UCSB Department of Music Spring Concert Series

Posted on May 26 by SEASONS Magazine

UCSB Wind Ensemble, photo by Eric Isaacs, courtesy UCSB.

UCSB Wind Ensemble, photo by Eric Isaacs, courtesy UCSB.

The UCSB Department of Music presents its Spring 2018 Concert Series from Sunday, May 27 through Friday, June 8, with performances by the Wind Ensemble, Ensemble for Contemporary Music (ECM), Chamber Choir and Women’s Chorus, Middle East Ensemble, Gamelan Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Players, Jazz Ensemble, Music of India Ensemble, and Gospel Choir.

Highlights include the UCSB Wind Ensemble’s 25th Anniversary Alumni Reunion Concert, the Jazz Ensemble featuring special guest Jeff Babko of the Jimmy Kimmel Live house band on piano/keyboards, and the UCSB Gamelan Ensemble featuring community gamelan ensemble Gamelan Sinar Surya and a Tarling ensemble.

UCSB Wind Ensemble 25th Anniversary Alumni Reunion Concert

Sunday, May 27, 2018 | 3 p.m. | Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall

Free (reservation recommended)

Directed by Paul Bambach, the UCSB Wind Ensemble presents its annual Spring concert, which serves as a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the ensemble and an alumni reunion event. The first half of the concert features John Frantzen’s symphony for band, Catalyst, with the composer in attendance. In the second half, the University Wind Ensemble and alumni perform patriotic works celebrating the Memorial Day holiday, such as Morton Gould’s American Salute, Charles Ives’ Variations on America, Carmen Dragon’s arrangement of Samuel Ward’s America the Beautiful, and John Phillip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. In addition, the concert features graduate assistant Cynthia Vong conducting Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque as a tribute to victims and survivors of the 2014 Isla Vista event.

UCSB Ensemble for Contemporary Music (ECM)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | 5:30 pm | Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall

Free UCSB students | $5 non-UCSB students | $10 general admission

The UCSB Ensemble for Contemporary Music’s season finale concert, “The Thing Possessed,” is wrapped in the spirit world, with exotic traditions of Japan, Guatemala, Southwestern pueblos, and Polynesia all playing their roles. Add to that Hans Werner Henze’s La mano sinistra and that mistrust of things left-handed, and the result is a mix sure to intrigue. Pianist Evan Losoya plays the Henze, and director Jeremy Haladyna mans the organ bench for his new Organ Sonata offered to the mystical Mayan modern saint, Maximón. French pianist Marie-Agathe Charpagne offers the complete Mana by André Jolivet, treating the Polynesian belief in the raw spiritual and ritual power of objects—similar to the Japanese tradition of Netsuke, which were elaborate belt closures worn by (bygone) elite Japanese, true art miniatures in the form of magical and mythical creatures. Sara Bashore and Evan Losoya offer a selection from Stephen Hartke’s collection on this title for violin and piano. Graduate flutist Cynthia Vong presents Winter Spirits by Katherine Hoover for solo flute, inspired by Southwestern kachina spirits. Even the soul-plight of birds is plumbed in this unique concert, as duo pianists Jarod Fedele and Keith Sibal offer the piano snapshots comprising William Bolcom’s Bird Spirits. The Greek legend of the golden ring possessed of invisibility, and obtained by Gyges, comes alive in the work of the same name by Richard Orton, which will be performed by oboist Lexie Callaway-Cole and pianist Jarod Fedele. Rounding out the concert is material by Henri Dutilleux, Alvin Lucier, and two world premieres of works by UCSB graduate composers Scott Perry and M.D. Owensby.  

UCSB Ensemble for Contemporary Music (ECM), photo by Eric Isaacs, courtesy UCSB.

UCSB Ensemble for Contemporary Music (ECM), photo by Eric Isaacs, courtesy UCSB.

UCSB Chamber Choir and Women’s Chorus

Friday, June 1, 2018 | 7:30 p.m. | Trinity Episcopal Church (1500 State St.)

$5 UCSB students | $10 non-UCSB students | $15 general admission

The UCSB Chamber Choir, under the direction of Grey Brothers, and the UCSB Women’s Chorus, under the direction of Tyler Reece, performs classics and recent works by North American composers. The Women’s Chorus program includes a world premiere of one song from Monochromes by LA-based composer Daniel Kessner, two pieces from An Emily Dickinson Suite by Santa Barbara icon and UCSB Professor Emeritus Emma Lou Diemer, and Days of Beauty by Norwegian-American composer Ola Gjeilo. Advocating the works of living female composers, the program also features works by Susan LaBarr, Abbie Betinis, and Moira Smiley. The Chamber Choir will sing such choral classics as William Billings’ Creation, Randall Thompson’s Alleluia, Alice Parker’s Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal, and Moses Hogan’s Didn’t my Lord Deliver Daniel? The program also includes works by current choral composers Eric Whitacre and Stephen Paulus; a highlight is Pulitzer Prize and two-time Grammy-winner Jennifer Higdon’s Deep in the Night.

UCSB Middle East Ensemble

Saturday, June 2, 2018 | 7:30 p.m. | Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall

$5 UCSB students | $10 non-UCSB students | $15 general admission

Directed by Scott Marcus, the UCSB Middle East Ensemble’s Spring concert features special guest Besnik Yzeiri (a first-year DMA student from Albania specializing in viola), who leads the Ensemble in his own composition featuring a medley of melodies from Albania, Serbia, Turkey, Greece and Macedonia. The Ensemble also presents a suite of songs from Iraq, featuring two unique Iraqi rhythms, jurjuna and chobi, Sam Khattar as solo vocalist, and the Ensemble’s chorus. Additionally, Hala Abdul-Baki presents a famous 1944 song by the Syrian-Egyptian singer, Asmahan; Andrea Fishman presents a Sephardic song from Greece; the Ensemble as a whole performs a beloved Moroccan song from the famed group Nass al-Ghiwane; and Eric Ederer, Jim Grippo, Fred Nadis, Solmaz Soleimani, and others present instrumental solos. As always, the Ensemble’s Dance Company performs a wonderful variety of dances, from Armenian, Egyptian, Lebanese, and Turkish cultures, with solo vocals by Sam Khattar and Varduhi Sargsyan and choreographies by Cris! Basimah, Ahmet Luleci, and Jatila van der Veen. Finally, Cris! Basimah, the Director of the Ensemble’s Dance Company, present a rousing solo dance finale.

UCSB Gamelan Ensemble

Sunday, June 3, 2018 | 5:30 p.m. | Karl Geiringer Hall

Free UCSB students | $5 non-UCSB students | $10 general admission

This special Spring Quarter Gamelan concert features three traditional Gamelan ensembles. The UCSB Gamelan Ensemble, under the direction of Richard North since 2015, presents a variety of traditional pieces in both Indonesian and Malaysian styles, including exciting Topeng mask dances. Also directed by Richard North, the Santa Barbara-based community group Gamelan Sinar Surya presents contrasting royal court pieces and ancient village music from West Java. A third ensemble, developed in the 1940s and known as Tarling, reinterprets traditional Gamelan pieces for guitars and bamboo flute.

UCSB Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Players

Monday, June 4, 2018 | 7:30 p.m. | Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall

Free UCSB students | $5 non-UCSB students | $10 general admission

Directed by Robert Koenig, winners of the quarterly UCSB Chamber Music Competition perform as the UCSB Chamber Players and open the first half of the Spring UCSB Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Players concert. Vlad Vizireanu and the UCSB Chamber Orchestra open the second half with Gioachino Rossini’s overture to Il Signor Bruschino, followed by Johannes Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93.

UCSB Jazz Ensemble

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 | 7:30 p.m. | Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall

Free UCSB students | $5 non-UCSB students | $10 general admission

The UCSB Jazz Ensemble welcomes guest artist Jeff Babko (keyboards for Jimmy Kimmel Live) as well as several of the Ensemble’s graduating students. Trombonists Cameron Swanson, Julian Marks (graduating seniors), and Griffin Hosseinzadeh (departing for a post-doc in Astrophysics at Harvard University) are featured on Rob McConnell’s famous arrangement of Just Friends, and alto saxophonist Collin McCrary (transferring to UCLA) is featured on Maria Schneider’s lush Journey Home, along with close friend guitarist Lucas Brooker. Clinical psychology graduate student Josh Sheltzer is featured along with other members of his combo on Chris Potter’s New Year’s Day, including fellow graduate students Evan Monroe (drums), Sinan Isik (piano), and junior standout guitarist Soham Mistry. Bassist Rex Fukuchi, another graduating senior, is featured with this as they open the concert, as well as playing with the large ensemble throughout the concert. Rounding out the first half of the concert is Thad Jones’ Cherry Juice (featuring the saxophone section) and Bob Washut’s Cubaneando (featuring our young standout trumpet section), and both charts featuring members of the ensemble returning next year, including guitarist Danny Toomey, saxophonists Blake Reader and Milo Bechtloff, trumpeters Kinamee Rhodes and Angel Hernandez, and pianist Reno Behnken. The ensemble also welcomes Santa Barbara percussionist Kevin Winard as special guest on the first half of the concert.

Jeff Babko will join the ensemble and combos for a variety of tunes and styles that reflect his musical identity, including his arrangement of Devo’s Girl U Want, and his composition Nostalgia is for Suckas as performed with a combo led by UCSB staff member Matt Perko (drums), along with being featured soloist on John LaBarbera’s Highland Crossing, a trio version of Wayne Shorter’s Black Nile, Frank Mantooth’s arrangement of the beautiful ballad Young and Foolish, and an arrangement of Bob Berg’s rollicking shuffle, Friday Night at the Cadillac Club.

UCSB Music of India Ensemble

Thursday, June 7, 2018 | 7:30 p.m. | Karl Geiringer Hall

Free UCSB students | $5 non-UCSB students | $10 general admission

Directed by Scott Marcus, the UCSB Music of India Ensemble presents a concert of North Indian classical music featuring performances on sitars and tabla, beginning with a performance of rag Durga by the first-year students, followed by rag Jaunpuri by the advanced students. Neel Agrawal provides tabla accompaniment. Founded in 1989 by ethnomusicology professor and chair of the Department of Music, Scott Marcus, the UCSB Music of India Ensemble is an official ethnomusicology performance ensemble in the UCSB Department of Music.

UCSB Gospel Choir

Friday, June 8, 2018 | 7:30 p.m. | Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall

Free UCSB students | $5 non-UCSB students | $10 general admission

Under the direction of Victor Bell, the UCSB Gospel Choir presents their annual spring concert, featuring traditional and contemporary songs drawn from African American religious traditions. Founded over 25 years ago, the choir is regularly featured in numerous community events and university celebrations, and has been featured on the WB sitcom The Steve Harvey Show, American Housewives, and Cedric the Entertainer’s The Soul Man.

Tickets to all events can be purchased online at music.ucsb.edu/news/purchase-tickets or by calling the Associated Students Ticket Office at 805/893-2064.

Directions and parking information can be found at music.ucsb.edu/about/maps.

—Adriane Hill, UC Santa Barbara Department of Music

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