Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Events in the first week of September

The Center for 21st Century Music was pleased to sponsor some terrific events by guests who were in residence while preparing for the September 7th performance of Prof. Tiffany Skidmore’s The William Blake Cycle (Also co-sponsored by the Center). The guests included saxophonist, Kyle Hutchins, who gave a workshop on composing for his instruments, and composer Ted Moore, who offered a masterclass for our PhD students in composition, as well as a composer talk open to the public. Percussionist Annie Stevens, also in town for The William Blake Cycle, gave an excellent workshop for composers, as well.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Duo Gelland Residency at University at BUffalo - Workshop and Concert

Duo Gelland Violin Duo will be in residence at the University at Buffalo from Monday, September 18 through Tuesday, September 19 for a composition workshop and concert. Additionally, Duo Gelland and UB composers will meet with the students of Buffalo String Works for a new project! Duo Gelland was founded in 1994 by the violinists Cecilia and Martin Gelland who met in the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra and started exploring the duo repertoire together. The eminent European ensemble turned an 18th century concept into the driving force of contemporary exploration. Their passionate, profound and playful interpretations earned them the Annual German Record Critics' Award 2008, Swedish Nutida Sound 2011, Fanfare Yearbook 2001. They revive forgotten gems with historically inspired insight, and in close collaboration with composers they bring new scores to life - so far nearly 200. Duo Gelland premiered and performed duos and double concerti in Berliner Philharmonie both halls, Konzertverein Wien, Grünewaldsalen Stockholm, Tonhalle Zürich.

Duo Gelland

... with scintillating virtuosity... the fantastic sound worlds of the remarkable Gelland Duo.
The Strad Magazine, May 2008

In a new project, they are going to collaborate with UB composers and Buffalo String Works for the premiere of a new double concerto for Duo Gelland and the Buffalo String Works student string orchestra. A special aspect of the double concerto score is that it uses graphic notation, rather than conventional staff notation. A second work will be created for the Buffalo String Works student orchestra alone. 

Duo Gelland will feature works by Arnold Schönberg, Tiffany M SkidmoreErika FörareMikael ForsmanBirgitte Alsted Zweigeigen, and  Hans-Joachim Hespos in the concert on September 19. Among them, German composer Hans-Joachim Hespos's aglaja - dem engel "katastroph" zum angedenken (2019) will be world premiere!

Workshop Information: 

🗓 Monday, September 18, 2023 

⏰ 11:00 AM - 01:00 PM

📍Baird Recital Hall (North Campus)


Concert Information: 

🗓 Tuesday, September 19, 2023 

⏰ 19:30 PM

📍Baird Recital Hall (North Campus)

💰$10 or free with UB card

Thursday, September 7, 2023

The William Blake Cycle: Unseen, Unbodièd, Unknown by Tiffany M. Skidmore

The Center for 21st Century Music is pleased to announce our season-opening performance of Tiffany Skidmore’s William Blake Cycle. Tiffany is a Visiting Associate Professor in the UB Music Department, and we are very excited to hear these intriguing works, which blend instruments, above all Kyle Hutchins’ saxophones, and electronic sounds in a multimedia theatrical vision.

Since 2015, composer Tiffany M. Skidmore and saxophonist Kyle Hutchins have been collaborating on a cycle of electroacoustic instrumental chamber pieces centered around the saxophone that considers text and characters created by William Blake. Each movement explores relationships between mythological characters in the Blake universe, nonbinary gender identity, sexual politics, and gender stereotypes.

(Kyle Hutchins Website)

The Book of Ahania acts as a refrain throughout the cycle. Ahania, the female emanation of Urizen, is his soul. Urizen becomes jealous and ashamed of his own feminine emanation–he sees her as “sinful” and hides her away until she becomes an unembodied shadow that wanders the earth, becoming “the mother of Pestilence.”

The focus of Blake’s characterization of the first female, Enitharmon, represents “female domination and sexual restraints that limit the artistic imagination.” The Night of Enitharmon’s Joy reinterprets Blake’s poem, conceiving of it as a commentary on sexual oppression/suppression using restrictive pitch/rhythmic materials. Musically, the foundational vocal melody can never develop. Live instrumental lines begin to sprout from above and below the foundation, always forced to loop back due to musical constraints. Electronic snippets of a romantic underlying melody and poetic text emerge periodically from the textures, while a prolonged electronic whisper eventually envelops all other musical elements.

In Vala/Luvah, Vala and Luvah are feminine and masculine emanations of a single entity. Vala/Luvah loves and hates him/her/themself with a fiery, apocalyptic intensity.

Tharmas the father/Enion the mother explores Tharmas’s masculine persona at multiple simultaneous “ages” — he is both a bearded old man and a young man with wings. At the same time, the ecstatic, wailing music of Enion, this being’s feminine persona, gradually fades away, disappearing over the course of the piece.

The Spectre of Urthona depicts the erotic encounter that gives birth to a world full of lush flowers and poisonous fruit.

​The Book of Urizen is focused on the character Urizen, who features prominently in Blake’s Europe: A Prophecy. In Blake’s universe, Urizen represents the first living entity. He is intensely destructive, yet simultaneously “the embodiment of conventional reason and law." This piece explores Urizen’s multifaceted character and story through a complex, wordless setting of passages from Blake’s poem.

​(The Book of Urizen)

Concert Information: 

🗓 Friday, September 07, 2023 

⏰ 07:30PM - 09:00PM

📍 Slee Hall - Lippes Concert Hall (North Campus)

💰 $10 or free with UB card

Soloist Kyle Hutchins, saxophone
Dalia Chin, flute
Rebeccah Parker Downs, cello
Sheldon Johnson, saxophone
Katherine Kennedy, soprano
Jeffrey Siegfried, saxophone
Derek Shapiro, conductor
Justin Anthony Spenner, baritone
Annie Stevens, percussion
Shannon Wettstein, piano
Tiffany M. Skidmore, video and electronics
Ted Moore, Technical Director
Amanda Nelson, Theatrical Director
Artem Bank, Documentation

The Book of Ahania for bass flute and baritone saxophone
The Night of Enitharmon's Joy for flute, tenor saxophone, and electronics
Vala/Luvah for saxophone trio (AAT) and electronics
Tharmas the father/Enion the mother for solo sopranino saxophone
The Spectre of Urthona for two soprano saxophones, cello, piano, percussion, and electronics
The Book of Ahania for bass flute and baritone saxophone
The Book of Urizen for alto saxophone and piano

Text and Images by William Blake
Adaptation by Tiffany M. Skidmore