Photograph by Jim Mackenzie
EN AVANT GARDE! Left to right, musicians Remy LeBoeuf, Sayaka Yabuki, Noah Meites, Lori Rivera and Stan Poplin prepare to jam together Friday night.
Notes From the Underground
New Music Works shines a light ona cadre of bold new composers
By Traci Hukill
Here in his hometown, 23-year-old sax player Remy Le Boeuf is best known as one-half of the formidable jazz duo formed with his twin brother, pianist Pascal. That work has been hailed by The New York Times as reaching for "the gleaming cosmopolitanism of our present era." But during his jazz studies at the Manhattan School of Music, Remy had a little side thing with classical composition. This Friday, his piece The Third Elegy, a contemplative, Eastward-looking number for cello, violin, bass clarinet and vibraphone, receives its world premiere as part of the New Music Works concert Night of the Emerging Composers.
All four of the composers on the program live, study or were reared in Santa Cruz, but that's about all they have in common. Their pieces range from the austerity of Le Boeuf's work to the ornate and sometimes jarring sensibility of UCSC music doctoral candidate Noah Meites to the blossoming repetition of Sayaka Yabuki's Water and Wine, which incorporates electronic media and live looping artist Jack Schultz. Local bassist Stan Poplin, who joined the UCSC faculty in 2002 and counts appearances with Yo-Yo Ma, Dave Brubeck and Muddy Waters on his résumé, has written a new piece about "romantic love gone sideways" that incorporates jazz and spoken word. Detour will feature versatile mezzo-soprano Lori Rivera, percussionist Jim Kassis and Will McIntyre on vibraphone.
Local New Music nerds will be especially gratified to catch a live performance of Meites' Bioskop, which earned him a prestigious BMI Student Composer Award last May. The piece for chamber ensemble, inspired by the films of late-19th-century German filmmaker Max Skladanowsky, swirls with innovation and obsession. The BMI is something of an indicator award; 11 Pulitzer Prize–winning composers received their first recognition in the form of a Student Composer plaque.
Finally, in a nod to Santa Cruz musical culture, the four composers and musical guests will climb the stage to cap the evening with a big fat jam session. Because why stop with mind-blowing sheet music when adventures in the musical unknown lie just a few seconds ahead?
NIGHT OF THE EMERGING COMPOSERS is Friday, Jan. 15, at 7:30pm, UCSC Music Center Recital Hall, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $23.50 general/$17.50 senior/$12.50 student, available at www.SantaCruzTickets .com or at 831.459.2159.
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