poster for Festival of Contemporary Music27th ANNUAL FESTIVAL IS A TALE OF TWO COMPOSERS


The Music Program of the University at Albany’s Department of Music and Theatre is pleased to present the Festival of Contemporary Music on Monday, March 11, 2019 at 7pm at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the uptown campus.  Joining the University Percussion Ensemble for the concert will be the three percussion ensembles of the Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO) and the Martinson Family Trio.

In what is becoming an annual feature of the Festival, ESYO’s Youth Percussion Ensemble will premiere a new work marking the fourth consecutive year they have done so. Jacob Fanto, now a sophomore at Lenox Memorial High School in Massachusetts, has composed his second big work for ensemble titled The Measure of Serenity. Like his premiere composition at last year’s festival, this work calls for a large array of pitched and unpitched percussion instruments as well as piano and bass guitar. The three movements of the piece are “Iridescence,”  “Mangata,” and “Summit.” Together, they depict the simple pleasures to be found in nature --- a night sky transitioning from dusk to dawn, the reflection of the moon on water, an intense trek up a high cliff --- that provides a sense of peacefulness, yet also adventure.

Jacob Fanto has been part of the ESYO program for five years. He is currently a member of the top ESYO percussion ensemble and the principal timpanist in the Youth Orchestra. Though only 15 years old, Fanto has developed a sophisticated contrapuntal style of writing, often in odd meters with cross-rhythms that run counter to the prevailing metric feel. The result is a whirlwind of sound and color with an underlying rhythmic drive.

The second featured composer for the festival is John Martinson.  ESYO’s Repertory Percussion Ensemble will perform his work Theme of a Starless Night after an introduction by Martinson.  Martinson wrote the piece in 1985 while a student attending RPI.  It features an extensive part for piano which will be played by William Lauricella, a 7th-grader in the Bethlehem school system and the winner of both the 2018 Schenectady Symphony Louise DeFeo Parillo Concerto Competition and the 2018 Tchaikovsky Music Competition at the New Russia Cultural Center.  Martinson and his two sons (cellist Adam Martinson and violinist Ian Martinson) will also play two short works for piano trio.

Rounding out the program, the University Percussion Ensemble will perform Auriga, the classic quartet by the British composer/teacher/author Reginald Smith Brindle, which is a colorful, free-form composition exploring the many timbres of the percussion family. Also on the program will be works by Lynn Glassock, Nathan Daughtrey and an arrangement of Pat Metheny’s Beat 70 featuring Niskayuna Junior Ben Yao on vibraphone.

Advance tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  Tickets purchased on the day of the show are $10 for the general public and $5 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  For reservations and further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997.