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Explorations Preview: Judith Shatin’s Cherry Blossom and a Wrapped Thing; After Hokusai

May 9, 2010

This Wednesday we’ll be hearing the music of Judith Shatin!  5/12 8:30pm.  Here’s some information about the piece and music from Judith:

Judith Shatin is a composer, sound artist, community arts partner and educator. Her inspirations range from myth, poetry and her Jewish heritage to the calls of the animals around us and the sounding universe beyond. Current projects include Jefferson, In His Own Words for narrator and orchestra, a co-commission of the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra and the Illinois, Richmond and Virginia Symphonies, to be premiered in the spring of 2010. Recent projects include a McKim commission from the Library of Congress for Tower of the Eight Winds for violin and piano, premiered in December 2008. The Washington Post said “Judith Shatin’s Tower of the Eight Winds …stood out for its acuity and engaging vivacity as music one would like to hear again.”

Educated at Douglass College (AB, Phi Beta Kappa), The Juilliard School (MM) and Princeton University (PhD), Judith Shatin is currently William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor and Director of theVirginia Center for Computer Music, which she founded at the University of Virginia in 1987. Now an advocate for her fellow composers, she has served on the boards of the American Composers Alliance, the League/ISCM, and the International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM). She also served as President of American Women Composers, Inc. (1989-93). In demand as a master teacher, she has fufilled teh BMI residency at Vanderbilt university, and will serve as resident composer for California Summer Music and Wintergreen Performing Arts, both in the summer of 2010.

More information from her website.

Cherry Blossom and a Wrapped Thing: After Hokusai (2004, rev 2006) was inspired by a print of the same name made by the extraordinary Japanese printmaker known as Hokusai (1760 – 1849). I encountered it in a sumptuous collection of his prints at the Otani Museum in Tokyo and was immediately struck by the subtle mystery of both its subject matter and execution. The subtle print showed a cherry blossom and a slight, opaque object next to it, wrapped in a sheer cover, twisted at the top. The cherry blossom speaks of the beauty and brevity of life; the wrapped thing of its ineffability. My composition, commissioned by clarinetist F. Gerard Errante for his Delicate Balance CD (Aucourant Records, AUREC 1001, is heard here in the version for clarinet and stereo electronics; it is also available with eight-channel audio. The electronics start by wrapping around the performer and audience, floating above, and over the course of the piece they eventually float down. The clarinet part has the gentle quality of cherry blossoms drifting in a gentle wind.

I hope you can listen, but if you can’t tune in during the broadcast, you can of course find it here on the site.

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