Undergraduate English Major
June in Buffalo, the world-famous annual new music festival and conference dedicated to emerging composers, will begin 2023 this week at various locations on the North Campus and will be under the helm of a new artistic director. Following the retirement of David Felder, professor emeritus at the State University of New York, who has served as artistic director since 1985, this spring, cellist and composer Jonathan Golub (UB Associate Professor of Music) will assume the role.
A faculty member at UB since 2002, Mr. Golub has been Dean for the past six years, specializing in new and traditional works, as well as improvisational music performances.
Golove’s definition of “cellist” has been expanded to include both electric and theremin cellos, as well as numerous means of modifying the sounds they produce. As a soloist and chamber musician, he has performed throughout North America and Europe at venues such as Weill’s Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall), Zipper’s Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and Southbank’s His Center in London. In the summer he performs at Holland Festival (Amsterdam), Festival d’Automne (Paris), Lincoln Center Festival, Festival del Centro Histórico (Mexico City) and many other festivals focused on new productions.
Golub has been a performer, participating composer, senior composer and soloist at the June Concert in Buffalo since 1994, and as a member of the Three Sinfonietta and Baird Trio. He also served as a member of the June Artist Faculty of the Buffalo Performance Institute.
Golub said he was thrilled to welcome an exciting group of participating composers to this year’s festival and looked forward to working with his former ensemble playing colleagues to present a trio of his original compositions spanning decades.
UBNow spoke with Golove about his new role in Buffalo, his plans for June, and the future.
Having participated in festivals for nearly 30 years, how do you feel about becoming the organizer?
Over the years, I have taken part in a variety of roles, including the one above, at June in Buffalo. I have also been a member of several of JiB’s resident ensembles, including the Three Sinfonietta, Baird Trio and others, and in parallel with the composition workshops/festivals he was also on his June artist faculty at the Buffalo Performance Institute, which ran for two years. But I will admit that all of these roles only prepared me to take on the full function of directing. Special thanks to my predecessor, David Felder, and Rob Phillips, the new Managing Director of the 21st Century Music Center. Sadly, Rob passed away in February quite unexpectedly. Since then, I have been in charge of all aspects of running the festival.
What are your artistic goals for the festival?
My goal, on the one hand, is to maintain June’s quality and reputation in Buffalo. Buffalo has set the standard for composers’ workshops, has many imitators across the country, and has been a magnet for classical “new music” composers and performers for decades, starting in the 1970s. I believe that the mission to present new music at the highest level and to invite key figures in contemporary composition to share their information, insights and experiences with the next generation of composers is sacred. On the other hand, however, June of Buffalo cannot rest on its laurels and must be nimble enough to respond to the evolving needs and demands of the compositional/classical new music field over time. I think this festival has managed it well and I want to have a vision that will carry this festival forward for years to come.
What are festival attendees looking forward to?
Festival attendees – participants and audience – spend a very fulfilling day, starting at 10am with lectures by senior composers, which is different every day from Tuesday to Saturday. After lunch, they attend a composition masterclass led by one of the senior composers. We divide them into groups of 5 or 6 and present their work with a different senior composer each day for feedback. Then, starting at 4pm, daily workshop concerts are held, where one of his resident performing ensembles presents a program of works by participating composers. Finally, from 7:30 in the evening, there is a series of concerts by the same resident group, usually of works by senior composers.
This year’s impressive line-up of resident ensembles includes the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra playing its first evening program at the Center for the Arts Mainstage Theater on Tuesday night, as well as the Three Sinfonietta, Taljon Percussion, [Switch~ Ensemble] And members of the Arditti Quartet are legendary champions of contemporary composers and longtime partners of June of Buffalo. Festival attendees who wish to attend concerts and lectures are most welcome. Please note that the evening and Sunday afternoon events start at 2:00 pm at Three Hall’s Lippes His Concert Hall. It’s ticketed ($10 general admission or free with a UB student card), but other events are free and open.
Will it be a different festival than usual?
Every year is unique in my experience, but if successful, this year’s changes will be subtle and unnoticeable. Two of our five senior composers, Ann Clear and Melinda Wagner, are new to Buffalo’s June faculty, while the other three, Matthew Rosenblum, Robert HP Platts, and myself, have all been senior composers at least once. We have lots of information about each senior composer and resident ensemble on the 21st Century Music Center’s Edge of the Center blog. And although the majority of participating composers are here for the first time, they have been on several repeats at the festival, which is always a great sign.
However, this will be David Felder’s first festival since his retirement and I am pleased to say that we are programming two major works of his, which will be performed by the BPO at the Center for the Arts on June 6th and by the Arditti Quartet at the Lippes Concert Hall on June 10th at 7:30pm. As such, he will definitely be participating in music production. Also listen to the music of Rob Phillips, who will be missed in Buffalo in June. [Switch~ Ensemble] and members of the Buffalo/Rochester-based Wooden City.