Tuesday, April 28, 2020

June in Buffalo 2020 Participants

Congratulations to the 16 selected participant composers who will be joining the remote June in Buffalo Festival this year (more about the remote festival here)! 

This year's participant composers and their compositions are:

Yifan Guo (Mannes School of Music at The New School): Wanderer in May for the Arditti Quartet

Daniel Gostelow (University at Buffalo): New work for String Quartet

Jack Herscowitz (Middlebury College): “For There They Were…” for the Arditti Quartet

Matias Homar (University at Buffalo): New Work for Guitar, Bassoon, and Cello

Zhouseheng Jin (McGill University): A Piece of Watermelon for Soprano, Flute (C and Bass), Clarinet (B-flat and Bass), Percussion, Piano, Violin, and Cello

Scott Kehoe (Peabody Conservatory): New Work for Guitar, Bassoon, and Cello

Oliver Kwapis (Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University): Approach to Zion for solo Piano

Young Jun Lee (Berklee College): Revelation for the Arditti Quartet

Jonathan Newmark (University of Cincinnati): Excerpts for Haber’s Law for Soprano, Baritone, and Piano

Sameer Ramchandran (Rutgers University): Le jardin des ombres for Oboe, B-flat Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn in F, Percussion, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, and Double Bass

Axel Retif ( London College of Music) Sombre el nombre de mi padre for Flute, B-Flat Clarinet, Horn in F, Bassoon, 2 Violin, Viola, and Cello

Brian Simalchik (Hart School of Music at the University of Hartford): Overlooks for Flute, B-flat Clarinet, Vibraphone, Piano, Viola, and Cello

Ka Shu (Kenneth) Tam (University at Buffalo): New Work for Guitar, Bassoon, and Cello

Daniel De Togni (University of Oregon) Turn for Violin and Piano

Xuesi Xu (Florida State University): Red Winter for the Arditti Quartet

Tengyue Zhang (Mannes School of Music at The New School): Meaning in Absurd for Flute, B-flat Clarinet, Piano, Violin, and Cello

Monday, April 27, 2020

June in Buffalo 2020 Announcement

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. We at the University at Buffalo had our scheduled spring break occur shortly after during March 16 – 20. When classes resumed on Monday, March 23, we began engaging in distance and remote learning. Since then, all music events at the University at Buffalo have been cancelled or held remotely, and teachers, students, and administrators have been working remotely from home.

Musicians, composers, and ensembles, are witnessing their concerts, premieres, and other music events cancelled. With these cancellations come tremendous disappointment, loss of income, stress, stalls in professional development, and demotivating time-lags in the realization of musical ideas and projects.

We at the June in Buffalo Festival are creating a remote version of the festival where no travel will be necessary, and all of the participant composers can participate without leaving their home. They will be invited to coach, via Zoom, one of the several rehearsals of their work, as well as receive a high-quality stereo recording of their work. There won’t be any concerts, audiences, or gatherings of more than ten people.

Each of these rehearsals and recordings will involve no more than ten people gathering together in the hall, and all of the musicians and staff will remain at least six feet apart, and adopt social distancing measures and safety precautions. Some rehearsals and recordings may happen outside of the June 1 – 7 festival dates, dependent upon health and safety conditions.

We are encouraged to announce that 16 participant composers from around the world will be joining us remotely for the festival. In addition to the rehearsals, and the high-quality stereo recording they will receive, the participant composers will also have one-on-one lessons with each of the senior composers, and have exclusive access to their two-hour lectures.

The June in Buffalo 2020 senior composers making a successful remote festival possible are: David Felder, Hilda Paredes, Robert HP Platz, Roger Reynolds, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon. More announcements and updates will be made as we approach June in Buffalo 2020.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Mourning Charles Wuorinen

We are mourning the recent passing of Charles Wourinen, frequent honored guest at the University at Buffalo Center for 21st Century Music and the June in Buffalo Festival. Wourinen was an exceedingly rare musician with an exceptional ability to also perform and conduct complex contemporary music, making his role as an advocate for his work, and that of his colleagues, authoritative and invaluable. 

Wuorinen with conductor Brad Lubman
during his 80th birthday portrait concert

Throughout his long career, Wuorinen has been a frequent guest at UB. Charles served as guest professor for several years in the early 1990’s, commuting to Buffalo from NYC and his New Jersey farm for several semesters. He has served as a senior composer at numerous June in Buffalo festivals, from the early days of the Festival in the 1970s all the way through to 2015. In turn, the festival has had the opportunity to present many of Wuorinen’s works over the years, including large-scale works such as the complete Fenton Songs (performed by Ensemble Surplus in 2006), the orchestral Microsymphony (performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic in 2007), and the cantata It Happens Like This (performed by the Slee Sinfonietta in 2013). Building on this long-standing relationship, the State University of New York awarded Wuorinen an honorary doctorate during the 2013 June in Buffalo Festival, where an honorary ceremonial was followed by a portrait concert. Further, an 80th birthday concert was produced by the Slee Sinfonietta featuring Ensemble Signal, and conductor Brad Lubman, only a few short years ago.

Charles Wuorinen conducting and rehearsing at June in Buffalo 2013

Wourinen has had many, many works featured at the June in Buffalo Festival, since its reincarnation in June, 1986, under David Felder’s direction, and he has been invited to the festival numerous times as a senior composer, dating back to the performance of his String Sextet (1989) on June 5, 1991. His orchestral piece Bamboula Squared (1984) was performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under his baton in 1993 and many other compositions were performed throughout the years by both Ensemble Signal and the Slee Sinfonietta. Other works performed by the BPO at June in Buffalo include Microsymphony, Bamboula Beach, and a premiere of a version of The River of Light (CW conducting) among others.

As an example, Wourinen's second attendance at the June in Buffalo Festival was in 1992 where his chamber ensemble piece On Alligators was performed. He returned to the festival in 1993 and 1994 with performances of his orchestral piece Bamboula Squared and Sonata for Violin and Piano by pianist Margaret Kampmeier and violinist Curtis Macomber respectively. In 2006, during a visit, Wourinen's Epithalamium was performed by trumpeters Nelson and Levine, and in 2008, during another visit, his compositions The Blue Bamboula, performed by pianist Alan Feinberg, and Spin 5, were both featured on a concert.

In April 2011, a Slee Sinfonietta concert was dedicated to the works of Charles Wourinen. His works Salve Regina: John Bull, Metagong, Fifty Fifty, and Canzona were all programmed on the concert and performed by the contemporary music specialists that comprise the Slee Sinfonietta. Fifty Fifty featured pianists Eric Huebner and Stephen Gosling, who were later joined by percussionists Tom Kolor and Daniel Druckman for Metagong. In April 2018, for his 80th birthday, Wourinen gave a lecture at a concert of his works presented by Ensemble Signal. Ensemble Signal was joined by soloist Eric Huebner on their performance of Megalith, violin soloist Olivia de Prato on Spin 5, and oboe soloist Jacqueline Leclair on Iridule.

Charles Wourinen applauding the Slee Sinfonietta and Ensemble Signal
after the performance of Megalith at his 80th birthday portrait concert

Other works performed at June in Buffalo – and this is not by any means an exhaustive list, include: Archaeopteryx, Percussion Symphony, Hyperion, On Alligators, Ashberyana
His lectures at June were legendary; unforgettable events that live in the memories of those fortunate enough to be in attendance.

In the next concert season, we’ll offer a performance of his most recent Second Percussion Symphony, and hoist a martini in tribute to this lion of post-war American composers. We shall not ever see his like again… and he will be sorely missed.

David Felder and Charles Wuorinen
at the Buffalo Marriott in 2018



Monday, April 6, 2020

June in Buffalo Senior Composer Roger Reynolds

Roger Reynolds will be working with students at this year’s June in Buffalo Festival as one of three senior composers and guest lecturers. Roger Reynolds is a composer, writer, producer and mentor, pioneer in sound spatialization, intermedia, and algorithmic concepts, is an inveterate synthesizer of diverse capacities and perspectives. His notorious (1961) composition, The Emperor of Ice Cream, which uses graphic notation to depict performer location on a stage, was widely imitated. In fact, Reynolds’s work often arises out of text or visual images. His Pulitzer prize-winning composition, Whispers Out of Time, for string orchestra muses on a poem by John Ashbery. The recent FLiGHT project (2012-16) arose out of a collection of texts and images stretching from Plato’s time to that of the astronauts. Projects with individual performers and ensembles, theater directors, choreographers, and scientists have provoked challenging inter-personal collaborations. He has been, for decades, a sought-after mentor at UC San Diego.

Reynolds’s body of work demonstrates how seamlessly test, electroacoustic resources, and novel presentation strategies can be melded with live instrumental and vocal performance. Sanctuary (2003-2007) for percussion quartet and real-time computer processing arose from interactions with Steven Schick. About it, Gramophone writes: Reynolds goes right inside sound. … Here’s the most outstandingly original view of percussion since Varèse’s ‘Ionisation’”. A recent cycle of duos, SHAREDSPACE, for solo instrumentalist and real-time computer musician includes Shifting/Drifting (with violinist Irvine Arditti). The Strad notes: This is music that demands close attention, but repays it with startlingly abundant invention, delivered with cool authority. In addition to continuing musical composition, Reynolds’s current projects include an innovative collection of texts and images, PASSAGE, and a collaborative book exploring Xenakis’s creative ways as exemplified in a Desert House he designed for Karen and Roger Reynolds.

Reynolds envisions his own path as entailing the principled weaving together of threads from tradition with novel provocations originating outside music. The elements (wind, fire, water) have spoken in his works beginning with the vocal storm in VOICESPACE I: Still (1975) and continuing in Versions/Stages and The Red Act AriasMythic themes are also frequently drawn upon. Reading about and research in psychoacoustics have affected his outlook. Research in the Sacher Foundation’s Collections resulted in publications about Varèse’s conceptualization of “space”: “The Last Word is Imagination: Parts I and II”. His long friendships with Cage, Nancarrow, Takemitsu and Xenakis also inform his outlook in procedural and personal ways. Reynolds conceives of composition as “a process of illumination”, a path toward (occasional) clarity in turbulent times. He seeks the satisfaction of proposing and experiencing unexpected connections, of bringing the elevating capacity of music into public spaces, of engaging with other arts and artists to discover new amalgamations of sensation and insight that can “improve the human experience”.