North American New Music Festival -- 10th Anniversary Gala Presents New Music From Around The World

Release Date: October 5, 1993 This content is archived.


"The Book of Moves" • "The melody. And the Melody inside that" • "More Confused Clown" • "Slap Your Neighbor's Face" • "L'Escalier du Diable" • "De Amore, a 12th- Century Love Letter" • "Pleiades" • "Hockey" ...titles of works to be performed at the1993 North American New Music Festival

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jazz composer and drummer Bobby Previte and his acclaimed "Music From the Moscow Circus" will open the gala 10th anniversary presentation of the North American New Music Festival on Wednesday, Oct. 27. Previte's performance will be one of 18 festival events that will include concerts, cabaret performances and discussion/presentations by some of the world's finest musicians and composers of new music.

The festival, which was one of the first of its kind in the United States, is sponsored by the University at Buffalo Department of Music in cooperation with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center. Directed by its co-founder, pianist Yvar Mikhashoff, it will run from Oct. 27-Nov. 3 on the UB campus and at venues throughout the City of Buffalo. Admission prices range from free to $10 per event, with most in the $4-$6 range. (See attached program schedule for performance sites and prices.) For information, call 716-645-2921.

The opening concert will take place at 8 p.m. on Oct. 27 in Slee Concert Hall on the UB North (Amherst) Campus. Previte and an ensemble of performers will present a series of lively, complex works commissioned of Previte by the Moscow Circus and performed here on tuba, violin, trumpet, harp, percussion, voice, guitar, keyboards, drums and bass.

Also among this year's highlights will be a retrospective concert featuring many and varied compositions by the enormously prolific American composer Ned Rorem; traditional Indonesian gamelan music, plus contemporary compositions written for that instrument; a memorial concert of works by John Cage, who was involved with the North American New Music Festival for many years, and a special concert that will premiere 10 new works by composers from several nations.

The festival will close in Slee Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 3 with an 8 p.m. performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra of works by John Zorn, Henryk Gorecki and Amy Williams.

All events will be taped and rebroadcast on European radio.

In the realm of new music, the relationship between composers and performers is extremely important. The compositions are new, the forms employed may be unique and the instruments may be constructed especially for a particular piece of music, or vice versa. Since few or no performance models exist, performers rely on composers to help them define and express the spirit of a piece.

Many of the musicians who specialize in new music performance have established international reputations for their particular interpretive gifts. Composers of new music often write special works for performance by individual artists and ensembles of their choosing. New music soloists and ensembles also commission work by preferred composers.

Since 1983, the North American New Music Festival has explored the relationship between musician, composer and score through public discussion, master classes, intimate evenings of cabaret, orchestral concerts, ensemble performances and solo recitals of new and old works. Many of the composers whose work will be performed are present to participate in these events.

There is no question that some of what is called "new music" has sometimes scared audiences and critics, as well as the horses. It is also true that throughout its first decade, the North American New Music Festival has given many of the finest composers and performers in the world an opportunity to be heard. They, in turn, have presented their critically acclaimed and often stunning repertoires to receptive and astounded audiences. This year will be no exception.

The North American New Music Festival was founded in 1983 by Yvar Mikhashoff and Jan Williams. Mikhashoff is the festival's artistic director. Don Metz serves as associate director.

The programs are made possible by the UB Dean of Arts and Letters, the Department of Music, the Birge-Cary Fund, Conferences in the Disciplines and the Graduate Student Association. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Copland Fund, the Canadian Consulate, the UB program in Canadian studies, the Flemish Ministry of Culture, Meet the Composer, the Grosvenor Society of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, USAir, WBFO radio and private donations.

In addition to those listed, other guest composers will be present to hear their new work performed: Hiroyuki Yamoto (Japan), Eric Onia (Argentina), Colin Bright (Australia) and Dirk DeKlerk (South Africa).

• Ned Rorem, a former member of the UB music faculty, is renowned for an outpouring of vocal music unmatched by any other American art-music composer. His instrumental works also have received wide acclaim and won him the 1976 Pulitzer Prize. He has written dozens of chamber and instrumental works that have been widely performed by distinguished conductors, including Mehta, Bernstein, Ormandy, Rostropovich and Stokowski.

The Atlanta Symphony recording of his "String Symphony," "Sunday Morning" and "Eagles" won a Grammy Award for Outstanding Orchestral Recording in 1989. His work will receive special attention at this year's festival as the subject of an encounter-discussion and with a concert devoted entirely to his compositions.

• Prolific Belgian composer Boudewijn Buckinx, one of Europe's leading modernists, is highly regarded as a composer, writer and teacher of music history and composition. In 1991, a series of retrospective concerts of his work were given in Kiel, Germany, and Brussels and Ghent, Belgium. For the opening of the Antwerp '93 festival, his "Nine Unfinished Symphonies" were performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders, and in July, a nine-day "Buckinx Festival" was held in Ghent.

• David Lang's provocative and theatrical musical style has captured the attention of audiences and critics throughout the world. His work, known for its fusion of classical music and urban aggressiveness, has been performed at many major festivals. Among Lang's many prizes are the 1990 Rome Prize, the BMW Music-Theatre Prize (Munich), a Kennedy Center Friedheim Award and a Revson Fellowship with the New York Philharmonic.

• John Zorn is a prominent, eclectic New York composer whose music marries high and low culture. Influenced by Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives, John Cage, television cartoons and Japanese movies, Zorn uses jazz improvisation, voice-overs, screeching tires and rap techniques. These are cut and pasted to form pieces from 10 seconds to 1 minute long -- the attention span of the TV generation -- and are characterized by juxtaposition and discontinuity. Very active in New York's downtown music scene, he divides his time between New York and Japan.

• Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, the Polish composer of uncommon individuality and considerable international stature, is one of the world's major new music figures and has managed to shock even avant garde audiences. His work has been written to celebrate the first visit of Pope John Paul II to Poland and to commemorate police violence against Solidarity in 1981. Gorecki's work, which draws from many sources, including Polish folk songs and religious texts, has been commissioned and performed by major symphonies and ensembles throughout the world.

• One of America's most distinguished composers of contemporary music is award-winner Lou Harrison. A member of the American Institute of Arts and Letters, Harrison has had a lifelong obsession with pitch relations and just intonation. A former American representative to the League of Asian Composers conference, he has studied Chinese and Korean classical music, worked as a builder of musical instruments, and designed and constructed two major Japanese gamelan orchestras.

He and John Cage jointly organized concerts of percussion music during the early 1940s. While composing his music, Harrison has worked as a dance critic, ballet accompanist, research worker at Oaxaca, college professor, florist, record clerk, playwright, dancer and music copyist. Since his retirement from teaching at Stanford University and Mills College, Harrison has toured North America, Asia and Europe extensively, presenting performances of his gamelan music and symphonies.

• Several extraordinary ensembles will participate this year. Among them are The Toronto-based Evergreen Club, an ensemble of eight people who play the gamelan, a traditional instrument that has been part of Indonesian musical life for centuries. In addition to traditional music, the internationally acclaimed Evergreen Club has premiered works by many leading composers of new music. Both varieties of composition will be featured on the festival program.

• Bermuda Triangle is a hot new ensemble that consists of pianist Kathleen Supove, soprano Dora Ohrenstein and bassist Robert Black, three extraordinary musicians who have individually earned acclaim for the excitement of their performances and the adventurousness of their programming. They joined forces in 1992 to form this group with the intention of exploring and expanding the boundaries of chamber music. Bermuda Triangle is helping to redefine the concept of the art-song by reinterpreting classics of the pop-music genre. Its polish, flair and mix of old and new repertoire has enhanced new-music performance in fresh and exciting ways.

• The Logos Duo, a multi-media performance group founded by Godfried-Willem Raes and Moniek Darge, has been performing throughout Europe, Asia, the Americas and Oceania since 1970.

A prize-winning experimental composer, Raes is known worldwide as a "musicmaker" in the broadest and best sense of the word. He is responsible for the new music programming of the Phiharmonic Society at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels and for the Logos Foundation in Ghent, which performs 150 international new music concerts a year. He is a professor of experimental composition at the Ghent Royal Conservatory and has written on the technology of virtual instruments of his own design. Darge specializes in soundscape compositions, performance and music-theater developed by her use of body, voice, visuals and extended violin. She teaches ethnomusicology at the Ghent Conservatory of Music and 20th-century music at the Ghent Academy of Fine Arts.

• Percussive Rotterdam, a group of four percussionists who met at the Rotterdam Academy of Music, was founded only two years ago and already has had an acclaimed European tour. The group received the coveted Kranichsteiner Musikpreis at the International Course for New Music in Darmstadt and the percussion prize at the 1993 Gaudeamus Competition. Current projects include collaborative work with American marimbist Robert Van Sice and the performance of numerous works written for them by both European and American composers.

• SONOR, the resident contemporary music ensemble at the University of California at San Diego, appears regularly at international festivals and has a repertoire dedicated to research, preparation and performance of a wide spectrum of 20th-century music. Its close association with a group of resident composers, including Harvey Sollberger, Rand Steiger and Joji Yuasa, facilitates a unique collaboration between creative performer and composers.

• The University at Buffalo Percussion Ensemble was founded by Jan Williams and John Bergamo in 1964 and is dedicated to the study and performance of new works. Co-directed by Williams and Anthony Miranda since 1987, the ensemble has given hundreds of percussion students the opportunity to work directly with dozens of composers preparing new works and giving professional level performances at venues across the U.S. and Canada. A number of composers, including Nils Vigeland, have written compositions for the ensemble.

• A professor of viola and chamber music at Yale since 1983, conductor Jesse Levine is in his 30th season as music director of the Norwalk Symphony (Conn.) and is the music director and conductor of the Orquesta del Principapo de Asturias (Spain). His career is divided between conducting and the viola. Levine maintains a busy schedule as guest conductor, soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. He teaches master classes in viola across the U.S., Europe and South America, and will appear with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in his sixth consecutive year with the North American New Music Festival.

• Pianist Stephen Drury is a champion of 20th-century music who has concertized to acclaim throughout the world. Named The Boston Globe's 1989 "Musician of the Year," he has organized and directed major festivals and special performances of works by John Cage, George Russell and others.

• Soprano soloist Martha Herr, who in 1991 sang in the North American New Music Festival premier of John Cage's "Europera V," this year will perform work by Rorem, Buckinx, Mikhashoff and Lang. Herr has participated in contemporary music concerts, operas and recordings throughout the U.S., Europe and Brazil, where she has lived for the past 15 years. A former conductor of the Sao Paulo State Choir, she currently conducts the Cultura Inglesa Choir and is a member of the award-winning vocal quintet Mestres Cantores de Sao Paula.

• Belgian pianist Luk', who has won first prize in several competitions, including the Omer Van Puyvelde, Tenuto, Orpheus, New Music for New Pianist and the Cameron Baird Concerto competitions, will perform. A performer at many renowned new music festivals here and abroad, he has had works written for him by such distinguished composers as Nils Vigeland, Boudewijn Buckinx, Piotr Lachert and Mauricio Kagel.

• Yvar Mikhashoff is internationally known for his interpretation of 20th-century piano works and as a performer/curator of American music. Director and co-founder of the North American New Music Festival, he performs at some of the world's leading music festivals and as a piano soloist with many major orchestras on several continents. More than 100 composers have composed three-minute tangos for his International Tango Collection. His many awards include Fulbright scholarships and Austria's Arbeiterkammerpries.

• Burhan Sukarma, born and raised in a village in the Sunda region of West Java, Indonesia, performs on the suling bamboo flute and his teachers have included some of Indonesia's finest musicians. Since beginning his formal studies in the late 1960s, he has become a master musician on the suling and on instruments of the gamelan degung ensemble. He has performed on a large number of traditional and contemporary suling recordings produced in West Java and has collaborated on many new compositions. Sukarma's work in the United States includes lecturing, teaching and performing for university and community audiences.

• Amy Williams is a rising young talent as a pianist and composer. Her solo repertoire consists of America and European music that spans the styles and sounds of the 20th century. She has participated as a composer and pianist at renowned contemporary music centers around the world. A graduate of Bennington College, Williams has pursued graduate study at UB with Yvar Mikhashoff, David Felder, Nils Vigeland and Charles Wuorinen. She spent the 1992-93 academic year in Odense, Denmark, on a fellowship from the American-Scandanavian Foundation. Williams will play here this year, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will perform one of her compositions in the festival's closing concert.

Oct. 27-Nov. 3

Unless otherwise noted.all performance sites will take place on the

Wednesday, Oct. 27

Slee Concert Hall • 8 p.m. • $6, $4

Thursday, Oct. 28

Baird Recital Hall • 3 p.m. • Free

Baird Recital Hall • 8 p.m. • $6, $4

Friday, Oct. 29

Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 700 Main St., Buffalo • 3 p.m.  • Free

Slee Concert Hall • 8 p.m. • $6, $4

Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 700 Main St., Buffalo • 11 p.m.• Free

Saturday, Oct. 30

Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 700 Main St., Buffalo • 2 p.m. • $6, $4

Burchfield Art Center, Rockwell Hall, Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo • 4 p.m. • $6, $4

Allen Hall, UB South (Main Street) Campus • 8 p.m. • $6, $4

Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 700 Main St., Buffalo • 11 p.m. • Free

Sunday, Oct. 31

Rockwell Hall, Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo • 2 p.m. • $5, $4

Baird Recital Hall • 5 p.m. • $6. $4

Albright-Knox Art Gallery/Auditorium • 8 p.m. • Free

Monday, Nov. 1

Baird Recital Hall • 2 p.m. • Free

Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 700 Main St., Buffalo • 7 p.m. • $6, $4

Tuesday, Nov. 2

Allen Hall, UB South (Main Street) Campus • 3 p.m. • Free

Charles Peltz conducts an ensemble of woodwinds, strings, piano, percussion and brass in the premiere performance of nine pieces by international composers, several of whom will be in the audience, including Lang, Bright, DeKlerk, Buckinx, Yamamoto, Vigeland, Onia and Mikhashoff.

Program: "Cheating, Lying Stealing" by David Lang (USA), "Katajuta (Many Heads)" by Colin Bright (Australia), "Dancing and Walzing" by Dirk De Klerk (South Africa), "How is the Moon in Buffalo These Days" and "The Pacific" by Boudewijn Buckinx (Belgium), "Locus regit actum III" by Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Japan), "Trio" by Nils Vigeland (USA), "New Work" by Erik Ona and "Contrabajissimo (Nico)" by Astor Piazolla (Argentina) and Yvar Mikhashoff (USA).

Baird Recital Hall • 8 p.m. • $6, $4

Wednesday, Nov. 3

Program: "Concerto for Piano, Harp, Percussion and Strings" by Amy Williams (world premiere), "For Your Eyes Only" by John Zorn, Symphony No. 3, opus 36 ("Symphony of Lamentatio Songs") by Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki.

Slee Concert Hall • 8 p.m. • $10, $5

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