City of Tomorrow Wind Quintet is the special guest with the UC Davis Band on March 13 at the Mondavi Center. Courtesy photo

City of Tomorrow Wind Quintet is the special guest with the UC Davis Band on March 13 at the Mondavi Center. Courtesy photo

Mondavi Center

UCD Band performs at Mondavi on March 13

By From page A9 | March 07, 2013


What: UC Davis Concert Band

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 13

Where: Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis

Tickets: $12 general, $8 students; www.mondaviarts.org, 530-754-2787

The UC Davis Concert Band will give its Winter Quarter concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, in Jackson Hall at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

On the program will be a variety of works, including:

* “Vientos y Tangos” by Michael Gandolfi, chair of composition at the New England Conservatory.

* Concerto for Woodwind Quintet by David Gillingham, who is on the faculty of Central Michigan University. Joining the band for this performance will be the City of Tomorrow Wind Quartet, from Chicago.

* Two pieces by the pioneering Bay Area composer Henry Cowell, “Shoonthree” (1939) and “Animal Magic (of the Greenland Eskimos).” UCD Band conductor Pete Nowlen said “Animal Magic” is “one of the earlier examples of the incorporation of world music into American music. … I will discuss Cowell’s amazing influence on American composers, as well as his incarceration in San Quentin for four years on a ‘morals’ charge.”

(Cowell, like poet and playwright Oscar Wilde in Britain, had relationships with men, and did time in prison as a result; Cowell was later granted a pardon and, unlike Wilde, was able to resume his career.)

Nowlen notes that Cowell is credited with “substantial responsibility for five or more major musical innovations of the 20th century, including tone clusters. … Belá Bartók actually wrote Cowell a letter asking his permission to use them.”

In addition to being a musical innovator, Cowell also was an influential teacher; his students included John Cage and Lou Harrison, who carried some of Cowell’s musical ideas to New York. Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, has venerated Cowell in recent years by including some of Cowell’s symphonic music in the “American Mavericks” series and other concerts, but Cowell’s music for band and wind ensembles is less often heard.

* “Shepherd’s Hey” by Percy Grainger. “I am pairing Cowell with Grainger because Grainger was consistently supportive of Cowell during his incarceration, and provided him with the job and living quarters (as his musical secretary) that allowed for Cowell’s parole,” Nowlen said. “Cowell had many other great supporters, including Arnold Schoenberg.”

* Three short movements inspired by sculpture: “A Portrait of Robert Indiana” by Virgil Thomson, plus “Mobile” and “Bronze Sculpture” from the set “Designs, Images and Textures” by Lesslie Basset.

“And just for fun, we’ll close with a very fun new circus march called ‘Monkey Business,’ ” Nowlen said.

Tickets are $12 general, $8 for students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787.

Jeff Hudson

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