Pro­fes­sor’s Grammy

Pro­fes­sor Ken­neth Fuchs nom­i­nated in clas­si­cal com­pen­dium for al­bum per­formed by London or­ches­tra

Hartford Courant - - Front Page - By Christo­pher Arnott [email protected]

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 clas­si­calmod­ern­mu­ … 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




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