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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 5:57 pm | Fair 59º


Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Viola Festival to Take Stock of ‘New Works’

Performances will be held Saturday and Sunday in Karl Geiringer Hall

Joel Feigin’s Ghosts for six violas, will receive its world premiere at the
Joel Feigin’s Ghosts for six violas, will receive its world premiere at the “New Works for Viola Festival.”

The violin reached its modern form sometime in the second half of the 16th century, and the more than five centuries since then have not witnessed the exhaustion of that instrument’s possibilities. Neither the expansion of technique nor the musical imagination of composers has run into an impassable wall.

Violists claim the same — or greater — antiquity for their instrument and may with justice make similar claims for its endless potential. (As the character in The Fantasticks said of his own craft: “There are no small parts, there are only small actors.”)

My guess is that some such refusal to put limits on creativity lies at the heart of the “New Works for Viola Festival,” which will make its triennial appearance at UCSB at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in Karl Geiringer Hall (Music Room 1250).

Founder and director Helen Callus, the viola’s most ardent and ubiquitous champion, has enlisted two world-class composers as co-directors — Joel Feigin and Clarence Barlow — and both have written new works for Callus and her students to perform (Feigin’s three-part Lament Cycle, and two works for viola ensemble by Barlow, who is current holder of the Corwin Chair in Composition at UCSB).

There will also be student compositions by Joann Cho,  Anthony Garcia, David Gordon, Joel Hunt, Kiyomitsu Odai and Christine Rogers. The violist performers include Jacob Adams, Alex Chang, Rachel Galvin, Gentry Hill, Shannon McCue, Angela Miller and Jonathan Morgan.

Admission to the festival is free. Click here for more information.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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