The Sound of Music

The music department’s weeklong Winter Concert Series features ensembles, choirs and more

The Department of Music’s Winter Concert Series continues, with virtual performances by the UCSB Lumina, the Cello Squad, Gospel Choir, Ensemble for Contemporary Music and a special Corwin Chair Series concert featuring works by Corwin Chair of Composition João Pedro Oliveira and Emeritus Corwin Chair of Composition Clarence Barlow.

All performances begin at 6 p.m. and are free and open to the public. They will be released as YouTube Premieres via the Department of Music’s YouTube channel beginning Thursday, March 11, and ending Thursday, March 18.

“I am completely in awe of the music department students, faculty, and staff as I witness what everyone has accomplished during Winter Quarter 2021,” said Robert Koenig, professor of keyboard and chair of the music department. “The wide and diverse offerings that the Department of Music continues to offer during pandemic times are simply a remarkable testament to how a community can come together to showcase its talent and strength, even when we can’t be together in person on campus yet.”

“Synchresis — the Alchemy of Visual Music” will follow Friday, March 12. The Corwin Chair Series Concert will investigate the various potential fusions between sound and the moving image. Listeners will be guided through the merger of diverse visual and musical universes and engage their imaginations through the works of Corwin Chair of Composition João Pedro Oliveira and Emeritus Corwin Chair of Composition Clarence Barlow, as well as Elsa Justel, Chikashi Miyama, Francis Dhomont, Jorge Sad Levi, Dennis H. Miller, and Alejandro Casales.

Directed by Graduate Teaching Assistant David Lozano Torres and accompanied by graduate pianist Pinshu Yu, UCSB Lumina (formerly the UCSB Women’s Chorus) will present “A Life of Peace,” a virtual mini-concert, Monday, March 15. “Nothing can bring peace to the heart, mind, and soul like music can,” Torres said of the program. “This new year has brought about many trials and opposition in all aspects of life. Finding a moment of stillness in a world that is constantly moving, busy, and noisy, can be crucial. Experience the ability to find peace and purpose through harsh winter climate and troubles in the world in ‘Winters Cold’ by Michael John Trotta. Afterwards, escape into the soothing, ponderous tune painted by the peaceful sonorities of Dan Forrest’s ‘Shalom.’ Accompanying the music is an array of stunning video and artwork that will take you on a journey of awe-inspiring moments in nature.”

The UCSB Cello Squad will present a “Beethoven CellObration!” Tuesday, March 16. This special event will celebrate Beethoven’s 250th Birthday and showcase movements from his piano and cello works, performed by members of Professor Jennifer Kloetzel’s cello studio. For this project, five UC Santa Barbara cellists studied one of

Ludwig van Beethoven’s works and were asked to describe the overall feeling or emotion of their chosen work. For this virtual performance, the Cello Squad commissioned artist Tyler Scrivner to create background images related to their descriptions and the cellists recorded their pieces with these designs as backdrops. “Since we are doing virtual performances these days, I decided that creating an interdisciplinary experience would be a fun and educational way to push everyone to explore music a little deeper,” said Kloetzel.

Under the direction of Victor Bell, the UCSB Gospel Choir will present "The Virtual Gospel,” an infusion of gospel music, gospel music history and gospel testimonies Wednesday, March 17. This unique presentation will feature special guests, and UC Santa Barbara alumni, Daniel Ozan and Rhiann Joshua.

The series will conclude Thursday, March 18, with a performance by the UCSB Ensemble for Contemporary Music. Directed by Dr. Sarah Gibson, the ensemble will present “A Journey Through the Impossible.” Opening with works by Julius Eastman, Dai Fujikura and John Cage, ensemble performers will explore a variety of ways to make music through distance and precision. The centerpiece of the program will be the premiere of six new student works written to accompany Georges Méliès' seminal silent film, “Le Voyage à travers l'impossible.” Said Gibson, “In every piece, there lies a journey, whether it is from the earth to the sun, or simply an act of self-discovery.”

The series began March 11 with the UCSB Chamber Players, directed by Jonathan Moerschel, performing a virtual program of works by Claude Debussy, Elena Ruehr, Johann Joseph Fux, Scott Joplin, Jennifer Higdon, Roger Chapman, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Paul Hindemith, and Jessie Montgomery. The event will feature performances by students from the UC Santa Barbara Chamber Music Program, including students from the Young Artists String Quartet.

More information about the concert series is available at


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