Soprano Laura Aikin, a Buffalo native, and UB Distinguished
Alumna, will join dozens of world class performers
BUFFALO, N.Y. – British music critic Hans-Theodor
Wohlfahrt has written of composer David Felder that “he
combines his deep knowledge of the past and the present with a
constant searching on a philosophical, human and musical level
– a Gustav Mahler for the 21st century."
Felder, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Birge-Cary Chair
in Composition at the University at Buffalo, is an internationally
acclaimed composer of contemporary music, with his works known for
their highly energetic profile, lyrical qualities, and his use of
technological extension for the elaboration of musical
materials. His work masterfully combines widely ranging
materials in surprising way, achieving a new synthesis.
On April 23, the UB Office of the President and the Robert and
Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music at UB will present the
world premiere of Felder’s “Les Quatre Temps
Cardinaux,” a complex song cycle for two solo voices, a
35-piece orchestra and 12 channels of electronics. It
represents the pairing of the composer with two celebrated
performers: dynamic soprano Laura Aikin, and bass Ethan
Herschenfeld. Felder wrote the piece specifically for their
The April 23 concert will begin at 7 p.m. in Lippes Concert
Hall, Slee Hall, UB North Campus.
Advance tickets are available at the UB Center for the Arts box
office 716-645-ARTS (716-645-2787). Prices are $12 (general
public), $9 (alumni, faculty, staff and seniors), and $5 for
Tickets also may be purchased at the Slee Hall box office on the
night of the performance and will be $20 (general public), $15
(alumni, faculty, staff and seniors) and $8 (students). The box
office number is 716-645-2921.
The premiere will be the focal point of a two-day program that
marks the start of a new university tradition, which President
Tripathi is introducing as a way to celebrate the university
community’s rich and thriving legacy of innovation and
distinction in the arts and letters. Other programming being
held as part of this celebration include a rehearsal open to the
campus and local community; a brown bag lunch discussion with the
composer, conductor, and musicians; a panel discussion with faculty
and students focusing on the interpretation of texts as works of
art; and an alumni-sponsored reception and Q&A with the
composer and performers.
“UB has a long and storied tradition of creative
excellence and innovation at the vanguard of the arts,” said
UB Satish K. Tripathi.
“This event is a wonderful opportunity to shine a
spotlight on some of the outstanding individuals who embody this
tradition, from David Felder’s visionary achievements in
contemporary composition, to the expression of that vision by
world-renowned alumni like Laura Aikin and the distinguished
faculty performing in the Slee Sinfonietta, to poets like the late
Robert Creeley, whose voices are woven into the performance in
surprising and remarkable ways. I am very much looking
forward to what will surely be an evening to
The program will open with “Tweener,” a 2010 Felder
composition for solo percussion, electronics and large chamber
ensemble. The soloist will be Thomas Kolor, assistant
professor of music at UB and one of the country’s top young
specialists in late 20 century American percussion music.
The orchestra for both compositions will comprise ensembles
dedicated to the presentation of contemporary chamber orchestral
music, the acclaimed Ensemble Signal, conducted by world-renowned
Brad Lubman, and the Slee Sinfonietta, the flagship professional
chamber orchestra of the Morris Center.
Both works employ electronics, with “Tweener”
utilizing the KAT mallet controller as an addition to the wide
variety of traditional percussion instruments that make up the
battery of resources used in the solo part.
One of the most important elements of “Les
Quatre…” is the poetry that Felder has incorporated
into the piece. It includes the eponymous “Les Quatre
Temps Cardinaux,” a poem composed by French poet René
Daumal near the end of his life.
Daumal’s early career emphasized the conversion of poetry
into a form of theater in which speech, gestures, breath, voice
stops and other elements of performance form a totality.
“Later,” says Felder, “after his contact with
ancient Hindu texts that detail the aesthetic purposes of poetry
and theater, Daumal reconsidered his purpose, and his late poetry
is simple, profound and luminescent. ‘Les Quatre Temps
Cardinaux’ is one of his last two poems, and alludes to times
of the day, the four elements, the four seasons and the four
corresponding ages of life, emphasizing the