April in Santa Cruz Music Festival goes beyond the norm

Featuring works and performances by UCSC Music Department doctoral composers, faculty and renowned professional musicians

This year's April in Santa Cruz Contemporary Music Festival takes up forces of dedication and imagination featuring wide-ranging musicians: from the San Francisco-based Del Sol String Quartet to sound artist/composer, Associate Professor, Film & Digital Media Anna Friz; from internationally acclaimed pianist Eric Huebner to the department’s newest faculty member Assistant Professor, Music James Gordon Williams. The UC Santa Cruz Music Department is presenting talented artists of the UC Santa Cruz and Bay Area communities, arriving from dozens of international starting points and traversing even more varied walks of life.  All performances are live, in person, and free to the public.

The festival opens on Thursday, April 13, 2023 and continues with performances on April 14, 17, 21 in the UC Santa Cruz Music Center Recital Hall, and closes on April 30th at The Lab at 2948 16th Street in San Francisco. All live, in-person performances are free and open to the public.

Departing from the norm of new music festivals, April in Santa Cruz is much more than a month of concerts: it's a year-long engagement, in which graduate students work, remotely and in person, with the festival's performers. Composers embark on a cycle of imagining new possibilities, trying them out, and then imagining again, fostering some of the best education an emerging artist can hope to gain: the insight of collaboration with musicians on the cutting edge of what it means to produce and perform new music.

“The April in Santa Cruz Festival of New Music has been an emblem of innovation and experimentation for decades in central California—and we're bringing uncommon energy and collaborative vision to its newest season,” said Ben Leeds Carson, associate professor of music, renowned composer, and April in Santa Cruz producer. “This festival is a product of long-inspired work by intrepid UCSC doctoral composers, who've come to us from China, Iran, Israel, Mexico, and from across the United States—eight intrepid artists who have written new works in direct collaboration with the festival's diverse guest artists.”

April in Santa Cruz Program:

April 13, 7:30 PM: Festival Opening — 

Music Center Performance Studio (131), UCSC

The festival opens with violinist Kate Stenberg, percussionist Willie Winant, clarinetist John Sackett, pianist Ben Carson, saxophonist Shay Salhov, and friends... introducing the festival with the music of Hi Kyung KimDavid Evan Jones, and Keshav Batish. Plus electronic music by Jeffrey Treviño

April 14, 7:30 PM: Del Sol Quartet

Music Center Recital Hall, UCSC

Featuring San Francisco's Del Sol Quartet ("excavations of beauty from the elemental”—New York Times; "luminous yet corporeal"—Los Angeles Times) presents A Dust In Timeby celebrated Chinese-American composer Huang Ro ("“one of the world’s leading young composers”—New Yorker; "powerful...engrossing"—The New York Times); world premieres of new works by Christopher EveringhamNina BarzegarVahid Jahandari, and a sextet featuring Scott Siler (percussion) and Shenshen Zhang (pipa/Chinese lute) by Jinwei Sun.

April 17, 7:30 PM: Pianist Eric Huebner

Music Center Recital Hall, UCSC

Featuring celebrated pianist Eric Huebner ("phenomenal...an MVP of the New York new music scene”, L.A. Weekly; “masterfully precise” Kyle Gann/The Village Voice) brings us a pre-premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Roger Reynolds' new work ACTIONS, as well as the music of Leah MuirBen Leeds CarsonBen DorfanOhal Grietzer, and Matthew Schumaker.

April 21, 7:30 PM: Anna Friz with Percussionist Willie Winant

Music Center Recital Hall, UCSC

Sound artist / composer Anna Friz in concert with Percussionist Willie Winant and the UCSC Percussion Ensemble, featuring the inventions of Friz, Christopher EveringhamMichael FlemingVahid Jahandari, and others.

April 30, 3:00 PM: San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and James Gordon Williams 

The LAB in San Francisco

SPECIAL EVENT:  Bay Area new music luminaries Peter JosheffDouglas MachizKevin RogersScott Siler, are joined by composer-pianist James Gordon Williams, newly a member of the UC Santa Cruz Faculty, in a concert at The Lab in San Francisco, that will include the music of Williams, and world premieres of music by Ben DorfanMichael Fleming, and Rodrigo Barriga

For more information, visit: https://arts.ucsc.edu/news_events/april-santa-cruz-opening-concert