Posted: August 24, 1999
Two of the nation's most acclaimed composers C Chen Yi and Libby Larsen C will be keynote speakers at California State University, Sacramento's annual Festival of New American Music in November.
Now in its 22nd year, the Festival is one of the largest and longest-running of its kind in the United States. American composers and many of the nation's most talented classical artists join with CSUS faculty and students to stage the 12-day event, Nov. 3-14.
Festival events are scheduled at numerous locations throughout the community, including the Community Center Theater, the Crocker Art Museum and the Sterling Hotel. In addition to the evening concerts and recitals, the artists also participate in an extensive array of master-classes, seminars, and performances at area public schools.
Composers Chen and Larsen are both known as prolific and successful composers. Chen, who will speak at noon, Nov. 5 in the CSUS Music Recital Hall, began studying violin and piano when she was only three. She is currently Distinguished Professor in Composition at the Conservatory of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her vivid and sonorous work is extensively performed by symphonies and orchestras around the world. She has received commissions from a wide range of foundations and guilds, including Chamber Music America, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and Carnegie Hall, as well as from music greats Yehudi Menuhin and Yo-Yo Ma. Her work will be featured in an evening concert Nov. 5.
Larsen, too, has enjoyed extensive performances of her works, which one critic prized for its "dynamic, deeply inspired and vigorous contemporary American spirit." Her titles encompass orchestra, dance, choral, opera, theater, chamber and solo repertoire. Her commissions, honors and awards are numerous, and include a 1994 Grammy as producer of The Art of Arlene Auger, an acclaimed recording that features Larsen's Sonnets from the Portuguese.
She is co-founder of the Minnesota Composer's Forum, a composer's cooperative, and has served as composer-in-residence for the Minnesota Orchestra and the Charlotte Symphony. She will speak at noon, Nov. 12 in the Music Recital Hall.
Other Festival highlights include the opening night Gala at 8 p.m., Nov. 3, featuring the acclaimed American Brass Quintet (performing again at 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 4 in the Music Recital Hall), the percussion/cello duo Steven Schick and Maya Beiser, and CSUS' own Sun Quartet. The Gala takes place at the Sterling Hotel.
On Nov. 7, the Stonybrook Piano Trio will perform at 3 p.m. in the Crocker Art Museum, followed by a concert at 8 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall by the New Century Saxophone Quartet.
CSUS ensembles to perform include the Percussion Group and the Jazz Ensembles Nov. 8, and the Festival Ensemble, with soloist Marie Speziale and the Brass Quintet Nov. 11. Mid-week performers will include the Orion String Quartet and a Festival favorite, the California E.A.R. Unit. Nov. 13's concert will feature the Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble.
The Festival finale Nov. 14 will take place in the Sacramento Community Center Theater, featuring the Camellia Symphony, Eugene Castille, conductor; the CSUS Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Robert Halseth, conductor; and the CSUS University Orchestra, Peter Nowlen, conductor. All performances are free. There is an admission charge at the Crocker Art Museum.
Call 278-5155 for a complete schedule.
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