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Composers featured in final weekend of NewSound Festival
Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Ethos New Music Society will conclude its NewSound Festival by sponsoring three concerts of new music beginning with a performance by composer/singer/songwriter Gabriel Kahane at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21; followed by composer/electric guitarist D.J. Sparr at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, and concluding with the music of Washington D.C.-based composer Armando Bayolo at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23.

All three concerts will be held in Rosch Recital Hall in Mason Hall on the SUNY Fredonia campus. Tickets for the Kahane and Sparr events will be $4 for students and $8 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office and at the door with cash or by credit card (no FredCards at the door). The Bayolo concert will be free.

                 Gabriel Kahane
                                  D.J. Sparr
                          Armando Bayolo

Mr. Kahane is a songwriter, singer, pianist, composer, devoted amateur cook, guitarist, and occasional banjo player. Recently, he made his recital debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in a program devoted to his music. As a songwriter, he’s released two albums, most recently the critically acclaimed, “Where are the Arms,” hailed by the New York Times for its “extravagant poise and emotional intelligence.” As a composer of concert works, Kahane has been commissioned by, among others, Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, The Caramoor Festival, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, with whom Kahane tours this coming spring performing a new song cycle about the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Equally at home in divergent musical realms, Kahne has performed or recorded with artists ranging from Sufjan Stevens, Rufus Wainwright, Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau, to Jeremy Denk, Alisa Weilerstein and composer/conductor John Adams. A fellow of the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, Kahane makes his home in the historic Ditmas Park district of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dr. Sparr is the Young American Composer-in-Residence with the California Symphony where he writes three new orchestra works over a three-year period. He is also involved in educational programs in the schools and community at large, visiting local schools to discuss the ideas and changes surrounding the commissions and to work with music students.

An accomplished electric guitarist, Dr. Sparr has appeared as a soloist alongside conductors such as Marin Alsop, Joana Carneiro, Neil Gittleman and Joachim Jousse. Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times says,“D.J. Sparr was a terrific soloist,” and the Santa Cruz Sentinel writes, “Soloist D.J. Sparr wowed an enthusiastic audience…Sparr’s guitar sang in a near-human voice.”

Dr. Sparr is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music (B.M.) and the University of Michigan (M.M., D.M.A.). His principal teachers include Michael Daugherty, William Bolcom, Sydney Hodkinson, Christopher Rouse, Joseph Schwantner and Augusta Read Thomas. He studied with John Harbison at the Aspen Music Festival and the Oregon Bach Festival and was an Associate Artist-in-Residence under Aaron Jay Kernis at the Atlantic Center for the Arts.

Born in 1973 in Santurce, Puerto Rico to Cuban parents, composer Armando Bayolo has been hailed for his “suggestive aural imagination” (El Nuevo Día) in works that are, “full of lush ideas and a kind of fierce grandeur, (unfolding) with subtle, driving power” (The Washington Post). His “music combines the audacity of popular music, the verve-filled rhythmic language of Latin America, and the pugnacity of postmodern classicism into a heady, formidable concoction” (Sequenza21), and “deserves to be heard many more times, and in many more places. It is new, it is fresh, and it gets its message across” (The Charlotte Observer) “with quite a high degree of poetic expressiveness” (Music-Web International).

Mr. Bayolo is the recipient of important commissions and awards from the Aspen Music Festival, the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, the Music Department of the National Gallery of Art, the arts councils of the states of Iowa and North Carolina, the Cintas Foundation, the Minnesota Orchestra and American Composers Forum, the Consortium for a Strong Minority Presence, the all-Virginia Intercollegiate Band, and the Festival Interamericano de las Artes.

Besides being active as a composer, Mr. Bayolo is an “adventurous, imaginative and fiercely committed (The Washington Post) advocate for contemporary music in American culture through his activities as Artistic Director and conductor of Great Noise Ensemble, curator of the New Music at the Atlas series and as a writer for such publications as Sequenza21 and NewMusicBox.

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