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June in Buffalo is Back


A week of music by contemporary composers comes to UB

June in Buffalo is a unique music festival that is recognized worldwide for its focus on contemporary composers. Established composers assemble every year on the UB Amherst campus for a week of musical activity that includes creative interactions with young emerging composers. Add in some of the finest musicians specializing in contemporary music, and the result is the kind of musical synergy that existed during the now almost legendary period of Lukas Foss and the UB Creative Associates. For this year’s event, festival founder and artistic director David Felder will be joined by his fellow composers Joshua Fineberg, Stephen Hartke, Philippe Hurel and Hilda Paredes. All the evening concerts and the BPO Sunday afternoon concert will take place at Slee Hall, and are ticketed events. The concerts in Baird Recital Hall at 4pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are free and feature the works of emerging composers.

For the opening night concert on Monday June 2 at 7:30pm, the starting time for all evening concerts unless stated otherwise, soloists from the Slee Sinfonietta perform the works of JIB faculty composers. Flutist Emi Ferguson is featured in Felder’s November Sky from Crossfire and in Hurel’s Loops I, while percussionist Tom Kolor will perform Hurel’s Loops IV for marimba. Clarinetist Marianne Gythfeldt will perform Joshua Fineberg’s work Facets, while bass clarinetist Adrián Sandí is featured in Mexican composer Hilda Paredes’ Intermezzo Malinconico. French horn virtuoso Adam Unsworth is featured in Felder’s Boxman from Crossfire while UB faculty violin virtuoso Yuki Numata Resnick teams with avant-garde piano specialist Steven Beck in Hartke’s 2007 work Netsuke.

Guest conductor Jerry Hou will lead the Slee Sinfonietta on Tuesday for what is being billed as a Bernard Rands portrait concert. Mezzo soprano Julia Bentley demonstrated an admirable affinity for the music of the composer when she performed his exquisitely charming work Now Again, based on texts by Sappho at UB several years ago. This time Bentley takes on Rands’ much thornier 1980 work Canti Lunatici, a work that was last memorably performed on this series more than a dozen years ago by the then future UB professor of voice Tony Arnold in her first ever Buffalo appearance. Steven Beck will also perform Rands’ Piano Preludes from 2007.

On Wednesday the Norrbotten NEO makes a welcome return to UB from the northernmost part of Sweden to perform under the baton of the group’s conductor Petter Sundkvist. The program includes the works Meanwhile by Hartke, Shards by Fineberg, Homenaje a Remedios Varo by Paredes and AlitiMentre stiamo respirando by Swedish composer Pär Lindgren. Bass-baritone extraordinaire Nicholas Isherwood will make a long overdue return to JIB as the soloist in the world premier of Felder’s Three Songs from Three Watches. Norrbotten NEO will also perform at Thursday’s 4pm concert in Baird Hall.

The French ensemble Court Circuit returns to UB on Thursday evening to perform Felder’s Partial [Dist]res[s]toration, Hurel’s 2013 work Trait d’union, Fineberg’s Objets trouvé and L’harmonie des spheres by Allain Gaussin. Court Circuit will return to perform the emerging composer’s concert on Friday at 4pm concert in Baird.

The one concert on this year’s JIB program that any genuine violin aficionado will not want to miss takes place on Friday at 6:30pm in Baird Recital Hall when Irvine Arditti, the eponymous founder of the Arditti Quartet, the premier string quartet in the world dedicated to performing new and contemporary string quartets offers a rare recital for solo violin. Arditti will perform Argot, by Franco Donatoni, Del Cuarto Elemento by James Dillon, Red by Martino Traversa, Elegy by Toshio Hosokawa and Sei Capricci by Salvatore Sciarrino. While these works are likely unknown to most concert goers, it is safe to say that anyone who attends Arditti’s recital will be certain to remember it for decades afterwards.

In recent years, JIB has at made some attempt to resurrect the tradition of reaching out to the greater Buffalo community by staging at least one event off-campus. The Friday night concert at 8:30pm at this year’s JIB exemplifies this trend in the best way possible, when vocalist Esin Gündüz, percussionist John Bacon and pianist Michael McNeill, the mainly UB-based musicians of “resAUnance”, the coolest new jazz trio in Buffalo, are joined by cellist Jonathan Golove in performing original works for voice, piano and percussion at the Pausa Art House on Wadsworth at the foot of Allen in Buffalo.

Brad Lubman returns on Saturday evening to lead his NYC based ensemble Signal in Felder’s Requiescat, Hurel’s Interstices, Rands’ Concertino and Hilda Paredes’ 2012 work Señales. One of the most honored established composers at this year’s JIB, Paredes, was born in Tehuacán Mexico in 1957 and has been based in London since 1979. Her compositions have garnered critical acclaim for her ability to effectively fuse modern, cutting edge extended techniques with a primeval energy that is derived from the ancient Mayan culture of Central America.

Señales, a work composed in 2012, features violinist Irvine Arditti, who is also her husband. Reviewing the work’s premier, the New York Times noted: “From a lapping, splashing introduction, the music—played by a 10-member ensemble that included an ear-tickling mix of cimbalom, harp and marimba—rippled, surged and jolted ceaselessly around Mr. Arditti’s flashing exertions. Time stood still repeatedly during haunting interludes that paid homage to another composer, Jonathan Harvey”. A JIB closing reception will follow the concert.

The BPO is featured on Sunday afternoon at 2:30pm under its music director JoAnn Falletta. Besides Bernard Rands’ “...where the murmurs die...”, the program includes Stephen Hartke’s Brandenburg Autumn, for double reeds, horns, harpsichord, and strings; the work uses the same instrumentation as Bach’s first Brandenburg concerto and features harpsichordist Daniel Pesca. Departing concertmaster Michael Ludwig will make his final official performance as a member of the BPO as the soloist in Daron Hagen’s concerto Songbook for violin, string orchestra, harp, and percussion. Ludwig’s violin playing inspired Hagen to compose the concerto for him, and he was the soloist in the work’s very well received world premier in 2011. “I revised the last thirty measures of the final movement,” says Hagen, “but otherwise, I’ve made no changes. I wanted to give the soloist a bit more passagework at the end, and wanted to shift the tone from one of childlike, to adult joy. The shift is subtle, but important. I am thrilled to be hearing the work performed again, and honored that JoAnn, Michael, and the orchestra are recording it for Naxos.”

Tickets: $12 /$9 seniors/$5 students. Information:

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