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UPDATED: Music department honors Holoman and the keyboard

By Dave Jones on April 23, 2014 in University News

Updated 7:30 p.m. April 23: The Department of Music announced new times and venues for Philharmonia, the symposium being held Saturday (May 3) in D. Kern Holoman's honor.


By Dateline staff

A musical tribute and a symposium are in store next week for D. Kern Holoman, who led the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra for 30 years until stepping down in 2008, is now taking emeritus status as a professor in the Department of Music.

Separately, the department’s Keyboard Festival will run from Thursday to Sunday, May 1-4, featuring the three evening concerts (including one by the symphony), two free concerts and a forum.

Honoring Holoman

The department’s Empyrean Ensemble, specializing in new music, will present Tribute to D. Kern Holoman, Monday (April 28), 7 p.m., in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

“D. Kern Holoman has been an outstanding scholar, conductor and member of UC Davis for over three decades,” reads the Empyrean Ensemble’s concert description. “As he retires from the music department faculty, the Empyrean Ensemble pays tribute to one of the most valued and respected members of the UC Davis community.”

The program includes works written especially for Holoman, by several of his faculty colleagues:

  • Ross Bauer — Vignette
  • Laurie San Martin — HDKH (Homage to D. Kern Holoman) for vibraphone and four clarinets
  • Christian Baldini — senza rallentare
  • Kurt Rohde — final lecture for percussion and electronics
  • Sam Nichols — disjecta membra no. 1a for amplified percussion and amplified string trio
  • Mika Pelo — Holoman Variations for violin, viola, cello and percussion
  • Pablo Ortiz — Harold in Davis

And three other works, written especially for Holoman:

  • Yu-Hui Chang (former UC Davis faculty, 1999-2006) — On the Podium
  • Steven Mackey '78 — It’s Equals It Is for clarinet, viola and piano
  • Darin Wilson '88 and M.A., '88 — Four Sketches for violin, cello, piano and percussion

The program also includes:

  • David Lang — These Broken Wings for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano and Percussion
  • Georg F. Haas — tria ex uno for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano and Percussion 

Empyrean Ensemble tickets.

The following Saturday (May 3), the music department presents Philharmonia: The Orchestra, Past and Future, a symposium in Holoman’s honor. Admission is free and open to the public.

Many of the times listed below are different than what the music department announced previously; in addition, the entire symposium will be held at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

The program includes the presentation of papers as follows:

  • 10:30 a.m.-noon — Beverly Wilcox (UC Davis), “From the Salle des Cent Suisses to the Salle des Concerts du Conservatoire," and Nicholas Matthew (UC Berkeley), “Wagner’s Eroica, and After”
  • 1:30-3 p.m. — Christopher Reynolds (UC Davis), “Programming Beethoven in the Year after His Death"; and Mark Clague (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), “The Atlanta School of Composers: Using History to Bring New Music to New Audiences”
  • 3:15-4:45 p.m. — Carol Oja (Harvard University), “Leonard Bernstein and the Orchestra as Sites of Racial Activism in the 1940s”; and John Spitzer (San Francisco Conservatory of Music), “The Death and Transfiguration of American Orchestras in the 20th Century”

A roundtable discussion on the future of the symphony orchestra is scheduled from 5 to 6:15 p.m., with Clague, Spitzer, Susan Key (executive director, Star-Spangled Music Foundation, and formerly the special projects director, San Francisco Symphony) and Michael Morgan (music director, Sacramento Philharmonic and the Oakland East Bay Symphony).

The symposium will conclude with a reception in the Mondavi Center's Yoche Dehe Grand Lobby, just as people are arriving for the center's next event: the symphony orchestra, as part of the Keyboard Festival (see below).

Keyboard Festival

Thursday, May 1 — Bach Harpsichord Concerti, featuring current and former members of the UC Davis and Davis High School Baroque ensembles. The program features J.S. Bach’s concertos for two and four harpsichords. 12:05-1 p.m., Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Free. (Another free concert by the same baroque ensembles: 3-5 p.m. Sunday, April 27, Richard Brunelle Performance Hall, Davis High School, 315 W. 14th St.)

Friday, May 2 — Chamber Music with Early Keyboards, with Belle Bulwinkle (Mills College), Phebe Craig (UC Davis) and Katherine Westine, early keyboard instruments. Works by J.S. and W.F. Bach, Beethoven, Castello, Couperin, Haydn, Mozart, Rameau and Richter. 7 p.m. Jackson Hall. Tickets.

Saturday, May 3 — Symphony Orchestra: Berlin, Leipzig and Stockholm, 7 p.m. Saturday, May 3, Jackson Hall. Tickets.

  • Weber — Overture to Der Freischütz
  • Mika Pelo (UC Davis professor) — Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (world premiere), with Eric Zivian, piano (artist in residence)
  • Mahler — Symphony No. 1 (Titan)

Sunday, May 4 — Forum, moderated by Professor Carol Hess (musicologist, UC Davis), with Belle Bulwinkle (pianoforte player, Mills College) and Phebe Craig (harpsichord player, UC Davis). The fascinating musical developments that took place in the 18th century prompted a great evolution in keyboard instruments and, in turn, significant changes in keyboard technique. Enjoy a fun and informative discussion of what happens when Sturm und Drang, Empfindsamkeit and Galant find themselves in the same sentence in a book on music history and have to “duke it out.” Noon-1:30 p.m., Vanderhoef Studio Theatre. Free.

Sunday, May 4 — Works for Pianowith Lois Brandwynne, Michael Seth Orland and Marilyn Swan. Works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Messiaen, Rachmaninov and more. 3-4 p.m., Vanderhoef Studio Theatre. Free.

Sunday, May 4 — Artist-in-Residence Eric Zivian, Piano and Pianoforte, with Tanya Tomkins, cello. 7 p.m., Vanderhoef Studio Theatre. Tickets.

  • On a Poletti fortepiano (copy of Dulcken, 1795) works by Beethoven, Clementi and Mozart
  • On a modern Steinway D1 piano works by Baldini, Debussy, Ligeti, Ravel, Rohde and Zivian.

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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,