Campus is alive with the sound of music

Cordero Reid/Sun Star Reporter
February 12, 2013

Emotions filled the Davis Concert Hall last Saturday when flutist Hilary Abigana performed "Masks" by Oliver Knussen on February 9, 2013. Cordero Reid/Sun Star

Emotions filled the Davis Concert Hall last Saturday when flutist Hilary Abigana performed “Masks” by Oliver Knussen on February 9, 2013. Cordero Reid/Sun Star

The music department and the College of Liberal Arts put on the New Music Festival last weekend, featuring music composed during and after the twentieth century.  The festival started on Thursday, Feb. 7 with the weekly Music at One concert.

The first day of the music festival was intended to introduce music from recent decades ranging from the 20s to the 60s.  The range of years was expressed with pieces such as “Sonata for Two Clarinets” (1918) by Francis Poulnec to “Tsunami I” by Etsuko Kimura Pederson (2012). “Tsunami I” was written specifically for the New Music Festival. It was performed by the composer herself and various faculty.

Following Music at One on Thursday, the Wood Center was filled with orchestral music put on by participants and students playing Terry Riley’s “In C” (1964) for an hour and half.During the second day, the festival featured faculty composed and performed pieces in the Davis Concert Hall.

On Saturday, the festival featured The Fourth Wall, an ensemble of traveling guest performers that is a mix of musicians and dancers.  They are comprised of flutist Hilary Abigana, bass trombonist C. Neil Parsons and percussionist Greg Jukes.  They have been playing together since 2010 and aim to reinterpret and commission works to make the music memorable and fresh for the audience and aspiring students of music.

“We decided that we wanted to take that interdisciplinary approach and make it chamber music for all audiences,” Parsons said. The show was a lively end to a long weekend of music.

The 2013 Interim Artistic Director Bonnie Whiting Smith worked with Parsons years ago on a story telling project for children. When she was faced with the challenge of setting up the festival, Smith had some money to bring up guest artist and invited the ensemble to UAF. The trio had not been to Alaska before the festival.

Their performance was unique and at times confusing, but overall entertaining. The “Fourth wall” is a term that performers use to refer to the audience. When the performer or actor “breaks” the forth wall it means that they are aware of the audience have included or acknowledged them.

“I find it more interesting when I perform [Subadobe] when I am not entirely sure what I am going to do” Parsons said when explaining his performance piece “Subadobe” (1993) by Fredrik Hogberg. He jumped around stage with his trombone like a child throwing a tantrum and ran through the audience.

“Using theater and dance can broaden our creative palate,” Parsons said.

Update February 24, 2012:  It has come to our attention that Pederson’s last name was originally spelled incorrectly as well as the name of the song composed by Pederson. We apologize for the mistake.


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2 Responses

  1. Jeff Pederson says:

    Sure would be nice if you guys would edit your work. My wife performed her original composition at the New Music Festival. Rare at this Festival. You could at least spell Tsunami correctly. You could also spell her last name correctly — Pederson. Good luck in English 111x.

  2. Cordero Reid says:

    Mr. Pederson,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment, I really do appreciate it. I was well aware of my mistake after publishing and tried to fix before going to print. As you can see we have fixed that error here. Apologies.

    Thank you.

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