UC San Diego's Department of Music

September 22, 2015

  Author Nancy Guy's new book The Magic of Beverly Sills (Music in American Life) will be released Oct. 15 by University of Illinois Press. Guy, an ethnomusicologist on the music faculty, examines the singer-actress's artistry alongside the ineffable aspects of performance that earned Sills a passionate fandom.

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Roger Reynolds of the music faculty will be joined by his longtime collaborator, violinist Irvine Arditti, to present the world premiere of Shifting/Drifting, Reynolds' new composition for Arditti. Reynolds and Arditti will open the evening in casual conversation in shadow, then engage in an audience discussion after the lights fade in, followed by a performance of the piece. Paul Hembree will also be on hand. Hembree, a music grad student, developed the algorithm that allows Arditti to interact with a laptop computer. The event, presented by UCSD ArtPower!, takes place Sept. 25 at 8 pm at the music department's Conrad Prebys Concert Hall. Meanwhile, Roger's Complete Cello Works, covering more than 25 years of his music and released earlier this year, received an enthusiastic notice in Gramophone, which said that "Reynolds remains forever disarming".

Master sitarist Kartik Seshadri, head of our Indian music program, played a standing-room-only concert of early morning ragas at the Chicago World Music Festival on Saturday Sept. 19. His concert crowned an overnight series of performances titled Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music that featured a range of prominent Indian musicians. Kartik was joined by Shyam Kane on tabla. Meanwhile, Kartik also drew a full house to his Aug. 30 closing-night performance at the Carlsbad Music Festival. Rather than the theater where he has appeared in the past, or the outdoor stage utilized by other artists, Seshadri brought his music to St. Michael's By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, which added a suitably sacred aura.

Contrabassist Mark Dresser of the music faculty recently returned from a–-day residency at The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire (his second residency there), where he completed a book of six compositions for his new septet. The group will premiere the music on Sept. 27 at 7:30 pm at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla (1008 Wall St.) and record it in December for Clean Feed. Musicians are Dresser-contrabass, Nicole Mitchell-flutes, Marty Ehrlich-clarinets, Michael Dessen-trombone, David Morales Boroff-violin, Joshua White-piano, and UCSD music grad student Kjell Nordeson-drums. San Diego Union-Tribune music critic George Varga provided a substantial piece about Dresser last Sunday. In June, Dresser received the prestigious Doris Duke Impact Award.

Billy Strayhorn and Billie Holiday: Jazz, Race and Sexuality is saxophonist David Borgo's Oct. 12, 8 pm concert at The Loft, Price Center, UCSD campus. The group includes Borgo on saxophones, Leonard Patton on vocals, Tobin Chodos on piano, Antar Martin on contrabass, and Duncan Moore on drums. This year marks the centennial of Billy and Billie's births. Strayhorn was Duke Ellington's longtime collaborator, a good friend of Lena Horne and a staunch advocate for civil rights, and openly gay at a time when this was not common. Holiday was one of the greatest jazz singers who encountered abuse, poverty and legal and drug problems, and resistance to her bisexuality throughout her life. This seminar uses their pioneering lives and music to explore issues of race and sexuality.

Cuatro Corridos, the chamber opera created by UC San Diego's Susan Narucki with Mexican poet Jorge Volpi and four composers to address human trafficking along the Mexico/U.S. border, will have its first East Coast performance on October 4 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The opera, which originated at UCSD and has already been staged in Dallas and Tijuana, has had a significant impact on awareness of this border issue. The Amherst performance will be preceded by a panel discussion titled "The Reality of Human Trafficking," led by UMass Assistant Professor of Legal Studies Lauren McCarthy. Mexico's Siglio Nuevo magazine provided an in-depth look at Cuatro earlier this year.

Composer and music graduate student Anahita Abbasi earned the Morton Gould Young Composer Award from ASCAP. She used the award to travel to the Time of Music Festival in Finland where her music was performed by the French string quartet Quatuor Diotima.

Composer and music alumna Anna Thorvaldsdottir's new CD In the Light of Air--performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble--is a hit with media and critics. New Yorker's Alex Ross recommended it on his blog The Rest is Noise, Will Robin penned a detailed article for the New York Times, and NPR featured the album as a First Listen. WQXR's Q2 Music named it "Album of the Week," Porter Anderson interviewed Anna for Thought Catalog and Richard Allen reviewed it for the new music webpage A closer listen.

Fresh Sound new music concert series, curated by music alumna Bonnie Wright, opens Sept. 28 at 7:30 pm with bassist/multimedia musician Florent Ghys (pictured), followed on Oct. 29 by pianist Vicky Chow and Nov. 21 by clarinetist Vasko Dukovski. Ghys and Dukovsky's concerts are at Bread & Salt, 1&Epsilonε Julian Ave., San Diego, while Chow's is at Dizzy's, 4275 Mission Bay Drive, San Diego.

Northern Lights Anniversary Series: 3X3, three concerts at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library (1008 Wall St., La Jolla), spotlights music by Arvo Part (80) (pictured), Carl Nielsen (150) and Jean Sibelius (150) (the numbers refer to their anniversaries), performed by violinist Victoria Martino and pianist James Lent. The series opened Sept. 17 and continues at 7:30 pm on Oct. 23 and Nov. 20.

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