“… on Tuesday, Tilson Thomas asked Baldini if he would like
to conduct a rehearsal of Adams’ “The Light that Filled the
World.” The piece was written in 1998 for the Paul Dresher
Ensemble, and to a certain degree it reflects the composer’s
response to the experience living in the spacious northern
landscape of Alaska.
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 program began with San Martin’s we turn in the
night in a circle of fire. It is a four-movement
double concerto for chamber ensemble and two exceptional
violinists: Gabriela Diaz and Hrabba Atladottir. Steven Schick,
the conductor and artistic director of SFCMP, describes the
piece in terms of “textural and virtuosic rapport” between the
violinists. Meanwhile, the composer herself explained that the
title is a translation of a Latin palindrome.
Fitting a squeeze-box Argentinian bandoneón – an essential
element of tango dance-hall bands – into a classical-music
milieu is a bit of a stretch. The two sound-worlds are so
fundamentally different that it’s hard to imagine how they
could intersect. Nonetheless, star Argentinian bandoneónist
J.P. Jofre and the Santa Rosa Symphony gave it a whirl on
Sunday at Weill Hall in Rohnert Park, premiering a concerto for
bandoneón and orchestra by Pablo Ortiz, an Argentinian
professor of composition at UC Davis.
During a performance of Thierry de Mey’s “Musique de tables”
for percussion trio (1987), Ian David Rosenbaum, Christopher
Froh and Ayano Kataoka sat at a table on the stage of
Alice Tully Hall like three somber-faced magicians, their
athletically choreographed tap-dancing hands eliciting a
remarkable array of tones and timbres from the pieces of wood
laid flat in front of them.
The second gem of the evening was composer Dan
VanHassel’s fzzl, written for snare drum with
transducer. Percussionist Megan Shieh was a dynamic presence in
a work informed by African drumming. Van Hassel’s score makes
ample use of all sides of the snare drum.
Composer Pablo Ortiz will have his Bandoneon Concerto premiered
by the Santa Rosa Symphony, with J.P. Jofre, for whom the work
was written, on February 7th at the Weill Concert Hall at the
Green Music Center.
Baritone Mischa Bouvier was vocally and dramatically larger
than life as the bumbling giant and murderous monstrosity that
Polyphemus is. His gruesome act of crushing Acis under a stone
leads to one of the baroque’s saddest musical moments, in which
the chorus sings, unaccompanied, “Ah, the gentle Acis is no
more,” and the members of the excellent ABS chorus, for just a
moment, managed to bring time to a standstill.
Composer Sam Nichols had a first performance of
his things that had no opposites—fragments from Tim
Horvath for soprano, flute, guitar, and harp—with
the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, on their December 7 and
8 “Sung and
Strummed” concerts (2014). Nichols received a Fromm
Foundation award and commission for the piece. As reviewed by
Benjamin Frandzel of San Francisco Classical Voice:
The three bits of text for that piece come from contemporary
fiction writer Tim Horvath, a friend of the composer, and they
enigmatically skirt in and around the consciousness of
characters speaking in a mode somewhere between prose and
poetry. Nichols responded empathetically, with a composition in
which instrumental lines and the voice overlap and coincide
with each other like different aspects of a single mind.
On November 25, 2014, the Fromm
Foundation at Harvard University announced Sam Nichols as
one of twelve composers to receive commissions for a work to be
performed in 2015–16. Kurt Rohde won a
Fromm commission in 2013, and Laurie San Martin in
2011. According to the Fromm Foundation’s press release:
Music Symposium will explore interconnections in Korean and
Japanese popular music in the latter half of the 20th century.
This symposium is the first in what will be a series of events at
Columbia over the next several years aimed at exploring
connections in scholarly work on Korea and Japan. The symposium
will feature introductory and concluding remarks by Michael
Bourdaghs and three panels, each composed of two scholars working
on music and sound in Korea/Japan.
Professor Anna Maria Busse Berger has earned two national awards
for her article, “Spreading the Gospel of Singbewegung:
An Ethnomusicologist Missionary in Tanganyika of the 1930s,”
which appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological
Society, (University of California Press, Vol. 66, No. 2, pp.
475–522). With these two awards and her 2006 award from the
Society for Music Theory, Busse Berger has been given the top
scholarly prize from all three major music societies in the
Chris Reynolds, faculty in the Music department
and recipient of the 2013 UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate
Teaching and Research, is featured on the One
World, One UC Davis
page. Professor Reynolds is recognized for
his impact on students, teaching them how to develop and
apply critical thinking skills using a subject that inspires and
engages them — great music.
The American Musicological Society and the Music Division of the
Library of Congress are pleased to present a series of lectures
highlighting musicological research conducted in the division’s
Pete Nowlen, artistic adviser for Music in the Mountains, is
featured in this half-hour River
Music documentary, which premiered on KVIE. It
documents the Music in the Mountains 2013–14 Young Composers
Program. With funding from the Getty and Volgenau Foundations,
the 24 teenage student composers studied a science curriculum
with the Sierra Streams Institute focusing on the Yuba River and
the restoration of its salmon run. The student composers then
wrote music with this inspiration.
Assistant Professor Katherine In-Young Lee received a
2014–15 Hellman Fund Fellowship at UC Davis.
The Hellman Family Foundation contributed funds to establish the
UC Davis Hellman Fellows Program to provide support and
encouragement for the research of promising assistant professors
who exhibit potential for great distinction in their research.
Assistant Professor Katherine In-Young Lee was awarded a
Davis Humanities Institute Faculty Research Fellowship Award
for 2014–2015. Her project title is “Dynamic Korea, Dynamic
Samulnori: An Ethnography of a Transnational Percussion
The purpose of the fellowship is to further the research or
creative work of faculty in the humanities and humanistic social
sciences and allow them to meet and work with colleagues in other
disciplines and departments. The fellowship will provide
recipients with a single quarter research leave in spring 2015.