Music professor Kurt Rohde’s “Power Is Everywhere” songs will have its world premiere in San Francisco May 30. Rohde’s songs are a kind of companion piece to Maurice Ravel’s Chansons madécasses that will also be part of the “Francophilia” concert by the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.
Rohde’s music in “Power is Everywhere” is set to the writings of Michel Foucault, the 20th century philosopher and literary critic.
“I find the writings and lectures of this groundbreaking thinker to be direct, anything but simple, and yet always so clear,” said Rohde. “The singer is the observer, actor and deliverer of the message; she is not there to simply sing the text – she is there to instigate the way the music unfolds.”
He calls it a “a surreal singspiel” influenced by opera, song cycles and theater.
The concert, which will also be performed in Berkeley June 1, will also include works by Debussy, Massenet and Rorem. Nikki Edenfield will be the singer.
Rhode, a violist who is a member of Left Coast, recently completed works for the Lyris Quartet, the Lydian String Quartet and eighth blackbird. His opera, “Death with Interruptions,” premiered in March 2015, will be performed at UC Davis Nov. 11 and 12.
Kurt Rohde has received a two-year appointment (2017-2019) as a curator at the Center for New Music in San Francisco.
In this capacity, each curator is encouraged to realize their own vision, and to encourage artists to do the same. As a group, their responsibility is to make the best possible use of the Center’s resources to create concerts and special events that embody the values of diversity, inclusion, and excellence.
Two classic works of chamber music by Johannes Brahms — the Piano Trio in C Major, and the String Sextet in G Major — will be featured in a free noon concert on Thursday, Oct. 29, in Jackson Hall at the Mondavi Center.
With 10 days to fill, Sacramento State’s Festival of New American Music (www.csus.edu/music/fenam) has a lineup Nov. 6-15 to please all music lovers with a variety of forms and artists, and even includes a couple of former members of the Grateful Dead.
FeNAM’s featured composer is Kurt Rohde, who will present a keynote address at noon, Friday, Nov. 13. A recipient of the Rome Prize, Berlin Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Rohde also is a founder of and performs with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.
In Saramago’s 2005 novel, death appears as a woman who falls in love with a cellist and is transformed by that love. It’s a perfect vehicle, Rohde says, for using music to convey the drama. “In this opera, music is the transformative force that turns death from this thing that doesn’t exist into a human being. It’s a very confusing process for her, and she has to do things that are increasingly human. For example, she’s never spoken—she never had to—and when she starts to speak, I make her stutter and gradually start to form words. The cellist character vocalizes as if he’s tuning up the instrument, then playing the Bach Suites.”
Kurt Rohde, music professor, is one of 16 artists to receive an American Academy of Arts and Letters music award for 2015. He is one of four composers who will each receive a $10,000 award for outstanding accomplishments and $10,000 toward recording one of their works. Rohde, who came to UC Davis in 2006, has also won the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and recently received commissions from the Lydian String Quartet, eighth blackbird, the St.
Kurt Rohde has received a Copland House Residency Award. Rohde is among eight American composers and five from Great Britain to receive the 2013 award. Among the American winners are Nicholas Omiccioli, a participant in UC Davis’s “Migration and Music” festival in 2013, as well as Christopher Theofanidis, whose piano quintet is to be performed by the Empyrean Ensemble as part of the Festival of New American Music (FeNAM) at Sacramento State University and on the Empyrean Ensemble’s November 22 concert at the Mondav
Kurt Rohde won the commission award for the Lydian String Quartet (in residence at Brandeis University) for his two pieces: Concertino for solo violin and small ensemble (which was also performed on a noon concert in 2011), and still distant, still here for large ensemble.
Sam Nichols received Honorable Mention in the contest for his piece Refuge for String Quartet, andWrack for Violin and Piano.
Composer Kurt Rohde recently received a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (2012–13) to work on two new chamber opera projects: an opera with poet Paul Mann, and an opera with writer Dana Spiotta and artist David Humphrey.
Kurt Rohde is a faculty composer at UC Davis and a composer-in-residence with Southwest Chamber Music (SCM) in Pasadena, California. In March 2010, SCM is participating in the Ascending Dragon cultural-exchange program, sponsored by the U.S. State Department. As part of this program, Rohde will spend three weeks in Vietnam, teaching music composition and analysis at top music schools in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.