.April in Santa Cruz Contemporary Music Festival

UCSC offers two weeks of free concerts—including many world premiers—featuring talent from all over the world

How about two weeks of exciting new music from some of the most talented artists in the world? I thought you’d be intrigued. It’s time again for the ever-innovative April in Santa Cruz Festival of New Music concert series at UCSC’s Music Center.

Starting on Thursday, April 13, the festival opens with a sonic feast of styles performed in the intimate space of Performance Studio 131. Violinist Kate Stenberg, percussionist Willie Winant, clarinetist John Sackett, pianist Ben Leeds Carson and others will work through some tasty pieces by David Evan Jones, Hi Kyung Kim and Jeffrey Treviño, a line-up of UCSC music faculty all-stars.

The following evening April 14, San Francisco’s Del Sol Quartet will be on hand to present A Dust in Time by celebrated Chinese-American composer Huang Ruo, plus a half dozen world premieres. On April 17, New York Philharmonic pianist Eric Huebner performs new works from Pulitzer Prize-winner Roger Reynolds, among other tasty offerings.

On April 21, sound composer Anna Friz—a member of UCSC’s Film & Digital Media department—joins legendary percussionist William Winant and the UCSC Percussion Ensemble in a concert of Friz’s new works.

Get ready for some bold sonic experiments with whirly tubes—indeterminacy, and Persian rhythm, by Christopher Everingham, Michael Fleming, Vahid Jahandari and others. 

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You can now see how this April in Santa Cruz Festival works. The festival is a feast of experimental, pioneering, frequently-outrageous ear candy loaded with swing, sophistication and sonic space odysseys. 

These stunning new pieces will be performed in the newly re-opened UCSC Music Center Recital Hall (except for the first concert). Not boring. Not beige.

For those who enjoy field trips, Bay Area music luminary Peter Josheff and composer and pianist James Gordon Williams—a new UCSC faculty member—will perform world premieres by emerging composer Ben Dorfan and renowned composer Missy Mazzoli at The Lab (2948 16th St., San Francisco).

April in Santa Cruz Festival of New Musichas beena showcase for invention and experimentation for decades, bringing energy and collaborative vision to the stage.

This one-of-a-kind festival sparkles with the work of UCSC doctoral composers from China, Iran, Israel, Mexico and the United States; over the last year, eight fearless artists collaborated on pieces that evolved along the way. The result will be showcased over these two weeks of performances.

This series is for anyone who enjoys contemporary sound experiments and live music that pushes and challenges every boundary of what music should be. These shows will move you out of your comfort zone into aural unpredictability.

A dazzling array of instruments, some you know, some you don’t, played by professional masters. Did I mention that all these concerts are FREE—and open to the public?

April in Santa Cruz Contemporary Music Festival runs Thursday, April 13, through Sunday, April 30, at the UCSC Music Center. Free (Arts Parking Lot #126; $5 or by permit). arts.ucsc.edu/news_events/april-santa-cruz-festival-new-music

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