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Paul Bowman

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Trained by Sharon Isbin at the Manhattan School of Music, classical guitarist Paul Bowman is an adroit interpreter of various modern sensibilities--too bad the 20th-century repertoire for his instrument is so limited. For this recital--part of a series of faculty performances at the Sherwood Conservatory of Music--Bowman has compiled a program focusing on New York's uptown school of composition. Clustered around Columbia University and Bowman's alma mater, the uptowners include the likes of Elliott Carter and Otto Luening. Unlike their improvisation-minded downtown counterparts, most of them hold prestigious academic posts and are still deep into musical rationalism. Their leader, Milton Babbitt, is represented on this program by his 1984 Composition for Guitar, which lays jazzy overtones over six-part pitch polyphony. Synchronisms #10 for guitar and tape by Mario Davidovsky, the Argentina-born doyen of the electronic movement now at Columbia, is similarly methodical. Roger Reynolds's The Behaviour of Mirrors is quintessentially uptown: an algorithm breaks down thematic phrases and then reconstitutes them. Guitar solos by Carter and Luening are included too, of course. Ursula Mamlok's Five Intermezzi for Guitar takes the prize for serendipity: she sketched three of these in the mid-80s for Bowman while he was attending Manhattan but didn't complete the work until 1990, when she happened to run into Bowman at a conference. The program's only nonuptown work is Three Gilder Songs for mezzo and guitar by Gyula Fekete, a Hungarian now studying for his PhD at Northwestern. Set to texts by the obscure 19th-century American poet Richard Watson Gilder, the deliberately romantic songs will be premiered by Bowman and his wife Bonita Hyman, whose honeyed voice is always a treat. Friday, 7:30 PM, Sherwood Conservatory of Music, 1014 S. Michigan; 427-6267.

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