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Gerald Carpenter: Spring Gleanings at UCSB’s ‘Primavera’

Annual festival of contemporary arts and digital media begins this week

At UCSB, the academic version of spring fever will spike this Thursday, March 31, through April 14 in the form of “Primavera” — an annual festival of contemporary arts and digital media, with concerts, installations, lectures and dance at venues across campus, including Lotte Lehmann and Karl Geiringer Halls, the Hatlen Theater, the College of Creative Studies Gallery and Elings Hall.

This year’s co-directors are Jeremy Haladyna and Leslie Hogan.

What follows is a sketch of the festival, aiming only to indicate the depth and range of it. I will expand upon some of the musical and performance events in separate previews. Click here for a complete guide to “Primavera” No. 9.

The first item on the agenda, which actually opens a day before the festival, is an installation called Uncali Vali Specimen A, which references the purely botanical meaning of spring. On display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Monday, April 4 in the foyer of Elings Hall just inside of the Henley Gate (admission is free), Uncali Vali Specimen A is a cybernetic system, invented by Danny Bazo and Karl Yerkes of UCSB’s Media Arts and Technology Program, who say it “greatly enhances the intelligence of plants. For one week, a plant will inhabit a specially prepared environment, becoming more intelligent as participants interact with it over the course of the installation.”

Primavera proper begins at 8 p.m. Thursday in the UCSB College of Creative Studies Gallery with “Gravitational Forces,” a multidisciplinary performance work incorporating dance, visualization, technology, video and generated sound. The piece explores opposition in movement. Created and directed by Marco Pinter, the work is danced and choreographed by Anaya Cullen, Steven Jasso and Kaita Lepore.

At 8 p.m. Friday, there will be a Primavera-sponsored UCSB Composers Concert in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, with works by UCSB student composers Cristina Lord, John Jihanyan, Juliana Russell, Anthony Garcia, David Gordon, Jesse Aumiller, Rob Peed, Paulo Gutierrez and Sarah Noel. The free concert is curated by David Gordon.

At 7 p.m. Monday in Karl Geiringer Hall will be a concert called “Pianomatic Springs I” with guest artist Seth Horvitz and Friends, featuring music for player piano by Horvitz, Clarence Barlow (Corwin Chair of Composition), Conlon Nancarrow, Frederic Rzewski and James Tenney. (The April 4 and April 13 “Pianomatic Springs” concerts are co-sponsored by the Corwin Chair in Music Composition.) At 2 p.m. Monday, before the “Pianomatic Springs I” concert, composer Horvitz will offer a talk in Studio Xenakis (Music 2215) called “Automation is My Salvation: Eight Studies for Automatic Piano.” Admission is free to both the lecture and concert.

College of Creative Studies guest composer Art Gottschalk will deliver the Primavera lecture “Profile, Residue, and Allusion: My Approach to Composing Music” at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Old Little Theater 154. At 2 p.m. Thursday, April 7, also in the Old Little Theater 154, Gottschalk will discuss “Copyright and the Origins of Our Music Economy.” Admission is free to both talks.

UCSB’s Ensemble For Contemporary Music will offer a Primavera concert, “All for One, One for All,” at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, with music by Jennifer Higdon, Stephen Wilcox, Leslie Hogan, Jeremy Haladyna, Joel Hunt and Joann Cho. Tickets, sold at the door, are $15 for general admission and $7 for students.

The UCSB Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE) will present guest composer Kaffe Matthews in an evening of electronic music. This Primavera concert will be at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. Tickets, sold at the door, are $15 for general admission and $7 for students.

Friday through Sunday, April 8-10, the UCSB Department of Theater and Dance will get into the spring of things with a spring dance concert, “The Sky to the Ground,” presented at various times. Click here for tickets and more information.

Geoff Smith, a musical performer and composer from Brighton, England, will give a talk on his invention, the Fluid Piano, at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, in Music 1145. Smith is one of the world’s leading players of the hammered dulcimer, and he has designed an addition to the piano — the microtonal tuning mechanism, enabling the use of fluid tuning on the piano. Admission to the talk is free.

The concert “Pianomatic Springs II,” with music for player piano by UCSB composition students Brian Alexander, Joann Cho, Joshua Dickinson, Anthony Garcia, David Gordon, Brian Hansen, Joel Hunt, Kiyomitsu Odai, Luke Taylor, Graham Wakefield and others, will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, in Karl Geiringer Hall (Music 1250). Admission is free.

Again, click here for a complete listing and explanation of Primavera events.

— 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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