Sunday, April 26, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Firebird Ensemble brings a variety of sounds, ideas to new music

By
From page A5 | April 21, 2013 |

Details

* Monday, 7 p.m.: “From Calm to Clash,” featuring music for marimba, snare drum, piano trio and mid-sized ensemble by composers Stephen Stucky, Donald Crockett, Nicholas Papador, Roger Zahab, Curtis Hughes and Eric Moe. The concert will be in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at the Mondavi Center. Tickets are $20 general, $8 for students.

* Thursday, noon: A free recital in Yoche Dehe Grand Lobby at the Mondavi Center featuring works by UC Davis graduate composers Fang-Wei Luo, Chris Castro and Bryce Cannell.

* Friday, 7 p.m.: “Mystical Journeys,” featuring music for violin and piano, string trio and mid-sized ensemble by composers Jonathan Harvey, Andrew Norman, C. Bryan Rulon and Rolf Wallin. The concert will be in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at the Mondavi Center. Tickets are $20 general, $8 for students.

Tickets: www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787

The Firebird Ensemble — a contemporary music ensemble that has premiered more than 50 works since the group’s founding in 2001 — will visit UC Davis this month under the sponsorship of the university’s music department, performing two evening concerts plus a free noontime recital.

Based in Massachusetts, the group — which features a lineup of viola, flute, percussion, piano, violin, clarinet and cello — is led by artistic director and viola player Kate Vincent, who’s lived in several cities on different continents.

“I grew up in Perth, Australia … one of the world’s windiest cities, with a warm climate that is not dissimilar to San Diego,” Vincent explained by phone. “Then I went to Boston, where I earned master’s degrees in viola performance and music education at the New England Conservatory. That’s where I met most of the people who play in the Firebird Ensemble; many of them are New England Conservatory grads.”

But after 12 years of frosty Boston winters, Vincent decided a bit more sunshine and warmth was a good idea. So she now spends part of the year in Los Angeles, and part of the year in Boston.

“I find that the mix is a wonderful combination, musically and culturally,” she said.

For the two programs at UCD, Vincent brought together some contrasting music as well.

“The Monday program is titled ‘From Calm to Clash,’ ” she said, and that title offers a glimpse of what will be offered. Opening up the program will be Stephen Stucky’s piece of solo marimba, “Dust Devil” (2009), which opens with a quick, twisting chromatic musical figure somewhat reminiscent of the swirling dust devils sometimes seen in the desert (or even rural Yolo County) in the summer. But just as real-life dust devils don’t generate a thunderous sound, this solo marimba piece features constant but comparatively quiet motion, leaving room for nuance and color in performance.

Another piece on the program Monday — “Night Scenes” for piano trio, by Don Crockett, also from 2009 — has movements titled “Scatter the Barbarians,” “The Blue Guitar,” “Midnight Train” and “Night Hawks,” which are meant to evoke “scenes from imaginary movies or very possible scenes of the moviegoers themselves.”

Also on Monday will be a trio of short snare drum pieces, as well as composer Eric Moe’s “Meanwhile Back at the Ranch” (2011). It was commissioned by the Firebird Ensemble, and while the title might seem to hint at the American West, the music actually was composed in Europe. The Firebird Ensemble has an all-Moe disc coming out on New World Records in a few months.

The concert on Friday will present a different approach.

“The Friday program is titled ‘Mystical Journeys,’ and all the pieces have an element of mystique or surrealism,” Vincent said.

American composer C. Bryan Rulon’s “Divine Detours” (1993) will feature the Firebird Ensemble playing in conjunction with 10 wind-up music boxes. “Each player has a couple of them, and sets them off at different times. The way they mix with his written, notated score is very interesting,” Vincent said. “The music has tinges of the Renaissance.”

There’s also a  piece for string trio by composer Andrew Norman, titled “A Companion Guide to Rome,” which features multiple short movements that were inspired in different ways by churches that the composer visited in Rome. The piece was premiered in 2010 by the Scharoun Ensemble, a German new music group that will visit the Mondavi Center next March.

Also on the Friday program will be Scandinavian composer Rolf Wallin’s “The Age of Wire and String” (2005), which borrows its title from the debut novel by American author Ben Marcus, set in “a world that defies earthly laws of nature, but still seems to have its own set of laws and logic, consistent yet ungraspable.” The music is likewise intended to “transport our minds to places never visited before.”

And Friday’s concert also will feature British composer Jonathan Harvey’s “Flight Elegy” for violin and piano (1989), which is an elegy for an RAF pilot (also a violinist) who died under mysterious circumstances — he took off at dusk, his body was found later without a scratch and the plane was never found.

There also will be a free noontime recital on Thursday featuring the Firebird Ensemble performing new works by UCD graduate composers Fang-Wei Luo, Chris Castro and Bryce Cannell.

Vincent said the variety on the three programs is deliberate: “I want to expose audiences to as much variety in the new music genre as possible.”

Vincent acknowledged that some listeners to have “unpleasant preconceptions about contemporary music,” and one of the goals of the Firebird Ensemble is to bring a degree of enjoyment to the experience.

“One of my favorite audience remarks is something I overheard once in the women’s restroom during intermission at one of our concerts,” Vincent said. “There were two ladies of a certain age, and one of them said ‘Oh my gosh, I never would have thought I’d enjoy this type of music. But it is really quite fun.’

“That’s kind of what I want — for people to be interested, engaged, challenged and touched, and have a good time. A whole range of experiences,” Vincent said.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.

Comments

comments

.

News

Davis team wins world robotics championship

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
 
Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Suspect in UCD assault arrested

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Watch them in action

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

We did it (together)!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

 
$2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Those texts still linger

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

 
New ways of giving locally and beyond

By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

 
Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Water, water everywhere?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

By Our View | From Page: A12

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

Poker proceeds help youths

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Invest in water of the future

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Anaheim, where The Force is with you

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery

.

Sports

Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

 
Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

Davis Roots hires new general manager

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Comcast announces speed upgrade

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
.

Obituaries

Whitney Joy Engler

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Valente Forrest Dolcini

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8