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The Work of Kevin Volans, Composer-in-Residence, To Be Featured in Two Performances.
Thursday and Friday, April 14 and 15, 8 P.M., Finney Chapel
Five Faculty Performances Will Be Showcased

Story by Linda Shockley

Thursday, April 15, 1999
8:00 PM
Finney Chapel

Timothy Weiss, conductor
Kevin Volans, composer-in-residence
Robert Shannon, piano


L'isle Joyeuse
Claude Debussy
arr. Kevin Volans

This is how it is

Kevin Volans, piano


Ophelia Dances, Book I, Op. 13 (1975, revised 1980
Oliver Knussen

Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments
Robert Shannon, piano

Friday, April 16, 1999
8:00 P.M
Finney Chapel

Timothy Weiss, conductor
Kevin Volans, composer-in-residence
Marlene Ralis Rosen, soprano
Andor Toth, violoncello
Monique Duphil, piano
Sedmara Zakarian, piano


Leaping Dance
Kevin Volans

Concerto in D Minor for Two Pianos and Orchestra (1932)
Francis Poulenc
• Allegro ma non troppo
• Larghetto
• Finale

Monique Duphil, Sedmara Zakarian Rutstein, pianos


Folk Songs (1964)
arr. Luciano Berio

• Black is the Colour. . . (USA)
• I Wonder as I Wander. . . (USA)
• Loosin Yelav. . . (Armenia)
• Rossignolet du Bois (France)
• A la Feminisca (Sicily)
• La Donna Ideale (Italy)
• Ballo (Italy)
• Motettu de Tristura (Sardinia)
• Malurous qu'o uno Fenno (Auvergne, France)
• Lo Fiolaire (Auvergne, France)
• Azerbaijan Love Song (Azerbaijan)

Marlene Ralis Rosen, soprano

Cello Concerto (1997, rev. 1998)
• Molto Vivace
• q = 114-120

Andor Toth, violoncello

Kevin Volans, composer-in-residence,
to perform and offer master classes.

Photo by Keith Gemerek

"Part of the beauty of inviting Kevin Volans to campus as composer-in-residence is that we get to perform numerous pieces of his work," says Timothy Weiss, associate professor of wind conducting. "Because of that, students can experience and understand the breadth of his work. As a bonus, our performances of four of the five Volans pieces on the programs, will be U.S. premieres. That's quite significant."

Weiss adds, "Composers-in-residence provide a wonderful diversity of aesthetic. For example, last year we brought in Brian Ferneyhough whose work is very, very different from Kevin's work, which as a branch minimalism, creates interlocking or overlapping patterns that explore subtle variations over long stretches. For example, a long palette of music may go on for maybe seven bars but it is not repetitious; it is subtly changing all the time."

Local audiences will have two chances this week to hear the work of Kevin Volans. The Oberlin Wind Ensemble will perform three of his works on Thursday, April 15, including This is how it is, Untitled, (featuring Volans on piano), and Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments (featuring Robert Shannon, professor of pianoforte, on piano). The concert also will feature Claude Debussy's L'isle Joyeuse, and Oliver Knussen's Ophelia Dances, Book I, Op. 13 (1975, revised 1980).

The Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble will perform two Volans works on Friday, April 16, including Leaping Dance and Cello Concerto (1997, rev. 1998). Andor Toth, professor of violoncello, will perform on the

Marlene Ralis-Rosen, associate professor of singing

Photo by Ramon Owens

concerto. Friday's concert will also include Francis Poulenc's Concerto in D Minor for Two Pianos and Orchestra (1932), featuring professors of pianoforte Monique Duphil and Sedmara Zakarian Rutstein, and Luciano Berio's arrangements of Folk Songs (1964), featuring soprano Marlene Ralis Rosen, associate professor of singing.

"Kevin is much more famous in Europe than in the States," says Weiss. "The Kronos Quartet recorded a CD of his work in 1993 that became the second best-selling classical CD in the U.S. that year. In Europe, he receives commissions from the best ensembles. I think it's important to expose our students to his work. They should know what's being performed in Europe.

"The enticement for him, I think, is that at Oberlin, he is allotted enough rehearsal time to work out small details. This much rehearsal time is a luxury. He's used to working with union scale orchestras that allow for one run through and a performance. He has made some changes in these pieces during his week here and it's exciting to see the revision process in action."


South African-born Kevin Volans has lived in Ireland since 1986 and is an Irish citizen. In 1972, he graduated from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, followed by post-graduate study at the University of Aberdeen. From 1973 until 1981, he lived in Cologne where he was a pupil of Karlheinz Stockhausen at the Musikhochschule, and later his teaching assistant (1975&endash;76). He also studied with Mauricio Kagel (music theatre), Aloys Kontarsky (piano), and electronic music (1976&endash;1980). During this time he worked as a freelance composer, where, before moving on to his African-based pieces, his work was associated with the so-called New Simplicity. Other activities included four field trips recording African music on behalf of the West German Radio (WDR Köln), writing many programs for the WDR, Belgian Radio and the Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany), and co-editing Feedback Papers with Johannes Fritsch.

From 1982 to 1984, he taught composition at the University of Natal, Durban, where he was awarded a doctorate in 1985. After this, he returned to freelance composition, moving to Paris in 1985, then to Cork in 1986. In 1984 and 1986, Volans served on the board of professors of the Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music, and in 1988 on the jury of the International Computer Music Conference (Cologne). From 1986 to 1989, he was Composer-in-Residence at Princeton University, New Jersey.

Hundreds of concerts and broadcasts of his work have been featured worldwide. Performances of the last few years include the Berliner Festwoche, the Salzburg Festival, Lincoln Center (NYC), Next Wave Festival (New York), New Music America (Miami), Interlink Festival (Tokyo), World Music Days (Bonn), Belfast Festival, Adelaide Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, the QEH, ICA etc. (London), the Turin Opera House and the Vienna State Opera. In 1996, he was the featured composer in the Netherlands Wind Ensemble's New Year's Day live television broadcast from the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Fourteen compact discs featuring his music have been released, one of which, 'Pieces of Africa' , became the second biggest selling classical CD in the USA in 1993. Some twenty-plus dance companies worldwide have featured his music, including the White Oak Dance Company, Daniel Ezralow and Judith Marcuse (USA); Shobana Jeyasingh, Jonathan Burrows, Rambert Dance Company and Siobhan Davies (London); The Vienna State Opera (Zanella); Roberto Costello (Italy); and Ballet North (Australia).

Recent commissions include music for 'Sound on Film' for BBC2; a piece for Swedish percussionist Jonny Axelsson; a cello concerto for Bayerischer Rundfunk; a new dance piece for the Frankfurt Ballet (choreographer: Jonathan Burrows); a two-piano piece for Double Edge (New York); a piano concerto for Peter Donohoe and the Netherlands Wind Ensemble (which received its UK premiere at the 1996 BBC Proms) and music for 'Blue Yellow' - a short dance film for Sylvie Guillem. Current projects include a Double Violin Concerto for the London Sinfonietta, dance works for Siobhan Davies and Shobana Jeyasingh, and a series of six Etudes for solo piano.

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