Eastman School welcomes award-winning composer Hartke

Around Town

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — GRAMMY Award-winning composer Stephen Hartke is completing a second week-long residency at the Eastman School of Music.

As part of this February residency, Eastman students will perform two concerts on February 17 and 18.

Hartke, who captured the GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2013, discussed the upcoming concerts Tuesday during News 8 at Noon.

“On Monday, the Wind Ensemble, which is really one of the finest wind ensembles that there ever was, and will be, I think, is doing a piece called ‘Pacific Rim,’ which is a piece that I wrote,” said Hartke. “It’s kind of about the cultural mix of LA, where I was living at the time. So the first part has a strong Asian flavor to it, and the second part is more on the Latin side. And then they’re doing a piece for saxophone and ensemble that’s called ‘Willow Run,’ that was commissioned by a photographer, Ernestine Ruben, whose grandfather designed the Willow Run Bomber Factory outside of Detroit, and she went to document it before it was torn down. So this piece has some tinges of 1940s saxophone style. It’s not a jazzy piece, but it’s lurking under the surface. And then on Tuesday, there are two large chamber pieces that are being done. One is called ‘Wulfstan at the Millennium’ and that’s a piece that’s about medieval music, about the coloration and the rhythm of medieval music. It’s an abstract liturgy in 12 movements. And then the other piece is for a soprano and a very strange ensemble of four flutes, four guitars, and four bassoons, called ‘Sons of Noah.’ It is from a text written by a 19th-century Brazilian author, Machado de Assis, that imagines Noah, his sons, and their families aboard the Ark before they’ve come to rest. And the sons start fighting about who’s going to get what.”

Hartke also spent a week in residency at Eastman last November. “It’s one of the greatest schools of music in the world,” he said. “It’s not just a great gem in American education, but just in general. And it’s a great pleasure to work with the students here, especially the young composers. They’re terrific.”

For more information about the upcoming performances and the Eastman School, visit the Eastman School of Music website.

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