Thursday, June 25, 2015

A joint presentation by the UI String Quartet Residency Program,
the Center for New Music and the International Writing Program

Concert II

The Marriage of Words and Music

A composer, a cellist, a singer and two poets talk about writing words for music and music for words.

Thursday, October 02, 2014, 5:00pm
UCC Recital Hall (map)

|| download program ||


 like morning (2012-14)
      for soprano and string quartet
   Josh LEVINE (b. 1959)
   with Tony Arnold, soprano  
Panel Discussion    
  Panel members:
Marvin Bell, Josh Levine, Kevin McFarland, Tony Arnold & Omar Pérez
 Variations on a Sonic Imagination (2013)
      Movement III
      text by Marvin Bell
   David GOMPPER (b. 1954)



The JACK Quartet electrifies audiences worldwide with "explosive virtuosity" (Boston Globe) and "viscerally exciting performances" (New York Times). David Patrick Stearns (Philadelphia Inquirer) proclaimed their performance as being "among the most stimulating new-music concerts of my experience." The Washington Post commented, "The string quartet may be a 250-year-old contraption, but young, brilliant groups like the JACK Quartet are keeping it thrillingly vital." Alex Ross (New Yorker) hailed their performance of Iannis Xenakis' complete string quartets as being "exceptional" and "beautifully harsh," and Mark Swed (Los Angeles Times) called their sold-out performances of Georg Friedrich Haas' String Quartet No. 3 In iij. Noct. "mind-blowingly good."

The recipient of New Music USA's 2013 Trailblazer Award, the quartet has performed to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall (USA), Lincoln Center (USA), Wigmore Hall (United Kingdom), Suntory Hall (Japan), Salle Pleyel (France), Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ (Netherlands), La Biennale di Venezia (Italy), the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), Bali Arts Festival (Indonesia), Reykjavik Arts Festival (Iceland), Festival Internacional Cervatino (Mexico), Kölner Philharmonie (Germany), Donaueschinger Musiktage (Germany), Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik (Germany), and Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (Germany).

Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Kevin McFarland, JACK is focused on the commissioning and performance of new works, leading them to work closely with composers Derek Bermel, Chaya Czernowin, James Dillon, Brian Ferneyhough, Beat Furrer, Georg Friedrich Haas, Vijay Iyer, György Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, Steve Mackey, Matthias Pintscher, Steve Reich, Wolfgang Rihm, Salvatore Sciarrino, and John Zorn Upcoming and recent premieres include works by Wolfgang von Schweinitz, Toby Twining, Georg Friedrich Haas, Simon Holt, Kevin Ernste, and Simon Bainbridge.

JACK has led workshops with young performers and composers at Princeton University, Yale University, Harvard University, New York University, Columbia University, the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, June in Buffalo, New Music on the Point, and at the Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik. In addition to working with composers and performers, JACK seeks to broaden and diversify the potential audience for new music through educational presentations designed for a variety of ages, backgrounds, and levels of musical experience.

The members of the quartet met while attending the Eastman School of Music and studied closely with the Arditti Quartet, Kronos Quartet, Muir String Quartet, and members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain.



Marvin Bell, poet — moderator

Poet Marvin Bell, formerly Flannery O’Connor Professor of Letters at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, has collaborated with musicians, composers, dancers and photographers. On three occasions, he and Professor David Gompper team-taught a collaboration course for graduate student poets and composers called “Words & Music.” The latest of Mr. Bell's 23 books are Vertigo: The Living Dead Man Poems and Whiteout, a collaboration with photographer Nathan Lyons.  

Josh Levine, composer

Josh Levine trained in Switzerland as a classical guitarist before studying composition in Basel, Paris, and San Diego. His tape composition Tel, received First Prize at the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition in 1987 and a Euphonie d’Or in 1992. Since then, his music has been commissioned and presented internationally by some of today's leading interpreters of new music. He has taught composition and related subjects at San Francisco State and Stanford University, as well as UC San Diego, and is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.  

Kevin McFarland, cellist, JACK string quartet

As cellist of the JACK Quartet, Kevin McFarland and his colleagues have electrified audiences worldwide withe their “explosive virtuosity” (Boston Globe) and viscerally exciting performances (New York Times). He is a member of Ensemble Signal and has made guest appearances with Alarm Will Sound, the International Contemporary Music Ensemble and the Wordless Music Orchestra. Mr. McFarland is an active solo artist both as an interpreter of new works for cello, as well as an improviser, and is an active composer.  

Tony Arnold, soprano

Hailed by the New York Times as a "bold, powerful interpreter,” Tony Arnold is recognized internationally as a leading proponent of new music in concert and recording, praised for her sparkling and insightful performances of the most daunting contemporary scores. Soprano for the intrepid International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Ms. Arnold has collaborated with the most cutting edge composers and instrumentalists.  

Omar Pérez, poet, essayist and translator
in residence with the International Writing Program

Omar Pérez won Cuba’s National Critic’s Prize for the collection of essays La perseverancia de un hombre oscuro (2000), and the 2010 Nicolás Guillén Award for Poetry for Crítica de la razón puta. His recent work moves across media, especially music and collage.