Event Calendar

February 2018

Fri, Feb 2, 2018

Dan Langa '18, wearing eyeglasses, light blue shirt and gray jacket, and smiling

Music Department Presents Senior Thesis: Dan Langa ’18 Conducts His Score to “The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927)” Live to Film

The Amherst College Department of Music presents The Passion of Joan Of Arc, a film score thesis composed and conducted by Dan Langa ’18, on Friday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College. The performance is free and open to the public; seating is by general admission.

Written to accompany the 1927 masterpiece entitled The Passion of Joan of Arc, directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, this score is performed live to picture. The music, written for a 12-person ensemble of string quintet, piano, percussion, flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet and horn, draws from the intense and raw emotion displayed in Renée Jeanne Falconetti’s unparalleled portrayal of Jeanne d’Arc. This story of faith, power and desire so famously portrayed by Dreyer is given a new, fresh, and unique soundtrack fusing influences of minimalism, French impressionism and the great film composers of the mid-20th century.

For a complete listing of upcoming Amherst College Department of Music events, visit us on the web: www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/music/events.

Sat, Feb 3, 2018

"Chinese Railway" Original Composition by Minato Sakamoto '18

Performance Theses: Gabriela Smith-Rosario '18 and Minato Sakamoto '18

AMHERST, Mass. – On Saturday, February 3, 2018, at 7 p.m., the Amherst College Department of Music presents “La Isla de Esperanza” (The Island of Hope), an original thesis on Puerto Rican music, written and conducted by Gabriela Smith-Rosario ’18 followed at 7:45 p.m. by a composition thesis entitled "Chinese Railway" presented by Minato Sakamoto '18 in Buckley Recital Hall of the Arms Music Center at Amherst College.

The concert is free and open to the public, and seating is by general admission. Although admission is free, Smith-Rosario respectfully requests that attendees make a donation to “Unidos Por Puerto Rico” (United for Puerto Rico), a nonprofit organization providing hurricane relief to the island that will be present during the concert in the lobby of Arms Music Center.

Smith-Rosario’s music thesis explores the historical intersectionality of the three primary cultures that comprise the Puerto Rican cultural identity - the island’s native Taínos, the invading Spaniards, and the West African slaves brought to the island by the Spanish. “La Isla de Esperanza” incorporates elements of traditional Spanish music, Taíno chants, West African drumming, and modern Puerto Rican music forms, including Danza, Bomba, Plena, Salsa and Latin Jazz. In addition to violin, cello, double bass, trumpet, flute, alto saxophone, piano, drums and guitar, “La Isla de Esperanza” also relies on various forms of traditional Taíno and African percussion, as well as a chorus. Professional Latin percussionist Rene Gonzalez and jazz alto saxophonist Linda Solval ’18 present solo performances. Smith-Rosario set texts by Puerto Rican and Nuyorican poets, including Francisco Arriví, Julia de Burgos and Miguel Piñero, as well as written texts for her pieces using the Taíno, Yorùbá, and Spanish languages, receiving guidance on Yorùbá translation and drumming traditions from Mount Holyoke College Professor Olabode Omojola and Katherine (Doyin) Ariyibi ’18.

For a complete listing of upcoming Amherst College Department of Music events, visit us on the web: www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/music/events.

Fri, Feb 9, 2018

Patrick Williams '18 standing in front of snow-covered train tracks, holding his French horn

Performance Theses: "Coalescence" by Michael Dwyer '18 and "Keepsake: A Sentimental Recollection" with Patrick Williams '18, French Horn

The Amherst College Department of Music presents two senior theses: Coalescence, a five-song set of original music by Michael Dwyer ’18, and Keepsake: A Sentimental Recollection, an honors thesis in horn performance by Patrick Williams ’18. The joint recital lasts 100 minutes (including intermission). A reception will follow.

The recital takes place on Friday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in Arms Music Center at Amherst College. It is free and open to the public; seating is by general admission.

Coalescence was first imagined with the goal of defining a unique sonic space for itself, consisting of the composer’s favorite parts of a variety of musical idioms, from jazz and classical to rock and pop. The very construction of the 11-piece ensemble-- a mixture of horns, strings, and rock instruments --aims to challenge the conception of genres as distinct categories of sound and instruments as necessary harbingers of that sound.

Following in the stylistically blended tradition of artists such as Bloc Party and Streetlight Manifesto but with a uniquely broad set of influences, Coalescence seeks to establish itself not as its own genre but as the antithesis thereof-- proof of the oft-ignored common ground between popular music, art music and every stylistic tradition therein. The ensemble consists entirely of Amherst College students drawn from a variety of musical backgrounds, and the compositional process was advised by professors Eric Sawyer and Ryan Vigil.

In Keepsake, Patrick Williams explores expansive Romantic soundscapes alongside fresh contemporary literature. Bombast bookends the program, heralding in the grandeur of the Romantic era. Bravado is then juxtaposed with sweetness and solemnity as introspective melodies flow freely. These contrasting moods are then processed, their synthesis culminating in a confident and energetic ending.

Each composer featured in this program shares an intimate connection with the horn that allows them to delve into the past. In choosing his recital literature, Williams has sought out a sentimental selection of music, each piece a keepsake dear to his musical journey. In his studies, he developed an affinity for the lower register of the horn; the first half of his program highlights this timbre not often heard in solo performances. The second half of the recital revisits salient musical memories through a collection of works vital to his growth as a musician.

Neuling – Bagatelle for Low Horn and Piano
Yenque – Tanguito for Horn alone
Miller – Hunting Songs for Low Horn and Piano
Brooks – Rhapsody for Horn and Piano
F. Strauss – Nocturno for Horn and Piano
Brahms – Scherzo from Trio for Horn, Violin, and Piano
R. Strauss – Horn Concerto No. 1

Joining Patrick on his recital is collaborative pianist Grant Moss, college organist and senior lecturer at Smith College. Pianist Phuong-Nghi Pham ’18 and violinist Elliot Kuan ’18 are also featured.

The concert is free and open to the public.

For a complete listing of upcoming Amherst College Department of Music events, please visit us on the web: www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/music/events. For further information, please contact Alisa Pearson, manager of concert programming, production and publicity, at 413/542-2195.

Sat, Feb 10, 2018

Performance Theses: "A Sleep of Prisoners," a New Chamber Opera by Caleb Brooks '18, and Works by Jerry Navarro '18

The Amherst College Department of Music presents A Sleep of Prisoners, a new chamber opera by Caleb Brooks ’18 with a libretto adapted from a text by playwright Christopher Fry, an honors thesis performance in composition.

The performance, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, in Buckley Recital Hall at Amherst College’s Arms Music Center, is free and open to the public, and will be followed by the performance of the composition honors thesis of Jerry Navarro ’18.

A Sleep of Prisoners is adapted from Christopher Fry’s 1951 play of the same title, in which the author attempts to reckon with the aftermath of the Second World War through the lens of his Quaker faith. Scored for four vocal soloists and a piano accompaniment, the music draws on influences from the 20th and 21st century dramatic and vocal works of Benjamin Britten, Igor Stravinsky, Tom Cipullo and many others. The piece will be performed by Elizabeth Maxey, soprano; Carol Wrobleski, mezzo-soprano; Caleb Brooks ’18, baritone; Ramsey Kurdi, bass; and Benjamin Tibbetts, piano.

The performance is free and open to the public.

Sat, Feb 17, 2018

Black-and-white photo of 21 members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) seated in an auditorium

M@A Parallels Series: The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)

Music for Invisible Places (2017) by Woytek Blecharz; 38 minutes

Pauline Oliveros: Earth Ears, a 20-minute pre-concert lobby performance with AC students. Be in the lobby by 7:45 p.m. ICE members will take questions directly after the performance from the Buckley stage.

The Music at Amherst Series continues with a performance of experimental and electronic music by members of the International Contemporary Ensemble on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College, with a pre-show performance of Pauline Oliveros’ Earth Ears in the Arms lobby beginning at 7 :45 p.m.

The performance requires tickets and has general seating. Tickets may be reserved by visiting http://amherst.universitytickets.com or by calling 413/542-2195. This performance is included in the Music at Amherst subscriptions.

Music for Invisible Places, by Wojtek Blecharz, is a semi-staged and choreographed work scored for mixed chamber ensemble. A Polish-born composer, Blecharz was previously a resident of the United States—during which time he began collaborating with ICE musicians—before relocating to Germany in 2015.

Blecharz’s Music for Invisible Places makes reference to areas of our world where individuals must look within themselves—to “invisible” places—because they are forbidden to live their truest lives publicly. The work brings the voices of artists killed in Syria and Iraq to the stage via spoken word, folk instruments and ritualistic actions. The work was commissioned by ICE in 2016; over the 12 months since the project’s inception, there have been several composer-performer workshops, as well as two partial work-in-progress showings.

The box office for this performance opens on Feb. 3. Ticket prices are $18 for the general public, $12 for senior citizens and $10 for students with valid ID. For tickets and a complete listing of upcoming Music at Amherst events, please visit us on the web: http://amherst.universitytickets.com

Senior Citizens (65+) and Amherst College Employees: $12
Students with valid ID: $10
Free Student Rush tickets available in Arms lobby the night of the performance beginning one hour before showtime
Tickets are nonrefundable, and programs and dates are subject to change. Buckley Recital Hall has limited wheelchair-accessible seating.

For further information, please contact the Concert Office at (413) 542-2195 or concerts@amherst.edu.

A complete list of upcoming events can be found on the Amherst College Music Department website at www.amherst.edu/go/music.

Tickets Required

Sat, Feb 24, 2018

The Amherst College Jazz Ensemble and the Mark Zaleski Band: McBride Commission Concert

Amherst College Jazz Ensemble and the Mark Zaleski Band present music of Thad Jones, Lennie Niehaus and Matt Harris and the world premiere of “Orchids,” by Omar Thomas, as part of the McBride ’59 Jazz Commission Series.

Buckley Recital Hall is in the Arms Music Building. The concert is free and open to the public. We will be collecting donations for Puerto Rico hurricane relief.

David E. Schneider, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music

Listening Through History, a Q&A with Professor David E. Schneider

As he marks 20 years of teaching at Amherst, Professor David E. Schneider discusses his love of music, his career as a musicologist and how his classes have evolved over the decades.