Music + Festival 2020: Gershwin, Reich, Bolcom
Festival director: Daniel Asia
Guest artists: Jeremy Huw Williams, baritone; Paula Fan, piano
October 9-12, 2020
The Thirteenth Annual Music+Festival will present the music of George Gershwin (1898-1937), Steve Reich (b. 1936), and William Bolcom (b. 1938), and includes a symposium, three concerts, a presentation, and a film. The festival will feature guest speakers, performers and composer, as well as distinguished UA faculty and students.
All events will be online, free admission and open to the public.
Links will be available at music.arizona.edu (one week prior to the events).
Monday, October 12, 5:00-6:00 p.m. (PDT)
Fred Fox School of Music Visiting Composers Series: William Bolcom, presenter
Join the Conversation!
The Music+Festival is made possible with the support of:
The Apgar Foundation; The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation; The Sarah Scaife Foundation; Subaru of Tucson; Drs. Fran and Tim Orrok; Harvey Motulsky and Lisa Norton; I. Michael and Beth Kasser; Norman and Cassie Rogers; Mesch Clark and Rothschild; HBL CPAs; Jim Click Automotive Group, Classical 90.5 / Arizona Public Media; and the American Culture and Ideas Initiative.
Contact for more information:
Prof. Daniel Asia, firstname.lastname@example.org, 520-203-1660
Ingvi Kallen, email@example.com, 520-626-6320
Message from Festival Director, Daniel Asia:
The 2020 Music+Festival: George Gershwin, Steve Reich, and William Bolcom will present the lives and music of these three composers within a rich and broad humanistic framework.
The festival consists of a film about Gershwin, a symposium providing the historical and artistic context in which the three composers lived and live, as well as what to listen for in this music; three concerts: one chamber music and song, one all-piano, and another all song; and finally and new for our festival format, a presentation by our visiting composer. The festival features faculty members and students of the Fred Fox School of Music, as well as guest artists, scholars, and performers.
The three composers in this festival have one great commonality: they all, in their own way, bridge the worlds of classical music and vernacular, or popular, music. Barriers are broken down, and the vista of what classical music can be, is vastly widened.
George Gershwin, born and bred in New York City, was a musical prodigy just waiting to happen. His parents, Russian Jews who immigrated to this country at the end of the 19th century, bought a piano for George’s older brother, Ira, to learn to play. But when George sat down at the keyboard and knocked out a tune that he had only heard at someone’s house, the lessons were given to George instead. He studied piano and then composition from a young age, and even after dropping out of high school at age 15 to go write songs on Tin Pan Alley. His career straddled both sides of the musical tracks, writing songs, musicals, and then works for the concert stage that combined both jazz and classical, what was to be labeled third stream music a few decades later. He and his music were beloved by the classical musical giants of his age, including Heifetz, Klemperer and Schoenberg, and by many songwriters he was considered simply the best. He is a towering historical figure in the history of early American music, to be placed right up there with Ives and Copland, who unfortunately died tragically young.
Steve Reich was born into a Jewish family in New York City, his father a lawyer and his mother a songwriter. He studied and played percussion as a youth and was influenced not just by classical music but also by the burgeoning worlds of popular and jazz music. After studies at Cornell, primarily in philosophy, he attended Juilliard, and then Mills College where he studied with Milhaud and Berio. He
remained in the Bay Area for a number of years, playing in the first performance of the seminal Minimalist work of Terry Riley, In C, and creating his early tape works using the technique of phasing. Moving back to New York, where he has remained for his entire life, he began to write for acoustic instruments. His musical interests grew to include African drumming, Gamelan, and Hebrew cantillation. His latter highly structured works also include his interest in American speech, primarily through sampling, found street sounds, and a greater opening up to composers of the 20th century classical tradition. Among the first generation of minimalists, including Young, Riley and Glass, his output and musical journey is the most hermetic and hard-edged, a music of shimmering beauty and restrained ecstasy.
William Bolcom grew up in Seattle and attended the University of Washington starting at age 11 – another prodigy – where he studied composition and piano. And then like Reich, he studied at Mills with Darius Milhaud, then at Stanford University, and finally with Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory. His earlier music is perhaps influenced by Harris and Bartok, and then composers of the European Avant-garde, including Boulez, Stockhausen and Berio. But then his style opened up to history and the American vernacular. He was part of the ragtime revival of the ’70s, has written cabaret songs that he and his wife, the singer Joan Morris, perform in concert, and his musical language stretches wide. His “Songs of Experience,” on the eponymous book of poems by William Blake, is set for gargantuan forces and speaks in many languages of music, including classical, pop, country, jazz etc. His is a music of the greatest eclecticism and stylistic diversity. It is a music of wide emotional expression that includes levity, humor and grace.
We are pleased and delighted that you are here to participate in this wonderful festival!”
– Daniel Asia, Music+Festival Director, 2020Download The