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
Stephen Ryan Jackson
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.
Sam Nichols, director
Assoc. 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
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.
Sarah Hennies’s Growing Block (2019) is also a
work for collaborative performers; it asks each musician to
curate 14 different sounds. These different sound objects then
unfold gradually, as the piece progresses. The composer writes
“Growing Block is based on the scientific theory of the same
name that theorizes that past and present time exist but future
time does not.”
Cage: Child of Tree
for solo percussion, using amplified plant materials
for multiple percussionists, using amplified plant materials
Events Plaza, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art
Alysa Banks (’21)
Steve Reich’s Pendulum Music (1968) is a
performance piece, which will be set in the Events Plaza at the
Manetti Shrem Museum. Pendulum Music makes use of
multiple microphones swinging, pendulum-style, over loudspeakers.
Featuring dramatic squawks of feedback, the piece concludes when
the inertia of the swinging microphones naturally come to rest.
Sharp rhythms gradually wind down into a sustained drone piece.
The composer writes, “If it’s done right, it’s kind of funny.”
Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, Old Davis Road, Davis, CA