Grammy-winning New Music Stars visit UO

Composer Libby Larsen

April 28, 2014—The University of Oregon’s innovative Vanguard Concert Series has been showcasing the music of the twentieth and twenty-first century for two decades now, and 2014 will be no exception. This May, the Vanguard Concert Series will present two icons of new music, in separate events.

On Sunday, May 11 at 4 p.m., fans of contemporary classical music will have a chance to watch a master at work as the UO hosts Libby Larsen, one of America’s most performed living composers, for a combination concert and master class event. The University Singers, Oregon Composers Forum, Ova Novi Ensemble, and Sospiro will perform works by Larsen (who has been named a Robert M. Trotter Visiting Professor), and by UO composers Alexander Johnson, Diana Rosenblum, Robert Chastain, and Olivia Davis. UO composition professor Robert Kyr, director of the Vanguard Concert Series, will moderate the event.

The following week, on Sunday, May 18 at 8 p.m., soprano Estelí Gomez will bring her "clear, bright voice" (The New York Times) to campus, as she gives world premiere performances of six works created for her by UO composers John Goforth, David Sackmann, Alexander Bean, Jacob Walls, Robert Chastain, and Alexander Johnson.

Both events will take place in the historic Beall Concert Hall on the UO campus. Tickets for each event will cost $10 for general admission, $8 for students and seniors, and are available at the door or in advance from the UO Ticket Office in McArthur Court (EMU South), 541-346-4363.

"We are thrilled to present Libby Larsen and Estelí Gomez, two visionary and inspiring advocates for new music in concerts, featuring world premieres of works by composers from our own thriving artistic community," Kyr remarked.

Libby Larsen has created a catalogue of over 400 works spanning virtually every genre, from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over twelve operas. Grammy Award-winning and widely recorded, including over fifty albums of her work, Larsen is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles, and orchestras around the world, and has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory. Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum (now the American Composer’s Forum) inSoprano Esteli Gomez 1973, and is a former holder of the Papamarkou Chair at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress.

In January 2014, Estelí Gomez was awarded a Grammy with contemporary octet Roomful of Teeth, for best chamber music/small ensemble performance; in November 2011 she received first prize in the Canticum Gaudium International Early Music Vocal Competition in Poznan, Poland. An avid performer of early and new music, Gomez can be heard on the Juno-nominated recording Salsa Baroque with Montréal-based Ensemble Caprice, as well as Roomful of Teeth's self-titled debut album.

Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Gomez received her Bachelor of Arts with honors in music from Yale College, and Master of Music from McGill University.

Details of the events are listed below.

Sunday, May 11
Libby Larsen, Composer

Concert and master class, moderated by Robert Kyr
Featuring music by Larsen and UO composers    
4 p.m., Beall Concert Hall, Frohnmayer Music Building
$10 general admission, $8 students and seniors

Sunday, May 18
Estelí Gomez, Soprano

8 p.m., Beall Concert Hall, Frohnmayer Music Building
$10 general admission, $8 students and seniors