Saturday, September 26, 2009

DFMM presents featured composer Barbara White

As part of its inaugural season, the Dallas Festival of Modern Music and Ars Nova Dallas are pleased to be presenting three performances of My barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon, a work for Pierrot ensemble by American composer Barbara White.

Composer Barbara White was born in Boston and was educated at Harvard/Radcliffe Colleges (A.B.) and the University of Pittsburgh (M.A., Ph.D.). She also studied in Paris with Betsy Jolas under the auspices of Harvard’s Paine Traveling Fellowship. She is Professor in the Music Department at Princeton University, where she began teaching in 1998. White spent the 2000-01 academic year on sabbatical as a Bunting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

White has received commissions from the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York New Music Ensemble, Boston Musica Viva, the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, the Fromm Foundation, the Koussevitzky Foundation, and marimbists Nancy Zeltsman, Dominic Donato, and Stephen Paysen. Her music has been presented by Speculum Musicae, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the New Millennium Ensemble, the Wellesley Composers Conference, the Fromm Foundation Contemporary Music Series at Harvard, the Longy School’s new-music group Longitude, Dinosaur Annex, and Music on the Edge. Recent honors and awards include an ASCAP Award to Young Composers, three awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (including a 2009 Academy Award in Music), a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Interdisciplinary Arts Award, and several MacDowell Colony residencies. She received a 2000 fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship.

White has a long-standing involvement in interdisciplinary collaboration, especially in composing for dance. She has worked extensively with choreographers Marcela Correa and Joan Wagman; in 1996, White and Wagman founded Momentum Interdisciplinary Arts, which has since premiered several of their collaborative dance works. In the last several years, White has been engaged to complete a number of community residency projects, commissioned by organizations such as Chamber Music America Rural Residencies the American Composers Forum and National Endowment for the Arts's Continental Harmony initiative. In 2007 she is completing an outreach residency with the M.O.R.E. Program at the Aspen Music Festival.

As a clarinetist, White has performed her clarinet works with Momentum Interdisciplinary Arts, the Fromm Foundation Contemporary Music Series at Harvard, Tasto: Dois Compositores ao Piano (Rio de Janeiro), Frente de Danza Independiente (Quito, Ecuador), and the Florida International Festival of New Music.

White’s scholarship combines the analysis of the "nuts and bolts" of musical design with an investigation of cultural context, approaching such topics as jazz analysis, interculturalism, signification in contemporary opera, and the workings of gender in composition and analysis. Recent articles include “'As if they didn’t hear the music,’ Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Mickey Mouse," in Opera Quarterly; "Music Drama on the Concert Stage: Voice, Character and Performance in Judith Weir’s ‘The Consolations of Scholarship,’" in Cambridge Opera Journal; "Making Mischief in the Melting Pot: The Eclectic Music of Don Byron," in Intercultural Music 3, and "Difference or Silence? Women Composers Between Scylla and Charybdis," in Indiana Theory Review. Reviews and shorter pieces have appeared in Notes, Open Space, and newmusicbox.

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