August 9, 2008

Mixed Musical Bag on Tap at UB

By Mary Kunz Goldman

From a Mozart scholar to a popular jazz crooner and an emphasis on new music, the 2008-09 concert season announced this week by the University at Buffalo Music Department includes a wide array of distinguished artists.

Kicking off the series on Sept. 9 will be pianist Robert Levin, who is known worldwide for his expertise on Wolfgang Mozart. Jazz and popular music singer Michael Feinstein will serenade UB's Center for the Arts on Oct. 3.

Spring 2009 brings another recital sponsored by the Marilyn Horne Foundation, featuring the up-and-coming 22-year-old soprano Amanda Majewski.

The season has a greater concentration of concerts devoted exclusively to new music than in the past because of the recently formed Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music. Most months bring at least one evening of contemporary works.

Among the artists performing them will be the Arditti String Quartet, which has been heard at UB's June in Buffalo festival, and Norrbotten NEO, described recently as "Sweden's newest voice of contemporary music." In October, flutist Roberto Fabbriciani gives a concert of works for solo flute and electronics.

For pianist Levin's appearance on Sept. 9, he will be playing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 with the Slee Sinfonietta, UB's orchestra-in-residence. On Sept. 11, he will be giving a lecture.

Levin's wife, Taiwaneseborn pianist Ya-Fei Chuang, is coming, too, and is giving a recital on Sept. 6. She will also be giving a master class.

Also in September, pianist Stephen Manes will be visiting from L. A., where he now lives. On Sept. 24, Manes is playing an Emeritus Faculty Recital called "Fantasy World," including Schumann's "Kreisleriana" and Schubert's challenging "Wanderer" Fantasy.

The Slee Beethoven Quartet Cycle lineup is an exciting mix-and- match. Featured next season will be the Ying Quartet and the Ives Quartet, who have made appearances here in the recent past, as well as the Penderecki Quartet and the Formosa Quartet, two ensembles new to our town. The esteemed Lydian Quartet, which has not played in this area in 10 years, is performing two of the Beethoven concerts.

UB concerts stand out for their affordability. For general audiences, most visiting artist concerts are $12 in advance and $20 at the door. Faculty concerts are $5. All concerts, unless otherwise noted, take place in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall.

Besides Feinstein, the Center for the Arts plays host to singer and guitarist Susan Tedeschi on Oct. 14. A flamenco dance program featuring Compania Flamenco Jose Porcel happens Oct. 17, and Canadian group Leahy presents a holiday concert on Dec. 11.

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Originally published by NEWS CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC.

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