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Sept. 25: Contemporary Ensemble Performs Milhaud, Jolivet, Vali and a World Premiere by Griffin


Eric Sloss                         

Contemporary Ensemble Performs Milhaud,
Jolivet, Vali and a World Premiere by Griffin

PITTSBURGH — The Carnegie Mellon University Contemporary Ensemble's 36th season opens with guest conductor Edward Leonard at 5 p.m., Sept. 29 in the Kresge Recital Hall at the College of Fine Arts building on Carnegie Mellon's campus.

Leonard will lead a program featuring Darius Milhaud's jazzy "La création du monde," André Jolivet's "Suite en concert" (flute and percussion), Carnegie Mellon School of Music faculty member Reza Vali's "Folk Songs, Set No. 12A" and the world premiere of Andrew Griffin's "Bass Clarinet Concerto."

Milhaud was a 20th century French composer. After visiting the United States in 1922, he became entranced by American jazz. In "La création," or "The Creation of the World," Milhaud incorporated saxophones and other jazz elements. Jolivet, a French composer, studied with Edgard Varèse. In "Suite en concert," Jolivet explored the vast palette of sounds that an ensemble consisting of a flute and percussion could create.

Griffin is a senior in music composition and studies with Nancy Galbraith, professor and chair of composition at Carnegie Mellon's School of Music. Griffin wrote the "Bass Clarinet Concerto" for a friend.

"Since the bass clarinet is such an eerie instrument, I thought the piece should reflect this," Griffin said. "It is subtitled 'Atlantic' and it is based on the different phases of an exploration. It is written in three movements, the first representing the newness and uncertainty followed by the adventure; the second representing the calm and beauty of the journey; and the third representing the chaos," he said.

Last year, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra premiered another set of songs by Vali, "The Being of Love." Vali was born in Iran in 1952 and studied at the conservatory in

Tehran, continuing in Vienna and at the University of Pittsburgh. His music often combines Iranian and Western elements, as in the "Folk Songs." He began teaching at Carnegie Mellon in 1988.

The Contemporary Music Ensemble of the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon, conceived by composer Leonardo Balada, gave its inaugural concert April 19, 1972.