In January and February, the Vassar Modfest will host some interesting music.
Among the many highlights this year will be a concert featuring music by Milton Babbitt who, at age 93, is one of the pivotal figures in American classical music of the 20th century. Babbitt’s many compositions include six string quartets, two piano concertos, and works combining voice with synthesized sound and instruments. “A pioneer in the field of electronic music, Milton is equally innovative in his extensions of the twelve-tone technique to non-pitch aspects of music,” noted Modfest director Richard Wilson. A public conversation with composers Babbitt and Wilson will precede the concert.
The avant-garde jazz virtuoso and a Poughkeepsie resident since his childhood, Joe McPhee will have an evening devoted to his artistry. In demand across Europe and America, he has for 37 years, and on more than 60 recordings, made exciting, expressive, and explosive sounds on sax, trumpet, pocket trumpet, valve trombone, piano, and electronics. Electronics virtuoso Richard Teitelbaum and percussionist Thurman Barker will join McPhee in a concert “Six Improvisation 1-23-10,” that will feature dedications to Anthony Braxton, Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, Nikola Tesla, Conlon Nancarrow, and Alton Pickens, among others.