GOOD TIMING: I had been writing about Maestro Paul Bambach, UCSB professor and director of the University Wind Ensemble, for quite a long time before I finally was introduced to him — out at the Music Academy, I think. As we shook hands, he said, “I feel like I owe you about 10 years worth of thank-you’s.”
As charming an opening statement as that was, I must hereby beg to differ: It is I who owe Bambach and his UCSB colleagues any number of thank-you’s for their uncanny ability to schedule concerts just when I need them — such as now.
As I look ahead over the next seven days, everything happening that would be of interest to a music lover is either happening at the university or performed by university musicians — starting at 8 p.m. tonight, Thursday, March 9, in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, when the University Wind Ensemble, under the baton of the redoubtable Paul Bambach, will play a program that includes the Festive Overture of Dmitri Shostakovich and the Symphony No. 3 of Vittorio Giannini. Tickets will be available at the door; $12 general admission, $7 for students.
I have often had occasion to compliment Bambach on his innovative programming and tonight’s concert is another instance of it.
Notwithstanding his Mediterranean name, Vittorio Giannini (1903-1966) is an American composer all the way. His music is lushly romantic and tuneful, in the vein of Samuel Barber and Howard Hanson. He was prolific, and a large part of his output was scored for band.
On the next evening, Friday, March 10, comes one of those events that one simply takes on faith. The pianist Andrzej Dutkiewicz, a guest of the UCSB Music Department, will perform a guest artist recital at 8 p.m. in Karl Geiringer Hall. Admission is free. Dutkiewicz, head of contemporary music studies and professor of piano at the Frederyk Chopin Academy of Music (a k a Warsaw Conservatory) in Poland, will be “playing a program of Polish music.” I guess we can count on at least one selection by Chopin, but there will no doubt be plenty of surprises.
Friday night at 8 p.m. also marks the return to our fair coast of choral master extraordinaire Michel Marc Gervais, who is apparently determined to commute between his two major appointments — UCSB and Switzerland. Gervais will lead the University Singers and his celebrated UCSB Chamber Choir in a “Schubertiad” — a generally intimate concert devoted to the music of Franz Schubert — in San Roque Church (325 Argonne Circle). The maestro has chosen for his soloists the mezzo-soprano Parvaneh Givi and the tenor Dan Plaster, with the remarkable Sarah Broomell providing instrumental support on the piano. The Schubert in question is a composer of choral chamber music. The program includes rarely heard works for female, male, and mixed voices, including “Coronach” Opus 52; “Gott ist mein Hirt” (Psalm 23) Opus 132; “Ständchen,” Opus 135; “Nachthelle,” Opus 134; “Der Gondelfahrer,” Opus 28; “Begräbnislied,” D.168; “Des Tages Weihe,” Opus 146; and “Gebet,” Opus 139.
Admission to the “Schubertiad” is $12 general, $7 for students, in the form of a donation at the door.
Finally, Lorenz Gamma, who in the new dispensation is the University Symphony conductor for winter quarter 2006, will conduct the symphony in a delightful program that includes a performance of the striking first movement of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, Opus 107 with the 2006 concerto competition winner, cellist Hilary Clark, in the solo role.
The concert begins at 8 p.m., Wednesday, March 15, in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. Also on the program: J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite in C Major BWV 1066, Bedrich Smetana’s The Moldau from Ma Vlast, Johannes Brahms’s Hungarian Dances Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5, and Peter Tchaikovsky’s Marche Slave. Tickets are $12 general admission, $7 for students, and the best way to get them is at the door on the night.