NATURESONGS, Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble

NATURESONGS, Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble

EMPAC, Studio 2

April 10, 2012 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

NATURESONGS, featuring compositions by musicians who have taken their inspiration from nature.

- John Luther Adams: The Farthest Place

- R. Murray Schafer: Sun Father Earth Mother, featuring soprano, Kimberley Dolanski

- James Tenney: Koan: Having Never Written a Note for Percussion, and Swell Piece #2 (for Pauline Oliveros)

- Igor Stravinsky: The Adoration of the Earth (Part One of the Rite of Spring)

Sponsored by the Classical Concert Committee, Rensselaer Union


Alaska-based John Luther Adams, who takes his inspiration from the Arctic, is one of America's most original living composers.  According to critic Alex Ross, Adams' music creates "musical counterparts to the geography, ecology, and native culture of his home state".  "The Farthest Place" is a chamber work for violin, double bass, marimba, vibraphone, and piano.

Canadian R. Murray Schafer is equally known for his concert works and his environmental operas.  Noted for coining the phrase "soundscape" in his writings on acoustic ecology, Schafer composed the soprano aria "Sun Father Earth Mother" for one of his operas staged in the open air.  The performance today introduces coloratura soprano Kimberley Dolanski to the RPI community

James Tenney was one of America's leading 20th century experimentalists and is represented on this program by two of his so-called "postcard" pieces:  one for solo gong and the other a "tuning meditation" (Swell Piece #2) dedicated to Rensselaer's own Pauline Oliveros.

The program closes with the opening half of Igor Stravinsky's classic "The Rite of Spring" - aptly timed to coincide with the turning of the seasons - arranged by Stravinsky for 4 hands on one piano.

After the concert there will be a launch of a newly produced DVD documenting the first five concerts of the RCME, 2008-2011.  Free copies will be available.  Produced by Michael Century, edited at RPI Multimedia Services, recorded by Arts Department engineering staff, filmed at EMPAC, and featuring performances by Rensselaer students and faculty. Funded by the Offices of the President and Provost.  Contains a wide ranging collection of 20th and 21st century works: Bela Bartok, Maurice Ravel, George Crumb, Steve Reich, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Julius Eastman, Kathy Kennedy - eight pieces from among the forty-one performed by the RCME in its first 3 years.

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