UltraViolet Ensemble Releases Two New Videos

The UltraViolet Ensemble has released two new videos featuring works by local composers.

Allison Balcetis, Department of Music - 12 December 2023

UltraViolet ensemble (l-r): Roger Admiral, Chenoa Anderson, Allison Balcetis and Mark Segger

UltraViolet ensemble (l-r): Roger Admiral, Chenoa Anderson, Allison Balcetis and Mark Segger. Image supplied.

Comprising pianist Roger Admiral (Lecturer, Augustana campus), percussionist Mark Segger (DMus composition student), flutist Chenoa Anderson, and saxophonist Allison Balcetis (Associate Lecturer, Department of Music), UltraViolet’s musicians are forward-thinking, virtuosic, dedicated artists. UltraViolet is named in honour of composer Dr. Violet Archer (Professor Emerita, Department of Music from 1962 through 1978), who encouraged her students to create their own opportunities for their music to be performed.

These two compositions were written at a time when we went through an instrument change as a group. With percussionist Mark Segger joining us, we had a new sound and new possibilities to explore!  Emilie LeBel and Nico Arnáez are both our good friends and stunning composers each in their own rights. Though we did record Emilie LeBel's piece as part of an audio-only album of hers, we wanted to mark the occasion of this new ensemble formation with a bit more show and tell about who we (now) are.  

... and the high leaves of the trees seemed to shimmer in the last of the sunlight's lingering touch of them ... by Emilie LeBel

[Allison's thoughts on the LeBel] 
Emilie's piece ... and the high leaves of the trees seemed to shimmer in the last of the sunlight's lingering touch of them ... (2022) affects me deeply. There are some techniques in the percussion at the beginning that sound just like dry leaves rustling gently, but the chords that flow in an off-kilter rhythm, with their rather traditional tonality, seem to tug at my nostalgic side. I almost always tear-up when I listen to this! As a nuts-and-bolts comment, I really love the sound of our vocal humming and the harmonica in this piece. The bass drums (visible in the wide shots of the video) are reverberating due to little audio speakers being placed on them. The speakers playing our sounds an octave or two lower than the original instil (in my opinion) a kind of heavy dread.

Después by Nicolás Arnáez

[Composer Nicolás Arnáez' thoughts about 'Después'] 
Después ("After" in English) was born as the sonification of a particular event in life. It almost composed itself, notes and rhythms were put on paper innately, purposely without much theoretical control.

I understand listening to non-cultural influenced aural stimuli as a positively selfish experience: we only can listen for ourselves, I cannot listen for you, and you cannot listen for me. Then, the meaning to what we listen to is to be processed personally, it only can trigger self-centered connections between sound and sense.

If this is true, you will never hear what composed Después, it is actually meaningless. Consequently, the opposite should be stimulating: what this could mean, and how you connect with it will be unrepeatable, one and only experience.

[Allison's thoughts about 'Después'] 
How I feel when I play and listen to Después is that it is a great kind of erratic energy! There are actually moments that remind me of a skewed version of composer Danny Elfman's work (The Simpsons, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, anything with Tim Burton), there are some completely overwhelming moments too. Particularly theatrical and overwhelming is when Mark Segger wails on the triangle inside the piano, amplifying its sound. Después, to me, is saturation, spilling-over, overflowing energy.

Upcoming Concerts:

  • Composition Area Concert featuring music composed by undergraduate and graduate composition students | Thursday, December 14, 7:30 p.m. | Convocation Hall
  • UltraViolet in concert | Friday, January 26, 7:30 p.m. | Convocation Hall

View the Music Events Calendar.