UC Davis Composition Students’ Music Heard Far and Wide

img_8310_0When doctoral music composition students at UC Davis hear their music played for the first time, they hear it played by professionals who are champions of new music with years of performance experience.

“It’s an absolute luxury to have these professional musicians play our work,” said student Jonathan Favero. “In many programs you have to beg, borrow and steal to find players.”

During the 2018 calendar year alone, student pieces have been premiered on campus by the Empyrean Ensemble, violinist Miranda Cuckson, electric guitar/percussion duo The Living Earth Show, Ensemble Dal Niente, the Lydian String Quartet, the Brooklyn Art Song Ensemble and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Watch Video Continue reading

New Research and Movie Shine Light on Punjabi Women in California

5 yuba city sikh parade 2008Starting in 1910, Punjabi women began trickling into California, joining a community of men who started arriving from the northern Indian province of Punjab in the 1890s. But even as their numbers grew in Yuba City, Stockton, Sacramento and other Northern California areas after World War II, these women remained largely invisible.

The women’s story is now being told, thanks to Nicole Ranganath, historian and assistant adjunct professor of Middle East/South Asia Studies (ME/SA) in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science. Along with amassing an archive of interviews, photographs, letters and archival footage, she has created a documentary film “Walking into the Unknown: A History of Punjabi Women in California.”

“This is the first time these women have been asked about their lives and they were often reluctant to talk,” Ranganath said. Continue reading

Native American Collection Growing

ssky_330The fast-growing collection of the C.N. Gorman Museum is now even bigger.

Three recent donations brought 500 artworks to the collection: Northwest Coast art given by Gloria and Selig Kaplan and Jill and Michael Pease, and contemporary paintings from collectors Zelma Long and Phillip Freese.

The gifts bring the museum’s collection of contemporary Native American art to nearly 2,000 works, up tenfold over the past decade. Continue reading

Professor Explores Rediscovered Writer for Groundbreaking ‘Digital Collaboration’

screen shot 2018-12-05 at 12.05.19 pmFrances Dolan spent much of last year in the company of Hester Pulter, a little-known 17th-century British writer. Dolan, distinguished professor of English in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science, has done extensive research and writing for The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, a “digital collaboration” launched in November.

On the site, one can find multiple versions of poems by a female writer who was pushing the boundaries of literary conventions. The project takes a more open-ended approach to literary study than is traditional. Rather than offering a “definitive edition” of a writer’s work, it cultivates various editions simultaneously. It is also aimed at both scholars and laypersons.

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Annabeth Rosen’s overdue retrospective

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Annabeth Rosen’s exhibition at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

When art curator Valerie Cassel Oliver was organizing an exhibition a few years ago, artists kept mentioning someone they admired: UC Davis artist professor Annabeth Rosen.

“She is such an amazing artist – how did I not know about her?” said Cassel Oliver, a longtime senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Cassel Oliver got to know about Rosen and her art — the result is “Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped” at the Contemporary Arts Museum. The first major survey of Rosen’s art, the exhibition includes 80 ceramic sculptures and 45 drawings/paintings, nearly all created since she arrived at UC Davis 20 years ago. Accompanying it is a 250-page catalog with dozens of images. Continue reading

Creative Collaborations Abound


Suleiman and Fries

When composer Ryan Suleiman read a fantastical tale by Cristina Fries, he knew she was the writer he wanted to collaborate with on a project teaming UC Davis music composition students with creative writing students.

It was new territory for both; Suleiman has written little music for voice and Fries is not a musician. Together, they fashioned “a tiny unstaged opera” titled “Moon, Bride, Dogs.”

“I knew the story had performable elements and I wanted to see it performed,” said Fries, a graduate student in creative writing.

Suleiman, a doctoral music student, concurred: “It’s a very dramatic story – it needed to be an opera.” Continue reading