Published February 8, 2016
New music “dream team” Ensemble Signal is visiting UB this week for the first week of a two-week residency at the university as part of UB’s new Creative Arts Initiative (CAI).
On-campus residencies by world-class performing artists are a key element of the CAI, a pioneering initiative exploring creative expression in innovative ways that reach beyond studios and performance spaces and into all aspects of the university and Western New York community.
The first artists-in-residence for the CAI, Ensemble Signal is no stranger to UB, having performed on campus numerous times, including frequent appearances as a resident performance ensemble for June in Buffalo.
Often described as New York City’s new-music “supergroup,” Signal is a flexible group of gifted and innovative young musicians who combine the intimacy of chamber music with the power of a compact orchestra. Its size and instrumentation range from solo to large contemporary ensemble to meet the demands of its diverse repertoire.
Signal performs under the musical direction of Brad Lubman, who founded the group along with co-artistic director Lauren Radnofsky.
During next week’s residency, Signal members will interact with UB students in a variety of ways, including a public concert on Feb. 12.
The residency aims to “increase opportunities for students to interact with working professionals in the field,” says Cynthia Stewart, managing director of the CAI.
And a goal of the residency, from Signal’s point of view, is to show student artists that they can develop their own opportunities for professional work, Stewart adds. “Don’t wait to be handed the opportunity to make art; you can make those opportunities yourself,” she says.
To reinforce that point, ensemble members hope to inspire students by presenting a talk, “The Entrepreneurial Artist,” at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 10 in 211 Baird Hall, North Campus. Stewart says the musicians will talk about their history and how they got started in the field.
The musicians also will hold an open rehearsal from 3-4 p.m. Feb. 10 in B-1 Slee Hall, North Campus, and a master class for designated students from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 11 in B-1 Slee.
Next week’s residency will conclude with a concert, “Performance in the Dark,” at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Black Box Theatre in the Center for the Arts, North Campus, featuring Ensemble Signal, as well as UB faculty member Tom Kolor and two of his percussion students.
Kolor, assistant professor of music, and his students with join Signal percussionist Doug Perkins for a performance of Steve Reich’s “Drumming: Part 1,” a work written for multiple pairs of tuned bongos and inspired by Reich’s visit to Africa and his observation of musical ensembles there.
The concert also will feature Signal musicians in a unique performance of Georg Friedrich Haas’ “String Quartet no. 3” — performed entirely from memory in total darkness.
All events are free and open to the public. Free tickets to the Feb. 12 concert are available at the Center for the Arts box office or online through the CAI.
Ensemble Signal will return for a second week in residence April 30 through May 5. That week’s activities, Stewart notes, will include several concerts in community settings, as well as some “pop-up” concerts on the UB campus. The week will conclude with a public concert of works by Steve Reich.
For more information on the Creative Arts Initiative, visit its website.