Campus News

Norwegian composers highlight 2017 June in Buffalo festival

Composers Eivind Buene (left) and Henrik Hellstensius.

The first of two collaborations at June in Buffalo will feature two composers from the Norwegian Academy of Music, Eivind Buene (left) and Henrik Hellstensius.


Published May 30, 2017

David Felder
“There have been nearly 1,000 composers who have been a part of June in Buffalo since Morton Feldman founded the festival in 1975.”
David Felder, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Birge-Cary chair
Department of Music

June in Buffalo, the internationally celebrated new music festival that helped establish UB as a creative center for music, will take place June 5-11 at various locations on the North Campus.

The festival is an exciting opportunity for audiences to hear new compositions receiving in many cases their first public performance while also serving as a learning experience for an emerging generation of composers who meet with the established leaders in the field of contemporary musical expression.

That mentoring-performance model, responsible in part for June in Buffalo’s reputation as a globally respected signature event, has served as a model for similar festivals around the world, inspiring more than 50 imitators worldwide, according to David Felder, a SUNY Distinguished Professor of Music and Birge-Cary chair in music composition at UB, who has directed June in Buffalo since 1985.

“Yet none of the other festivals have been able to approach the level of performance that we’ve presented over the years,” says Felder, who is widely regarded as one of the leading composers of his generation.

The competition has moved Felder to continually develop June in Buffalo to maintain its high visibility. In Felder’s hands, the festival’s structure is as inventive as its musical offerings. And this year, June in Buffalo adds a new component to its program in the form of two collaborations.

The first collaboration will feature two composers from the Norwegian Academy of Music.

Eivind Buene, whose work has been performed at Carnegie Hall and Berliner Philharmonie joins Henrik Hellstensius, a professor of composition at the conservatory.

Two performance ensembles from Norway are also part of this year’s June in Buffalo.

The Cikada Trio will perform Monday, June 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall.  The Bifrost Ensemble will be in Slee Hall on Tuesday, June 6, for a 7:30 p.m. performance.

A complete schedule of June in Buffalo performances is available on the Music Department website.

The other collaboration will be an on-going relationship with France’s Royaumont Festival.

Each year, the two festivals will select two students who attend each event. Adrien Trybucki is this year’s Royaumont representative.  June in Buffalo representative this year is UB’s Presidential Fellow composer/conductor Matthew Chamberlain.

June in Buffalo is a multilayered creative experience that combines world-class performances of new works with intense workshops, lectures and master classes.

Each year, the program’s invited senior composers mentor a younger generation of peers who arrive for June in Buffalo through a highly competitive selection process.

“We’ve had an enormous impact on the field,” says Felder. “There have been nearly 1,000 composers who have been a part of June in Buffalo since Morton Feldman founded the festival in 1975 – and those young composers from years past are now sending their students.

“That’s so satisfying,” he says. “I love being around high-level performers. To be able to share my excitement and my vision with all these younger people is a great experience.”