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Tuesday, January 15 , 2019, 10:40 pm | Mostly Cloudy 53º


Gerald Carpenter: UCSB’s Primavera Festival in Full Bloom All Week

UCSB’s Primavera Festival has become an authentic rite of spring, involving practically every arts entity on campus, especially those whose mission is creative and contemporary. This year’s festival runs this Monday through Friday in venues campus-wide.

As ever, the focus is on performance, and direct experience. It is truly, as the subtitle claims, “UCSB’s Festival of Contemporary Arts and Digital Media.” With a name like “Primavera” (Italian for “spring”) such a festival is bound to be all about renewal.

The organizing committee for this year’s festival is composed of Jeremy Haladyna (Music Department/College of Creative Studies), chair; Clarence Barlow (Music Department); Ruth Hellier-Tinoco (Music Department/Theater and Dance Department); Leslie Hogan (College of Creative Studies); Fernando Rincón Estrada (Music Department); Curtis Roads (Media Arts and Technology/CREATE); Katherine Saxon (Music Department); and Matthew Wright (CREATE principal development engineer).

Since most of the works premiered, exhibited and/or performed this week are as unfamiliar to me as they are to most of those who will attend the festival, the following overview of the festival schedule is couched mostly in the words of the parties responsible.

Primavera will begin at 8 p.m. Monday in Music Building 1145, with a choral concert by the New Century Voices, under the direction of Katherine Saxon. Admission is free.

“New Century Voices presents a cornucopia of new choral music written by composers at UCSB. Music of beginnings, ends and renewals by Jack Fischer, David Gordon, Kyle Leone, Cristina Lord, Amanda Probst, Christine Rogers and Katherine Saxon.”

At 8 p.m. Wednesday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall (Music Building) there will be a concert by CREATE (Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology) with the sonorous name “Cosmic Klang.” Curtis Roads and Matt Wright are the directors. Admission is $15 general, $7 for students, with tickets available at the door.

This CREATE “concert will feature the Santa Barbara premiere of Havona (2007) by Karlheinz Stockhausen for bass baritone and eight channels of electronic sound, featuring Stockhausen’s chosen vocalist, the internationally renowned baritone Nicholas Isherwood of Berlin. Havona is the 14th hour of Stockhausen’s final set, KLANG — The 24 Hours of the Day.

“According to the cosmology described in the Book of Urantia, Havona is the last galaxy before Paradise, consisting of a billion planets. Echoing the cosmic theme, the concert will also feature the Santa Barbara premiere of Archimedes by Rome-based composer James Dashow, who will project this four-channel work. The mathematician-astronomer Archimedes is considered one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. One of his greatest achievements was to apply the method of summation of an infinite series to achieve an unprecedented approximation of pi. 2000 years after Archimedes, UCSB’s own Clarence Barlow projects the infinite series of Approximating pi, a sonification of Archimedes’s method, in a special new version for saxophone (Joel Hunt) and 8 channels of electronic sound.”

UCSB’s wonderful, self-renewing ECM (Ensemble for Contemporary Music), directed by Haladyna, will present a concert called “Ourselves and Outside” at 8 p.m. Thursday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. Admission is $15 general and $7 for students, with tickets available at the door.

“ECM plays UCSB creators and then celebrates them with an African twist in this Primavera festival event. Dr. Leslie A. Hogan, of the composition faculty, plays and authenticates newly minted piano work, fresh from the Spoleto Festival in Italy. UCSB graduate Michael Zasadzinski’s rollicking and ingenious work for modern player piano merits another whole set. Director Jeremy Haladyna adds footwork in organ pieces by former Corwin Chair Peter Racine Fricker. At the Intermission, Ruth Hellier-Tinoco offers ‘pre/now/post: La Trilogía Mexicana’ — an interdisciplinary performative exploration, and then — everything goes African in a three-movement celebration from Uganda: “Ekivvulu ky’Endere” for joyful ensemble by Ugandan composer and professor, Justinian Tamusuza. Flutist Abigail Sten is featured.”

Then, at 8 p.m. Friday in Lotte Lehmann Hall, we’ll hear “Loxodroming II,” a new edition of the UCSB Composers Concert Series, produced by Fernando Rincon-Estrada. Admission is free.

“For … Primavera 2013, the UCSB Composers Concert Series features works by David Gordon, Joel V. Hunt, Nick Norton, Fernando Rincon Estrada, Juliana Russell, and Jake Goldman. New works for player piano, visuals and electronics and live performances for piano and percussion will comprise only some of the substance of this stimulating evening.”

The Primavera Festival could not happen without the passionate and steady support of the following programs and departments at UCSB: the College of Creative Studies; the College of Letters & Science, Division of Humanities and Fine Arts; the Corwin Chair in Music Composition; C.R.E.A.T.E.; the Media Arts and Technology Program; and, of course, the Department of Music.

For more information about this year’s Primavera Festival, click here, call 805.893.7001, or email Haladyna at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are his own.

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