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‘Les Quatre’ to launch Signature Series


Published April 18, 2013

The world premiere of David Felder’s “Les Quatre Temps Cardinaux” on April 23 marks the introduction of UB’s Signature Series, a new spring program being launched by President Satish K. Tripathi to celebrate UB’s rich and thriving legacy of innovation and distinction in the arts and letters.

The premiere of “Les Quatre” is the featured event of a two-day program that also includes an open rehearsal of “Les Quatre;” a lunchtime discussion with the composer, conductor and musicians; and a panel discussion on the relationship between texts and the arts.

The program is being presented by the Office of the President and the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21 Century Music.

The featured event of the Signature Series, “Les Quatre Temps Cardinaux,” is a complex song cycle for two solo voices, a 35-piece orchestra and 12 channels of electronics. It was commissioned in 2011 for the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress and is dedicated to the memory of Serge and Natalie Koussevitzky. The work was written for Ensemble Signal;  the Boston Modern Orchestra Project; and the Slee Sinfonietta, UB’s professional chamber orchestra in residence; and for singers Laura Aikin, soprano, and Ethan Herschenfeld, bass. See related story for more details about the composition. 

In announcing the Signature Series, Tripathi cited UB’s “long and storied tradition of creative excellence and innovation at the vanguard of the arts.” The April 23 event, he said, “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.”

Felder, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Birge-Cary Chair in Composition in the Department of Music, is an internationally acclaimed composer of contemporary music. The commission for “Les Quatre” is his second from the Koussevitsky Foundation, which permits only two such commissions in an artist’s lifetime.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, North Campus.

Advance tickets are $12 for the general public; $9 for UB alumni, faculty, staff and seniors; and $5 for students; they are available at the Center for the Arts box office. Tickets also may be purchased at the Slee Hall box office on the night of the performance; prices are $20, $15 and $8.

A number of related events are being held in conjunction with the premiere concert. All are open to the public and require an RSVP; some are free of charge:

  • Open rehearsal of “Les Quatre: 2-3:30 p.m., April 22, Lippes Concert Hall.
  • “Luncheon Dialogue: Inside the Making of ‘Les Quatre Temps Cardinaux”: 1-2 p.m., Slee Hall lobby. Registration is limited to 60. Felder and others involved in the premiere will talk about the process of bringing “Les Quatre” from conception to fruition. A complimentary light lunch will be provided to all registrants.
  • “Textural Signatures: A Panel Discussion”: 3:30-5 p.m., 250 Baird Hall, North Campus. Faculty and students from the departments of English, Music, and Theatre and Dance, along with the biographer of poet René Daumal—whose poetry is musically interpreted in “Les Quatre”—will discuss the relationship between texts and the arts, with particular attention to the poems featured in Felder’s work.

The UB Alumni Association will host a pre-concert reception from 5:30-6:45 p.m. April 23 in the Black Box Theater, Center for the Arts. Tickets to the reception—$30 for general admission, $25 for UBAA members for single tickets; $55 and $45 for a pair of tickets—includes admission to the 7 p.m. concert.

To RSVP for Signature Series events, or to purchase reception or concert tickets, visit the series’ website.