Martirano winner from Tel Aviv making trip to C-U

URBANA — The 16th annual Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award Concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Foellinger Great Hall at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Michael Seltenreich, the first-place winner of the annual Martirano Memorial Composition Award Competition, will have his composition, "Sparks and Flares," for chamber orchestra, performed at the concert.

The Illinois Modern Ensemble, directed by University of Illinois composition Professor Stephen Taylor, will present the piece, and Seltenreich will be there to hear it.

The composer, 24, of Tel Aviv, also will receive the $1,000 first-place award in the competition. He has been the Israel Opera's primary orchestrator since 2008 and received his bachelor's of music degree at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University.

The second-place award of $500 went to Stephen Yip, who was born in Hong Kong and lives in Houston, where he teaches at Houston Community College. Yip also will be at the concert to hear his composition "Dark Side of the Shadow" for bass clarinet, cello and piano.

Both composers will discuss their music at a forum, free and open to the public, at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Room 1201 of the UI Music Building, 1114 W. Nevada St., U.

In addition, the concert will feature Martirano's emotional "Chansons Innocentes" for soprano and piano. He composed it in 1957, basing it on text by e.e. cummings.

Also on the concert program: a guest performance by UI faculty member Michael Cameron of composer Yao Chen's cross-cultural "Walking on a Tightrope" and "Proverb" for five singers and four keyboards by minimalist master composer Steve Reich.

A reception honoring the composers will take place immediately after the concert in the Krannert lobby. That will feature the improvisations of pianist Thollem McDonas, who also will perform at Krannert Art Museum at 7:30 p.m. Thursday as part of Jason Finkelman's Sudden Sound Series.

McDonas is regularly on tour in the United States and abroad. At Krannert Art Museum, he will adapt his signature piano techniques, using vintage electric keyboards and effects pedals. The analog equipment will be supplied by the Champaign-based Analog Outfitters.

"It's a firsthand chance to hear Thollem discover new sonic possibilities reflective of his diverse musical background spanning classical and modern piano performance, extensive collaborations in improvisation and singing/songwriting for the socio-politically charged avant-punk band Tsigoti," reads the museum's blurb on the free concert, in the Gelvin Noel Gallery.

The UI School of Music sponsors the Martirano competition and concert each year in memory of Mr. Martirano, a UI professor of composition from 1963 to '95. He died Nov. 17, 1995, soon after retiring.

According to the competition director, Zack Browning, UI associate professor emeritus of composition, the competition has drawn more than 2,250 entries from all over the world since it began in 1996. The 2012 competition drew 230 entries from 30 countries.

Tickets to the Martirano concert are $10 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and $4 for students.

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