UO opera students put on impressive show

Register Guard, 04/20/2007, Concert Review [original] The desperate poverty of an Irish fishing family and the malaise of marital couples in 1950s suburbia are rarely subjects of opera, but they were the powerful topics of three one-act operas presented last weekend by the University of Oregon Opera Ensemble and Orchestra. This welcome trio of seldom performed 20th century operas, a perfect fit for a group of students, included Ralph Vaughan Williams’ searing musical adaptation of “Riders to the Sea” by Irish dramatist J.M. Synge, a Continue reading →

Bring On the Noise: Eugene NoiseFest brings unexpected sounds to downtown

Eugene Weekly, 06/08/2006 [original] Another source for new sounds in Eugene is the University of Oregon. Some of the school’s irrepressible, forward-looking music students have created the Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble to play contemporary and 20th century music, including works by UO student composers. This last show of the season, 1:30 pm on June 10 in Beall Hall, features a major work by today’s leading living composer, John Adams. “Gnarly Buttons” is an utterly delightful romp for clarinet, which was Adams’ instrument as a child Continue reading →

Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble

Eugene Weekly, 06/08/2006 [original] The UO School of Music has long been known for excellence in terms of letting students take control of their own destinies and create ensembles that match the scores they want to compose. Last year, master’s student Jerry Hui pieced together a 12- to 14-piece vocal and orchestral ensemble and dubbed it the Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (ECCE). The group defies many of the traditional aspects of orchestra with its themes and instrumentation. “We explicitly do music from the 20th and Continue reading →

Rebel Music: UO plays Zappa, Schoenberg and other avant gardians

Eugene Weekly, 11/22/2005 [original] In 1950, Look magazine ran a review of a recording of avant garde composer Edgard Varese’s 1931 percussion classic, “Ionisation,” which somehow transformed the sounds of various drums and other clanging and banging instruments, sirens and piano into an evocative exploration of musical texture. A 10-year-old aspiring musician in California read the review, and was so intrigued by Varese’s photo that he bought the record, loved it, and a few years later tracked down Varese’s New York phone number and called Continue reading →

Symphony hits new heights with ‘Planets’

Register Guard, 10/21/2005, Concert Review [original] The Eugene Symphony, giving its second concert in four days, featured an outstanding young viola player Thursday at the Hult Center. While Monday’s program highlighted music from the 19th century, Thursday’s concert drew on the first half of the 20th century. Both evenings were conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero. The opener Thursday was about as far from the typical overture as one could get: Anton von Webern’s Variations for Orchestra, Op. 30, composed in 1940. Webern was a prominent member Continue reading →