Sunday, February 3, 2013

 Composer Gareth Farr was born in Wellington, New Zealand. Farr studied composition and percussion performance at Auckland University, Victoria University of Wellington and at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where his teachers included Samuel Adler and Christopher Rouse. Farr's music is particularly influenced by his extensive study of percussion, both Western and non-Western. Rhythmic elements of his compositions can be linked to the complex and exciting rhythms of Rarotongan log drum ensembles, Balinese gamelan and other percussion music of the Pacific Rim. In addition to his music for the concert chamber, Farr has written music for dance, theatre and television. Talking about the Bali movement from his piece Kembang Suling, Farr writes, "On the magical island of Bali, flowing gamelan melodies intertwine with the sound of the 'suling' (Balinese bamboo flute) to form rich colourful tapestries. The marimba and flute start out as one, their sounds indistinguishable. Bit by bit the flute asserts its independence, straying further and further from the marimba melody. An argument ensues – but all is resolved at the climax".  Listen to a performance of Gareth Farr's Kembang Suling (1995) played by Patricia and Greg Zuber . . it's one of our NEW MUSIC VIDEOS for the week.

Choreographer Hans van Manen began his career in 1951 as a member of Sonia Gaskell's Ballet Recital. In 1952 he joined the Nederlandse Opera Ballet, where he created his first ballet, Feestgericht (1957). Later he joined Roland Petit's company in Paris. He began to work with the Nederlands Dans Theater in 1960, first as a dancer (until 1963), next as a choreographer, then as Artistic Director (1961- 1971). For the following two years he worked as a freelance choreographer before joining Het Nationale Ballet in Amsterdam in 1973. From 1988 to 2003 Hans van Manen was a resident choreographer of NDT, in 2003 he joined the Dutch National Ballet as a resident choreographer. His body of work counts more than 120 ballets, each carrying his unmistakable signature. Clarity in structure and a refined simplicity are the elements in his work which have earned him the name "the Mondriaan of dance".Outside of the Netherlands, he has staged his ballets for such companies as the Stuttgart Ballett, Bayerisches Staatsballett München, Berlin Opera, Houston Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Pennsylvania Ballet, English Royal Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, State Opera in Vienna, Tanzforum in Cologne, Compañia Nacional de Danza and Alvin Ailey. Watch an excerpt from Hans van Manen's dance piece Déjà vu (1995), to music by Arvo Pärt . . . it's this week DANSES PYTHEUSES.

Multimedia artist and composer Paola Lopreiato is originally from Calabria, Italy. She studied in Florence where she graduated from Conservatorio Cherubini (piano) and from Accademia of Belle Arti (painting). In 2006 she specialized in electroacoustic composition at the Department of Music and New Technologies in Florence. She now works mainly as a composer creating works, which combine a variety of media. Her multimedia creations were realized in different theatre and festivals: SANTARCANGELO 39, 7 stanze in cerca di autore (MANTOVA), Marino Marini Museum (Firenze), Palazzo Strozzi (Firenze); and exhibited in: UK (University of Chester, University of Bournemouth, Sheffiel, Drama Studio); USA (University of Miami SEAMUS 2011, New York City Electro acoustic Music Festival, NY University, Stedman Art Gallery NJ, Department of Fine Arts of Rutgers University, MONTANA State University); Canada (Winnipeg University); Greece (Corfu,  Academia Yonica); Italy, Firenze (Palazzo Strozzi, Marino Marini Museum, Piazza della Signoria Festival della Creativita' 2010 and 2009, Conservatorio Cherubini); and Mexico, Fonoteca National December 2011 . She recently finished her MPhil in composition at University of Sheffield. Listen to Paola Lopreiato's electroacoustic work con forze che si svolgono sferiche (2010) . . . it's our SOUND ART for the week.

Composer, musician, author, satirist — Peter Schickele is internationally recognized as one of the most versatile artists in the field of music. His works, now well in excess of 100 for symphony orchestras, choral groups, chamber ensembles, voice, movies and television, have given him “a leading role in the ever-more-prominent school of American composers who unselfconsciously blend all levels of American music” (John Rockwell, The New York Times). Schickele was born in Ames, Iowa, and brought up in Washington, D.C., and Fargo, North Dakota, where he studied composition with Sigvald Thompson. He graduated from Swarthmore in 1957, having had the distinction of being the only music major (as he had been, earlier, the only bassoonist in Fargo), and by that time he had already composed and conducted four orchestral works, a great deal of chamber music and some songs. He subsequently studied composition with Roy Harris and Darius Milhaud, and with Vincent Persichetti and William Bergsma at the Juilliard School of Music. Then, under a Ford Foundation grant, he composed music for high schools in Los Angeles before returning to teach at Juilliard in 1961. In 1965 he gave up teaching to become the freelance composer/performer he has been ever since. In his well-known other role as perpetrator of the oeuvre of the now classic P.D.Q. Bach, Schickele is acknowledged as one of the great satirists of the 20th century. Listen to Peter Schickele's three Elegies for Clarinet and Piano (1974) performed by clarinetist Sean Osborn and pianist Blair McMillan . . . one of our PYTHEAS EARFULS for the week.

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