Published April 1, 2015
The Department of Music has joined the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and several other local cultural institutions in presenting a six-day festival exploring the work of Charles Ives, considered by many to be America’s first great composer.
UB events, including a concert by the Slee Sinfonietta, the university’s professional chamber orchestra, will bookend “Charles Ives: An American Maverick,” being held April 8-14 at UB and other locations in Buffalo. Faculty member Eric Huebner also will perform during the festival.
Joining UB and the BPO in presenting the festival are the Burchfield Penney Art Center and the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.
The festival will open at UB on April 8 with a master class conducted by baritone William Sharp, who specializes in Ives’ music. The class, which is free and will include UB performers, will take place from 3-5 p.m. in Baird Recital Hall, 250 Baird Hall, North Campus.
Sharp also will perform during the festival with pianist Alison D’Amato in a free recital, “Ives and American Popular Song,” at 8 p.m. April 9 in the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans Music Hall.
Huebner, assistant professor of piano, will perform Ives’ “Concord Sonata” at 7:30 p.m. April 10 at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo. The concert also is free and open to the public.
The sonata, one of Ives’ best-known and most highly regarded pieces, reflects, according to the composer, his “impression of the spirit of transcendentalism” that is associated with Concord, Massachusetts, and with writers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
In addition to the performance, the evening will include readings by Sharp and a brief, illustrated talk by Nancy Weekly, head of collections at the Burchfield Penney, on Thoreau’s influences on the paintings of Charles Burchfield.
The centerpiece of the festival will be a multimedia concert experience headlined by the BPO. It will take place at 8 p.m. April 11 and at 2:30 p.m. April 12 in Kleinhans. In addition to music by the BPO, with JoAnn Falletta conducting and vocals by Sharp, the event will feature a post-concert discussion and screening of a film by video artist Peter Bogdanoff.
Other events of the festival include a performance by Lehrer Dance on April 11 in the Burchfield Penney, and a talk by Joseph Horowitz on the connection between Ives and Mark Twain on April 9 at the Central Library in downtown Buffalo.
Horowitz is director of Music Unwound, a national consortium funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and dedicated to finding new audiences for classical music by placing the music in its historical and artistic context. The BPO is a member of the consortium, and Horowitz produced the orchestra’s concerts during the Ives festival.
The festival will conclude with “Ives and Beyond,” a performance by the Slee Sinfonietta conducted by Brad Lubman, featuring mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley and presented under the auspices of the Robert & Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music. It will take place at 7:30 p.m. April 14 in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, North Campus. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for UB faculty/staff/alumni/seniors and non-UB students, and free for UB students with valid ID.
Visit the BPO’s website for the full schedule of events and to purchase tickets to the BPO and Slee Sinfonietta concerts. Tickets for the Slee Sinfonietta also may be purchases in person at the Center for the Arts box office.