He grew up in a house filled with music, but David Crumb had no desire to be a composer.
“I was quite serious about cello performance,” said Crumb — and, in fact, had earned himself a slot doing that at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. Besides, Crumb’s father, George, already had made a name for himself as a composer.
Then came the day when an Eastman classmate said to Crumb, “I’m thinking about taking this composition for nonmajors class. Why don’t you take it too?“
Crumb did. And got hooked.
“I immediately got completely immersed in the idea of composing,” Crumb recalled in a phone interview with The Entertainer this week from his office at the University of Oregon.
Now, years later, Crumb is still at it — and, in fact, was commissioned by the Chintimini Chamber Music Festival in Corvallis to write a piece for this year’s festival. The piece, “Killer Shorts,” premieres at the festival’s second concert, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 4515 S.W. South Hills Road.
Last year’s festival scheduled “Black Angels,” a modern string quartet by George Crumb, so the commission to David Crumb, who teaches composition at Oregon, fit nicely into this year’s festival theme, “Generations.”
But, David Crumb explained, listeners expecting the younger Crumb to offer a slice of the aggressively modern music written by his father will be surprised: “Our music is very different,” he said. … “In some ways my music is perhaps not as avant-garde as my father’s.”
With that said, David Crumb doesn’t worry very much, if at all, about the comparisons listeners might draw between his music and his father’s.
“No, I really don’t,” he said. “I’ve sometimes joked that it’s really a problem that other people seem to have. … I like my dad’s music a lot. We’re just very different.”
“Killer Shorts,” as the name suggests, is a short piece, about six or seven minutes, written for the flute, cello and piano. Crumb knew that Catherine Peterson (the wife of festival artistic director Erik Peterson) is a well-known flute player, and kept that in mind as he started working on the piece.
Expect some radical shifts in character between the movements, Crumb said — and even a touch or two of musical humor.
“The title is a little funny,” Crumb said. “This one is a little tongue-in-cheek.”
And, even though Tuesday’s performance marks the first time the piece has been publicly performed, the performers (who include Jason Duckles on cello and Monica Ohuchi on piano) won’t need to worry too much about Crumb lurking around during rehearsals.
“Maybe not the first rehearsal,” he said. “They’re trying to work it out. It can be a little annoying to have a composer hanging out.”
CHINTIMINI CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Here’s the concert schedule for this year’s Chintimini Chamber Music Festival. All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.
Concert No. 1: Friday, June 15, First Congregational United Church of Christ, 4515 S.W. West Hills Road. J.S. Bach, Concerto for three violins in D major; C.P.E. Bach, Flute concerto in D minor; J.S. Bach, Four arias with violin obbligato; J.C. Bach (attributed), Cello concerto in C minor.
Concert No. 2: Tuesday, June 19, First Congregational. Ginastera, “Danzas Argentinas“; Piazzolla, Tango etudes for solo flute Nos. 5, 4 and 6; Ginastera, Pampeana No. 2 for cello and piano; David Crumb, “Killer Shorts“; Lili Boulanger, “Nocturne and Cortege“; Copland, “Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson.“
Concert No. 3: Friday, June 22, First Congregational. Franck, Sonata for piano and violin in A major; Chausson, Concerto for violin and piano quintet.
Concert No. 4: Sunday, June 24, First Congregational. Haydn, Quartet in D minor “Fifths“; Beethoven, Quartet Op 18 No. 2; Mendelssohn, Octet in E flat major, Op. 30.
Concert No. 5: Tuesday, June 26, Whiteside Theatre, 361 S.W. Madison Ave. Vivaldi, “The Four Seasons“; Piazzolla, “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.“
Tickets are $20 for a single concert and $75 for a season ticket. Students in high school and college are free with an ID. Younger students accompanied by an adult are free. SNAP participants can purchase up to two adult tickets for $5 each by presenting their Oregon Trail card at the box office at each concert; these tickets are not available at outlets or via mail.
To order tickets by mail, send an order and a check to Chintimini Chamber Music, 9083 N.W. Lessie Place, Corvallis, OR 97330. Indicate how many tickets you want and for which concerts. Include your name, street address and a phone number in event of questions.
Tickets also can be purchased at Gracewinds Music, Grass Roots Books & Music, Troubadour Music and WineStyles in Corvallis and at Sid Stevens Jewelers in Albany.
OTHER CHINTIMINI EVENTS:
“Tango @ Tyee,” featuring Erin Furbee’s Tango Pacifico, is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 23 at Tyee Winery, 26355 Greenberry Road, south of Corvallis. Tickets for dinner, wine and the concert are $35. Tickets including just the wine and the concert are $25. Tickets for those under 21 are $10. The event includes some tango lessons with instructor Peter Gysegem.
This season’s concerts for children are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20 at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, 645 N.W. Monroe Ave. The concerts feature a piece inspired by Hans Christian Andersen set to music composed by David Mullikan. The event is free.
In addition, many of the musicians featured in this festival plan to perform informally at the Corvallis Farmers Market on Saturday, June 16.