Department of Music News Archive 2022-03-31

Reviews: Portland Opera's production of UC San Diego Distinguished Professor of Music Anthony Davis's "The Central Park Five"
Oregon ArtsWatch: ‘The Central Park Five’: Art as a tool for justice
Friderike Heuer of Oregon ArtsWatch reviews the dress rehearsal of Portland Opera's production of UC San Diego Distinguished Professor of Music Anthony Davis's 'The Central Park Five' and shares their perspective as a former lawyer and psychologist on the myths that surround false confessions and the general processes that can create them. Heuer emphasizes the importance of art as a medium to move audiences in a lasting way that may empower them to be the force needed in jury rooms to object decisions that rest on false beliefs and lead to catastrophically wrong verdicts.

"The music conveyed the fear, paralysis, and disbelief of the victims of procedural malfeasance. For me, it made the legal and social injustice of this case visible at a gut level, allowing us for a short while to walk in the defendants’ shoes."

Oregon ArtsWatch: Portland Opera’s ‘The Central Park Five’ dramatizes two worlds in collision
Brett Campbell of Oregon ArtsWatch shares the background story of 'The Central Park Five,' reviews Portland Opera's performance of the opera, and highlights Anthony Davis's career as a composer of politically charged and ahead-of-their-time operas.

"New York’s City Opera plans a production soon, and Michigan Opera Theater is bringing Davis’s X back this year. His many other projects in progress include an opera based on the horrific 1921 Tulsa white supremacist race massacre. As opera companies and other white dominated cultural institutions at last begin or intensify the long-overdue rethinking of their missions, pioneers like Davis have been there all along, showing them the way. "

Oregon ArtsWatch: The appalling miscarriage of justice: ‘Central Park Five’ at Portland Opera
Angela Allen of Oregon ArtsWatch reviews Portland Opera's production of 'The Central Park Five.'

"Money is never enough when lives and innocence have been unjustly stolen, and the opera brings home those emotions over and over. As one reviewer said, composer Davis (and librettist Welsey) brought a conscience to opera—and, I might add, lots of tears, eye-opening revelations and reflection."

Classical Voice North America: A Vivid Opera Recreates Hounding, Exoneration Of The Central Park Five
James Bash of Classical Voice North America reviews Portland Opera's production of 'The Central Park Five.'

"All of the singers representing the accused youths excelled, transitioning from joking around to confused and defiant."

UC San Diego Distinguished Professor of Music Susan Narucki featured on The Sound Barrier with Ian Parsons
Soprano Susan Narucki was a featured guest on the March 13, 2022 episode of The Sound Barrier with Ian Parsons, on Melbourne's PBS FM station, speaking about the music of the late Louis Andriessen, with whom she worked closely, and about creating the role of Catherina Bolnes in Andriessen's opera Writing to Vermeer, which was performed at the Netherlands Opera, the Lincoln Center Festival and the Adelaide International Festival, and recorded for Nonesuch Records.

The New York Philharmonic and the New World Symphony to premiere new works by UC San Diego Professor of Music Marcos Balter
The New York Times: The Philharmonic Plans Its Return to Geffen Hall, With Fanfare
The New York Philharmonic announced its 2022-23 season, a celebratory slate of about 150 concerts to inaugurate its newly renovated home, Geffen Hall.

Opening festivities include the world premiere of “Oyá,” a work for light, electronics and orchestra by UC San Diego Professor of Music Marcos Balter.

New World Symphony - Sounds of the Times: Songs of Hope - Saturday, April 2, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
The New World Symphony conducted by Matthia Pintscher will be premiering a new work by Balter titled "Orun" for orchestra on Saturday, April 2, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. at the New World Center in Miami Beach, Florida.

UC San Diego Music Chief Administrative Officer Barbara Jackson featured in This Week at UC San Diego's "Triton Women Leaders Share Four Secrets to Success"
In recognition of Women's Herstory Month this March at UC San Diego, Erika Johnson and Michelle Franklin asked four women leaders to share their leadership journey as well as four tips for those who aspire to grow in their career.

UC San Diego Music Chief Administrative Officer Barbara Jackson shares her experiences dealing with self-doubt and encourages everyone to be confident and not let fear get in the way of your success.

UC San Diego Music Assistant Professor Wilfrido Terrazas releases new album The Torres Cycle
UC San Diego Music Assistant Professor Wilfrido Terrazas's new album, The Torres Cycle, published by the NYC-based label New Focus Recordings will officially be released on April 8th. The album features Terrazas' most ambitious composition project to date, The Torres Cycle, comprising of seven of his compositions. In addition to Terrazas, the 22 musicians recorded in the album, including fellow UC San Diego Music faculty Anthony Burr, and UC San Diego Music graduate students Berk Schneider, Alexandria Smith, Michael Matsuno, Teresa Díaz de Cossío, Alexander Ishov, Madison Greenstone, Michael Jones, Rebecca Lloyd-Jones, Juliana Gaona Villamizar, Kathryn Schulmeister, Ilana Waniuk, Myra Hinrichs and Peter Ko.

The album was recorded by UC San Diego Music staff recording engineer Andrew Munsey and features liner notes by UC San Diego Music Associate Professor Amy Cimini.

Excerpt about the album from Dan Lippel, founder of New Focus Recordings:

"Composer Wilfrido Terrazas presents a seven part album length work, The Torres Cycle, which explores ritual, indigenous tradition from his native Mexico, alternative notation, structured improvisation, spatialized live performance techniques, and an evocative instrumentation layout to explore questions of social connection and the mysterious relationship between tradition, history, and the present. A virtuoso flutist, Terrazas presents a musical language in which the power of expression frames the palette of techniques, creating a fresh and urgent soundworld.

Ritual and collective experience lie at the heart of Wifrido Terrazas’s ambitious seven part work, The Torres Cycle. Structured around four movements invoking the four cardinal directions and three interstitial “tótems” for smaller forces, Terrazas draws on Mesoamerican conceptual traditions to examine the relationship between the absolute quality of direction and the relative nature of perception. Through a score that relies heavily on improvised elements and spatialized performance instructions, Terrazas delivers a powerful message — our understanding of a place, idea, or event is framed by where we stand in relation to it."

The album is available now for pre-order on Bandcamp.

Reverb: King Britt on the Gear of Blacktronika History
UC San Diego Music Assistant Teaching Professor King Britt sits down with John Morrison for Reverb to discuss a handful of tracks that illustrate how Black musicians have used electronic technology in exciting and innovative ways. 

The interview features the discussion of music by Sun Ra and His Arkestra, Stevie Wonder, Phuture, Jeff Mills, and Soul Dhamma.

UC San Diego Music Assistant Teaching Professor King Britt featured in Columbia University's Kitchen Table Praxis: Recipes for Belonging in Electronic Music Virtual Symposium
UC San Diego Music Assistant Teaching Professor King Britt will be a panelist in Columbia University's Kitchen Table Praxis: Recipes for Belonging in Electronic Music Virtual Symposium on Friday, April 8, 2022.

About the symposium:
Though equity has modestly improved in technology-focused fields, striking inequities still remain. And in the realm of electronic music in particular, statistics still demonstrate a need to advocate for inclusivity. Indeed, electronic music’s many sub-genres still wrestle with toxic artifacts from military, cybernetic, and Western art music genealogies. In addition, diverse influences continue to struggle for legitimacy amid conditions that reify exclusion. In counterpoint, Kitchen Table Praxis: Recipes for Belonging in Electronic Music elevates a plurality of narratives and critical tactics, featuring them as ingredients that can ferment a sensibility of belonging, and possibly divergent trajectories, in technical fields.

The Wire: Rebooting Afrofuturism
In the wake of the Afrofuturism festival of arts and music at New York’s Carnegie Hall, DeForrest Brown, Jr. examines the liberating potential of the movement’s legacy for The Wire.

UC San Diego Music Assistant Teaching Professor King Britt served on the curatorial council for Carnegie Hall's Afrofuturism festival. Britt teaches the Blacktronika: Afrofuturism in Electronic Music course at UC San Diego and has been a part of many afrofuturism centered events such as the early-2000s Blacktronika monthly event series hosted in London by DJ and poet Charlie Dark.

"Back then, the movement was 'about fighting major labels', and 'covers the entire history of Black music, early jazz, house, broken beat, African stuff, from Coltrane to Carl Craig. Everything that comes from the diaspora.' Blacktronika is a platform to research and develop a greater understanding of technology’s impact on the Black musical continuum, which he plans to compile into a book. Afrofuturism brings Britt and Black electronic music to the concert hall."

Toronto Symphony Orchestra to premiere new work composed by UC San Diego Music graduate student Janet Sit
On March 23, 2022 The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) announced their 2022/23 season in celebration of the Orchestra's 100th anniversary.

As a way to further celebrate the TSO’s relationship with Toronto, Gustavo Gimeno, Music Director of TSO, commissioned ten three-minute “Celebration Preludes” from composers across the GTA, representing the diversity of voices in the community. Continuing on from the Celebration Preludes that were presented over the 2021/22 season, five more composers will have their works premiered in 2022/23 including UC San Diego Music graduate student Janet Sit.

Students in UC San Diego Music Assistant Teaching Professor King Britt's Music 174B class presents their final projects
Students in UC San Diego Music Assistant Teaching Professor King Britt's Music 174B class presents their final class projects, featuring all original productions.

Musician Brendan Nguyen, D.M.A. '15 has kept busy during the pandemic with Project [Blank]
Pianist Brendan Nguyen, D.M.A. '15 speaks with Beth Wood of The San Diego Union-Tribune about his journey as a musician and the establishment of Project [Blank], a local arts nonprofit he co-founded with fellow UC San Diego alum Leslie Ann Leythan, D.M.A. '15.

On the last weekend of May, Project [Blank] will present “Paradise TBD” at Bread & Salt. The world-premiere chamber-music opera features electronics and five singers, including Leytham. Nguyen will perform and serve as producer and music director.

University of California San Diego Guidelines for In Person Events
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As per University mandates, audiences are recommended wear masks at all times while indoors and will be subject to the following requirements:

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