UC San Diego's Department of Music

January 27, 2014

  In 1965, an ambitious young composer drove down the California coast to check out university music programs. At UC San Diego Roger Reynolds and his partner Karen were impressed with plans for a new kind of music department, and a few years later the department was equally impressed with Reynolds.

He joined the music faculty in 1969 and has since mentored generations of young composers, won a Pulitzer Prize (1989) and been a leader in exploring ways to harness new technologies for musical purposes. His own music has been commissioned, performed and recorded around the world. In recognition of his achievements, he was appointed a University Professor by the University of California Board of Regents in 2009, becoming the first artist honored with the title.

Today, while Reynolds is hard at work on a new intermedia composition addressing human aspirations for flight, the Department of Music will celebrate his 80th birthday February 3 through February 5 with a concert, symposium and multimedia installation. Admission to the symposium and exhibition is free. Concert tickets are $15.50 general admission, $10.50 UCSD faculty-staff-alumni-friends of music, FREE for students one hour before concert with ID.

The Feb. 4, 7 pm concert will feature the celebrated Arditti Quartet performing some of the many works by Reynolds that it has commissioned, performed and recorded. The program also includes compositions penned by two of Reynolds?s former students: Chaya Czernowin, now the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music at Harvard University, and Ben Hackbarth, head of composition at the University of Liverpool.

The three-day installation will chronicle Reynolds's intermedia works Ping (1968), Sanctuary (2003-2007), MARKed MUSIC (2011), and george WASHINGTON (2013), as well as segments from his other multimedia compositions.

The symposium is titled The Interaction of Scientific and Artistic Imagination: Perceptual Studies and the Making of Music and will include Stephen E. McAdams, professor of music research at McGill University, co-author of the classic, Thinking in Sound; Philippe Lalitte, director of the department of musicology at the Universite de Bourgogne in France, whose research explores how the brain processes music; and Aniruddh Patel, associate professor of psychology at Tufts University and author of the prize-winning Music, Language and the Brain.

Reynolds, who actually turned 80 on July 18, 2014, was born in Detroit, grew up playing classical piano music (Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Liszt) and earned a degree in engineering physics from the University of Michigan.

Asked what the most rewarding aspects of his time at UCSD have been, he said that 'the various collegial relationships, with other composers, with performers, with technologically oriented faculty have evolved constantly: new intersections, new discoveries. It hasn't stopped. And the staff with whom I've worked, particularly Josef Kucera, Peter Otto, and now Jessica Flores. They deliver, with imagination and resolve. And there has been always a stream of gifted, questing, energetic, and idealistic graduate students. Every one, an individual with her or his own emerging (and probably challenging) vision.'

Percussionist and video artist Ross Karre, a UC San Diego alumnus with graduate degrees in both visual arts and music, has worked on several projects by Reynolds.

'Roger's music stays fresh in a world of break-neck technological shifts because he thinks outside the box and looks to collaborators of all ages and backgrounds to help him bring radical ideas into the realm of realizable artistic results,' Karre said.

Reynolds, who sports a full mane of silver hair and can often be seen striding purposefully across campus, shows no signs of slowing down.

'It feels like a blessing to get up every morning and think of how many things there are to be done,? he said, and that many of them are things that I want to do.'

All events take place at venues within Conrad Prebys Music Center

Concert featuring the Arditti Quartet - February 4, 7 pm - Concert Hall
Tickets: General Admission, $15.50;  UCSD faculty-staff-alumni-friends of music, $10.50; free admission for students one hour before concert with ID. Buy tickets online, click here.

Intermedia Installation -
Experimental Theatre, February 3, 4 pm to 10 pm; February 4, 10 am to 10 pm, February 5, 10 am to 10 pm

February 3, 5 pm to 9 pm - Recital Hall

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