Weekender: Hella Capella, Other Concerts are Highlights

Painting by Professor Emeritus Henderson of "Last Supper" featuring nudity, color
Mike Henderson, Last Supper, 1967. Oil on canvas, 70 x 146 in. © Mike Henderson. (Courtesy of the artist and Haines Gallery). This work by Professor Emeritus Mike Henderson is the featured painting Monday at the Manetti Shrem Museum's monthly "Slow Looking: Savor the Art" event. See more information in the blog below.

UC Davis has plenty going on this weekend and early next week with concerts, art viewings and other events. PLUS, all arts-related Picnic Day events — including special events at the Manetti Shrem and design museums, a fashion show, and other events are featured in a separate blog entry here.

Scholars on Latin American literature, languages and cultures gather for colloquium

Thursday, Friday, April 6 – 7, various locations

About 30 scholars, including many UC Davis graduate and undergraduate students, will present research at a two-day Department of Spanish and Portuguese colloquium titled “Digital Landscapes: Paths to Reparative Justice in a Technological World.” The 16th annual Samuel G. Armistead Colloquium in Latin American and Peninsular Languages, Literature and Cultures will delve into the relationship among the humanities, technological resources and social justice. The hybrid event, mostly in Spanish, takes place April 6 and 7 in person with virtual options.

About half of those presenting are UC Davis students, but others are coming from other UC campuses as well as colleges and universities in Peru, Spain, Canada, Wisconsin, Texas and Florida. Keynote speakers include: Yolanda Chávez Leyva, an associate professor of history at the University of Texas, El Paso, will give a talk titled “Humanizing la frontera through digitized oral history,” April 6 at 4:30 p.m.  Lashon Daley, an assistant professor of English and comparative literature at San Diego State University, will present “Coming of (R)age: Black Girlhood + Media,” April 7 at 4:30 p.m.

Learn more about the colloquium and all its offerings. It is open to everyone; no registration required.

Sammy Miller and the Congregation at Mondavi

Thursday, April 6, 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 7, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 8, 7:30 p.m., Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center

The program includes Sammy Miller, drums and vocals; Alphonso Horne, trumpet; Ben Flocks, tenor sax; David Linard, piano; Corbin Jones, bass and sousaphone.

Sammy Miller and the Congregation are on a mission, crisscrossing the country like a vaudevillian revival show with evangelic fervor for music. The seven-piece band, described as a mashup of Ben Folds Five and Preservation Hall Jazz Band, is putting people in the moment with a bracing dose of joyful jazz performed with infectious theatricality. The New York City-based, familial collective has captured its frenetic energy and unflinchingly optimistic songwriting on its debut album, Leaving Egypt. “We want to get people back in a room together,” Sammy Miller says. “I love the idea of being unhinged, sincere, vulnerable, and breaking down walls through humor. Music is an uplifting gift, and I want to be generous in sharing it with people.”  

Find more information and purchase tickets here

Group of performers in black-and-white photo
Sammy Miller and the Congregation performs Thursday and Friday at Mondavi Center, UC Davis. (Courtesy photo)

Hrabba Atladottir, solo violin: 'Works by Graduate Students'

April 7, 5 – 6 p.m., Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center, free

These new pieces for solo violin, or solo violin and electronics, were created as part of the graduate student workshop, in which graduate students met with Icelandic violinist Hrabba Atladottir each week during fall quarter, refining their compositions.

The program includes James Larkins: Toccata, Jacob Lane: Tempo Sonata, Paul Engle: for Hrabba in Pitzer, Orkun Akyol: thousand regrets and Peter Chatterjee: Egret.

Icelandic violinist Hrabba Atladottir has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in several Northern California ensembles, including UC Davis’s Empyrean Ensemble, The New Century Chamber Orchestra, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, ECO, and the SF Contemporary Music Players. Before coming to California, she spent time in New York, where she played on a regular basis with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra among others. She studied violin with Professor Axel Gerhardt at Künste University, Berlin. After her studies in Germany she participated in a world tour with the Icelandic pop artist Björk and a tour with violinist Nigel Kennedy. She also freelanced in Germany, regularly playing with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsche Oper, and Deutsche Symphonieorchester.

More at the Mondavi

HellaCappella returns Friday

April 7, 7:30 p.m., Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center

Presented by UC Davis’s premier all-female-identifying, award-winning a cappella group, The Spokes, HellaCappella is an exciting collaboration between a cappella groups of all shapes, sizes and sounds. For the past 18 years, HellaCappella's audience has continued to grow, attracting music lovers across generations from the greater Davis and Sacramento communities. In previous years, HellaCappella has sold out the Mondavi Center's 1,800-plus seats, and now The Spokes are proud to present their show once again in the beautiful arts facility. This 19th anniversary show’s dynamic lineup includes show-stopping performances from groups all over the West Coast. Family friendly.

Find more information and purchase tickets here.

Vladimir Feltsman, piano

Saturday, April 8, 7:30 p.m., Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center

In this third and final — and pandemic-delayed — edition of his concert trilogy, Vladimir Feltsman shares the final act of a story he began telling at Mondavi Center in 2018. Known as one of the most versatile and commanding musicians of our time, pianist and conductor Feltsman covered works by Bach, Beethoven and Chopin in year one; and by Schumann and Brahms in year two. In this final program, titled “Inspirations,” Feltsman will perform his interpretations of works by Mozart and Schubert. The old saying is “the third time is the charm” but audience members will be hard-pressed to pick a favorite among Feltsman’s trinity of performances. 

Find more information and purchase tickets here.

Next week

Slow Looking: Savor the Art

April 10, 12:10 – 1 p.m., Manetti Shrem Museum of Art

Don’t rush it … savor the art. Discover the rewards of spending time with works in Mike Henderson: Before the Fire, 1965–1985. Relax, look closely, reflect and share during casual conversations centered around what you see and what you bring to the conversation. This spring lunchtime series kicks off on Slow Art Day, April 10, with Henderson’s thought-provoking work The Last Supper, depicted at top of blog.

'Recovered Voices' features composers eliminated from history

Monday, April 10, 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 11, 2023 - 7:30 p.m.

Music staff with treble clef and 4 black-and-white composer headshots
Recovered Voices concerts will feature the works of, from left: Alexander von Zemlinsky (1871-1942), Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951), Franz Schreker (1878-1934) and Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957)

The Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices is a unique Colburn School of Music program that encourages greater awareness and more frequent performances of music by composers whose careers and lives were disrupted — or worse — during the years of the Nazi regime in Europe. For more than 25 years, James Conlon has championed works and drawn deserved attention to composers whose names and works had very nearly been eliminated from history. This two-day event will feature performances by a Chamber Orchestra (4/10) and Chamber Music Ensemble (4/11) made up of Colburn students and led by Maestro Conlon, as well as a symposium featuring Conlon and faculty from the UC Davis Jewish Studies Program. These events are provided free to the public with support from donors to the Mondavi Center’s Artistic Ventures Program.

After you experience these concerts, you won’t believe that with the exception of Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night (on the April 11 program), you have never heard any of this music and very likely not even of several of the composers (Zemlinsky, Schreker). — Don Roth, executive director, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

See the UC Davis Dateline article here.

Find more information and reserve tickets here.

Poetry reading: Victor Hernández Cruz, an Imagining America happening

Tuesday, April 11, 5-7 p.m., International House Davis, 10 College Park, Davis

Join Imagining America, UC Davis, for a book release party and reading with Puerto Rico-born, Nuyorican raised, and Morocco-based poet Victor Hernández Cruz. This event celebrates Cruz’s new book Guayacán (Ishmael Reed Publishing, 2022), a botanical historical search for the trees that once lined his Puerto Rican horizon and the music that shaped his life. The poems travel across languages, sounds, and perceptions; they escape ethnic confinement into the possibilities of international cultural fusion across the Caribbean and Mediterranean seas. 

On Guayacán:  “Improvisational, inspirational, sensational, international. Poetry delicious to the ears, infinitely pleasurable to pronounce.” — Sandra Cisneros, award winning poet and writer 

Cruz will be introduced by long time family friends, author and educator Herb Kohl and his daughter Erica Kohl-Arenas of Imagining America and UC Davis professor of American Studies. Come to enjoy good company, food and drink, and the  poetry of Victor Hernández Cruz.  

There will also be a giveaway of an original silk screen print by TANA's Elyse Doyle-Martinez interpreting the book cover art by TANA director Jose Arenas 

Please RSVP for planning purposes

Coming Up

PinkNoise: 'Works by Graduate Students'

April 13, 12:05 – 1 p.m., Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center, a Shinkoskey Noon Concert, free

PinkNoise includes Johnna Wu, violin; Simon Kanzler, electronics; Roberta Michel, flutes; Kaichi Hirayama, clarinets; Iva Casian Lakos, cello and Chi-Wei Lo, piano

In addition to performing works by our own graduate student composers on this program, PinkNoise—known for its contemporary improvisational performance practice—will perform its own program, featuring the open-instrumentation work “Black as a Hack for Cyborgification” by Jessie Cox, alongside other works, on Friday, April 14th, at 5 p.m.

The program includes Zoë A. Wallace: Phantasmagoria, Max Gibson: bread and butter, bones and nutters, on the river styx, Colin Minigan: Pod Meadow and Trey Makler: magical girl transformation: seven minutes in heaven!

PinkNoise is a New York-based chamber ensemble dedicated to musical improvisation and compositions in acoustic and electronic mediums as a reaction and response to the conditions of our community and our society. Our mission is to reveal how improvisation in musical performances lies at the intersection of historical and contemporary works, and how it is a synthesis of multifarious cultures and styles from the past and the present that connect us to our conscience in society. We also believe in performing new works by composers in acoustic and electronic mediums and collaborating with visual artists and writers to present music as a collaborative and interdisciplinary art form.​

Each member of the ensemble is a performer, composer, and creator committed to inverting, translating, reflecting, and transcending the boundaries of both old and new music to present a kaleidoscopic range of performances that connect us to our sensibilities and conscience.​

PinkNoise is a recipient of grant awards from the Amphion Foundation and the Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music. 

Kristina Knowles: “Examining Speech and Song Surrogacy in the Yorùbá dùndún Talking Drum” 

April 13, 4 – 5:30 p.m., Room 266, Everson Hall

The Yorùbá dùndún drum serves dual purposes as a musical instrument and speech surrogate. This talk shares a series of interdisciplinary studies that explore the dùndún’s ability to acoustically represent Yorùbá speech and song and potential factors that may contribute to the successful decoding of drum messages. The first half of the talk will focus on results from a set of acoustic analyses conducted on a corpus of Yorùbá speech and song excerpts and their representation on the dùndún, focusing on microstructural correlations in pitch and rhythmic features. The second half will discuss a cross-cultural behavioral study exploring the role of individual differences in language and musical expertise on the effectiveness of speech and song surrogacy recognition. 

Kristina Knowles is a music theorist with research specialties in rhythm and meter, music and time, music theory pedagogy, 20th-century music, and music cognition. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in music theory and music cognition at ASU, and has presented at numerous regional, national, and international conferences in the fields of music theory and music cognition, including the Society for Music Theory, the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, and the European Music and Analysis Conference. Her most recent publications include chapters in the Oxford Handbook of Music and Time (2022) and Expanding the Canon: Black Composers in the Music Theory Classroom (2023) and an article in Contemporary Music Review (2022) on rhythm and meter in works by George Crumb. Currently, she is working on several multi-disciplinary collaborative research projects as well as a larger project examining experiences of time in music.

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