LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Kushell Sinfonia under the direction of Christopher Para, associate professor of music at Bucknell, will give the premiere performance of Jackson Hill's second and third symphonies Saturday, Jan. 28, at 8 p.m., in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University. Admission to the performance is free. Tickets are not required.
Symphonies No. 2 and 3 are different in character from Hill's Symphony No. 1 (1990), which is strongly Japanese in flavor in its light, transparent scoring, pentatonic harmonies and suspended sense of time. The two later symphonies are both highly constructivist and rely on tight musical structures as well as thematic and motivic interaction and argument.
Symphony No. 3 was composed in 1996-97 and is the most tightly constructivist of the three symphonies. Symphony No. 2 was begun in 1989 and completed in 1990, but significantly revised in 1997, and again in 2005.
Hill was a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, earning a Ph.D. in musicology in 1970. A composer from the age of 14, he studied composition with Iain Hamilton at Duke University and Roger Hannay.
He has served as a choral assistant at Exeter College, Oxford, and as a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge University. He studied Buddhist chant as a Fulbright Fellow in Japan in the 1970s, and Japanese traditional music has been a strong influence in his work.
He has received numerous awards and prizes for his music, which includes choral, solo and chamber music, as well as a chamber opera and his three symphonies.
Hill's music has been widely performed in Europe, Asia and the Americas, including performances at the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Chautauqua and Edinburgh festivals. There have also been performances at summer festivals in France, Japan and Argentina, as well as broadcasts on NPR, the BBC, French, Swiss and Canadian national radio services.
Recent commissions have come from Lichfield Cathedral in England, Chanticleer, and The King's Singers. His composition "Voices of Autumn" was part of Chanticleer's Grammy nomination in 2003.
Hill taught at Duke University before joining the Bucknell faculty in1968. He has served as associate dean, Presidential Professor, and chair of the department of music.
The premiere performance of Hill's second and third symphonies is supported by funds from the Kushell music endowment of Bucknell University. The Kushell Sinfonia comprises Bucknell faculty, students and professional performers from throughout the region.
Story posted Jan. 12, 2006