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Special concert to mark Felder's 6oth birthday

David Felder

A special concert will take place on Nov. 8 in the Burchfield Penney Art Center to celebrate the 6oth birthday of David Felder. Photo: Douglas Levere

By PATRICIA DONOVAN

Published October 31, 2013

UB will celebrate the 60th birthday of David Felder, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Birge-Cary Chair in Music Composition, with a gala birthday concert of his music on Nov. 8.

The concert, to be held from 8-10 p.m. in the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, will be presented by UB’s Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music and “A Musical Feast,” the resident musical ensemble at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.

The concert will feature eight Felder compositions written between 1986 and 2013, and performed by soloists and ensembles of the highest rank, including faculty members of the UB Department of Music.

Tickets are $10 for Burchfield Penney members and students, and $20 for nonmembers. Tickets are available online. Call 716-878-6011 during gallery hours for further information.

The program will open with the world premiere of a new version of Felder’s “Boxman” (1986, 2013), performed by French hornist Adam Unswurth, associate professor of horn and chair of winds and percussion at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, who has held horn seats with a number of important American orchestras. The piece originally was written for amplified solo trombone with electronics.

Virtuosic violinist Yuki Numata Resnick, UB assistant professor of music, will perform Felder’s 1987 composition “Another Face” for solo violin.

It will be followed by the world premiere of “TweenerB” (1991, 2013), a follow-up to the popular Felder work first presented in 1991. Here it will feature well-known percussionist Tom Kolor, highly in demand as a chamber musician and a member of the UB percussion faculty.

“November Sky” (1992), a Felder composition for flutist doubling piccolo, alto and bass flutes, and electronic sounds will follow. The performance will feature flutist Emi Ferguson, hailed by critics for her “tonal bloom” and “hauntingly beautiful performances.” Adjunct assistant professor at UB, Ferguson has performed with major composers, conductors and performers, including the American Classical Orchestra, and at Ground Zero for the 10th anniversary memorial of 9/11 with YoYo Ma, Paul Simon and James Taylor.

These four solo works comprise “Crossfire,” a series designed for performance as a single set. This will be the first time the four works have been presented as a set in Buffalo.

Ferguson will join Resnick, Kolor, bass vocalist Ethan Herschenfeld, clarinetist and UB professor of music Jean Kopperud, violist Virginia Barron, cellist Lauren Radnofsky, and conductor and UB faculty member Dan Bassin for a preview performance of “Two Songs from Three Watches” (2013); “Insomnia,” from a poem by Dana Gioia; and “Buffalo Evening,” a setting of the poem of the same name by the late Robert Creeley, who was a member of the UB faculty from 1966 to 2003 and served as David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters and Samuel P. Capen Professor of Poetry and Humanities at UB.

The concert will close with a haunting work, the beautiful, intricately meditative “Shamayim” (the Hebrew word for heaven), written between 2006 and 2008, with music by Felder and images by Elliot Caplan.

Felder, long recognized as a leader in his generation of American composers, has seen his work celebrated and performed throughout the world. It has been broadly characterized by its highly energetic profile, its frequent employment of technological extension, elaboration of musical materials and lyrical qualities. He has served as major professor for nearly 70 PhD composers since his arrival in Buffalo in 1985.

He is the director of the Center for 21st Century Music at UB and has directed the June in Buffalo festival and conference for eminent and emerging composers of new music since 1986. He also serves as artistic director of the Slee Sinfonietta, UB’s professional chamber orchestra in residence.