Department of Music News Archive 2022-05-03

Islandia Music Records announces a new multi-album series from percussionist and UC San Diego Distinguished Professor of Music Steven Schick
Islandia Music Records announces a new multi-album series from "supreme living virtuoso" (The New Yorker) percussionist Steven Schick. The new series, called Weather Systems, is a set of recordings of the percussion music that has been most meaningful to Schick, which will span more than 100 years and feature a diverse set of composers.

Weather Systems I: A Hard Rain will be released on May 20, 2022, and includes foundational modernist works for solo percussion by John Cage (27'10.554"), Karlheinz Stockhausen (Zyklus), Morton Feldman (The King of Denmark), Charles Wuorinen (Janissary Music), Helmut Lachenmann (Intérieur I), William Hibbard (Parsons' Piece), and Kurt Schwitters (Ursonata) with Shakrokh Yadegari, electronics composer and performer. The 2-CD set includes an extensive personal essay written by Schick.

The next album in Schick's series, Weather Systems II-Radio Plays: Music for Speaking Percussionist, will be released in 2023, and will include music by George Lewis, Vivian Fung, Pamela Z, and Roger Reynolds.

UC San Diego Distinguished Professor of Music Anthony Davis revives his 1986 opera "X: The Life and Times of Malcom X"
The San Diego Union-Tribune: "Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Davis revives ‘X,’ his prescient 1986 opera about Malcolm X: ‘A tragic hero’"

The Metropolitan Opera's 2023 performance of UC San Diego Distinguished Professor of Music Anthony Davis's "X: The Life and Times of Malcom X" is set to be filmed for an HD theatrical release.

"A bold fusion of contemporary classical and traditional opera, vintage and cutting-edge jazz styles, gospel music and Indonesian gamelan, meticulously notated scores and daring improvisations, “X” is nearly as revolutionary — on an artistic level — as the slain civil rights leader whose life inspired it."

WBUR: "10 classical concerts to enjoy this spring"

BMOP's production of "X: The Life and Times of Malcom X" at Strand Theatre on June 17, 2022 was included in WBUR's "10 classical concerts to enjoy this spring."

"If I had to pick one live opera to attend, it would be Gil Rose’s Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s production of this powerful if uneven work (though now revised) that had its Boston premiere in 1988, Anthony Davis’s 'X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X.' There isn’t a lot of information just yet, but the title role will be played by the young bass-baritone Davóne Tines, who impressed me in the A.R.T. production of Matthew Aucoin’s Walt Whitman opera (which I wish had impressed me more), and is this year’s Musical America Vocalist of the Year. This production is the first of an ambitious BMOP project called 'As Told By: History, Race, and Justice on the Opera Stage,' a series of five operas by Black composers 'that depict vital figures of Black liberation and thought across 250 years of history.'" - Lloyd Schwartz

BMOP/sound releases new album of violin concertos composed by Roger Reynolds
Known as the nation’s foremost label launched by an orchestra and devoted exclusively to new music, Grammy Award-winning BMOP/sound announced the release of Roger Reynolds: Violin Works. Showcasing the composer’s omnivorous curiosity, the album comprises three violin concertos written over a 15-year span.

A Pulitzer Prize winner who pioneered sound spatialization, intermedia, and algorithmic concepts, Reynolds documents his evolving exploration of the voice, character, and circumstance through the inimitable violin. Conductor Gil Rose and his 25-year-old Boston Modern Orchestra Project are joined by the radiant sound of violinist Gabriela Díaz.

While Reynolds was a visiting professor at Harvard in 2012, he worked closely with contemporary-music champion and long-time BMOP violinist Gabriela Díaz. Attracted to her warmth, musicality, luminosity, and freshness, Reynolds hails her “open and relaxed approach…and projects the variable worlds of expression and sincerity that exist in these pieces. Everything sings.”
The album opens with the continuous 26-minute work Personae with both orchestra and computer tape shadowing the violin. Diaz takes on four roles: The Conjurer, The Dancer, The Meditator, and The Advocate. Each of the four presentations’ most direct shadows are heard from the ensemble, the more impressionistic ones in the computer’s realm. In contrast to Personae, the purely acoustic Aspiration allows the chamber ensemble to play a more essential, not ornamental role. In the middle is the Zen-inspired Kokoro, for solo violin, designed to challenge the soloist to assume “an entirely new psychological stance” for each of the work’s 12 sections.

San Diego Reader: On the stage and the page with bassist Mark Dresser
Robert Bush of the San Diego Reader interviews UC San Diego Distinguished Professor of Music Mark Dresser about how the pandemic affected him artistically, his recent Europe tours with Trio M and Jones Jones, and a new book in the making.

"Back in the USA, Dresser is teaching and working on a comprehensive book covering his sound and instrumental research. 'It’s a culmination of having taught for nearly 20 years. Everything I’ve learned about contemporary music and how it intersects with improvisation. This is all the stuff with the instrument and technique development that I’ve wanted to codify and make available for players, performers, and composers. It’s going to be comprehensive. It will exist in print form, it will have video files, [and] it will probably exist as an e-book. I want to find a format that’s as modern as our age.'”

UC San Diego Distinguished Professor of Music Susan Narucki's iconic recording of “Bouchara” included in composer Lisa Bielawa's shortlist of ten essential recordings on I Care If You Listen 
Soprano Susan Narucki's iconic recording of “Bouchara” by Claude Vivier, with Asko/Schönberg Ensemble and the late Reinbert de Leeuw are included in composer Lisa Bielawa's shortlist of ten essential recordings on the I Care If You Listen (April 15, 2022). Narucki's and Asko/Schönberg's advocacy of the music of Vivier endured for over a decade, resulting in the award-winning recording on the Philips label. Rome Prize winning composer Bielawa and Narucki collaborated on the landmark piece Chance Encounter (2007) for soprano and ensemble performed in public spaces in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.   

UC San Diego Distinguished Professor of Music Mark Dresser tours Europe with Larry Ochs and Vladimir Tarasov
The trio with UC San Diego Distinguished Professor of Music Mark Dresser, saxophonist Larry Ochs and percussionist Vladimir Tarasov returns after a tour in Europe, playing concerts in Munich, St. Johann in Tirol, Ulrichsberg, Vilnius, Lithuania, Poitiers and Paris.

Article Translations:
Three professionals in the world of musical improvisation - US bassist Mark Dresser, saxophonist Larry Ochs and percussionist Vladimir Tarasov - met on stage as the band "Jones Jones", together to create performances of enchantingly sincere, meditative or stunningly explosive music. The trio first formed in 2006. for one concert in San Francisco, but that meeting became the beginning of a special joint musicianship. For more than 15 years, these artists have been searching for sounds together, the ability to listen and react to each other improvised right here.

UC San Diego Music Professor Nancy Guy to speak at the University of Zurich
UC San Diego Music Professor Nancy Guy will be giving a research talk at the University of Zurich titled "Garbage, Music, and Environmental Sustainability in Contemporary Taiwan" on May 5, 2022.

This talk focuses on references to garbage and its pickup heard in popular music from the 1980s through the 2020s. These pieces demonstrate some of the ways in which the everyday practices aimed at managing household waste have seeped into a wide range of sensibilities. It will be argued that a pervasive awareness in Taiwan of garbage and its collection has contributed to a marked cognizance of environmental protection. The immediate physicality and musicality of Taiwan's garbage collection routine works to keep the long emergency of waste disposal in the public's imagination. The everyday engagement with waste, including aurally through garbage truck music, is no doubt partly responsible for Taiwan’s success at reducing household waste and for it being heralded by the New York Times as "an island of green in Asia" and for the Wall Street Journal declaring Taiwanese the "world's geniuses of garbage disposal."

UC San Diego Music Assistant Professor Wilfrido Terrazas's new album The Torres Cycle included in "The Best Contemporary Classical on Bandcamp: April 2022"
UC San Diego Music Assistant Professor Wilfrido Terrazas's new album, The Torres Cycle, was included in Bandcamp's list of the best contemporary classical music of April 2022.

"Mexican flutist and composer Wilfrido Terrazas conceived this epic work as a meditation on different sorts of perception, deftly embracing the four cardinal direction points as the focus in the primary movements. Naturally, what we see, hear, and feel depends on where we are: as Amy Cimini’s poetic liner note essay spells out, what we experience in one location could be totally different in another. It’s heady stuff, but Terrazas, a member of the superb Mexico City ensemble Liminar, has enlisted an impressive cast of interpreters fluent in both notated and improvised music to illuminate these notions. “Torre del Norte” features a shape-shifting brass sextet and electronics expertly warping loose written themes. The perpetually changing timbre, propulsion, and density indicate a certain mutability as the listener seeks to get their bearings straight. “Torre del Sur” employs double bass and a string quartet to sketch out a whispery upper register drift into chaotic mid-range density, rife with striated tones, twang, and delicious ambiguity. Interspersed within these four “Torre” movements are shorter but less substantive “totems,” such as “Tótem I, Camino sobre la tierra,” where Juliana Gaona’s elastic oboe threads the meditative percussive clangs of Rebecca Lloyd-Jones through an effectively arcing structure."

UC San Diego Music Associate Professor Stephanie Richards performed at the JazzAhead festival in Germany
UC San Diego Music Associate Professor Stephanie Richards was one of seven musicians representing Canada at the JazzAhead festival in Bremen, Germany on April 28, 2022, premiering new works with UC San Diego Music staff recording engineer Andrew Munsey on drums.

Pierre Kwenders shares about his collaboration with UC San Diego Music faculty King Britt in his new album José Louis and the Paradox of Love
Pierre Kwenders shares about his new album José Louis and the Paradox of Love, and his collaboration with UC San Diego Music Assistant Teaching Professor King Britt and Arcade Fire's Win Butler on the album's opening song, "L.E.S. (Liberté Égalité Sagacité)."

"More elements of Kwenders' Montreal community come through on the album. Known for his eccentric style, Kwenders channels the energy of late-night back-to-back DJ sets with Arcade Fire's Win Butler for the opening song 'L.E.S. (Liberté Égalité Sagacité).' The song also features legendary Philadelphia DJ-producer King Britt. Says Kwenders, 'I really wanted to approach the music from a DJ perspective, and I could not believe I had the chance to collaborate with artists I hold in such regard.'"

Wild Up performs the world premiere of UC San Diego Music Ph.D. candidate Nathaniel Haering's Spate III at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
Wild Up performed the world premiere of UC San Diego Music Ph.D. candidate Nathaniel Haering's Spate III at the Walt Disney Concert Hall as a part of the LA Phil National Composers Intensive program at their Noon to Midnight event on Saturday, April 9.

UC San Diego Music Undergraduate Student Qui-Shawn Tran featured in the Rock Against Hate 2 event
UC San Diego Music Undergraduate Student Qui-Shawn Tran performed his spoken word poetry in Rock Against Hate 2, an Asian American arts & activism special event supporting #StopAAPIHate on Thursday, April 28.

The virtual event was hosted by actor James Kyson, comedian Jiaoying Summers, and comedian Aidan Park, and also featured performances by Cometa, The Complements, Darro, Othertones and St. Lenox.

About Qui-Shawn Tran:
Qui-Shawn Tran (pronounced KEY-Shawn), 20, performs original spoken word poetry and creates audiovisual content. As a 3rd year student at UC San Diego studying Interdisciplinary Computing, Music, and Technology, he’s made music, poetry, and YouTube Videos about his first-generation, Asian-American college experience. In his live performances for UC San Diego's Department of Music, TEDx, and Alumni Association, he shares his lived experiences and ambition to contribute to the Asian-American community. In 2020, his entrepreneurial spirit led him to raise $1,500 for the East West Players, a Los Angeles based Asian-American theater. In 2022, his artistic journey continues through performances for the StopAAPIHate movement, the Vietnamese Boat People Story Slam, and the Creative Arts Fellowship at UC San Diego.

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