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Visiting pianist offers tribute to musical trailblazers John Cage, Morton Feldman

Pianist Seda Roder will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, in the Mondavi Center's Vanderhoef Studio Theatre. Courtesy photo

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From page A4 | November 15, 2012 | Leave Comment

Turkish pianist Seda Röder, who was honored recently for her work as performer and scholar at Harvard University from 2007 through 2011, will give a recital in the Mondavi Center’s Vanderhoef Studio Theatre on Friday at 7 p.m.

Röder will present a program that she devised, “Tales from the Silent Lands,” which is a tribute to the legacy of the late American composers John Cage (1912-1992) and Morton Feldman (1926-1987). The music of Feldman and Cage did much to shape the future of music worldwide.

Described as “a special musical journey undertaken by three very distinct yet similarly minded personalities,” the program includes ground-breaking works by Cage and Feldman from decades past, and also features two newly commissioned piano pieces by contemporary composers Ken Ueno and Lei Liang, and an improvisation by Seda Röder, all of whom are influenced by the unique sound world and the openness of the early piano works by Cage and Feldman.

According to Röder, “This is an program about remembrance, friendship and inspiration. It is a creative response, a musical reflection upon the visionary landscapes created by Feldman and Cage that have surrounded and greatly influenced my life and the lives of many other musicians.”

Cage did much to revolutionize contemporary music, challenging many accepted notions of his time, including one famous composition — 4’33″ — that included no notes, only rests, for the musicians to perform. He was a visiting artist-in-residence at UC Davis in fall 1969, and was a visiting professor at many other universities as well.

Feldman, who was a friend and colleague of Cage, taught for a time at UC San Diego and other universities. Feldman is remembered for compositions that featured slow development and quiet sounds, though not all of his music would fit that description.

Friday’s concert will include “Dream” and “In a Landscape” by Cage; “Vertical Thoughts IV” by Feldman; the recently composed “Volcano” by Ken Ueno (born in 1970); the recently composed “Piano, Piano” by Lei Liang (born in 1972), and Röder’s “Elsewhere.”

Liang, born in China and now a music professor at UCSD, will returning to UCD this spring as part of the “Art of Migration” series of concerts and events, to be held at the Mondavi Center. Ueno is on the music faculty at UC Berkeley, and was the recipient of a 2007 Rome Prize.

Röder has studied extensively in Europe, both as a pianist and as a conductor.

Tickets for Röder’s concert are $20 general, $10 for students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787.

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