New Forms, New Direction Give North American New Music Festival A Multicultural Air New Music Festival A Multicultural Air

Release Date: December 14, 1994 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The North American New Music Festival at the University at Buffalo has taken a new direction this year -- one that weds Latin, Native-American, jazz and blues forms to contemporary music of a classical vein.

The festival will run from Feb. 10-19 in the Center for the Arts, Slee Concert Hall and Baird Recital Hall, all on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

Founded in 1983 by the late pianist Yvar Mikhashoff, the celebrated festival explores 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.

Composer Robert Chumbley takes over this year as festival director, and his first program represents a marked preference for new music rooted in many North-American cultures. This year's program also favors the melding of new music with theatrical, operatic and performance-art forms.

Guest composers and performers who will be in attendance include Diamanda Galás, Michael Colgrass, Dominick Argento and Morton Subotnick. Brilliant and dramatic percussion virtuosi Ricardo Gallardo will perform work by several contemporary Mexican composers, including his wife, Gabriela Ortiz.

Iroquois-Nation drummers, flutists and singers will join virtuosi bassist James VanDemark and the Rackham String Quartet in a performance of "Circle of Faith," composer Alton Clingan's widely admired celebration of the words and spirit of 19th-century Native-American Chief Seattle.

The avant garde purloins history for a festival production of Judith Weir's 13-minute unaccompanied mono-opera about the adventures of medieval Norway's King Harald the Ruthless. Mezzo soprano Virginia Dupuy will offer a solo performance in eight roles, including that of the Norwegian army.

A performance of Dominick Argento's mono-opera, "A Water Bird Talk," by the distinguished tenor Richard Estes is on the same program, along with several operatic transcriptions by Mikhashoff.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will present the work of contemporary American composers Colgrass, David Felder and Chumbley, and there will be performances by the New York New Music Ensemble and guest violinist Curtis Macomber, clarinetist Joaquin Valdepeñas, "boy genius" performance-artist Rinde Eckert and many others.

For sites, times, programs and prices, see the attached schedule of events. Tickets for all events may be obtained by calling the UB Center for the Arts, 716-645-ARTS.

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