Stepans grew up in northern part of East Bay
— specifically the Kensington/El Cerrito/Albany
area. “I have played horn since the fourth grade, but have
only really started practicing it in the last four years,” he
said. “Before that, I played football and wrestled in high
school so there was no time to play horn in between sports and
The second half of the program will feature Gustav Mahler’s
“Das Lied von der Erde” (“The Song of the Earth”) as arranged
by Arnold Schoenberg and Rainer Riehn. Mahler composed “Das
Lied von der Erde” between 1907 and 1909, after a trio of
personal disasters overtook him (the death of his eldest
daughter from scarlet fever and diphtheria, his forced
resignation from the Vienna Court Opera, and the diagnosis of a
fatal heart condition). He described this as his most personal
work, but he did not live long enough to hear it performed.
I originally came in as a double math and music major, but I
realized that with the way each degree is structured, it would
be difficult to finish both within four years. One of my
professors, Dr. Kern Holoman, showed
such passion and expertise in a beginning music history course
that I realized I wanted to be a music major.
“It is scored for an extremely unusual orchestra: quintuple
woodwinds (including a heckelphone, similar to a bass oboe),
eight horns, six trumpets, five trombones (including a
contrabass trombone, that we are borrowing from the San
Francisco Symphony), two tubas, celesta, two harps
and 14 percussionists — including a siren — plus orchestral
Those attending the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in
Chicago could visit a faux Javanese village, sample tea and
coffee from the Indonesian island, and hear music of the
gamelan, a large percussion ensemble.
Exposure to this exotic culture produced a “javaphilia” – a
fascination for the music and dance of Java. That long-lasting
allure, and how the music had been transformed, could be seen
nearly 100 years later at the 1986 First International Gamelan
Festival at Expo ’86 in Toronto.
The Empyrean Ensemble — the professional group at UC Davis
dedicated to performing new music — will give a concert
titled “Young and Restless” at 7 pm, Sunday, April 26, in the
Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at UC Davis.
Henry Spiller — a member of the music department faculty
at UC Davis for 10 years — has a new book out,
detailing “American love affairs with Javanese music and dance”
through the stories of four North American artists.
Spiller and the UC Davis Gamelan Ensemble will be
performing music that goes with the book’s theme on Friday
as part of the “Musics of the World” concert in the Mondavi
Center’s Vanderhoef Studio Theatre.
The study of ethnomusicology shows that music is more than just
organized sound. By digging into the roots of various music
styles, ethnomusicology uncovers social and historical meanings
unique to its cultural context.
To support our campus’ own ethnomusicology program, the music
department is putting on Musics of the World Ensembles of UC
Davis, a showcase featuring four of the university’s world
music groups. The performance will take place on Fri., April
24, at the Mondavi Center.
“We’re excited to get back to work,” said Larry Gardner,
president of American Federation of Musicians Local 12, which
represents the orchestra members. “Here, you’ve gone from no
momentum to something. That’s good for us, and it’s good for
Friday, April 10, 2015, at 10:15 and 11:35 am, at
the Community Center Theater, Sacramento. Sacramento
Philharmonic musicians perform with soprano Carrie Hennessey and
Sacramento-area elementary school students—part of the Link Up
program sponsored by Carnegie Hall.
Two UC Davis ethnomusicology grad students—Gillian Irwin (first
year) and Sarah Messbauer (ABD)—share this year’s Marnie Dilling
Prize, presented by the Northern California Chapter of the
Society for Ethnomusicology for the best graduate student
presentations at its annual chapter meeting, which was held on
February 28, 2015, at UC Berkeley.
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.”
Rita Sahai was among ten Indian-American achievers to
be honored by the National Federation of Indian American
Associations (NFIA), at its 18th biennial convention, which was
held March 6–8, 2015, in Cerritos, California. The award given to
Sahai was in the category of Liberal and Fine Arts.
I find it tremendously gratifying that a young performer found
her way to my collection. The story of women songwriters needs
to be told in many ways, none of which is more important than
bringing the songs to life through performance. A century ago,
thousands of women wrote songs. It was “normal” for women to
express themselves through music. For someone who is an
undergraduate to have begun this journey of recovering these
lost voices is very exciting.