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Region II Conference Review

SUNY-Stony Brook
December 4-5, 1998
Perry Goldstein and Daniel Weymouth, hosts

I have just returned from the first day of SCI's Region II Conference hosted by the State University of New York at Stony Brook (which, by the way, is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year) and coordinated by Perry Goldstein and Daniel Weymouth. Our heartiest congratulations to both. The conference is off to an excellent start!

Registration began at 5:00 pm accompanied by coffee and doughnuts. At 6:00 pm, all interested participants were whisked off by van and automobile to a local Indian restaurant for a delicious and convivial dinner, following which it was back to the Staller Center for Fine Arts Recital Hall for the conference's opening concert.

An extremely warm and enthusiastic audience heard a rich sampling of the works of six composers: David Brackett, Robert Lemay, Charles Koci, Mark Kilstofte, William Price, and Stephen Gryc.

To mention a few: David Brackett's Another Boring Day in Grungeland, for solo double-bass was jazzy and witty and a wonderful vehicle for the instrument. Charles Koci's remarkable Partially Electric Shapeshifter combined flute, clarinet, violoncello, and percussion, with electric guitar and bass guitar. It closed with the most magical and breathtaking clarinet solo I've heard in quite a long time (the audience seemed to hold its collective breath before the explosion of applause). Mark Kilstofte's You (unfolding) was a deep and moving study for solo violoncello, and Stephen Gryc's Dream Vegetables (poems by Maggie Anderson), for narrator, clarinet, violin, and marimba was hilarious and yet strangely touching.

And it was a joy to hear this music played by the students of SUNY-Stony Brook with such brilliance and obvious love! Personally, I am always happy to attend an SCI conference and meet composers whom I otherwise have only known through letters and e-mail ... to shake hands at last, converse, discuss, laugh ... collegiality... it's a thrill!

Martin Gonzalez, Executive Secretary

Alas, Martin Gonzalez took ill and was unable to attend the second day of the Region 2 Conference hosted by SUNY Stony Brook. I have been asked to report in his place.

Day Two began with continental breakfast followed by Concert II at 10:00 a.m. and a performance of Reynold Weidenaar's Swing Bridge for clarinet and concert video, an homage to the Brooklyn Bridge with Lisa McKinney on clarinet. Brian Bevelander was the soloist in his own Synthecisms 5 for piano and tape. This was followed by Jody Rockmaker's Magical place of my dreams for two clarinets performed by Anna Maria Baeza and Evan Spritzer, and Vagvisa For Mitt Ofodda Barn for soprano and tape by Howard Fredrics with soprano Lori Joachim Frederics. After intermission the concert continued with Unvoice for two horns and piano by John Parcell with hornists Susan Winterbottom and Stacie Lorraine and pianist Kate Boyd. After the Fall by Hi-Kyung Kim again featured Anna Maria Baeza on clarinet and Evan Spitzer on bass clarinet. The concert ended with the first two movements of Jeffrey Stadelman's Aerial with Andree Martin, flute, Kenneth Long, clarinet, Gabrielle Painter, violin, David Russell, cello, Molly Morkoski, piano, Paul Vaillancourt, percussion, and Jeffrey Meyer, conductor.

A business meeting took place during lunch. President David Gompper extended appreciation to Perry Goldstein and Dan Weymouth for hosting the conference. After a leisurely period for relaxation and chatting we returned to the Staller Performing Arts Center for Concert 3.

The third concert began, regrettably, with an announcement that, due to the illness of one of the performers, we would not get to hear Neil Flory's (Not Yet) Any of These Selves. The hosts expressed the hope of rescheduling a performance in the Spring. The concert opened with an excellent performance of my own Trio by Laurent Weibel, violin, Andrea Lysack, cello and Zoe Browder, piano. This was followed by Charles Bestor's Partita for Solo Clarinet performed with great artistry by Kenneth Long. Next came a spectacular performance by violist Emma Lively of Paul Yeon Lee's demanding Sanjo. The concert ended with a bravura performance by Naoko Takao of Matthew Halper's Dithyramb for piano.

The fourth and final concert began at 4 p.m. with a highly energized performance of the second movement of Lori Dobbins's String Quartet by the North Shore Pro Musica consisting of Irina Pustovoit and Song-A Cho, violins, Christopher Shaugnessy, viola and Laurinel Owen, cello. Daniel Koontz's Trellis was a nicely evocative piece performed by Anna Povich, flute, Kenneth Long, clarinet, Anne-Marie Hoffman, violin, David Russell, cello, Joe Browder, piano and Jeffrey Meyer, conductor. Jason Bahr's Lacerations deftly explores various performance techniques both traditional and new for oboe and piano and was given an excellent performance by Norihide Hayashi, oboe and Xiao Hu, piano. After a brief intermission the concert ended with a stellar performance of Peter Winkler's Nine Waltzes which pays homage to Brahms and explores various aspects of the waltz, creating an interesting interplay between the new and the traditional.

It was a great pleasure to hear so many fine works performed with such authority. Hats off to the wonderful players and to the hosts for making the week-end really memorable!

Richard Brooks