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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Concert Features Composers With Local Connections

The UCSB College of Creative Studies and the Corwin Chair of Composition in the Department of Music will co-sponsor a chamber music concert, which honors two composers with ties to UCSB’s Music Composition programs.

The concert is at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 10, in Karl Geiringer Hall (Music Building). Admission is free.

The two composers are Peter Racine Fricker (1920-90), who taught at UCSB from 1964 until his death, becoming a permanent member of the faculty in 1970; and Thea Musgrave (born in 1928), who was a visiting professor in composition at UCSB in 1970.

Performing will be the celebrated British ensemble, the Villiers Quartet (James Dickenson and Tamaki Higashi, violins; Carmen Flores, viola; Nick Stringfellow, cello), who will play Fricker's "String Quartet No. 2" (1953) and "String Quartet No. 3" (1976), along with Musgrave’s "String Quartet" (1958).

Although Musgrave is by far the better-known composer of the two, it is hard to find a performance of her string quartet without sending away for a CD or download.

Only one-third of Fricker's name is as interesting as both halves of Musgrave's. I have found that if an artist has a luminary in his or her ancestry, he or she will find a way to advertise the fact.

John Alden Carpenter, for instance, can trace a direct descent back to a passenger on the Mayflower. Similarly, Fricker can claim a lofty perch in his family tree for the great French dramatist, Jean-Baptiste Racine, hence his middle name.

The program overall is an austere one, more of a heavenly city than a garden of earthly delights, but what better way to enlarge one's musical parameters than in the intimacy of Geiringer Hall, for no charge.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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