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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Ensemble to Open ‘New Curiosity Shop’

The Ensemble for Contemporary Music will play its last concert of the academic year on Tuesday

UCSB’s Ensemble for Contemporary Music, under the direction of Jeremy Haladyna, will play its last concert of the academic year at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall on the UCSB campus.

The ensemble has dubbed this concert “The New Curiosity Shop,” which suggests — to me, at any rate — that this highly adventurous ensemble is about to raise the bar of eccentricity again.

Aside from the fact that the featured work on the program is Paul Chihara’s Ceremony II — and that the compositions will be for “unusual combinations” (hmmm) — there isn’t much I can tell you about this concert, save that the the other composers involved are Barney Childs, Marius Constant, Charles Koechlin, Christoffer Schunk, Peter Sculthorpe, Michael Zasadzinski and Scott Tooby.

Chiara, well-known for his film scores, is a professor at UCLA and composer-in-residence at UCSB. (Though born in Seattle, in 1938, Chiara’s Japanese ancestry got him interned in an Idaho camp during World War II.) Koechlin (1867-1950) is dead; the others are either established composers or students.

In any given population of music lovers, the percentage of those who are constantly searching for new music is invariably quite small — a mere handful. Most of us want to hear music that we already love, that calls up, if not happier times, then times when we felt things very strongly.

The nature of music itself, and the way it plays on our senses and emotions, makes this inevitable. Still, the handful of seekers who support the work of living composers are vital to the enterprise. And because there are so few of you (us), everyone has to show up.

Tickets to “The New Curiosity Shop” are $15 for the general public and $7 for students, and can be purchased at the door. For more information about Music Department events, click here or call 805.893.7001.

— 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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