tam’s program notes for his piece are,

People seek for an ideal world. We hope for peace and freedom. We hope to live a calm and simple life. For that, people fight. Riots are all over the world, using aggressive and complicated means to achieve the ideal living conditions. There is no real utopia. Humans themselves are the subject of complexity. Where there are people, there are problems. We try to fix those problems, but we should also admit there is no way that we can reduce the world into an ideal simplicity. Most of us recognize the nature of the world. Why do we still hope for utopia? Why don’t we try to embrace the complexity? Why should we have to frame the world into simple forms and structures? The world needs a variety of people to maintain its function. If we could truly accept the nature of the world, we might be able to find at least a path to a temporary utopian moment among the complexity.”

The North Side of Li Mountain, written by Richard Wang, is composed using multi-tonal scales and neo-romantic stylings. Wang is a Chinese composer who was raised in northwestern China and has always had an interest and passion for mixing folk and historical music in his works. His piece tells stories of the Li Mountain from the Qin Dynasty to present day. The composition is scored for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, percussion, and piano.

All four works will be workshopped on Friday, December 6th and then recorded by Mise-en on Saturday, December 7th. Mise-en’s residency at UB will conclude on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Guest Composer Kevin Ernste

On November 15, 2019 Guest Composer Kevin Ernste from Cornell University will be visiting, lecturing, and giving a masterclass to graduate composition students at the University at Buffalo. Kevin Ernste is a composer, performer, and teacher of composition and electronic music at Cornell University where he is Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Cornell Electroacoustic Music Center. He is a founding member of the improvisation ensemble, CAGE. In 2006 he was the Acting Director of the Eastman Computer Music Center and Co-director of the ImageMovementSound festival.

His work is rooted in the exploration and expansion of acoustic instrumental sounds with electronic/computer means, working in close contact with musicians, delving into an instrument’s sonic and physical nature, seeking hidden voices and phenomena, in turn revealing new techniques for human performers.

Dr. Kevin Ernste lecturing at Cornell University

Recent music includes Interregnum for chamber ensemble and bowls of water–released in 2018 as an audio and video album, The Awful Grace for viola and percussion with unmanned piano and electronics, Chorale for chamber ensemble and live electronics–commissioned by the Society for New Music and dedicated to composer Steven Stucky, Palimpsest for the JACK Quartet–the result of a Harvard Fromm Foundation Commission, presented recently at the Sweet Thunder Festival in San Francisco and the International Computer Music Conference in Athens Greece, Nisi [nee-see] (“Island” in Greek) for hornist Adam Unsworth  released on Equilibrium Records “Snapshots” (CD111)Adwords/Edward, dedicated to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and composed for Google GlassNumina for Brooklyn-based Janus Trio (flute, viola, harp) presented at the Spark Festival in MN, Seiend for brass quintet premiered by Ensemble Paris Lodron (Salzburg, Austria, Roses Don’t Need Perfume for guitarist Kenneth Meyer (gtr. and electronic sounds, 2009) recently released on CD (May 2018, Innova), a piece for saxophone and electronics called To Be Neither Proud Nor Ashamed (recently released on Innova Records), and Birches for viola with electronic sounds for John Graham performed on Mr. Graham’s recent China tour (Beijing, Wuhan, Xiamen, Hong Kong) as well as at the Aspen Summer Music Festival.  Mr, Graham presented Birches again in August 2011 at the International Computer Music Conference  (ICMC) in Huddersfield, UK and again in 2012 at CCRMA for the Linux Audio Conference.