UC San Diego's Department of Music

April 01, 2016

  Composer and pianist Anthony Davis' opera FIVE, about the Central Park Five, has received a $15,000 grant from New Music USA and will premiere Nov. 12, 2016 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ. FIVE is based on the story of a quintet of young African-American men falsely accused of rape and assault after a 1989 attack on a white jogger. The opera includes an aria for Donald Trump, who was known at the time for his racist fear-mongering in the New York press.Click here to read more about FIVE as well as Davis' other operas. Meanwhile, Davis was in Vancouver last week to celebrate the release of the LP "past piano present" of experimental piano performances at Vancouver's Western Front jazz club. Recorded between 1985 and 2015, the pianists include Davis, Paul Plimley, Al Neil and John Kameel Farah. The album opens with Davis's 1985 solo reading of "Behind the Rock". Reviewing Anthony's recent performance at Western Front, music critic Frank Styles wrote that it provided "an idiosyncratic mix of Eurological and Afrological sensibilities, blurring composition and improvisation, chamber music and blues, Olivier Messiaen and James P. Johnson, recital and gig, to generate a vital, kinetic music of layered possibilities." μlick here to read the review. The liner notes for 'Western Front' were written by pianist and UC San Diego music alumna νana Reason. Click here for more about the new LP (yes, on vinyl).

Faculty pianist Aleck Karis' CD of piano music by Francis Poulenc earned an upbeat review from ICON magazine. Click here and turn to page thirty-two to read the review.  "Pianist Aleck Karis plays with dazzling, radiant detail throughout," writes Mark Keresman, who hears traces of Satie, Cocteau, Ravel and Bach, along with jazz pianists Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Fred Hersch, in Poulenc's piano music.

Composer Roger Reynolds of the music faculty is the subject of a thoughtful profile by Philip Clark in the March issue of Gramophone magazine. The article traces Roger's career from his roots in engineering to his vital work in early computer music at UC San Diego and IRCAM in Paris; and the vast range of his music including fresh ideas for percussion (such as composing individual lines for individual fingers), his interest in literary sources of inspiration, and his current project FLIGHT, about the origins of flight. Click here to read the article. Photo by Erik Jepsen for UCSD News

Columbia University Associate Professor of Music Ana Maria Ochoa gives a talk titled Musical Form, Forms of Life: The Political Conundrums of Acoustic Multinaturalism"on April 5 from 4Π0-6Π0 p.m. at Conrad Prebys Music Center's Recital Hall as the Distinguished Lecture Series continues. Free and open to the public, the presentation explores some of the tensions that permeate the notion of musical form when thought of in conjunction with indigenous modes of valuation of life on earth. It takes the motive of "monotony," the privileged description of many so-called "primitive" Amerindian musics found in the colonial archive, and rethinks its form and political implications in light of the notion of acoustic multinaturalism. What is the significance of our categories of analysis, in this case the notion of musical form, in a music of repetition, extreme acoustic economy and an overt cultivation of a principle of restriction of audibility to "outside" listeners? Moreover, at a time when the politics of the decolonial is increasingly deployed through the production of film and recording by indigenous groups, what are the tensions that emerge between, on the one hand, the need to denounce political oppression and announce modes of belonging as a central practice of political struggle and, on the other, historical ontologies of music and life that privilege a politics of restriction of audibility?

Soprano Susan Narucki of the music faculty was in residence at Oberlin Conservatory of Music last month to lecture on Writing for the Voice and the singer-composer collaboration. She also performed with the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble with conductor Tim Weiss. The program included composer, UCSD music alumnus and Oberlin Asst. Prof of Composition Aaron Helgeson's song cycle "poems of sheer nothingness" which Narucki recorded with the Talea Ensemble for a CD released earlier this year on the Innova label.Meanwhile, Cuatro Corridos, the chamber opera which premiered at UC San Diego in 2013, was shown on Canal• throughout Mexico. Starring Susan, it was filmed in May 2015 at CENART in Mexico City. Performers include the music faculty's Aleck Karis (piano) and alumnus Pablo Gomez (guitar). Among contributing composers is Lei Liang of the music faculty.
Photo by Jim Carmody

Composer Lei Liang's new piece Song Recollections for the Formosa Quartet, commissioned with a Koussevitzy grant, premiered Mar. 29 at the San νiego Museum of Art and makes its UC San Diego debut on April 20 at 7Π0 p.m. at UC San Diego's Conrad Prebys Concert Hall as part of the Wednesdays@7 new music series. Click here to read the San Diego Union-Tribune's review of the premiere.
Photo by Erik Jepsen for UCSD News

Pianist and music alumnus Danny Green celebrates his new CD Altered Narratives with performances in Brooklyn, Cambridge, Middletown (CT), Oakland (CA), San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Saratoga (CA). Upcoming San Diego concerts include April 6 at the University City Library and April 28 at Cuyamaca College Performing Arts Theater in El Cajon. Click here for more information about the CD and performances

Music alums Jared (guitar) and Jonathan (drums) Mattson, known as the Mattson 2, performed Mar. 26 at Breezer Fest at Cafe Fait Do-Do, a music night club in the historical First Citizens Savings Bank and Trust building in Los Angeles. In the 1960s, prior to Fait Do-Do, the Art Deco building housed an underground club that presented Sam Cooke, Billy Preston, John Coltrane and other prominent players. The Mattsons are touring California this spring before they head to gigs in Japan and France in May and June. On another note, the twins have become "music ambassadors" for Electric, a watch and eyewear company. Click here for a performance by the Mattson 2.

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