UA Music + Festival focuses on classical and popular music artists



The Fred Fox School of Music at the University of Arizona College of Fine Arts will present its 13th annual music festival + festival, featuring the music of George Gershwin (1898-1937), Steve Reich (born 1936) and William Bolcom (born in 1936). 1938), from October 9 to 12.

All festival events will be online, with free admission. Guest artists will include Jeremy Huw Williams, baritone, and Paula Fan, piano.

The festival will present the life and music of the three composers, who all bridge the worlds of classical music and vernacular or popular music, “in a rich and broad humanistic framework,” said festival director Daniel Asia.

Gershwin, born and raised in New York City, was “a musical prodigy just waiting to happen,” says Asia. His parents, Russian Jews who immigrated to this country at the end of the 19th century, bought a piano for George’s older brother, Ira, to learn to play. But when George sat down at the keyboard and cut out a tune he had only heard from someone, they gave George the lessons instead. He studied piano and then composition at an early age, and even after dropping out of high school at age 15 to write songs on Tin Pan Alley. His career straddled both sides of the musical tracks, writing songs, performing musicals, and then working for the concert stage which combined both jazz and classical, which would qualify as third stream music a few decades later.

Gershwin and his music were beloved by the classical music giants of his day, including Heifetz, Klemperer and Schoenberg, and many songwriters considered him simply the best, says Asia, adding: “He is an imposing historical figure in the world. the history of early American music, to be placed up there with Ives and Copland, who sadly passed away tragically young.

Reich was born into a Jewish family in New York, his father a lawyer and his mother a songwriter. He studied and played percussion in his youth, influenced by classical music and the burgeoning worlds of popular music and jazz. After studying at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, mainly in philosophy, he attended the Juilliard School in New York, then Mills College in Oakland, California. He remained in the Bay Area for a number of years, performing in the first performance of Terry Riley’s seminal minimalist work, In C, and creating his first works on tape using the phasing technique. Back in New York, he began to write for acoustic instruments. His musical interests grew to include African percussion, gamelan, and Hebrew cantillation. His later, highly structured works also incorporate his interest in American discourse, primarily through sampling, found street sounds, and a greater openness to composers of the classical tradition of the 20th century.

“Among the first generation of minimalists, including Young, Riley and Glass, Reich’s production and musical journey is the most airtight and sharpest, music of shimmering beauty and restrained ecstasy,” said Asia.

Bolcom grew up in Seattle and attended Washington University at the age of 11 – another prodigy, Asia says – where he studied composition and piano. Like Reich, he studied at Mills with Darius Milhaud, then at Stanford University, and finally with Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory. His earlier music appears to be influenced by Harris and Bartok, and avant-garde European composers, including Boulez, Stockhausen, and Berio. But then his style opened up to history and the American vernacular. He was part of the ’70s ragtime revival and wrote cabaret songs that he and his wife, singer Joan Morris, perform in concert.

“Bolcom’s Songs of Experience, on the eponymous book of poems by William Blake, is designed for gargantuan strengths and speaks in many languages ​​of music including classical, pop, country, jazz, and more. It is music of the greatest eclecticism and stylistic diversity. It’s music of broad emotional expression that includes lightness, humor and grace, ”says Asia.

In addition to Williams and Fan, the festival will feature speakers, performers and a composer, as well as faculty and students from the AU.

The festival program follows. The links will be available on one week before the events.

Friday October 9 5:00 p.m. – 6:10 p.m. (PDT)
“The Russian Gershwin” – Post-classical ensemble in collaboration with WWFM; Joseph Horowitz, Angel Gil-Ordoñez; Bill McGlaughlin (host)

Saturday October 10, 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (PDT)
Music by George Gershwin, Steve Reich and William Bolcom
Guillaume Bolcom; Russell Hartenberger; Joseph Horowitz, presenters

Concert I:
Saturday October 10, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (PDT)
Chamber music and songs by Gershwin, Reich and Bolcom
Kristin Dauphinais, mezzo-soprano; Paula Fan, piano; Morris Palter, percussion
Timothée Kantor, violin; Elena Miraztchiyska, piano

Concert II:
Sunday October 11 3:00 p.m. (PDT)
Piano music by Gershwin, Reich and Bolcom
Michel Dauphinais; Daniel Linder, piano

Concert III:
Sunday October 11 5:00 p.m. (PDT)
Songs by Gershwin and Bolcom – Jeremy Huw Willliams, baritone; Paula Fan, piano

Monday October 12, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (PDT)
Fred Fox School of Music Visiting Composers Series: William Bolcom, presenter

For more information, contact Asia at [email protected] or (520) 203-1660, or Ingvi Kallen at [email protected] or (520) 626-6320.



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