University of Wisconsin-River Falls

News Source

April 2, 2004


New York Composer Premieres Work at UW-RF

Noted New York composer Michael Torke will premiere a composition created while in residence at UW-River Falls at the 38th Annual Commissioned Composer Concert on April 29 at 8 p.m. in the William Abbott Concert Hall of the Kleinpell Fine Arts Building.

The concert will feature the UW-RF symphonic wind ensemble performing the premiere "Four Wheel Drive," as well as several other works by the composer. While on campus, Torke will coach various ensembles and lecture in a number of music classes.

One of the most successful composers of his generation, Torke has been hailed by the New York Times as "a master orchestrator whose shimmering timbral palette makes him the Maurice Ravel of his generation."

One of Torke's most recent projects was a millennium symphony commission titled "Four Seasons" for Michael Eisner and the Walt Disney Company, which was performed by Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic.

"Javelin," one of his most frequently performed orchestral pieces, was commissioned by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympics in celebration of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's 50th anniversary.

Two of his most widely performed works, "Ecstatic Orange" and "The Yellow Pages," are excellent examples of his post-minimalist style. UW-RF Music Professor Michael Roy said post-minimalism involves using repetitive patterns with little change over time.

The UW-RF Commissioned Composer Program is the longest continuously running project of its kind in the nation. Retired Music Professor Conrad De Jong started the program in 1967 when he commissioned Vincent Persichetti to compose "Celebrations for Chorus and Wind Ensemble."

Roy said composers are eager to participate in the program, especially after seeing the distinguished composers' names from previous years, including Henry Brant, Libby Larsen and John Cage.

Music faculty Patti Cudd, who coordinates the selection of each year's commissioned composer, said that when she was a student at UW-RF she didn't realize the renowned reputations of the visiting composers.

"They are the who's who of 20th century composers," Cudd said.

Roy says that the program is especially beneficial to students. "Students must be involved for the continuation of the program. It would be a shame if it ever came to an end after 30 some years," Roy said.

The UW-RF Commissioned Composer Program is funded by the musical arts committee of the UW-RF Leadership Development and Programming Board.

For more information contact Cudd at 715/425-3389.

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