Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 4:30 am | Fair 63º


UCSB Ensemble Plans Evening of Togetherness

The Ensemble for Contemporary Music will perform a good-natured program Tuesday

As the motto for the spring-quarter concert of UCSB’s Ensemble for Contemporary Music — at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall — Director Jeremy Haladyna has taken a line, something like an echo, from Chet Powers’ Summer of Love anthem “Get Together”: “Come on people, now — get together!”

China-born composer Zhou Long had to drive a tractor on a farm for five years before he could attend music school
China-born composer Zhou Long had to drive a tractor on a farm for five years before he could attend music school.

The chorus of the song, recorded by Hamilton Camp, The Youngbloods, Jefferson Airplane and others, goes: Come on people now/ Smile on your brothers/ Everybody get together/ And love one another right now. The theme of the concert is thus “Togetherness,” in as many of its aspects as time and the imagination permit.

The program abounds with good-natured novelty, including an Ave Maria spliced together by UCSB Corwin Chair Clarence Barlow, from the two most famous versions of the hymn; a work by UCSB composer Kyle Ukes called Community, with texts on world unity in English, Italian,French and Portuguese; a piece by the eminent China-born composer Zhou Long, Dhyana, which treats the all-important subject of “getting our thoughts together on the road to Enlightenment”; music by Emil Margolis performed by UCSB’s star-studded Young Artists String Quartet (Dimitry Olevsky and Katie Waltman on violins, Kimberly Fitch on viola and Kathryn Mendenhall on cello); as well as entries by Frederic Rzewski and Paul Schoenfield.

The performers, in addition to the YASQ, will include soprano Alissa Favero, mezzo-soprano Annie Thompson, electric bassist Richard Cassarino, flutist Ray Furuta and clarinetist Rebecca Doggett.

Naturally, we will not all be equally delighted by every work heard, we will not all, to adapt Queen Victoria’s famous remark, be equally amused. Nevertheless, this concert promises to be generally uplifting in tone — in keeping with Jeremy Haladyna’s incurable optimism about the future of music — and quite entertaining to boot. I encourage everyone who shares this optimism, or would like to share it, to attend.

You are bound to discover that not all contemporary musicians continue to play Shock-the-Bourgeoisie, their music is not all discordant, morbid and neurotic. I continue in the perhaps naive belief that music is still alive, still growing; the concert hall should not harden into a sonic museum.

From experience, I know that there is a ton of gorgeous music from the past five centuries that isn’t performed live anymore. A lot of this obscurity is the result of fashion or geography or plain bad luck. Why should it be any different now? You never know when you’re going to find yourself in the midst of a discovery on par with Barber’s Adagio for Strings or Tilson Thomas’s Street Song. It could happen.

Tickets for the concert are available at the door and are $15 for general admission and $7 for students. For more information about music at UCSB, click here or call 805.893.7001.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor.

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