The UC Davis Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1959, and has since established itself as a major campus and community arts offering. The UC Davis Symphony has toured California, Canada, and Australia and French Polynesia.In June 2003 the orchestra traveled to France to participate in the Berlioz bicentenary over the course of a series of five concerts.It regularly serves as the pit orchestra for UCD Mainstage productions and appears at major campus events and ceremonies, including Fall Convocation and Commencements.The UC Davis Symphony is a principal resident ensemble at the
Zeena Parkins in an American composer and improviser: a pioneer of contemporary harp practice and performance who reimagines the instrument as a “sound machine of limitless capacity.” She has extended the language of both acoustic harp and an evolution of her original electric ones, through the inventive use of expanded playing techniques, preparations, and custom designed electronic processing. In this talk she will play a piece from her Impossible Tasks series.
Her work draws on a relationship to dance, film, feminism, assemblage, architecture, urban planning, lists, textiles and detritus. In a circuitous path her processes employ sound travel and transformation, tracings, expanded forms of scoring, historical and technical research. She challenges and embraces contradictions and perceived boundaries through a morphing of real and illusionary instruments, the use of multi-speaker audio installations and other extra-musical considerations.
Within a shifting constellation of Improvised/Composed/ Space/Sound/Noise/Music, Parkins remains in proximity to our body’s social dialogue with the insides and outsides of listening, with sound’s physicality, and music as material and matter, engaged in the ongoing translations of sonic states within a multitude of environments both expected and surprising.
Don Roth is the executive director of the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis. A native of New York City, Roth joined the Mondavi Center in June 2006. In his time at the Center, he has overseen the addition of the “Just Added” program of special concerts as well as programs intended to expand engagement with UC Davis faculty and students, such as the biannual festivals with UC Davis Music department and the free voucher program for first-year students.
Andrea Pestalozza has worked directly with the most recognized modern Italian composers, including Berio, Nono, and Sciarrino—with whom Pestalozza also studied composition. Pestalozza is a pianist and percussionist, but has made a career conducting contemporary works, including those by Kurtág, Takemitsu, and others. He has conducted the Berlin Philharmonic’s Scharoun Ensemble, the Israel Contemporary Players, the Musik Fabrik Ensemble (Stuttgart, Germany), and many orchestras—including the Radio Symphony Orchestras of both Saarbrücken and Budapest.
Stravinsky: Scherzo à la russe
Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971) is perhaps best known for his work that he wrote for the ballet producer Sergei Diaghilev, from Firebird (1910) to the Rite of Spring (1913). Following the First World War, Stravinsky spent time in Switzerland and then Paris, becoming a French citizen, and then, later, he moved to the United States. Stravinsky wrote two stand-alone scherzos for orchestra: the Scherzo fantastique (1909) and the Scherzo à la russe (1946), each from very different periods in his life. Written a few short years after immigrating to Hollywood, the Scherzo à la russe was originally meant to accompany a film with a Russian backdrop. After the film efforts fell through, Stravinsky orchestrated the Scherzo à la russe for the Paul Whiteman Band as a symphonic jazz piece for radio broadcast. Stravinsky himself eventually conducted a fully orchestrated version—the same version the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra will perform—on March 22, 1946, by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.
Koussevitzky: Double Bass Concerto
with Thomas Derthick, double bass
Sergei Koussevitzky (1874–1951) “studied in Moscow, where he became a virtuoso double bass player and established his credentials as a conductor. He left Russia in the wake of the Revolution, arriving in the United States after a spectacularly successful series of concerts in Paris in the early 1920s. . . . Moreover the publishing house he and his wife founded, Éditions Russes de Musique, was a major force in the dissemination of the music of Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and the other Russians…”
Thomas Derthick, double bass, is known to audiences in the central valley as the conductor of the Central Valley Youth Symphony, and to Sacramento and Davis audiences as a principal of the Sacramento Philharmonic, in addition to his teaching duties at both UC Davis and the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music.
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B-Flat Major
Sergei Prokofiev (1891–1953) today is best known for works that include Peter and the Wolf (1936), the “Classical Symphony” (1916), Lieutenant Kije (1934), and Romeo and Juliet (1936). He wrote seven symphonies and his Fifth Symphony is easily the most popular. The premiere took place early in 1945 alongside Peter and the Wolf and the “Classical Symphony,” and won him widespread recognition.
Tim Cooley is associate professor of Ethnomusicology and Global and International Studies at UC Santa Barbara. His most recent book is Surfing about Music (University of California Press, 2014) in which he discusses the relationships between surfing and music. In the book he covers the popularity of surfing popularized by rock groups such as the Beach Boys, Dick Dale and the Del Tones. He also explores the role of surfing in Hawaiian society, its mele (chants) and hula (dance or visual poetry). Cooley’s research and interests include folk music—from Hawai‘i to Eastern Europe—to American popular music, and also theories of ethnicity, nationalism, globalization, and tourism. He is also the author of Making Music in the Polish Tatras (2005) and coeditor (with Gregory Barz) of the groundbreaking Shadows in the Field: New Perspectives for Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology (2008). Cooley received his PhD in ethnomusicology from Brown University, his master’s degree from Northwestern, and his bachelor’s degree from Wheaton Conservatory of Music.
This talk asks if efforts to decolonize ethnomusicology (and ourselves) might benefit from engaging emerging ecomusicology. Colonialism exploits both environmental resources and human beings together with their cultural practices. Meaningful decolonization will restructure and heal cross-cultural human interactions as well as human engagement with our environment. Thus decolonizing our discipline becomes a holistic effort that interprets and advocates for sustainable cultural practices grounded in ecology.
These ideas are explored through Cooley’s research of music associated with surfing. Surfing as an integrated cultural practice was most highly developed on the islands of Hawai‘i, and the spread of surfing globally was part of the U.S. colonization of Hawai‘i. Resultant changes in surfing as a cultural practice are marked musically. In pre-contact Hawai‘i, mele (chants) affirmed surfing as an expression of establishment (royal) power. Immediately following the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, perennially popular hapa haole (“half foreign” tin pan alley-style) songs reinterpreted surfing as a local attraction that white men might learn from Hawaiian women. Then in the early 1960s newly branded “surf music” marked a sea change for the sport, shifting the cultural center of surfing from Hawai‘i to southern California and redefining it as hyper-masculine, white, middle-class, and expressive of youth-culture and consumerism. Thus this “unabashed celebration of consumption” (Garofalo 2008: 154) was also an anthem for the colonial appropriation of Hawaiian cultural practices. More recent musicking associated with surfing promotes global environmental activism, though it does not take into account the surfing industry’s involvement in colonialism and ongoing ecological disruption.
Free (Sponsored by the William E. Valente Endowment)