Ending Up at Huntsville at Last

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This week, April 15-17, I am the featured composer at the annual new-music festival at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. There appear to be six concerts, with my music on four of them, mixed with works by student composers there; click on the link to see the official site. I give a talk Friday morning at 11. I love looking at the list of composers from previous festivals: Peter Mennin in ’62, my one-time teacher Kent Kennan in ’63, Persichetti in ’64, Sandor Varess in ’65, Paul Creston in ’71, Ben Johnston in ’72, Elie Siegmeister in ’91, and several I haven’t heard of. But they brought John Luther Adams in ’07 and Peter Garland last year, and given that progression I do look like a logical next choice. Plus the festival’s directed by Brian Herrington and John Lane, the latter of whom runs their percussion ensemble, and I’ve got several percussion pieces, so I fit in. Also, a lot of their composers are Texas-related, and I’m originally from Texas – though I haven’t had a performance in that state since 1976. 

The comical thing for me is that when I was growing up Huntsville was where the big prison that executions were performed at was, and still is, and “getting sent to Huntsville” was our everyday grade-school euphemism for going to prison and maybe getting fried. Later I taught at Bucknell in Lewisburg, PA, where another famous federal pen is – the one where the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing were incarcerated. When my family visited San Francisco we toured Alcatraz, and the prison guard-guides there were excited when they found out we were from Lewisburg – wanted to hear all about our prison. It’s a closely-knit subculture, I guess. So while the town, near Houston, was where our legendary Sam Houston lived, the place looms large in my childhood imagination for other reasons. And I’m finally going there after all. 
My orchestra piece The Disappearance of All Holy Things from this Once So Promising World is also being played Friday, the 16th, at my alma mater Oberlin Conservatory, conducted by John Kennedy. The schedule of the SHSU festival is below. [UPDATE: it turns out that they've scheduled several early works of mine, mostly songs, that have never been performed before, so that there will be at least four world premieres, including the work I wrote for the occasion, Snake Dance No. 3 for percussion quartet and three keyboard samplers]:

Spring 2010 Concert and Event Schedule (April 15th-17th,
2010)

Admission: FREE for SHSU Music
Majors and Music Faculty, $5 SHSU Students, $10 General Public


Thursday, April
15th

Sam Houston State
Student Composers Concert

Recital Hall;
4:00pm

Artist Faculty
Spotlight: Daniel Saenz, Cello Recital

Recital Hall;
7:30pm


Friday, April
16th

Kyle Gann, Guest
Lecture

11:00am; Music
Building RM 202 (subject to change)

The Chamber Music
of Kyle Gann and Sam Houston State Composers (Concert 1)

Recital Hall;
4:00pm

The Chamber Music
of Kyle Gann and Sam Houston State Composers (Concert 2)

Recital Hall;
7:30pm


Saturday, April
17th

Intersection and
the Sam Houston Percussion Group: The Music of Kyle Gann (Concert 1)

Directed by Brian
Herrington and John Lane

Recital Hall;
4:30pm

Intersection and
the Sam Houston Percussion Group: The Music of Kyle Gann (Concert 2)

Directed by Brian
Herrington and John Lane

Recital Hall;
7:30pm – Pre-Concert Talk; 8:00pm – Concert

 

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Comments

  1. Herb Levy says

    Hmmmm, days after your concerts at SHSU and no report or photos. When you go to gigs, you usually have some kind of response afterwards.
    Did they find out about some existing warrants and really “send you down to Huntsville”?
    Was the whole thing some kind of set up to bring you to justice and there weren’t really any concerts scheduled at all?
    KG replies: All reasonable theories, I have to admit. However, 1. I wanted, when I post, to upload all my new recordings, and I’m still waiting for them to send me one; and 2. I plunged from traveling back into teaching, which latter I need to give my complete focus this week. Glad to know someone’s waiting for the results, though. It was a lovely festival, two blocks from Huntsville prison. (Also, i forgot to take my camera, dammit!)

  2. mclaren says

    So when an American composer enters the concert hall, do the security guards shout “DEAD MAN WALKING!”…?