Sunday, October 15, 2023

Opening Concert of Slee Sinfonietta 2023-24 season: “Pan-Americana”

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 presents a series of concerts each year that feature performances of challenging new works by contemporary composers and lesser-known works from the repertoire, in settings ranging from mid-size chamber orchestra to chamber ensemble and even “Soloists of the Slee Sinfonietta” programs. The season-opening concert on  Tuesday, October 17 in Lippes Concert Hall will be led by the brilliant Argentinian conductor/composer Christian Baldini, who is one of several composers with ties to UB featured on the program.

Christian Baldini

The title of the evening's program, “Pan-Americana,” honors Hispanic Heritage Month with works by composers from throughout the Americas. With that title, we draw reference to the Pan-American Association of Composers (1928-34) and pay tribute to that organization’s inspiring efforts to bring a diverse and challenging mixture of new music composed throughout the Americas to the listening public of its day. The group’s founders were composers Edgar Varése, Carlos Chavez and Henry Cowell, major figures whose music is too seldom heard in the concert hall. Alongside works by Varése and Cowell, we will perform an array of more contemporary works by composers from throughout Latin America (Mexico, Nicaragua/Columbia, Argentina), nearly all still alive and composing. In this way, the Slee Sinfonietta and the Center for 21st Century Music attempt to continue the forward-looking, even prescient, work of the Pan-American Association of Composers.

Christian Baldini serves as Professor of Music at UC Davis, and his career as both conductor and composer regularly takes him around the globe, including conducting posts and appearances with the San Francisco Symphony, BBC Symphony in London, English National Opera, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of Argentina and Portugal, Northwest German Philharmonic, North Netherlands Symphony and Munich Radio Orchestra. He memorably led the Sinfonietta in concert in 2021, and we’re pleased to welcome him back to UB “post-pandemic.” We’re also delighted to be performing Nora Ponte’s Amarrada al recuerdo 2 (2006). Nora is Professor of Musical Composition at the University of Puerto Rico and, like Christian, received her PhD at UB. Her evocative work for guitar and ensemble features another UB doctoral alum, Zane Merritt, as its soloist. 

Also on Tuesday’s program is Gabriel Bolaños’s Ecosystem (2015), which opens up an intricate world of tone and noise, as well as the space of the concert hall itself. An interview Christian Baldini conducted with Gabriel Bolaños is available here. The evening concludes with Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon’s Páramo (1999), a virtuosic sextet whose title indicates its close relationship to Mexican author Juan Rulfo’s seminal novel, Pedro Páramo. Zohn-Muldoon served as Visiting Slee Professor in Fall 2020, the first composer to hold the position since the 1970s. We’re thrilled to present his music, something we were unable to do back in 2020 because of the then-ongoing pandemic. Ricardo’s imaginative and intricate music is certainly worth the wait!


Slee Sinfonietta

Nicole Murray, flute

Michael Tumiel, clarinet

Shannon Reilly, violin      

Jonathan Golove, cello 

Nicholas Emmanuel, piano

Eric Huebner, piano

Steve Solook, percussion

Tiffany Du Mouchelle, soprano

Zane Merritt, guitar soloist

Christian Baldini, guest conductor

Concert Information: 

🗓 Tuesday, October 17, 2023 

⏰ 07:30 PM

📍Lippes Concert Hall (North Campus)

💰$10 or free with UB card