The Glenn Korff School of Music presents a “Celebration of Victoria Bond” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in Kimball Recital Hall. The concert is free and open to the public. It will also be live webcast with information available here the day of the concert.
The concert celebrates the work of composer Bond and the release of Marguerite Scribante Professor of Piano Paul Barnes’ latest CD, “Illumination: Piano Works of Victoria Bond” on Albany Records.
“Collaborating with Paul Barnes on a number of projects has been, and continues to be, one of my greatest joys,” Bond said. “He is an artist of enormous scope, and his interests and skills are phenomenal. In addition to possessing a dazzling technique, he has a sensitivity that makes him a poet of the piano. After working together for so many years, he completely understands my music and my musical intentions. His performances have always been definitive, and his interpretations continue to grow and reveal new insights with each performance. Furthermore, he has introduced me to Byzantine Chant, which has become a great inspiration to me and has generated many compositions.”
Bond leads a multifaceted career as composer, conductor, lecturer, and artistic director of Cutting Edge Concerts. Her compositions have been praised by The New York Times as “powerful, stylistically varied and technically demanding,” and her conducting has been called “impassioned” by the Wall Street Journal and “full of energy and fervor” by The New York Times. Bond has composed eight operas, six ballets, two piano concertos and orchestral, chamber, choral and keyboard compositions.
Bond is also one of the featured guests at the Nebraska Music Teachers State Conference, which will be hosted by the Glenn Korff School of Music from Oct. 21-22.
The “Celebration of Victoria Bond” will include performances of Bond’s works by Barnes and several of his graduate students.
Madeline Rogers (DMA 2021) and DMA graduate student Florencia Zuloaga will perform Bond’s piano concerto “Black Light,” which Barnes originally recorded in 1997.
Graduate student Christian Johnson and baritone Trey Meyer (D.M.A. 2021; M.M. 2018) will then give the world premiere of “From an Antique Land.”
“The song cycle ‘From an Antique Land’ had its beginnings many years ago when I wrote it for soprano and piano,” Bond said. “It was performed in this version quite a few times, and then put away and not performed for many years. Recently, I had a request from a baritone for a song cycle, and I remembered this piece. Naturally, I would have to modify it for a baritone voice, but beyond this, I wanted to revise it. I had certainly grown as a composer since I wrote it, and I wanted to apply that maturity to this piece.”
Bond said the revisions were revealing to her.
“I now had the opportunity to distinguish between those musical ideas that had survived the test of time, and those that I had discarded,” she said. “The cycle took on a new life, building on the original material, adding to it and expanding it considerably. The final song, ‘On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven,’ is completely new. Originally I had ended with a different poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, but when a friend sent me this one, I knew that it had to be the final song of the cycle. It expresses what I believe is the powerful connection that we have with music.”
The final work on the program will be Barnes performing “Illuminations on Byzantine Chant,” representing more than 20 years of creative collaboration between Bond and Barnes. The piece includes “Potirion Sotiriu” (1999), “Simeron Kremate” (2019) and “Enite ton Kyrion” (2021).
“The ‘Black Light’ concerto, which is Victoria’s very first piano concerto, was the first recording project that I did as a very young faculty member here in the Glenn Korff School of Music,” Barnes said. “That’s when I wrote my first grants, and it turned out to be a spectacularly fun project. During that project Victoria found out that I was also this Greek Orthodox chanter. I chanted ‘Potirion Sotiriu,’ which is a very beautiful communion hymn, and she ended up writing a piece for me, and it’s the first movement of ‘Illuminations.’”
Barnes said Bond’s music is “wonderfully pianistic.”
“She has a relatively traditional approach to musical form, but it fits the piano like a glove,” Barnes said. “She’s always interested in exploring these new areas, and for her, Byzantine chant was a brand-new area that she had never explored. And she has this wonderful concert series, Cutting Edge Concerts, in New York that I’ve played on probably seven or eight times. She’s got everything going for her. She’s a wonderful conductor, and she’s an incredible composer and organizer. She’s a perfect role model, I think, to expose to our UNL students.”
Barnes’ CD “Illumination” includes “Illuminations on Byzantine Chant” for solo piano; “Ancient Keys” for piano and orchestra; “Black Light” for piano and orchestra; and Byzantine Chant, chanted by Barnes.
The CD was recorded in June in Kimball Recital Hall. Tom Larson, assistant professor of composition and emerging media and digital arts, served as sound engineer.