UC San Diego's Department of Music

September 09, 2013

  Charles Curtis was prominently featured in an article by music critic Steve Smith of the New York Times. Curtis performs September 20 as part of a 10th anniversary concert series for the Issue Project Room, which began in Greenwich Village and is now in Brooklyn. Curtis, whose career has ranged from punk to classical and new music, is exemplary of the Project Room mission of nurturing experimental artists and cross-pollinating genres and idioms. Former UC San Diego music faculty Pauline Oliveros is among other performers in the anniversary series.

David Borgo is working on the second installment of his Kronomorfic project involving original polymetric compositions and spirited improvisations. This recording features: David Borgo, Michael Dessen, Mark Dresser, Brad Dutz, Emily Hay, Jeff Kaiser, Paul Pellegrin, Ben Schachter, Anthony Smith, Peter Sprague, and Andy Zacharias. Borgo also recently contributed an essay titled "Openness From Closure: The Puzzle of Interagency in Improvised Music and a Neocybernetic Solution" to the volume Sounding the Body: Improvisation, Representation and Subjectivity edited by Gillian Siddall and Ellen Waterman forthcoming from Duke University Press.

Mark Dresser performed September 6 with Trio M (with pianist Myra Melford and trombonist Michael Dessen) at Jazz at Katano in New York City. His quintet (including saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa) released the new CD Nourishments, and the New York Times had this to say: "A master of abstract texture and extended techniques, the bassist Mark Dresser has an expressive new album, 'Nourishments' (Clean Feed), that puts a hard spin on the postbop quintet language." On home turf, Dresser played a three-night August residency at the San Diego Museum of Art including a six-bassist tour de force with UC San Diego emeritus faculty Bert Turetzky, Joe McNalley, and Dresser proteges Scott Worthington, Kyle Motl and Tim McNalley.

Computer music artist Tom Erbe curates the new Last Friday Listening Room tape music concert series beginning September 27. All of the concerts begin at noon at Conrad Prebys Music Center.

Pianist Aleck Karis has a new Bridge Records CD, due in November and featuring works by Morton Feldman, Stefan Wolpe and Anton Webern. On December 8 at Merkin Hall in New York, Karis performs music from the disc as well as Feldman's final work Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello.

Composer Lei Liang recently lectured in China (Tianjin Conservatory, Xinghai Conservatory and Xiamen University) and Japan (Aichi University of the Arts, and Kanazawa University). He also earned a great review for his portrait concert Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston, in a new concert hall designed by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano. His latest CD Verge won praise from critic George Adams in the May 2013 issue of the American Record Guide: "Verge is a gripping and engaging work for 18 solo strings, which are taken full advantage of in their timbre and potential for sound. There is a visceral energy that is intense and can sometimes be overwhelming. A mix of the bright and vibrant with the dark and ominous makes for turbulence. 'Aural Hypothesis' goes beyond intense to frightening, the excellent balance of timbre giving point to the composer's gestures. The music here stands out among many new records for its vitality and directness, but has staying power beyond music that exists on the surface only."

Soprano Susan Narucki was featured at Yellow Barn performing works by J.S. Bach, Berio, and Widmann. Her recent chamber opera Cuatro Corridos will be presented in partnership with IMAC (Instituto Municipale de Arte y Cultura) on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Casa de la Cultura in Tijuana. The performance is free and open to the public, and will be preceded by a Spanish language forum in human trafficking, with support from the Mexican Consulate. Cuatro Corridos also travels to the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas for a performance on Friday, October 4, 2013. Susan will be joined by pianist Aleck Karis, percussionist Ayano Kataoka and guitarist Pablo Gomez for both performances. Susan can be heard in San Diego later this fall with the Art of Elan in John Tavener's Song of the Angel (a work she has recorded for Angel/EMI), and in a recording of song cycles of James Primosch, scheduled for release in November on Bridge Records.
Jann Pasler recently signed a contract with Les Editions Gallimard, Paris, to publish in French her book Composing the Citizen: Music as Public Utility in Third Republic France (UC Press, 2009).

Roger Reynolds' george WASHINGTON, for orchestra, three narrators, projected imagery, and 8-channel computer sound, will be premiered October 3, 4 and 5 by the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christoph Eschenbach at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Reynolds' text draws from Washington's letters and diaries. The project is a collaboration with videographer and UC San Diego music and visual arts alumnus Ross Karre, computer musician Jaime Oliver, and sound engineer Josef Kucera, as well as the research staff of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. And in October at the Venice Biennale, Roger's Thoughts, Places, Dreams, a chamber concerto for cello and ensemble, will be premiered by cellist Alexis Descharmes.

Katharina Rosenberger has completed her new Madrigali Notturni, which will be performed in Zurich, Switzerland on September 18 and September 20. The work is a nocturnal spatial experience created in collaboration with the vocal ensemble Voc 4, lighting designer Christa Wenger and spatial artist Ric Schachtebeck. The work was also performed last summer in Hannover, Germany.

Percussionist Steven Schick celebrates his 60th birthday with Steven Schick: Solo, two nights of music on January 30 and February 1, 2014 at the Miller Theatre in New York. The program includes works by Stockhausen, Feldman and Xenakis; as well as pieces composed for Schick by David Lang, Kaija Saariaho and John Luther Adams. Over the summer, Schick conducted ICE at the Lincoln Center. He also performed at Mainly Mozart in New York and at La Jolla SummerFest. Meanwhile, new seasons are just ahead for La Jolla Symphony & Chorus and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, both led by Schick as artistic director. The symphony's new season Life* opens November 2 and 3 with music by Mozart, Varese, Fujikura, and Berlioz, with guest soloist and former La Jollan Claire Chase. The 2013-2014 season celebrates the 40th anniversary of LJSC's choral director David Chase, who also happens to be Claire's father. SFCMP opens a new season October 26-27 with the Crissy Broadcast, San Francisco musicians performing in Golden Gate Park as their counterparts join them live from Berlin thanks to the wonders of technology.

Composer Rand Steiger will be featured in a portrait concert on November 7 at Columbia University's Miller Theatre. Performed by ICE (the International Contemporary Ensemble), the program will include the world premiere of his Coalescence Cycle (2012-13) as well as Cyclone, for clarinet and electronics; Concatenation, for bassoon and electronics; Light on Water, for flute, piano and electronics; Template for Improvising Trumpeter and Ensemble; Joust, for flute, bassoon and electronics; and Coalescence, for thirteen instruments and electronics. Next April, Rand will join Steven Schick to co-direct Sweet Thunder: SFCMP Festival of Electro-Acoustic Music at Ft. Mason Center on the San Francisco waterfront. The festival will include Viva Voce (2012) by UCSD composer Katharina Rosenberger and an installation called Classics of Fixed Media by Tom Erbe, featuring tape and pre-composed computer music. Steiger was composer-in-residence last June at the Summer Institute for Contemporary Music Practice in Boston. He was selected for the gig, according to Artistic Director Stephen Drury, because his music is both voluptuous and intelligent. In the year ahead Rand will serve as composer-in-residence at Del Mar Hills Academy of Arts & Sciences, where his son Sam is a student. Last but not least: Rand began a new term as music department chair in July.

Composer Chinary Ung will be honored at the International Cambodia Studies Conference at Northern Illinois University on September 15 with a reception and portrait concert. The following night in Chicago, Dal Niente Ensemble will pay tribute with another portrait concert. Chinary will be the featured composer on September 18 at the Symposium of Contemporary Music at Illinois Wesleyan University, and a few days later his Rain of Tears will have its New York premiere by the New Juilliard Ensemble. In October Chinary will speak at the International Symposium on Visual Music at the Center of Asian Art, School of Arts and Design Media, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and he will be the featured guest composer/speaker at the Chengdu Contemporary Music Festival, Sichuan Conservatory, where his music will be performed by the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble as well as the San Francisco-based Del Sol String Quartet. Violist Susan Ung will be featured. And last but not least, Chinary and his music will be honored with a 70th birthday concert right here at UC San Diego on November– at 7 pm at Conrad Prebys Music Center.


Joachim Gossmann, who just completed his PhD, has landed a job with DTS in Silicon Valley.... Trumpeter Jeff Kaiser also completed his PhD. He's teaching at the University of San Diego this Fall.... Composer and alumnus Ben Hackbarth is completing a new commissioned work at Ircam in Paris and has accepted a tenure track position at the University of Liverpool.... Bassist Aakash Israni, protege of music faculty Mark Dresser, has released Dysnomia, a new CD with his group Dawn of Midi. You might say it went viral, with reviews in an array of media ranging from the New Yorker to the Los Angeles Times, Wall St. Journal, NPR and many more. Aakash describes Dysnomia as a through-composed work somewhat resembling minimalist electronic music, but performed completely acoustically on drums, contrabass and piano. Dawn of Midi played a CD release party at the Poisson Rouge in New York in September with Dresser doing a special solo set.... Bassist and PhD candidate Scott Worthington has a new recording on Populist Records. It's a performance of Scott's piece Even the Light Itself Falls on which he is joined by UCSD's Curt Miller on clarinet and Dustin Donahue on percussion. Due to its length, nearly 90 minutes, the recording is only available digitally.... Yvette Janine Jackson's Invisible People (A Radio Opera) premieres Friday September 27 at 8 pm at Space4Art (325 15th St., downtown San Diego).  Performers include soprano Malesha Jessie with Abner Genese, as well as UCSD music adjunct faculty Kamau Kenyatta and Theatre & Dance MFA Gerard Joseph. The libretto was aggregated from found text. The music embraces text-sound composition, music concrete, acoustic improvisation from members of the UCSD community, and other influences. The radio opera idea remained dormant for Jackson for 20 years after she heard John Cage's The City Wears a Slouch Hat in college. It was renewed by the challenge from composer and UCSD faculty Anthony Davis to create a social/political opera. The original concept was to present a tape piece performed in a blackout, but the Space4Art premiere is a full spectacle including collaboration with UCSD Visual Arts MFA Ava Porter. Tickets for Invisible People are $15 for adults, $10 for students-seniors-military, available at the door. Jackson's opera is part of the Glottalopticon experimental outdoor opera series at Space 4 Art curated by UCSD vocalist Meghann Welsh.

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