Taproot New Music Festival:
“Renderings of Things We Couldn’t Take Home”

Sam Nichols, director

Courtyard, Shields Library

Performance at 2:00pm, repeated at 2:30pm. Please note that in case of rain, the performance will move inside to the Shields Library lobby, and will not be repeated at 2:30pm.


The UC Davis Percussion Ensemble (Chris Froh, director) will perform Jen Wang’s percussion quartet Renderings of Things We Couldn’t Take Home (2009); this performance is coached by graduate student composer Colin Minigan. The composer writes:

The primary sonic material of “Renderings” is bowed tremolo on tam-tam (or other gong). Throughout the piece, the vibraphone player chooses pitches that arise from the tremolos and plays harmonies derived from those pitches, building a harmonic world around starting pitches that will change from instrument to instrument, performance to performance. I think of music as often having a distinctive metabolism, an innate timing for when musical events happen and how long listeners have to absorb and make sense of them; “Renderings” arose because I wanted to center the musical metabolism of the performers, and create a loose framework within which performers have the freedom and agency to explore sound in a way, and in a time, that feels right for them.”


Shields Library, One Shields Ave., UC Davis, Davis, CA

Taproot New Music Festival
February 8–11, 2024

The Department of Music at UC Davis presents the Taproot New Music Festival February 8–11, 2024, at the Ann E. Pitzer Center at UC Davis.


The Taproot New Music Festival will take place on the campus of the University of California, Davis, during the week of February 5, 2024, and will culminate in performances at the end of that week (February 8–11, 2024). Eight composers have been chosen to participate in the festival: they’ll have new pieces performed, and will participate in seminars and workshops facilitated by the visiting artists and UC Davis composition faculty. The festival will feature Splinter Reeds as a visiting ensemble. UC Davis’s own Empyrean Ensemble will also join the festival line-up.

Participating Composers

Dean Boursiquot
Stephen Ryan Jackson
Trey Makler
Kory Reeder
Phillip Sink
Shahrzad Talebi
Amber Vistein
Zoë Wallace

Featured Ensembles

Splinter Reeds
Splinter Reeds is the West Coast’s first reed quintet, comprising five innovative musicians with a shared passion for new music. The ensemble is committed to presenting top tier performances of today’s best contemporary composition, showcasing the vast possibilities of the reed quintet, commissioning new works, and collaborating with fellow musicians and artists.

Empyrean Ensemble
Sam Nichols, director
Prof. of Teaching, UC Davis Music Department

Matilda Hofman, conductor-in-residence
Continuing Lecturer, UC Davis Music Department

Ensemble-in-residence at UC Davis, the Empyrean Ensemble presents engaging and eclectic programs, inviting audiences to experience new musical sensations delivered with high artistry by its extraordinary players—among the finest new music performers in California.


The Taproot New Music Festival brings together a diverse group of composers and performers, both local and visiting, and gives them the chance to hear new work, and to make lasting connections. A biennial festival at UC Davis, it features concerts and other events, and also creates the opportunity for our students to work alongside exceptional artists. Actively inclusive and participatory, Taproot broadcasts a unique vision of how to sustain a musical community.

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