UMBC’s ninth annual new music festival — Livewire 9: Electrifying — celebrates the music of composer and Anna Rubin and her contemporaries, including Pierre Boulez, Nathan Lincoln de Cusatis, Linda Dusman, Hannah Lash, Elainie Lillios, Steve Reich, Gregory Spears, and Dan Visconti.
Featured on the series of four concerts are award-winning performers and many UMBC faculty and alumni, including the Inscape Chamber Orchestra; Hui-Chuan Chen, piano; Rachel Choe, flute; Patrick Crossland, trombone; Noah Getz, saxophone; Tom Goldstein, percussion; Gita Ladd, cello; Jacqueline Pollauf, harp; Airi Yoshioka, violin; Jonathan Zwi, guitar; and the Umbilicus percussion ensemble (featuring Paul Neidhardt, Michelle Purdy, Will Redman).
Livewire kicks off with a concert of works by composer Anna Rubin, who retired from UMBC’s music faculty in 2018 after a distinguished career, performed by the Ruckus new music ensemble. Featured works include Dreaming Fire, Tasting Rain; Stolen Gold; and everything goes bee; Taming the Beast; Portal; Hag Riding; and The Memory of Her Voice.
The varied works of Anna Rubin have been heard throughout North America, Europe and Asia from 1978 to the present. Beginning with acoustic composition in traditional forms — solo, chamber, and orchestral works for various ensembles — she has focused more recently on the integration of amplified instruments with live electronics as well as ‘electric stories’ — richly layered narrations embedded in digital sound. The special sounds of Baroque instruments — lute, flute, oboe, recorder and the viola da gamba — have also inspired her to write many works. Her most recent experiments involve composing music that extends the natural and graceful movements of the virtuoso performer ritual and dance.
In addition to two recent awards by the Maryland State Arts Council, she has been honored multiple times by both the Ohio Arts Council and the New York Foundation for the Arts, and named a Fellow of the National Orchestral Association. The Delta Ensemble Gaudeamus Prize was granted to her work De Nacht: Lament for Malcolm X in Holland in 1984. She and co-composer Laurie Hollander were awarded a jury prize by the Aether Festival #1-International Radio Art/Radio Station KUNM, Albuquerque for their piece Family Stories: Sophie, Sally. Her work has been commissioned by several groups, including the New England Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Arts Council, the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra/Oberlin Choristers/Ohio Ballet Theatre, Cleveland Choral Arts Society, Urban Sky Consort, WNYC, and New American Radio. Soloists such as Thomas Buckner, Marlowe Fisher, F. Gerard Errante, Jeffrey Krieger, E. Michael Richards, Airi Yoshioka, Maria Loos and Isabelle Ganz have commissioned works from her as well. Her work is recorded on the Capstone, Neuma, Sony and SEAMUS labels and she is published by Leisure Planet and AR New Music Publications.
The next generation of emerging talent is showcased in this concert, featuring premieres and works in progress by UMBC student composers, performed by their colleagues.
The department’s composition area provides a diverse and highly individualized foundation for students aspiring to build careers in composition with opportunities to create music for the stage, as well as collaborate with their fellow students in film, video and gaming. All new works composed by student composers receive workshops and performances by either students or professionals, and all are professionally recorded. Coursework involves a year of composition classes, including an introduction to electronic music. This is followed by private lessons in which students compose the program for their senior recital. Student performers and composers are mentored or coached by full-time music faculty, most of whom specialize in contemporary music performance.
UMBC faculty, including Lisa Cella, Hui-Chuan Chen, Jacqueline Pollauf, Airi Yoshioka, and Jonathan Zwi, are joined by Rachel Chloe and Noah Getz in a program featuring:
Pierre Boulez — Sonatine
Linda Dusman — Dream Prayer
Elainie Lillios — Among Fireflies
Anna Rubin — Silk and Steel
Steve Reich — Electric Counterpoint (with a visual counterpart by Jason Charney)
Founded in 2004 by artistic director Richard Scerbo, Inscape Chamber Orchestra is pushing the boundaries of classical music in riveting performances that reach across genres and generations, and transcend the confines of the traditional classical concert experience. For this event, Inscape presents works by some of the most exciting up and coming composers on the scene:
Nathan Lincoln de Custis — Oblivion
Hannah Lash — Hush
Gregory Spears — The Bear and the Dove
Dan Visconti — Black Bend
Dan Visconti — Low Country Haze
With its flexible roster and unique brand of programming, this critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated group of high energy master musicians has quickly established itself as one of the premier performing ensembles in the Washington, D.C. region and beyond. Inscape has worked joyously and often with emerging American composers and has a commitment to presenting concerts featuring the music of our time. Since its inception, Inscape has commissioned and premiered over twenty new works. Inscape members regularly perform with the National, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Virginia, Richmond, and Delaware symphonies, the Washington Opera Orchestra, and are members of the premiere Washington service bands. Former Inscape performers are members of orchestras across the United States and abroad. Inscape’s roots can be traced to the University of Maryland School of Music when Scerbo and other music students collaborated at the Clarice Smith Center as the Philharmonia Ensemble.
Concerts 1, 3, and 4: $15 general admission, $10 seniors, $5 students, free for UMBC music majors and music faculty/staff, available online (Fall 2018) or at the box office one hour prior to the performance.
Concert 2 is free admission, and tickets are not required.
Plan your visit
UMBC is located about 10 minutes south of the Inner Harbor along I-95. For this event, free visitor parking is available in Lot 8, directly adjacent to the Performing Arts and Humanities Building, where Linehan Concert Hall is located — please see here for additional information.