UC San Diego's Department of Music

May 19, 2017
IN THE NEWS: MAY 19-25, 2017

  Bringing you the latest news from the UC San Diego Department of Music's faculty, student and alumni networks.

red fish blue fish deliver "riveting" performance
The UC San Diego Department of Music's own percussion ensemble red fish blue fish, led by conductor and Distinguished Professor Steven Schick, delivered a powerful performance on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at UC San Diego's Conrad Prebys Music Center Experimental Theater as part of the department's Wednesdays@7 concert series. Featuring current graduate percussionists James Beauton, Leah Bowden, Christopher Clarino, Fiona Digney, Sean Dowgray, Ryan Nestor and Daniel King, red fish blue fish gave the world premiere of fellow graduate student Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh's new work Six Legs and an Amphibious State of Mind, a piece performed by six of the fish with electronics by graduate student Johannes Regnier that was described by San Diego Union-Tribune critic Marcus Overton as leaving listeners "suspended in mute wonder."

red fish blue fish's four-piece program also featured Aura by Department of Music alumna Anna Thorvaldsdottir, the solo work Rebonds by Iannis Xenakis as performed by Beauton, and Franco Donatoni's Darkness, which Schick conducted.

The ensemble's performance on May 17 followed a sold-out concert at UC San Diego earlier this year. Of Wednesday's performance, Overton wrote, "This cleanly focused and expertly performed music induces a feeling of having breathed deeply, of having all that is superfluous stripped away. So next time you see these fishes about to play, don't hesitate- jump in the pool." Read the full review here.

Erik Carlson and Aleck Karis to perform at UC San Diego on May 24
Assistant Professor Erik Carlson (violin) and Distinguished Professor Aleck Karis (piano) will return to the Conrad Prebys Concert Hall for a May 24, 2017. The duo's performance will feature works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Milton Babbitt, Eva-Maria Houben and Johannes Brahms. To learn more about the concert, visit the event listing on the Department of Music website and click here to purchase tickets.

Steven Schick delivered keynote speech at New Music Gathering
Distinguished Professor and Reed Family Presidential Chair Steven Schick delivered the keynote address at this year's New Music Gathering, an annual get-together for performers, composers and researchers within the contemporary music community. Held on May 11-13 at Ohio's Bowling Green State University, this year's New Music Gathering focused on the importance of support and sustainability within the artistic community: the support musicians lend one another in order to foster creativity and establish a safe space for music and its practitioners to continue marching into the future.

"Talk about support," Schick said during his address. "When I first touched a drum as a child in a small Iowa town, I also touched the lives of my musical ancestors- drummers, most of whose names we no longer know, who centuries ago played under the starry skies of West Africa or escorted a funeral march in New Orleans or, like my great grandfather, led a regiment of Mr. Lincoln's army into battle. I also touched the life of the animal that gave its skin, and held in my hand the tree that was felled to make the shell. Percussion was my outward-bound conduit to everywhere and everything." To read Schick's speech in full, follow this link.

Rand Steiger's Nimbus continues receiving rave reviews
Department of Music Chair and Distinguished Professor Rand Steiger continues receiving glowing reviews for Nimbus, a sound and light installation commissioned by the L.A. Philharmonic that he undertook with Yuval Sharon and The Industry. Following its premiere last October above the escalators in the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the installation continues earning praise from critics and was recently featured by radio station 89.3 KPCC reporter Adriana Cargill. Joe Cantrell, currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Music's Integrative Studies program, will premiere a new work in the Calit2 Theater of UC San Diego's Atkinson Hall on May 25. Titled Song Cycle for Security Camera, the new work is supported by the Qualcomm Institute and features live video feed paired with text, serving as the artist's observation on the impact of technology on modern society. "Wireless communication and the emerging Internet of Things have the potential to be convenient and useful," Cantrell told the UC San Diego News Center. "However, they come at the price of increased waste produced by obsolescence as well as decreased privacy as more aspects of our lives become grist for the mill of big data."

Song Cycle for Security Camera will premiere at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, 2017 in the Calit2 Theater of Atkinson Hall. To read the UC San Diego News Center's article on Cantrell's piece, Kyle Motl has announced that his next solo bass album will be released on May 29. Titled Transmogrification, the album was recorded in late 2016 and features 15 acoustic solo improvisations and pieces. Follow this link for more information about the album and for purchasing details.

Alumna Anna Thorvaldsdottir signs to Music Sales
Alumna Anna Thorvaldsdottir has announced a music publishing deal with Chester Music of The Music Sales Group of Companies, effective July 2017. The Icelandic composer, who holds a Ph.D. from UC San Diego's Department of Music, is the recipient of the 2008 Nordic Council Music Prize and the 2015 New York Philharmonic's Kravis Emerging Composer Award. Her piece Aura was most recently performed by red fish blue fish during the percussion ensemble's Wednesdays@7 concert on May 17. Click here to learn more about Thorvaldsdottir and her work.

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Read our news updates on the Department of Music website. For a complete listing of concerts and events, please visit and purchase tickets here.

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