Verso, Bunch explains, was written expressly for Peterson to perform at the Chintimini Chamber Music Festival in Oregon during the fests tenth anniversary (Peterson is the fests artistic director); its name comes from the Latin word that refers to turning a page, which seemed to fit the occasion. String Circle, on the other hand, is an exercise based on American vernacular music and its many different fiddle styles, from old-timey bluegrass to Texas swing. Not surprising, considering that Bunch, who attended operas with his mother from the age of three, is also a member of the urban bluegrass group Citigrass and loves improvisation as much as he does the notated page.
Composing, he says, is like cooking: If I eat interesting ethnic food, I become curious about how it was made and want to experiment and see if I can figure our how to do it at home. That act of incorporation is what keeps his work fresh and interesting.
See Kenji Bunch tonight at 7 p.m. at the Denver School of the Arts Concert Hall, 7111 East Montview Boulevard; for advance tickets, $10 to $12, go to the Performances tab at http://dsa.dpsk12.org. Bunch will also premiere his Piano Concerto with the CSO, under the direction of Jeffrey Kahane, May 20 through 22. Visit www.coloradosymphony.org.
Tue., May 17, 7 p.m., 2011