Tag Archives: School of Music

All music students take to stage for Sing! Sing! Sing!

For the second year running UC Music has partnered with The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora to present a series of concerts in the beautiful Great Hall.

Sing! Sing! Sing! will be performed on Sunday October 13 at 2pm. This concert marks the final in this series for 2019, and will feature just about all of our performance music students on stage at the same time!

The programme includes two main works: The Old Maid & the Thief by Menotti and Artificial Life by George Lewis.

The Old Maid & the Thief is a 1950’s radio play that is staged before your eyes, complete with divas, sound effects, and era appropriate commercials composed by School of Music composers. It tells the story of an old maid who takes a young, attractive man into her house, causing scandal in the neighbourhood. The resulting chaos is both entertaining and absurd!

Two of the UC vocal students playing key roles in The Old Maid & the Thief are Hayley Tait, in the role of Miss Todd, and Yumeka Hildreth playing Leticia, the maid. Both singers can’t wait for another opportunity to perform in their favourite venue, The Great Hall.

Hayley says the sound in the hall can’t be beaten. “You just look up and it goes all the way to the back of the room! My voice sounds triple the size; I can hear it roaring in there!” Yumeka agrees, “It’s super easy to sing in there. You don’t have to push, it’s just effortless.”

They both find The Old Maid & the Thief a satisfying challenge. For Hayley it was her first opportunity to perform a work that challenged her theatrically. “I’ve never been able to get into a role where I can act so that was really nerve wracking for me. Being able to build on that was so much fun!” Yumeka was also challenged by the acting elements, as well as memorising such a significant work. “It takes so much time to get it into your body, so it’s been a real challenge for my time management.”

The remainder of the programme will be a performance of Artificial Life by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and jazz trombonist, George Lewis. Performed from an interactive score, this work can be performed by any number of players on any type of instrument; no two performances are the same. UC performance music students have been working towards a public performance of this work for the second half of the year, and no doubt what they produce at this concert will be unique, special and exciting!

Musicians are personally and collectively responsible for the sonic environment they create in this work; balancing personal freedom with the challenge of listening and responding to their fellow musicians. Students describe the work as “full of rapid changes, with moments of fun, as well as sudden silence and dramatic dynamics.” The score requires students to make smart decisions and follow the direction the music is taking them. Come and see what they have in store for you at Sing! Sing! Sing!

Tickets are $20 for waged, $10 for unwaged and are on sale now. You can purchase in advance via the Arts Centre’s website or at the door on the day of the concert.

School of Music to host Grammy award nominated quartet

The UC School of Music Kura Puoro is delighted to be hosting the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Percussion Quartet (LAPQ) in September. A special one-night-only concert in The Great Hall at the Arts Centre is being presented on Monday September 23. This concert forms the second in a series of three concerts in partnership with The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora.

Senior Lecturer, Dr. Justin DeHart is one of the founding members of this world-class contemporary chamber music ensemble. Since 2009, the LAPQ has forged a distinct identity that is dedicated to commissioning and presenting new works for percussion quartet.

Percussion quartet has gained popularity over the last two decades with the advent of DIY chamber groups and the rise of post-minimal music making combining rock aesthetics with electronica and experimental genres. Justin says, “The dynamic as a musician in quartet is just pure fun: the give and take and communicative aspect of a more intimate group”.

For LAPQ the percussion quartet medium has been an exciting medium to explore and commission new repertoire. There just isn’t the hundreds of years of percussion quartets available to use from Beethoven, Brahms, and even Stravinsky. LAPQ’s “classic” repertoire is not yet a hundred years old!

Justin is particularly excited to share his new home country with his fellow quartet members. “I am excited to introduce the group to all the wonderful people I have met here, and have some time for them to experience a bit of the culture.”

While in Christchurch LAPQ will also perform a concert with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra playing the world premiere of Gyre (Ghosts with Accents), a piece written for them by UC lecturer and Adjunct Senior Fellow, James Gardner. James says, “I feel doubly lucky to have been offered this commission. For one thing, being asked to write for the LAPQ is an honour, as well as a technical challenge. I was keen to draw on the players’ expertise and finesse on many instruments as well as their enthusiasm and – here and there – their improvisational skills. The second aspect is to write for the CSO, whose programmes over the last few years have been consistently innovative and have featured New Zealand composers.”

James took the “slightly unusual decision” to focus on ‘unpitched’ percussion in his writing for solo quartet. He says this was “partly because I didn’t want to rely on pitch/harmony for the quartet writing (the orchestra is large enough to provide harmony) and partly because I wanted to showcase the subtleties and richness that can be drawn from such a variety of objects in the hands of such fabulous performers.”

The concert in the Great Hall on September 23 will be their New Zealand debut performance solely as a quartet.

This concert will feature modern works written for percussion quartet with and without electronics. They will perform some of their signature recent commissions from the West Coast of the United States alongside some seminal classics from the region. The concert will feature virtuosic displays of rhythm, sound, light, and movement on over 60 different percussion instruments from around the world, including drums, marimbas, conch shells, tin cans, cricket callers, wooden rulers, and a lion’s roar.

“Percussion still has an aspect of novelty despite it coming out of from the back of the orchestra in the early 20th century”, Justin says. “I think that when people normally think of percussion, they think of loud repeated rhythm, and perhaps barbaric rituals. With our concerts, audiences will be able to experience an often neglected side of percussion—a side of percussion that is far more expressive, sophisticated, and intriguing.”

Tickets for the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet at The Great Hall can be purchased online for $20 waged, $10 unwaged. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to experience the cutting edge of what percussion quartets are currently capable of!

The Beauty of Chamber Music set to delight this weekend!

The UC School of Music | Kura Puoro are delighted to be partnering with The Arts Centre | Te Matatiki Toi Ora to present the first in an annual series of three unique concerts in the stunning Great Hall.  The first concert is this Sunday, August 11. This concert will feature a beautiful programme of chamber music, and guest violinist, Isaac Shatford.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A semi-finalist in the 2018/2019 National Concerto Competition, former concertmaster of NZSSSO, a member of the Dunedin and Christchurch Symphony Orchestras, and a prize-winning composer, Isaac is a fantastic musician.

Isaac is no stranger to chamber music. His piece for a string quartet, Frost and Fire, won him the composer award at the New Zealand Chamber Music Contest in 2014 and was recorded by Radio New Zealand’s Concert Programme. He also says that, “I probably enjoy playing chamber music the most. Concertos and showpieces are fun, but you constantly feel as if you’re under a microscope. The pieces I’ve enjoyed most have been where I’ve been collaborating with awesome people, and working towards something much bigger than my part alone.” (Interview with Down in Edin magazine, 2018)

The concert is a celebration the beauty of chamber music, with winter delights for the soul. It will feature music by Isaac Shatford, Charles Ives “transcendent” 3rd violin sonata played by UC professor Mark Menzies and local piano star Yifan Yang, and music by Beethoven and Leclair.

Other concerts in this series include the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Percussion Quartet on Monday September 23, and Sing! Sing! Sing! a concert of vocal fireworks, percussion masterpieces and much more on 13 October.

The Beauty of Chamber Music will be held in the Great Hall at 2pm, Sunday August 11. Tickets are available online at this link – $20 (waged) or $10 (unwaged). Come along and feed your soul!

See Xenia Pestova perform live in July

During July, the School of Music is delighted to host internationally renowned performer Xenia Pestova. Xenia will be taking part in a number of events while she is here, including New Music Central, the School of Music’s weekly concert series. During this concert Xenia will be performing works by UC Head of School of Music, Glenda Keam, as well as other internationally celebrated composers Ed Bennett and Miriama Young.

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Photo: Chris Webb

Xenia appears at UC courtesy of Chamber Music NZ, she is currently touring with Chamber Music New Zealand as part of their 2017 Encompass Series.

This will be the premiere performance of Glenda’s work, ‘Mind Springs’. The initial images that preceded the composition of ‘Mind Springs’ work were of water springing and bubbling from the ground, and  Aotearoa New Zealand’s geysers, with their accompanying babbling flow of mineral-laden water that over time build sinter structures and pathways. But as the piece took form it became clear this was not made of bold, grand explosions but rather a more contemplative series of leaps that were inward-looking.

Another work in the programme, by Miriama Young, invites the audience to engage with the electronic part for the piece, which can be streamed during the concert performance via an interactive smartphone app. The App with its embedded audio is available for free download from the iOS App Store or Google Pay, by searching for ‘SyncSound’. Once downloaded, follow the downbeat of the pianist to press ‘play’. The downloading and use of this app during the concert is entirely voluntary.

You can see Xenia Pestova at the following events:

Composition Workshop with Ed Bennett

  • Monday July 17 at 3.30pm-5pm
  • Recital Room UC Arts, The Arts Centre of Christchurch, 3 Hereford Street.

New Music Central featuring the premier of Glenda Keam’s ‘Mind Springs’

  • Monday July 17 at 7pm-9pm
  • Recital Room UC Arts, The Arts Centre of Christchurch, 3 Hereford Street.

Watch Xenia performing Chaandanee (Egidija Medeksaite).

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