The UC Santa Barbara Department of Music will present the fifth annual UCSB Summer Music Festival on Saturday, August 22 and Sunday, August 23, 2020 as a virtual event. Sponsored by the UC Santa Barbara Office of Summer Sessions, the virtual festival will feature performances by the Los Angeles-based new music piano duo HOCKET, multi-percussionist and vocalist Miguelito León, UC Santa Barbara Composition alumnus and pianist Marc Evanstein, the Nesta Steel Drum Band, University Carillonist Wesley Arai, and Gamelan Sinar Surya, under the direction of UC Santa Barbara faculty member Richard North. The festival will also feature a children’s concert led by Miguelito León and a demonstration of a variety of Medieval and Renaissance instruments by UC Santa Barbara graduate Composition student Matthew Owensby. All events will be presented virtually and free of charge via the UC Santa Barbara Department of Music’s YouTube channel.
Links to watch each performance will be added to this page the week leading up to the UCSB Summer Music Festival.
Saturday, August 22, 2020
1:15 pm | Miguelito León
Miguel "Miguelito" León is a 25 year old multi-percussionist/vocalist, producer, educator, and Director of Cuba cultural exchange CALI2CUBA. Born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA, León grew up playing a diverse range of world music such as Latin, Afro-Cuban, West-African, Brazilian "MPB,” Balkan, Flamenco, and Jazz. León has performed and recorded with world-renowned artists such as Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Band, Michael McDonald, Ozomatli, and Los Hermanos Herrera, and has also recorded for FOX Network’s Glee. León’s Summer Music Festival program will feature a special live-looping solo performance.
2:30 pm | Marc Evanstein presents "The Computer as Wild Collaborator"
UC Santa Barbara Composition alumnus Marc Evanstein will present a range of compositions featuring the computer as a creative partner. From acoustic music composed with the aid of custom computer programs, to interactive piano pieces in which the computer responds live to the actions of the performer, this program will feature a variety of pieces in which the computer, and computer programming, plays a central role in the compositional process. Evanstein will also offer a brief introduction to his new Python-based computer-assisted composition framework, SCAMP, and some of the exciting new music that has been composed using it.
3:45 pm | Matthew Owensby
UC Santa Barbara graduate student composer and violinist Matthew Owensby will present an introductory sample from a variety of medieval and renaissance instruments with a brief description and performance of each. Owensby's presentation will include recorders, viols, crumhorns, cornetti, cornamuse, kortholt, dulcian, rebec, harp, and a hurdy-gurdy.
5:00 pm | HOCKET
Los Angeles-based new music piano duo HOCKET will share excerpts from their new project, #What2020SoundsLike, an endeavor that includes performing 50+ composers' varying and moving musical responses to the year 2020. Participating composers include Vicki Ray, Veronika Krausas, Ted Moore, Ian Dicke, Linda Dallimore, Derek Tywoniuk, Richard An, Noah Meites, and UC Santa Barbara Composition alumnus Nick Norton, among others. HOCKET includes UC Santa Barbara faculty member Dr. Sarah Gibson and composer Thomas Kotcheff.
Sunday, August 23, 2020
10:45 am | Children's Concert featuring Miguelito León
Multi-percussionist/vocalist, producer, and educator Miguel "Miguelito" León will host a Children’s Concert with performances alongside an introduction to the instruments and rhythms he uses in his music.
12:00 pm | Wesley Arai
UC Santa Barbara University Carillonist Wesley Arai will present arrangements of well-known classical and popular music, as well as works composed for the carillon, including two pieces written specifically in celebration of the Storke Tower carillon’s 50th anniversary.
1:15 pm | Nesta Steel Drum Band
Steelpan (or steel drums, as they are known in the US) are the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago. Though they are a relatively young and misunderstood instrument family, they have had a significant impact on music. This intimate concert and discussion will be led by professional musicians Abby and Dan Savell, a husband and wife team. The discussion will include more about this family of instruments, including their history and cultural significance, as well as an overview of Caribbean music styles, improvisation, and basic principles and nuances of playing steelpan.
2:30 pm | Gamelan Sinar Surya
Directed by UC Santa Barbara faculty member Richard North, Gamelan Sinar Surya will perform music from Indonesia on an enchanting orchestra of gongs, xylophones, drums, and bamboo flutes. The ensemble is dedicated to the preservation, teaching, and performance of traditional Indonesian music and dance, and specializes in rare music from the ancient kingdom of Cirebon, West Java.
Miguel "Miguelito" León is a 25 year old multi-percussionist/vocalist, producer, educator, and Director of Cuba cultural exchange CALI2CUBA. A Xicano born and raised in California, Miguel’s profound relationship with the drum began at just a few months old through family and religious influence. Throughout his childhood Miguelito grew up playing to a diverse range of world music such as: Latin, Afro-Cuban, West-African, Brazilian "MPB", Balkan, Flamenco, and Jazz. This had great impact on him which you can hear directly translate through his unique approach and percussive instinct. The start to his professional career began at just 10 years old, performing on a weekly basis as a freelance musician with Latin and Jazz artists: Vientos del Sur, Wetlands, and Mission Jazz. By 17 he had received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music which he later turned down in exchange of a more holistic approach to musical and life education in Havana, Cuba. By 18 Miguelito had over 2 years of experience under his belt serving as director of one of the largest junior high school drum programs in Southern California, and at 19 he had been signed to three of the most highly regarded percussion distributors in the industry, Latin Percussion, SABIAN Cymbals, and Vic Firth drumsticks. At 20 Miguelito was living half the year in Cuba and the other making his way performing and educating across the country, over seas, university's and on national television.
The start to Miguelito's career as an educator started at quite an early age too. Due to the lack of culture and Afro-centric music in his area, Miguelito took it on himself to offer learning experiences to the community in hopes to cultivate the arts and help educate the community on the history and roots of our music we know today. When in Cuba, Miguelito serves as one of the few educators for kids and women's folkloric and popular music and drumming in Havana, Cuba as well as international representative for world renowned drum maker Juan Bencomo's community project Rescate de Tradiciones
Miguelito is currently traveling the globe recording his debut solo project as well as touring with PBS star and Emmy Award Winning Artist BENISE and Balkan World Band Moara Dulce. Performing around the world in diverse locations such as China, Romania, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba as well as across the United States.
Miguelito has had the pleasure to perform/record with world renowned artists such as: Wynton Marsalis and Lincoln Center Band, FOX Network's Glee, Michael McDonald, Ozomatli, Los Hermanos Herrera, Vientos del Sur, Brenda Navarrete, Septeto Nacional de Cuba, Los Rumberos de Cuba, Muñequitos de Matanzas, Bob Reynolds, Conjunto Chapottin, Oscar Hernandez, Bob Mintzer, Luis Conte, El Son del Indio, Kenny Loggins, Sarma Brass Band, Roni Benise, Taraf de Locos, Grupo Abbilona, Moara Dulce, and more.
Learn more at miguelitoleon.com.
Marc Evanstein is a composer currently residing in the Santa Barbara Area. He music has been featured at festivals in the US and internationally, including the Seoul International Computer Music Festival, the International Computer Music Festival, the Atlantic Music Festival, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival, where he won the Composition Contest in 2015. He has collaborated with artists such as Aperture Duo, Ignition Duo, Hocket Duo, Formalist Quartet, and LA Percussion Quartet.
A musician and composer since a young age, he pursued his undergraduate degree at Stanford University, where he studied composition with Jarosław Kapuściński and piano with Thomas Schultz. Following up on his interest in computers and interactivity, he then continued on at Stanford with a master's degree in Music, Science and Technology. More recently, Marc was the recipient of a Chancellor's fellowship at UC Santa Barbara, where he completed a PhD in composition and a master's in Media Arts and Technology, studying composition with professors Clarence Barlow, Joel Feigin, and Curtis Roads, as well as piano with Dr. Charles Asche.
Learn more at marcevanstein.com.
Matthew Owensby is a violinist, violist, and composer specializing in microtonality and historically-informed performance. He has a bachelor’s in violin performance and composition from Chapman University and a master’s in composition from San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His works explore microtonality, mythology, Medieval music, and the cosmic horrifying dread of an implacable and uncaring universe.
Much of his compositional output merges elements of Medieval and Renaissance dance music with quarter-tonality and extended just intonation, including a just-intoned elaboration. Some recent examples include “La Quatre Estampie Roial” in Hark of the Merrows for brass choir, the quarter-tonal Idafect II for wind quintet which incorporates a forceful presentation of plainchant, and development of motivic material from “Lamento di Tristano” in the chamber concerto for bassoon and ensemble, Leanan Sídhe.
His compositions have been performed by the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble (Variations for Alto Flute and Piano (2014)), the University of Würzburg Contemporary Music Ensemble (Fantasy on Souvent Souspire (2018)), and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music New Music Ensemble (Idafect (2014), Leanan Sídhe (2016)). His solo viola work, Malphas (2015), a study on realized Medieval dance melodies, has been performed in a masterclass with Caroline Shaw and subsequently at the Hot Air New Music Festival and the SFCM Viola Project all in 2015.
In addition, Matthew frequently performs both new compositions and pre-classical works. He has premiered works by Elinor Armer, Mason Hock, Scott Steadman, Jeffrey Gao, Michael Rosin, and numerous others. He has performed with the Riverside Lyric Opera, the Temecula Valley Symphony (previously Inland Valley Symphony), the Valley Center Symphony, the University of California, Santa Barbara Ensemble for Contemporary Music, the Chapman University New Music Ensemble, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Baroque Ensemble, the Chapman Early Music Ensemble, and numerous musical theater orchestras throughout California.
Matthew is currently working on a new composition for voice and mixed renaissance consort as well as a piece for violin and piano to be premiered in 2021, pandemic permitting.
Learn more at mdowensby.com.
HOCKET is a new music piano duo based in Los Angeles. Brought together by their love of contemporary music and their passion to perform exciting repertoire by today’s most compelling composers, members Sarah Gibson and Thomas Kotcheff are committed to broadening the definition of a piano duo.
Lauded as “brilliant” by Mark Swed in the Los Angeles Times and as an “adventurous young ensemble” by The New Yorker, HOCKET has performed in some of the most exciting festivals and venues across the country including The Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival @ MASS MoCA, MATA Festival in New York City, the Aspen Music Festival & School (a concerto written for HOCKET by Donald Crockett), San Francisco’s Other Minds Festival, the Carlsbad Music Festival, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s “Noon to Midnight.” Together, they have premiered over one hundred chamber and solo works and have collaborated with the premier, new music ensembles Eighth Blackbird and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. HOCKET has received grants from the Presser Foundation and The Earle Brown Music Foundation and has been a selected artist in Firebird Ensemble’s Outstanding Young Artists Initiative and fellows at the Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab. HOCKET is a performing artist on the Schoenhut Piano Company Artist Roster and Core Artists of the esteemed Los Angeles concert series, Piano Spheres.
As pianist/composers, HOCKET embraces innovative and engaging artistry using pervasive energy and all-encompassing commitment to the music they write, commission, and perform as multifaceted creators. Their upcoming season features new commissions from their recently launched Performer/Composer Initiative—a biennial commissioning project focused on cultivating new works from today’s most stellar composer/performers—the premiere of Christopher Cerrone’s The Arching Path for two pianos, and a new evening length work with Eighth Blackbird.
Learn more at hocket.org.
Wesley Arai was appointed Lecturer and University Carillonist at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2018. He plays the 61-bell Storke Tower carillon regularly and teaches carillon to UCSB students. Arai studied carillon with Jeff Davis as an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received BA degrees in Mathematics and Statistics. While earning an MA degree in Mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles, he continued to play the carillon and subsequently passed the Carillonneur examination of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. Arai then served as Associate Carillonist at the University of California, Berkeley.
An active recitalist, Arai has performed extensively across the United States and abroad. Most recently, he has performed in Australia, gave the dedicatory recital for the carillon at the University of Washington, and performed at the Eighth Berkeley Carillon Festival, the 76th Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, and the Springfield International Carillon Festival. Arai is also an annual recitalist at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Spokane, Washington.
In addition to the carillon, Arai has studied piano, trombone, and voice, and has performed in a number of different concert bands, marching bands, jazz bands, orchestras, and choral groups. He enjoys arranging music and occasionally performs some of his own arrangements on the carillon. Arai’s day job is as an actuary for a consulting firm in Los Angeles.
Learn more here.
Nesta is led by a husband and wife team - Abby and Dan - who are seasoned, professional musicians; their specialties are steel drums and Caribbean music.
Abby and Dan met in 2002 and realized they had a musical match in each other as well - they started performing together almost immediately. They have played for thousands of different types of events - casual to swanky - yet, they have a special interest to make each one unique and memorable. Their past clients have ranged from enthusiasts, to West Indians, to other well-known professional musicians.
Both Abby and Dan are passionate about steel pan and Caribbean music, and have studied it intensely, down to its nuances; they have a special fondness for reggae, soca, ska, and calypso. Abby and Dan both attended CalArts (but at different times), which is renowned for its magnificent world music program. Over the years, they have cultivated a great sound together, while continuously striving for excellence on their instruments. They are longstanding, accomplished musicians here in Los Angeles. Their band, Nesta, is composed of a number of other professional Caribbean musicians with whom they love performing.
Learn more at nestasteelband.com.
Gamelan is the enchanting orchestra of gongs, xylophones, drums and bamboo flutes from Indonesia. Based in Santa Barbara since 2002, Gamelan Sinar Surya is dedicated to the preservation, teaching and performance of traditional Indonesian music and dance. The group specializes in rare music from the ancient kingdom of Cirebon, West Java. They are led by Richard North, who has also been directing the UC Santa Barbara Gamelan Ensemble since 2015.
In addition to classes and performances in Santa Barbara, members of the group make frequent trips to Indonesia, where they have been praised for their efforts to help revive ancient gamelan forms in Cirebon, and to inspire young artists there to get involved with traditional music.
Gamelan Sinar Surya has recorded 5 CDs, which have been distributed in Indonesia, the US and abroad. The music ranges from lively and rhythmic village music, to delicate and serene pieces from the royal courts. Their concerts are a pleasurable, unique cultural experience!
Learn more at gamelansb.com.