Rarely performed works by the great composers, large scale ensemble performances and intimate chamber recitals by faculty, guests, and talented student musicians pay rich tribute to musical traditions across space and time at the University of Washington School of Music in 2018-19.
UW Music’s concert season of more than 100 performances and music-related events includes the culminations of several fruitful partnerships as well as unusual opportunities to experience music at the crossroads of art and technology, in fascinating historical contexts, and in the moment of creation.
Over the past two years School of Music faculty have participated in large-scale creative projects made possible through the UW Creative Fellows Initiative, a multi-disciplinary experiment funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation to explore the nature of creative research at a top public research university. This year the school presents several special performances supported by the initiative that bring together UW Music faculty and master musicians of international renown. Indigo Mist with Special Guest Bill Frisell (Jan. 13), International Experimental Music Ensemble (May 10), and JACK Quartet: Music of the Brain (May 18) have all received support from this important project that has enabled UW Music faculty to extend their creative research and investigate experimental methods and approaches to artistic performance and creation.
In other creative collaborations, the school presents several conducting appearances in 2018-19 by Seattle Symphony Music Director Ludovic Morlot, who has served as head of conducting at the School of Music over the past five years and who concludes his tenure at SSO this season. A pair of concerts—one at the UW (Mar. 15) and one at Benaroya Hall (Jan. 25)—showcase his work with students and faculty, and a third appearance with the UW Symphony Orchestra (Nov. 2) underscores the longstanding partnership between the School of Music and SSO, whose principal players often serve as studio instructors at the UW.
A number of those musicians’ work may be heard at the UW on Nov. 11, when bassoonist Seth Krimsky, oboist Mary Lynch and clarinetist Ben Lulich join UW colleagues Donna Shin (flute) and Michael Brockman (saxophone) for a woodwind faculty chamber recital. Other concerts by our outstanding performance faculty include solo recitals by Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, cello (Oct. 16), Craig Sheppard, piano (Apr. 12), Cristina Valdés, piano (Oct. 26), and Melia Watras, viola (Apr. 17). Faculty musicians also team up in duo performances in 2018-19, including Sheppard and Thorsteinsdóttir (Jan. 31) performing works by Beethoven, Michael Partington (guitar) and Brockman (saxophone) debuting a new work by Welsh composer Stephen Goss as well as other works arranged for guitar and saxophone (Mar. 13), and pianist Cristina Valdés and percussionist Bonnie Whiting, performing Stockhausen’s Kontakte as well as new works by faculty composers Huck Hodge and Joël-François Durand (May 1), whose music is also featured in an Oct. 23 Music of Today performance by New York chamber group the Mivos Quartet.
A quarterly series new in 2018-19 highlights music of composers affected by diasporas and migrations. The series, (Im)migration: Music of Displaced Peoples, produced by piano professor Robin McCabe, features performances by top UW music students and pre-concert lectures by UW faculty scholars. UW Music history lecturer John Hanford delivers the opening lecture Dec. 2, with subsequent performances on March 3 (pre-concert lecture by Elena Dubinets UW History/Seattle Symphony) and May 5 (lecture by Kathie Friedman of the UW Jackson School).
Continuing a tradition of a half century, the UW Ethnomusicology program welcomes several visiting artists to the UW in 2018-19, including the virtuosic Indian violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan (Dec. 8), Puerto Rican bomba musician Amarilys Rios Roja (Mar. 14), and Javanese gamelan master musician Heri Purwanto (June 4), performing solo, with special guests, and with students. Students are also well-represented in quarterly performances by the school’s large orchestral, choral, jazz, and band ensembles, as well as concerts presented by the instrumental and vocal performance studios, the later of which presents in 2018-19 a series of Vocal Theatre Workshops (Cyndia Sieden and Deanne Meek co-directors), including the Northwest premiere of Phillip Glass’s music theater piece “Hydrogen Jukebox” (Apr. 26, 27). The year concludes with Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (June 7), for which conductor Geoffrey Boers convenes a choral and orchestral body totaling more than 130 singers and instrumentalists from the UW and area performing arts groups.
The afore-mentioned highlights plus numerous recitals, master classes, and presentations by visiting artists and scholars are open to the public, with free admission to more than half of the events on the season, thanks to a generous gift from the late Mina B. Person and the Brechemin Family Foundation. A full listing of free events may be viewed here.