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June in Buffalo New Music Festival returns for 2009

Making it New

Martin Bresnick

June in Buffalo, the long-running new music festival at the University at Buffalo, returns to the Amherst campus for an event-filled week, beginning Monday, June 1 and ending Sunday, June 7, with a concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in Slee Hall.

Long recognized nationally as one of the premier new music venues in North America, the June in Buffalo Festival featured in a special “Summer Stages” supplement this past May in the New York Times. The Times noted, “Composers have flocked to this festival since 1975, when Morton Feldman founded it as an American version of the Darmstadt festival in Germany. A bevy of young composers will hear their works performed alongside those of established masters like Martin Bresnick, David Felder and Harvey Sollberger.”

June in Buffalo, co-sponsored by UB and the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music, is both an international music festival and conference dedicated to composers of contemporary music. David Felder, professor of composition at UB and director of the Center for 21st Century Music, is once again artistic director of the festival, as he has been every year since he resurrected JIB in 1985 after a five-year hiatus. The senior composers for this year’s JIB are Martin Bresnick, David Felder, Bernard Rands, Mathew Rosenblum, and Harvey Sollberger. Besides the numerous afternoon and evening concerts presented, JIB offers a series of morning lectures and master classes featuring senior composers and performing artists. Admission to the lectures and master classes, which take place in Baird Recital Hall and begin at 10am, is free: Monday, Harvey Sollberger; Tuesday, Martin Bresnick; Wednesday, David Felder; Thursday, Mathew Rosenblum; Friday, Bernard Rands. On Saturday, June 6, Finnish accordionist Mikko Luoma and Italian bassist Stefano Scodanibbio will present a master class on advanced accordion and bass techniques.

In addition to the senior composers at JIB, 90 applicants, representing 47 universities and conservatories worldwide, applied for admission to the event, with 25 advanced student composers from 10 countries selected. Many of the student composers will get the opportunity to hear their works publicly performed by professional ensembles and soloists for the first time. The afternoon concerts begin at 4:30pm, and are free and open to the public. These concerts usually include works by the student composers, as well as pieces by more established composers. The Monday, June 1 event in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall features the New York New Music Ensemble in a program of works for mixed chamber ensemble. All the remaining afternoon concerts take place in Baird Recital Hall. On Tuesday, June 2, the Meridian Arts Ensemble will present works for brass by festival participants, while the Wednesday, June 3 afternoon concert will feature chamber music. On Thursday, June 4, accordionist Mikko Luoma will perform works by Salvatore Sciarrino, Magnus Lindberg, Jukka Tiensuu, Tommi Karkkainen, and Toshio Hosokawa. The Friday, June 5 afternoon concert features Stefano Scodanibbio, contrabass, performing works by Luciano Berio, Giacinto Scelsi, Salvatore Sciarrino, and Stefano Scodanibbio. On Saturday, June 6, a performance of works for mixed chamber ensemble features the VERGE Ensemble.

There is an admission charge for the evening performances, which all take place at 8pm in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, unless other noted. On Monday, June 1, the Meridian Arts Ensemble plays works for brass by Alvin Etler, Edward Jacobs, Milton Babbitt, and Ira Taxin on the first half of the program, while pianist Lisa Moore will perform For the Sexes by Martin Bresnick on the second half. Tuesday, June 2, the New York New Music Ensemble performs works for mixed chamber ensemble by festival faculty members Harvey Sollberger, Martin Bresnick, and Mathew Rosenblum, plus a piece by the late Lukas Foss. The Black Box Theater in the UB Center for the Performing Arts is the venue for the Wednesday, June 3 concert that features the music of composers Philippe Manoury and Christophe Desjardins. The Thursday, June 4 evening concert, in a location to be announced—either Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall or the Center for the Arts—will feature the VERGE ensemble in a program of works for mixed ensemble by festival faculty members and other composers. On Friday, June 5, Brad Lubman will conduct the Slee Sinfonietta and soloists Mario Caroli (flute), Julia Bentley, (mezzo-soprano), and Lindsey Goodman (flute) in a program that includes David Felder’s Inner Sky, Bernard Rands’ Now again—fragments from Sappho, and Mathew Rosenblum’s Under the Rainbow.

The June in Buffalo Festival wraps up with a performance in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall on Sunday, June 7 at 2:30pm, by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of resident conductor Robert Franz, featuring BPO principal flute Christine Bailey Davis. The program includes Solstice by the late Cleveland area composer Donald Erb, Three Pieces for Orchestra by David Felder, London Serenade by Bernard Rands, and a work by the late, former BPO music director Lukas Foss.

Tickets for the evening concerts and the Sunday afternoon BPO concert are $12, $9 for seniors and UB faculty/alumni, $5 for students. For more information, visit or call 645-2921.

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