Thursday, January 16, 2020

Recent Graduate Student Professional Activities

Graduate composers at the University of Buffalo pursue many professional opportunities both at UB and outside of the university. We would like to celebrate the achievements of our current and former UB graduate composers by sharing their recent accomplishments.

Recent UB graduate Igor Marques performed his PhD Dissertation, Noturno (2018), with contemporary music ensemble Elision. A recording of the performance can be found here. Dr. Marques is now a Clinical Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the University at Buffalo where he continues to compose and focus on teaching and research.

Alex Huddleston’s string quartet, I found a few configuartions//some stripes, was performed by the Mivos Quartet and was the winner of the 2018 Kanter Prize. Alex has received several commissions including from percussionist Steve Solook entitled how quickly for forget An Adolescence for drum set and a commission from trombonist Juna Winston for his duo project “Blechtrommell” for trombone and percussion. Huddleston is a music critic for Cambridge University Press’s TEMPO and has had several works presented as topics in lecture settings at UB, particularly of note was his work ThePreservation III in Musicologist Seth Brodsky’s lecture “Is there
music after analysis”.

John Aulich has had several opportunities to work with contemporary music ensemble Elision. He composed a piece for lap-steel, Uilleann pipes, and double bass for Elision which was workshopped last summer and received a request from Elision to compose them a second piece for bass clarinet, bassoon, cello, trombone, and saxophone. This new piece will be premiered May 2nd in Melbourne at the Melbourne Recital Center which will be attended by John for the performance and a recording session.

In May 2019 Ka Shu Tam’s work, Beyond the Frontier of the Great Wall for SATB Youth Choir was premiered in Hong Kong and will be commercially published this year. Tam also had a work premiered in June 2019 by the Arditti Quartet during the Bilkent Composition Academy in Ankara, Turkey entitled …IntoDirt…. This coming April 2020 Tam’s string trio, Flux, will be premiered in Christchurch, New Zealand during the International Society for Contemporary Music and Asian Composers’ League Conference.

Edgar Girtain IV was appointed Director of La Casa de las Artes for the Universidad Austral de Chile in Puerto Montt in June where he conducts the Symphonic and Chamber Choirs, and maintains a piano and composition studio. In October, Edgar premiered a four hand piano concerto with Ximena Vasquez on a concert featuring several new works by North American composers. Edgar’s choir toured Schubert’s G Major Mass with a full string orchestra and in January Edgar will be doing some educational programs with a local wind band and performing several premieres with ensemble Nucleo Experimentacion Sonora Chiloe directed by Alejandro Lavanderos.

Jessie Downs's current focus is composing and producing her new opera The Second Sight. The opera's first performances will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo on June 27th 2020 at 7pm, and June 28th 2020 at 2pm. In 2019, Jessie was awarded both a Dissertation Fellowship and a Mark Diamond Fund award to help support this project. Additional fundraising is underway. In November, a piano transcription of a scene from the opera's third act – Diskana’s Lament - was commissioned by and premiered as a musical offering at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo. Jessie was a participant in the 2019 June in Buffalo Festival, and her ensemble - the Sotto Voce Vocal Collective - presented performances of her opera's second scene as well as a new mass by Brien Henderson. In April, her 2016 duet for piccolo and prepared piano, shadow a thing, was performed on a UCSD graduate student recital featuring Michael Matsuno. Jessie also continues performing regularly as a soprano soloist. Recent performances include Britten's "Ceremony of Carols," Hensel's "For the Feast of St. Cecilia;" scenes from Verdi's Rigoletto (as Gilda) and La Traviata (as Violetta) presented on programs hosted by UUCB, Buffalo Master Choral, and Nickel City Opera; and the soprano duet from Alex Huddleston's "The Sonnets" with Julia Anne Cordani for the 2019 MUGSA symposium.

During the fall semester, Joel Kirk, wrote a piece - "Titration" - for the Yarn/Wire Ensemble which was workshopped and recorded by them during their residency at the University at Buffalo in November. He has also been working on an acousmatic piece for electronics and multimedia - "Rust" - with visual artist Eloise Shaw which will be completed in the coming months. Joel is currently writing a string quartet for the Arditti Quartet’s Buffalo residency in April and is also in talks with the UK-based Leyland Brass Band towards writing a piece for them to perform later in 2020.

Ruixing Wang is a classical music composer and also works as a pop music producer. Recently he has been collaborating with local Buffalo musician Carly Beth to create an original pop song. Back View was recently published in Chinese media and has over 500 thousand online plays and downloads.

Alex Buehler conducted a performance of his work Z/28 for 16-piece trombone choir at the International Trombone Festival in Muncie, IN, in July 2019. In October, his work Obsolescense for open instrumentation and improvised electronics was performed by composer/violinist Dr. Andrew May at CEMIcircles International Electronic and Experimental Music Festival 2019. Recently Alex was commissioned by the Amorsima String Trio as a part of their new music miniatures concert series which will take place in June 2020.

In Fall 2019, Su Lee’s dissertation composition "Die Radikalen Tasten", a concerto for organ with keyboard ensemble, written specifically on our own tremendous Fisk Op.95 organ at UB, received attention for the innovative and radical aspects of its organ repertoire. It was premiered at her dissertation fundraiser concert with the support of the Mark Diamond Research Fund and generous donations from the Buffalo/WNY community. An audience of approximately 150 attended. (A recording is available on YouTube). After successfully completing her defense, she is expecting to receive her PhD in composition in February 2020.

Matias Homar has performed in a tour of Argentina in June and July with the Imaymana Duo and was a special guest speaker at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata for the composition department and also gave a workshop in composition for the IV Jornadas Musicales de Formacion Instrumental y Vocal in Salta, Argentina. Homar also completed new works Dans av Hjerter fra Nord for the Norwegian group Current Sax and Metamorphosis for Ensemble Mise-En. This year he is recording and producing Imaymana Duo’s 2nd CD to be released in July and writing a new work for Ensemble Mise-En and the ECI Ensemble to be premiered in August in La Plata, Argentina.

Tyler Adamthwaite is a Presidential Scholar at the University at Buffalo and a graduate of both Colorado State University and Brandeis University in Buffalo. In the Fall of 2019 he had a recent composition workshopped and recorded by New York-based Ensemble Mise-En.

Tomek Arnold received the 2019 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award for his work Non-AggressiveMusic Deterrent in May. In September 2019 his composition Are you a Vineyard? was premiered by the Mivos Quartet at the Academie Voix Nouvelles in Royaumont Abbey.