An ensemble composed of rock musicians from the Rochester area and classically trained Eastman School of Music musicians are collaborating on a concert that crosses and combines musical styles.
“Sonic Cluster: Crossing Boundaries” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, in the Eastman School’s Ray Wright Room. The program includes a rock set co-written by classical pianist Olga Krayterman Shupyatskaya and rock musicians Forrest Green, Tyler Farren, and Matt Werts.
In addition, the concert features the premiere of a new work by award-winning New York City-based composer Jung Sun Kang, commissioned by the musicians especially for the program. Titled “In Transit,” the piece is scored for two pianos, percussion, upright bass, and electric bass and combines elements of classical, jazz, and rock styles.
Other highlights of “Sonic Cluster” include works for two pianos by Russian composers Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alexander Scriabin. A vocal set features early songs by Rachmaninoff, selections by contemporary Spanish composer Enrique Lacárcel, and a nod to 20th-century French chanson with Ne me quitte pas (“Don’t leave me’), Jacques Brel’s classic which has been recorded by artists from Nina Simone to Sting and Barbara Streisand.
Tickets to the concert are $10 general admission, free to University of Rochester ID holders and are available at the door one hour prior to the event. The event is part of the 2016 Summer@Eastman faculty and guest artist concert presentations.
Ensemble members Matt Witten, percussion, Spencer Phillips, bass, Jung Sun Kang, composer, and pianists Olga K. Shupyatskaya and Futaba Niekawa met as doctoral students at the Eastman School of Music. Both Shupyatskaya and Niekawa are competition prize winners and enjoy active performance careers as solo and collaborative musicians. Shupyatskaya served as a visiting faculty member at Skidmore College, is currently on the faculty of the Eastman Community Music School, and serves as the Director of Graduate Advising and Services at Eastman. Niekawa was a staff pianist at the New England Conservatory and is currently a visiting assistant professor at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
In addition to her composing work, Kang is a harpsichordist and pianist. She has received commissions from Brave New Works, Fromm New Music Players, Shakespeare and Company, and Trio Aporia.
Witten is on the faculty at Finger Lakes Community College and the University of Rochester, where he directs the University’s Percussion Ensemble. Phillips is currently a doctoral candidate at the Eastman School of Music, principal bass at Tri-Cities Opera, and section bass at the Binghamton Philharmonic.
Baritone Nicholas Wiggins is a graduate of the University of Rochester, where he was a member of The YellowJackets and performed with the a cappella group on NBS’s The Sing-Off. He has also performed in numerous opera productions. Green sings in the Rochester band Beastman and plays rhythm guitar in Tapehead. Farren plays drums in the band Stress, and Werts performs with the bands Stress, Pleistocene, and Richard Snare. Dancer Hannah Campanelli will be improvising to the Rachmaninoff and Scriabin selections for two pianos.
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