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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Dancing to sound of music all year long

With UC Davis celebrating its centennial anniversary, the university will be dancing to scores of sharps, flats and a plethora of quarter notes. The music department announced its 2008-2009 lineup with a focus toward the university’s 100 years of educating students.

“There will be culturally rich programs,” said Phil Daley, events and publicity manager for the music department.” We have a lot of classical music from different centuries…. We present a diverse genre of music.”

To commemorate 100 years of UC Davis, the music department has dotted the schedule with several big events, including performances by the University Choir and Symphony Orchestra for a gala fit for a centennial birthday. The Symphony Orchestra will hold its “Fiftieth Anniversary Golden Jubilee Gala” concert on Nov. 23 at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

The celebration will continue with a collaboration between the Symphony Orchestra and UC Davis Theatre and Dance Department as it performs Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma from May 2 to 10, 2009. Mindy Cooper, a Granada artist-in-residence, will choreograph the scenes while David Moschler, a graduate student in conducting, will direct the music.

The Empyrean Ensemble, a professional in-residence group at UC Davis, returns for another busy season of high-energy performances. Led by Assistant Professor of Music Kurt Rohde and Associate Professor of Music Laurie San Martin, the cast of seven musicians play contemporary pieces.

The Empyrean will also perform on Jan. 25 with Academy Award winner and UC Davis music professor Pablo Ortiz. Titled “Americana – Music and Film,” the Empyrean will team with Ortiz to bring nostalgia to film buffs. Ortiz will showcase his film while the Empyreans will play music alongside it.

Graduate student composers will be excited to showcase their labor of love when The Empyrean plays its original works June 1 at the Mondavi Center. “New Music from Davis – Graduate Student Composers” will be directed by Rohde and San Martin and will feature works by Hendel Almetus, An Tan, Ching-Yi Wang, Ben Irwin and Sue-Hye Kim.

“We want to bring life and soul into these [graduate] pieces,” San Martin said. “The graduate work could be a real hit and it got started here.”

The music department will feature another internationally known performer on Feb. 28. Known as The Jewel of Music, UC Davis adjunct professor of music Rita Sahai will perform Hindustani vocal music. A renowned composer and musician, Sahai pays homage to the roots of Hindustani music, but with a modern twist.

“My music is very new,” Sahai said. “It comes across as very traditional but I make it modern by creating new patterns. It’s like buying a house. You enter a house and the interior design is modern.”

Sahai said that she performed at the Mondavi Center four years ago, but she feels that this time she will be even better. She said she hopes her audience will recognize her music and looks forward to touching people with her compositions.

“I have matured so much,” Sahai said. “Music is about emotion and I want to touch people’s hearts and make them cry. If you see them cry, you have touched their hearts.”

For tickets to the upcoming 2008-2009 music season, call the Mondavi Center Ticket Office at 754-2787 or visit mondaviarts.org. For more information on the UC Davis Department of Music, go to music.ucdavis.edu.


JACKSON YAN can be reached at arts@californiaaggie.com.


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