Yu-Hui Chang, associate professor of music composition, traveled to China in May to attend the Beijing Modern Music Festival at the Central Conservatory of Music. The contemporary music ensemble she co-directs, Dinosaur Annex, performed at the festival; the program included one of her own pieces, “Binge Delirium,” a percussion solo. She also conducted the world premiere of a work by Wang Feinan and Pulitzer Prize winner John Harbison’s “Songs America Loves to Sing.”
“Microtimings,” a two-CD set of music by Richard Beaudoin, Ph.D.’08, has been released by New Focus Recordings. Disc one features performances by pianist Mark Knoop; disc two includes pieces performed by the Kreutzer Quartet, a string ensemble. Beaudoin’s work is based on microtiming, a methodology that translates microtemporal properties of a recorded performance into standard notation, which becomes the basis for newly composed acoustic works.
In April, James Olesen, professor in the Department of Music, received this year’s Festival of the Creative Arts Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Arts at Brandeis. The university’s choral director since 1972, Olesen has served as music department chair and on many university committees, advocating for the arts faculty and collaborating with other departments on music programs. He was instrumental in the creation of the Office of the Arts and School of Creative Arts mission. In 2008, the University Chorus, under Olesen’s direction, gave the first international tour of any Brandeis student music ensemble. Olesen has performed with conductors Leonard Bernstein, Charles Munch, Gustav Meier, Leopold Stokowski and many others; with premier musical organizations, including the New York Philharmonic, the Robert Shaw Chorale and the American Ballet Theatre; and at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Opera House.
At the university’s Commencement in May, Juilliard President Joseph Polisi reminded School of Creative Arts graduates that they “can provide the stimulus and focus needed to energize this nation at this crucial time.” He offered this advice to the new alums: “Take your education and transform it into an inner energy that radiates in your artistic output, in your personal relationships and in your careers. … And perhaps most important, never compromise your personal or your artistic integrity. Never settle for anything but your absolute best effort — an effort that may be exhausting and frustrating, but that will ultimately serve you in good stead as an artist and as a human being.”
“These violent delights have violent ends / And in their triumph die, like fire and powder.” Lauren Elias ’10 and Johnnie McQuarley, M.F.A.’11, will star as Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers in a production of “Romeo and Juliet” by the Happy Medium Theatre company at the Boston Center for the Arts. Three-time Elliot Norton Award winner Paula Plum is directing the two-week run in August.