Doctoral candidate James Ogburn and Federico Garcia (PhD 2006) will have compositions performed by the American Composers Orchestra at the ACO/Penn Reading Sessions and Lab in Philadelphia on April 16-17. Both Ogburn and Garcia are founding members of Alia Musica Pittsburgh, for which Garcia serves as Artistic Director, and each has amassed significant professional and scholarly achievements in recent years and months.
Along with his composing, James Ogburn has been actively engaged in theoretical work. He presented his paper Conflicting Lines, Cohesive Structures: Multiple-Directed Linearity in Witold Lutoslawski's Third Symphony at the 2009 Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic Conference on April 3-4. The ACO's reading of his composition titled Proximate Spaces will cap off Ogburn's busy April. About the piece Ogburn says,
"The formal continuity of Proximate Spaces was suggested to me by competing ideas of the 1990’s surrounding the search for a unified theory to explain the fundamental forces, dimensional composition, and existence of matter in the known universe. Much of the pitch material derives from a two-octave mode (18 pitches in series) and three subset hexachords of that mode. The work develops the tension between mechanistic devotion to this mode and episodes of free chromaticism, between strictly repeating rhythmic patterns and rhythmic variation, between instrumentation according to families and a free exchange of musical ideas regardless of instrumental relation. Initially aligned with the mechanistic paradigms of mode and regular rhythmic patterns, in several places the piano breaks free and attempts to incite revolt against the piece’s system by abandoning strict adherence to these structures. Although some other members of the ensemble briefly depart from the system, ultimately the machine prevails."
As Artistic Director of Alia Musica Pittsburgh Federico Garcia has produced and conducted over 30 premieres by composers in the Pittsburgh area. He currently teaches music courses at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, and directs the Chatham University Instrumental Ensemble. The ACO/Penn Reading Sessions will feature his composition Consquence in Two Movements. About the work Garcia says,
"The two movements of Consequence complement each other through symmetric opposition. The first movement is a series of smaller sections, relatively independent—almost a succession of false starts, attempts at climax, and retreats. The second movement, on the contrary, is made of two long-winded parts, with a very gradual increase in tension that sets a clear direction toward a climax at the end of the piece. The orchestration here is coloristic, the percussion (tam-tam, celesta) providing a backdrop for the woodwind melodies and the brass chorale; in the first movement the orchestra behaves more rhythmically, with timpani and brake-drum, all the instruments and different motives motives fighting each other for center stage. Consequence in two movements was finished in 2009 in Pittsburgh, and is scored for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, celesta, two percussionists, and strings."