University of Pittsburgh
February 17, 2003

Pitt Music Professor to Be Composer-in-Residence With Toronto's Ensemble Noir

Contact: 

Sharon Blake

412-624-4364

Cell: 412-277-6926

February 18, 2003

PITTSBURGH Akin Euba, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh, will serve from Feb. 21 to March 2 as composer-in-residence with the Ensemble Noir, a group of Toronto's finest professional musicians who perform concerts of contemporary music that reflect cultural diversity.

Euba will be one of several distinguished international artists participating in the Ensemble Noir's Diversity Project, which celebrates African Heritage Month and its theme of diversity with an emphasis on the music of Africa and diaspora. Details of Euba's residency follow.

• Feb. 24, 8 p.m., Music Gallery at St. George the Martyr, 197 John St.

This program, called Three Perspectives, is a concert for tuba and chamber ensemble, featuring Euba on the piano performing his composition Highlife for trumpet, saxophone, tuba, and piano.

• Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m., University of Toronto, Edward Johnson Building,

80 Queen's Park Crescent, Room 330. Free lecture by Euba on new trends in African music called Bridging Musicology and Composition.

• Feb. 28, 8 p.m., Music Gallery at St. George the Martyr, 197 John St.

A concert by the chamber ensemble Ergo, featuring Ritual Dance from Euba's music-drama Orunmila's Voices. Ensemble Noir's artistic director, Bongani Ndodana, will conduct this arrangement for two flutes, clarinet, two percussionists, violin, viola, and cello.

• March 1, 8 p.m., Music Gallery at St. George the Martyr, 197 John St.

Opera soprano Dawn Padmore performs an aria from Euba's opera Chaka, along with songs from Africa and diaspora.

• March 2, 8 p.m., Music Gallery at St. George the Martyr, 197 John St.

A concert by the Ensemble Noir, featuring opera singer Dawn Padmore, who will perform two arias from Orunmila's Voices.

• March 6, noon, Glenn Gould Studio, the Ensemble Noir will perform Euba's instrumental arrangement Six Yoruba Folk Songs. CBC Radio's Music Around Us is recording the concert for broadcast.

Euba, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, learned both Western classical music and Yoruba music as a child and went on to study composition and ethnomusicology at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he earned the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in music. Later, he earned a Ph.D degree in ethnomusicology from the University of Ghana.

His music, a blend of the African and European cultures, uses modern techniques of Western classical composition as well as the static harmony of Yoruba drumming.

In 1970, Euba gained international recognition for introducing the term "African Pianism," a form of music that, according to Euba, "derives its characteristics from African percussion music such as bell patterns, drumming, xylophone, and Mbira music." Euba has written four books, worked as a research scholar at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, and was the founder and director of the Centre for Intercultural Music Arts in London.

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