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The University Chamber Music Series presents New Music from Virginia Tech


BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 10, 2008 – The Virginia Tech Department of Music University Chamber Music Series celebrates the music of composition faculty Kent Holliday, James Miley and Ivica Ico Bukvic with concerts on Saturday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 19 at 3 p.m. in the Squires Recital Salon. Virginia Tech music faculty and guests will perform.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors, and $5 for students and are available in advance through the University Unions and Student Activities Box Office in the Squires Student Center, at (540) 231-5615 or online at www.tickets.vt.edu and at the door one hour prior to performance time.

All performances will be at the Squires Recital Salon located on College Avenue adjacent to downtown Blacksburg. Convenient, free parking is available in nearby Squires and Shultz Hall parking lots.

Kent Holliday studied composition with Paul Fetler and Dominick Argento at the University of Minnesota, where he received the Ph.D. in Music Theory and Composition in 1968. He subsequently did postgraduate work in Paris, France, and at Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire. In 1969, he worked with Pietro Grossi on computer music in the Studio di Fonologia S2FM in Florence, Italy, and in 1988, studied composition with Witold Szalonek of the Hochschule der Kunst in Berlin, Germany. Holliday has taught music composition, theory, history, piano, and selected courses in the humanities at Virginia Tech since 1974. He won four Virginia Music Teachers Association Composition Competitions, the New Music Delaware contest in 1996, and the Aliénor International Harpsichord Competition in 2000. His book, Reproducing Pianos Past and Present, was published by Mellen Press in 1989.

Featured compositions by Holliday will be his Tango Exótico, Rhapsody Exotique and Seasonal Sketches. Tango Exótico was inspired by a tango concert the composer attended in Berlin, Germany in 1995. It consists of many virtuosic arpeggio, scale, and repeated note passages that alternate with brief sections of repose. Emily Yap Chua will perform Holliday’s Tango Exótico. Chua is Associate Professor of Music at Randolph College, Lynchburg, VA, where she teaches piano, accompanying, music theory lab, Women in Music, and chamber ensembles.

Rhapsody Exotique was composed in 1999 for Department of Music Head Jay Crone and pianist Mary Louise Hallauer. It is a virtuoso work for euphonium and piano with the first section dark in mood and marked andante piacevoloe followed by a fast movement marked allegro tempestuoso. It was first performed at the University of Kentucky at their annual Tuba-Euphonium Conference.

Holliday’s Seasonal Sketches for baritone voice and piano songs takes the four seasons as its subject and is based on the poetry of early twentieth century German poet Anne-Marie Deutsche. The songs representing spring, summer, and winter are lyrical and reflective, whereas autumn is in a rapid tempo throughout, representing the chaos of swirling leaves and the end of a season of growth.

James Miley, winner of the 2004 IAJE/Gil Evans Fellowship in Jazz Composition, is currently assistant professor of composition, music theory and jazz studies at Virginia Tech. A versatile composer comfortable in both the jazz and classical idioms, he has written music for a variety of chamber and choral ensembles in addition to his work for jazz orchestra. He has appeared as a guest composer and director at numerous festivals and universities, including the University of Kansas, the University of Oregon, the New Mexico All State Honor Jazz Band, California State University, Northridge, and the Monterey Jazz Festival. In 2006, he made his Carnegie Hall debut as a composer with “After the Water, the Clouds,” premiered by the James Logan Wind Symphony under the direction of Ramiro Barrera. Recent commissions include new works for the California All State Honor Jazz Band and Monterey Jazz Next Generation Festival. He has written music for performances by such jazz artists as Nancy King, Tim Ries, Ron Miles, Jonathan Kreisberg and Peter Epstein. His catalog of compositions and arrangements is available through Walrus Music and University of North Carolina Jazz Press. Miley holds degrees from Occidental College, the University of Arizona, and the University of Oregon.

Featured compositions by Miley will be The Desert Songs, LINT, and [this is] fortrumpet and piano. The Desert Songs’s origin began while Miley was working on his master’s thesis at the University of Arizona, when he often found himself scratching fragments of prose and short poems in the margins of his thesis score whenever he hit a creative roadblock. Years later, when looking for texts to set for a song cycle he had been asked to write at the University of Oregon, he found his old sketchbooks and was instantly transported back to that summer in Tucson.

LINT, originally scored for flute, viola and harp as a project for the Los Angeles-based Debussy Trio, discovered a second life when the harp part was re-written for piano in the late 1990s. This short piece relies heavily on space and silence in addition to melodic and harmonic interaction between the members of the trio. The title was conceived in jest, meant only for a brief tenure as a placeholder while Miley composed the material. As the work progressed, however, it became clear that the visual of a giant ball of laundry lint—fuzzy, warm, soft around the edges and flecked with bits of color—was actually quite an appropriate image.

[this is] for trumpet and piano was written for Virginia Tech music faculty John Adler over the summer of 2007, with the only “restriction” being that Miley stay true to his jazz roots in writing a concert piece. The piece is in a traditional three-movement sonata structure and draws from his many influences across the musical spectrum, including composers as diverse as Samuel Barber, Thelonious Monk, Dmitri Shostakovich and Thom Yorke of the alternative rock band Radiohead.

Composer and multimedia sculptor Ivica Ico Bukvic’s work is a balancing act between scientific research in new multimedia technologies for the betterment of the overall quality of life and a pursuit of new forms of artistic expression using newfound tools. This passion for art and technology coupled by a traditional music background has empowered him to defy preexisting forms without sacrificing their lasting appeal. His opus encompasses aural and visual, acoustic and electronic, performances and installations.

Having received his doctorate at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Bukvic is currently working at Virginia Tech as an Assistant Professor in Music Composition & Technology, as the founder and Director of the Digital Interactive Sound and Intermedia Studio (DSIS), as Assistant Co-director of the Collaborative for Creative Technologies in the Arts and Design (CCTAD) initiative, as a member of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction (CHCI), and as faculty, by courtesy, in the departments of computer science and art and art history.

Featured compositions by Bukvic include derelicts of time for trombone, computer, and 3D visuals and with delicate risk, an audio-visual work in collaboration with Dane Webster. Derelicts of time asks, “Do you believe in the “butterfly effect?” Based on the premise that the history of the human race is an ever-growing conduit connecting present with past, that history is a testament to our existence that slowly yet steadily disintegrates before our eyes as it approaches the distant horizon and that looking back, the growing amount of debris holding onto the gravitational pull of whatever little is left of the conduit reminds us of the limits of our collective ability to differentiate fact from fiction, Bukvic’s composition posits that in this world of recollections doomed to the effects of a communal dementia, the sound sits on both sides of the fence: as a mere derelict or as the very thread that keeps the fabric of time from unraveling.

derelicts of time was commissioned by Jay Crone and sponsored in part by the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Faculty Grant. It was premiered at the DiD080419 DISIS event in the spring of 2008.