Wednesday, April 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Dresher showcases innovative instruments at Mondavi Center

Double duo — guitarist Paul Dresher, left, violinist Karen Bentley Pollick, pianist Lisa Moore and percussionist Joel Davel – will perform April 6-7 in the Studio Theater. Courtesy photo

By
From page A7 | March 27, 2013 | Leave Comment

Check it out

Who: Paul Dresher and friends

When: 8 p.m. April 6 and 2 p.m. April 7; a post-performance Q&A with the musicians will follow both performances

Where: Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis

Tickets: $38 general, $19 students; www.mondaviarts.org, 530-754-2787

Composer/performer Paul Dresher — known for building new and unusual instruments that he uses in the music he writes — will visit the Mondavi Center’s Vanderhoef Studio Theatre on Saturday, April 6, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 7, at 2 p.m. with a program titled “Double Duo.”

Among the uncommon instruments to be heard will be the quadrachord, a horizontal instrument that is about 15 feet long, and has a total string length of 160 inches, with four strings of differing gauges but of equal length, and an electric bass pick-up next to each of the two bridges.

The instrument can be plucked like a guitar, bowed like cello, played like a slide guitar, prepared like a piano and drummed on like a percussion instrument. Because of the extremely long string length (relative to conventional bowed and plucked instruments), and very low open string/fundamental pitches, the instrument is a remarkable tool for exploring alternative tuning systems based on the harmonic series.

Also featured will be an instrument called the marimba lumina, designed by synthesizer pioneer Don Buchla. The marimba lumina’s playing surface includes a traditionally arrayed set of electronic bars. Each bar is made up of two overlapping antennae that receive proximity information from each of the four mallets. This allows the marimba lumina to respond to new performance variables such as position along the length of each bars. In addition, each mallet is tuned to a unique frequency, which allows one to program different instrumental responses for each mallet.

The performers will be Paul Dresher (quadrachord and electric guitar), Joel Davel (marimba lumina and quadrachord), Karen Bentley Pollick (violin) and Lisa Moore (piano, electronic keyboard). Performing in various combinations of solo, duo, trio and quartet, the “Double Duo” repertory moves from entirely acoustic works such as John Adams’ “Road Movies” or Martin Bresnick’s “Bird As Prophet,” through hybrid electro-acoustic works like Dresher’s “Chorale Times Two”  to the invented instrument duo “Glimpsed From Afar,” which will feature both the quadrachord and the marimba lumina.

“Because the quadrachord is so big, and Joel and I both play the instrument at the same time, ‘Glimpsed from Afar’ has a very important choreographic element” — basically, Dresher and Davel need to move back and forth, playing their respective parts, without tripping each other up.

“I’ve always been reluctant to release the piece as an audio-only recording, because it really should be seen, rather than simply heard,” Dresher told The Enterprise. He added that “there is a nine-minute video excerpt on YouTube (also found on the Mondavi Center website) that is really good,” which can give the curious an idea of what to expect when the piece is done in concert.

Bresnick’s “Bird as Prophet” is a duo for violin and piano. “The ‘bird’ is Charlie Parker,” Dresher explained. “Bresnick’s music doesn’t sound like bebop, but in the melodic material you can hear that kind of fluid line.

“Another piece of Bresnick’s, ‘Willie’s Way,’ is a piece that Martin wrote based on a theme by Willie Dixon, which (the ’60s rock group) Cream recorded, creating their own version. (What we do) is our version that should be called ‘Fantasia on a Theme’ by Willie Dixon, and it is almost Brahms meets Willie Dixon meets Cream, which at one time I would not have imagined possible.”

Elsewhere on the program will be a movement from Dresher’s “Double Ikat,” a piece written in 1988-90 that now ranks as a contemporary classic.

Mondavi Center audiences may recall the percussion-driven theater piece “Schick Machine,” which featured Dresher’s music (as well as some Rube Goldberg-like gadgetry), which was performed at the Mondavi Center in November 2009 over several days.

“Those were the first performances of what became the finished version of the piece,” Dresher said.

“Schick Machine” was launched at a time when many presenting organizations like Mondavi were suffering from recessionary budget cutbacks, but in the last year, “Schick Machine” has been touring widely and drawing enthusiastic audiences.

“We just did it in Urbana, Illinois, and then we took it to Hong Kong — it was great to do it for an international audience,” Dresher said. “We’ll be taking it to UCLA and UC San Diego soon. The piece continues to have a good life.”

Tickets are $38 general, $19 for students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787. A post-concert Q&A session with the performers will follow both performances.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8055.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

UC Davis biodigester hungers for food scraps, belches out electricity

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New mosaic mural reflects Peña family history

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Davis businesswoman presides over conference

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Bible fun featured at Parents’ Night Out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Fire damages Woodland home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

 
Davis Arts Center: See ceramics, join the Big Day of Giving

By Erie Vitiello | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Register to vote by May 19

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Birch Lane sells garden plants, veggies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Team Blend hosts fundraiser for Nicaragua project

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

 
Sign up for enviro organizations during Earth Week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Fundraiser benefits Oakley campaign

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Odd Fellows host culinary benefit for nonprofit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

UCD to host premiere of autism documentary

By Cory Golden | From Page: A4

 
400 bikes go up for bids at UCD auction

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Fire crews gather for joint training

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
UFC hears from two local historians

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Church hosts discussion of mental health needs, services

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Sunder hosts campaign event for kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
UC Davis conference showcases undergraduate research

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Train to become a weather spotter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Fly Fishers talk to focus on healthy streams, rivers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Learn survival skills at Cache Creek Preserve

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Veterans, internees may receive overdue diplomas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

UCD professor to talk about new book

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Slow Food tour showcases area’s young farmers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

.

Forum

Will anyone notice?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
My votes reflect city values

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

I support Sunder for board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
A plea on the Bard’s birthday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Sharing fire services has been a success

By Our View | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

.

Sports

DHS thunders back to win an epic DVC volleyball match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Seniors send Blue Devil girls past Broncos in a lacrosse rout

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Davis gets to Grant ace and rolls in DVC crucial

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Walchli is under par in another Devil victory

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

DHS/Franklin I goes to the Blue Devil softballers

By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
Sharks go up 3-0 with OT win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Rangers rally to beat A’s in the ninth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

Field to fork: El Macero’s chef offers spring tastes

By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
.

Arts

 
Music, wine flow at Fourth Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Biscuits ‘n Honey will play at winery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
 
Five Three Oh! featured at April Performers’ Circle

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Celebrate spring at I-House on Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Catharine ‘Kay’ Lathrop

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6