Mentors and Friends: The Music of Nils Vigeland
7:30pm, Friday, October 28 / Burchfield Penney Art Center / 1300 Elmwood Ave
Buffalo violinist David Adamczyk recalls composer-pianist Nils Vigeland as a patient, inspiring, and insightful instructor at Manhattan School of Music. Adamczyk, a Manhattan School graduate, says Vigeland had “an individualized approach” to teaching. “He tried to get [composition] students to ask themselves questions they weren’t asking,” he says. Vigeland would ask, Adamczyk says, “How does your music express what life is like? Does your music express your experience?” He also recalls Vigeland’s modesty: When students played a tribute concert for him, a slightly embarrassed Vigeland cracked, “I’m not even dead yet!”
So Adamczyk is particularly pleased to be a part of Mentors and Friends: The Music of Nils Vigeland at the Burchfield Penney Art Center on October 28. The composer will be performing, along with other musicians, not only his own work but music by people he studied with at the University of Buffalo, including Lukas Foss, Leo Smit, Yvar Mikhashoff, and Morton Feldman, as well as friend and collaborator John Cage and Adamczyk.
Vigeland is a Buffalo native and made his professional debut as a pianist with the Buffalo Philharmonic at the age of 19 under Foss’s baton in 1969. He earned a PhD at the UB and has been chair of the Manhattan School composition department since 1998. His music has been performed by the Milwaukee and Buffalo Orchestras (both conducted by Foss), among others. His Piano Concerto was played by Mikhashoff with the Oslo Radio Orchestra.
Adamczyk will be playing his solo violin piece Son, which he composed as a Manhattan School student, and which he has played at Asbury Hall and other Buffalo venues. It’s been a work in progress since its playing time has varied by several minutes. “It pushes against the limits of the violin’s sound-producing potential to evoke a child at play, with that kind of freedom,” he says. “I started with all the sounds I could make that would work on the instrument.”
Mentors and Friends begins at 7:30pm, Friday, October 28, in the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower auditorium. Participating musicians are: John Popham, cello; Dan Lippel, guitar; Tiffany Dumouchelle, soprano; and Steven Solook, percussion.