Facing Fire is an exhibition that explores western wildfires as omen and elemental force, as metaphor and searing personal experience. Fire tends to spread. So, too, does the meaning of fire. Sixteen artists bring us photographs, paintings, drawings, ceramic, and video as they face fire, sift its aftermath, and struggle with the implications. UCR ARTS is collaborating UCR’s Department of Music to present original compositions created by students and faculty around artworks found in the exhibition.

The faculty and student composers in the UCR Music Department work in a variety of media drawn from influences that range from hip-hop to experimental electronic music. The approaches for each piece within the Facing Fire project are highly individualized. Some works are fully scored compositions for classical instruments, others use external source material and text taken from other mediums, such as video game soundtracks and news reports. Their compositions are a testament to the importance of expressing one’s creative impulses during times of uncertainty and isolation.

About the composer/composition:

Bob Bozonelos is a Ph.D. student in Musicology at UCR and a recipient of the Dean´s distinguished fellowship award, Grad-Quant Digital Humanities Fellowship, and a Gluck Fellow of the Arts. Bob holds a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance from California State San Bernardino and a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of California Irvine.

Mass, Homage to Arvo Pärt” is a piano trio for violin and cello. This piece was composed in 2019 for a seminar in composition under the guidance of Dr. Dana Kaufman. This composition was chosen for UCR ARTS Facing Fire virtual exhibit to reflect Luther Gerlach’s “Burning Bush” photograph of a charred, desolate landscape through long sustained sounds juxtaposed against a minimalist background.

Image: Luther Gerlach, Burning Bush, Unique Silver Gelatin Print, 2017, Courtesy of the artist