UC San Diego's Department of Music

March 21, 2011

  New and innovative music by UC San Diego Department of Music graduate students is showcased on Sound Check Five, the department's new CD.

Curated by faculty composer Philippe Manoury, the CD includes works by current and former students: Benjamin Hackbarth, Vincent Raikhel, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Martin Hiendl, and Paul Hembree.

Performing the pieces are more than a dozen music graduate students, plus faculty "ringers" including conductors Steven Schick and Aleck Karis and clarinetist Robert Zelickman.

The music ranges from Hackbarth's 23-minute  Crumbling Walls and Wandering Rocks, performed by a 10-piece ensemble, to Raikhel's Mobius Ascent, for solo violin, Thorvaldsdottir's Hidden for solo percussion, Hiendl's Erwartung and Traumverlust for solo mezzo-soprano, and Hembree's Passion, performed by a five-piece group.

"I'm impressed with the tremendous variety and quality of the music," said Miller Puckette, chairman of the music department. "The CD provides evidence of the department's success as an incubator for the next generation of composers and performers."

Many of the composers are already well known for their music.

Hackbarth is currently composer-in-residence for musical research at IRCAM (the Institute for Research and Coordination Acoustic/Music), a famed center for experimental music in Paris. His music has been performed by the Arditti Quartet and the Wet Ink Ensemble, and at venues in Stuttgart, Sydney, New York, Freiburg, and many other cities.

Raikhel is a co-founder of the Red Light New Music series and ensemble based in New York City. He often draws inspiration from the natural environment. Some of his works venture beyond music and find expression as multimedia installations.

Thorvaldsdottir has made a mark as one of Iceland's leading composers. Her music has been performed at prominent venues in Prague, Vienna, and in several Icelandic cities. The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has recorded three of her compositions.

"Having a piece selected for the CD is a great opportunity to have my work presented," said Ms. Thorvaldsdottir. "Hidden is written for percussionist performing on grand piano. I wanted to compose a piece for the inside of the instrument and decided to write it for a percussionist because I became fascinated with the sound of multiple mallets playing on the piano strings."

The CD provides an opportunity for UCSD composers and performers to document some of their best work. It leaves a record of their work at UCSD after they graduate and serves as a "calling card" in the future. "When I finish my degree I plan to continue working as a freelance composer," Thorvaldsdottir said.

Sound Check Five was recorded, mixed and mastered in the Department of Music's state of the art studios.

The CD is free and available for download, and in old-school format by request. Send an e-mail including your mailing address to:

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