Professor Kenneth Fuchs nominated in classical compendium for album performed by London orchestra
Kenneth Fuchs, a professor of musical composition at UConn, has received earned his fourth Grammy nomination, this one for Best Classical Compendium.
Kenneth Fuchs, professor of musical composition at UConn, has received a Grammy nomination in the Best Classical Compendium category for his album “Piano Concerto ‘Spiritualist’/Poems of Life/ Glacier/Rush.”
In a phone interview Friday afternoon, Fuchs said he hopes that “recognition of this stature” will lead these works to be performed by more orchestras.
“I’m pleased that it got nominated for classical compendium, since that really is a nomination for everyone involved with it.”
In his UConn compositions classes, Fuchs said he teaches students to “advocate for your own music.” Modern composers, he says, need to be self-promoters and entrepreneurs.
“To do this album, I had to raise the money, schedule the orchestra, book Abbey Road [studios in London], make the travel arrangements… That’s what orchestra composers have to know how to do these days.”
The “Spiritualist” album, consisting of four separate multipart Fuchs compositions performed by the London Symphony Or- chestra, was released Aug. 10 on the NAXOS American Classics label. It’s Fuchs’ fifth CD with the London Symphony. For this recording, the orchestra is conducted by JoAnn Falletta (a classmate of Fuchs’ at the Juilliard School in New York in the 1970s). Soloists include electric guitarist D.J. Sparr, alto saxophonist Timothy McAllister, pianist Jeffrey Biegel and countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen.
The music ranges from the sweeping three-movement “Spiritualist,” which draws comparisons to the work of Aaron Copland, to the operatic “Poems of Life,” which includes sections titled “Gary Died,” “Just Like That,” “Time Slips Away: and “The Retreat” and is drawn from the poetry of Judith G. Wolf.
“When we were putting it together, we realized it was an odd mix of repertoire,” Fuchs said. “There’s a concerto for piano, which is a very traditional form. Then there’s a concerto for electric guitar, which is highly unusual, a concerto for alto saxophone and a song cycle for a countertenor. It really is an oddball mix. But that’s the recording’s strength.”
Fuchs said after working with the London Symphony Orchestra on five albums over a 15-year period, “I often think of the LSO when recording orchestral music.”
“With the latest release of recent orches-
tral works Kenneth Fuchs reaffirms his stature as one of the US’s very most distinguished living composers,” reads a review of the CD at classicalmodernmusic.blogspot.com. … All of the music literally lifts itself out of your speakers and enters your musical self in ways increasingly riveting the more you listen.”
Fuchs says the Naxos label routinely submits its recordings for Grammy consideration. This is Fuchs’ fourth Grammy nomination. His first album with the London Symphony Orchestra, “An American Place/Eventide/ Out of the Dark” in 2005, earned two nominations; and 2012’s “Atlantic Riband/American Rhapsody/Divinum Mysterium/Concerto Grosso/Discover the Wild” was nominated in the “Classical Producer of the Year” category.
Fuchs is a versatile composer who has created works for orchestras, bands, choruses and chamber ensembles. He and playwright Lanford Wilson have collaborated on three chamber musicals. His operatic monodama “Falling Man,” featuring text by novelist Don DeLillo adapted by the late Connecticutbased poet J.D. McClatchy, was performed at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in 2016. The composer said he is currently exploring subjects for a full-length opera.
Fuchs came to UConn in 2005 to head the department of music. He served in that position for three years. He now teaches classes that cover composition, arranging and orchestration. His work has regularly been performed at UConn recitals and symphony concerts, though he said there are no upcoming live performances of his works in Connecticut this season.
Fuchs is currently working on a piece that will be played by the U.S. Coast Guard Band, which is based in New London.
Grammy winners will be announced Feb. 10.
Cheshire teacher charged with assaulting Simsbury officers
A Cheshire elementary school teacher was arrested after a clash that police said injured three Simsbury officers.
Byron Pierce, whois listed as an art teacher on Doolittle Elementary School’s website, was arrested Nov. 30 and charged with three counts of assault on public safety personnel and one count each of breach of peace and interfering with police/resisting arrest, police said.
According to police, officers responded to a complaint about a person who might have been intoxicated while sitting behind the wheel of a car at 10 Winslow Place, a venue for weddings and other receptions. The man was identified as Byron Pierce.
Police did not elaborate on what happened, but said Pierce “interfered with the investigation and resisted arrest.” Three officers were treated for injuries that police only described as “non-life threatening.”
A school official declined to say Thursday whether Pierce had been placed on administrative leave, saying it was a personnel matter. Neither the school’s principal nor the superintendent could be reached Friday morning.
Court records show Pierce was convicted of operating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and sentenced to probation on April 29, 2011 in Superior Court in New Britain and on Oct. 7, 2016 in Superior Court in New London.
In addition to the DUI convictions, he also was convicted of first-degree reckless endangerment, the records show. He was sentenced to two years of probation in those cases and 18 months of probation in the New London case.
— Christine Dempsey, Daniela Altimari
Boy brings pot to Hartford school, dad arrested
HARTFORD — A city father was arrested after his 6-year-old was caught showing fellow students a bag of the dad’s marijuana in class, police said.
Officers were called to the Global Communications Academy at 85 Edwards St. about 3 p.m. Thursday after a report that a student had a controlled substance, police said. The bag was seized and both parents were contacted.
The child’s father “freely admitted the marijuana belonged to him” and was ar- rested, police said.
Jeffery Faniel Sr., 37, of Garden Street, was charged with risk of injury to a minor and possession of cannabis, they said. He was released on a written promise to appear in Superior Court.
The police department’s Special Investigations Division and the state Department of Children and Families were notified of the arrest.
— Christine Dempsey
Probe continues in Vernon fire that displaced families
Officials said they continue to investigate a fire in the Rockville section of Vernon earlier this week that displaced about a dozen people.
No one was injured in the fire in a three-family house at 121 East Main St., which was reported about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Fire Chief Steve Eppler said. The occupants got out safely on their own.
The building was declared uninhabitable, said William Call, deputy fire marshal.
The third-floor apartment, where the fire started, has the most damage, Eppler said. The apartments on the lower floors have water and some smoke damage, but no flame damage.
It’s too early to say what caused the fire, Call said.
— Christine Dempsey