CNM Ensemble on Tour
Setnor School of Music, Syracuse University
Thursday, March 29, 2001, 8:00 pm
performing at the
Society of Composers 35th National Conference
Hosted by the Society for New Music, Neva Pilgrim, director
March 29-31, 2001
|The Walls of Morlais Castle||Hilary TANN|
Mark Weiger, oboe
Kristie Tigges, soprano
|Concertino for oboe and ensemble||Bernard RANDS|
Mark Weiger, oboe
Joan Blazich, clarinet
|Sul Filo dei Tramonti||James DASHOW|
Kristie Tigges, soprano
|The Desires of Ghosts||Andy WAGGONER|
Antonio Guimaraes, flute
Notes & Bios
The Walls of Morlais Castle
The composition was composed in 1998 in a response to a commission from the Tritonis Trio (flute, guitar, cello). It was revised in the spring of 2000 for a performance by members of the Ovid Ensemble (oboe, viola, cello) in the Presteigne Festival (August 29, 2000).
Morlais Castle, near the composers' home in South Wales, was destroyed by the Welsh in 1314. Only ruins remain. In fact, in many places, it is almost impossible to tell whether a particular mound of earth and stones is part of the rocky, bare landscape or part of the old castle walls.
At one point a protruding piece of wall is evident. The rhythmical placement of the stone bricks in the partial wall lies in contrast to the haphazard placement of the rocks in the surrounding scree. The composition was inspired by this contrast -- a contrast between ruined castle walls and a landscape naturally strewn with rocks. Within this image there is also an implied contrast between the hustle and bustle of the former castle and it spresent bleak appearance, where the site of the castle is practically indistinguishable from the natural contours of the high moorland.
From her childhood in the coal-mining valleys of South Wales, Hilary Tann (b. 1947) developed the love of nature which has inspired all her work, whether written for performance in the United States or for her home in Wales.
A deep interest in the music of Japan led to study of the ancient Japanese vertical bamboo flute (the shakuhachi) from 1985 to 1991 and to a residency at Kansai Gaidai, near Kyoto, in the fall of 1990. A number of works reflect this interest, most especially the large orchestral piece, From Afar, premiered by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (14 October, 1996) which received its European premiere by the B.B.C. National Orchestra of Wales, 12 January 2000.
Since 1980, Hilary Tann has lived south of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, where she chairs the Department of Performing Arts at Union College, Schenectady. She holds degrees in composition from the University of Wales at Cardiff and from Princeton University. From 1982 to 1995 she was active in the International League of Women Composers and served in a number of Executive Committee positions. Her music is published exclusively by Oxford University Press.
Recent years have seen a series of concerto commissions -- for violin (premiered by the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra), saxophone (premiered by the university of Arizona Symphony Orchestra), and cello (premiered by the Newark, Delaware Symphony Orchestra). This month, Hilary Tann has been invited to be Composer-in-Residence with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra prior to a performance of her 1989 concert overture, The Open Field -- In memoriam Tiananmen Square. This July, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra will premiere a new work commissioned for the last night of the Welsh Proms in Cardiff, Wales.
Tears -- is a setting of the Whitman poem by the same name and created for the Connecticut College Arts Initiative tribute to Whitman.
Tears! tears! tears!
In the night, in solitude, tears;
On the white shore dripping, dripping, suck'd in by the sand;
Tears - not a start shining - all dark and desolate;
Moist tears from the eyes of a muffled head:
- O who is that ghost? - that form in the dark, with tears?
what shapeless lump is that, bent, crouch'd there on the sand?
Steaming tears - sobbing tears - throes, choked with wild cries:
O storm, embodied, rising, careering, with swift steps along the beach;
O wild and dismal night storm, with wind! O belching and desperate!
O shade, so sedate and decorous by day, with calm countenance and regulated pace;
But away at night, as you fly, none looking - O then the un-loosen'd ocean,
Of tears! tears! tears!
Noel Zahler (b. 1951, New York City) studied music composition with Milton Babbitt, Jack Beeson, Chou Wen-chung, Franco Donatoni, and Henry Weinberg. Dr. Zahler has earned degrees from Columbia University, Princeton University, L'Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Siena, Italy), and C.U.N.Y. Queens College. His awards and prizes include a National Endowment for the Arts Consortium Commission, a Fulbright/Hayes Fellowship to Italy, two McDowell Colony Fellowships, a Connecticut Commission on the Arts Individual Artists Grant, and a Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) prize for the sound score to the computer-realized video Gothic Tempest. He is a fellow of the Associated Kyoto Program, the recipient of an Italian National Research Council Award, a New York State Council for the Arts grant in support of recordings, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarship.
Dr. Zahler's compositions include a wide range of vocal and instrumental works as well as electro-acoustic and multi-media works. His compositions are published by Associated Music Publishers (G. Schirmer, Inc.), APNM music publishers, and American Composers Edition. Recordings of his music: Region I, Four Songs of Departure and Harlequin are available on the OPUS ONE record label. Recordings of his Trio for piano, violin, and violoncello and reCollections, for guitar can be found on Neuma Recordings (Harmonia Mundi). His compositions are played throughout this country and in Europe. In addition, Dr. Zahler is the co-author of two computer softare programs, the Artificially Intelligent Computer Performer and Music Matrix.
Dr. Zahler is presently Professor of Music and Director of the Cummings Electronic and Digital Sound Studio (CEDS) at Connecticut College, New London, CT. His writings on and about music include three articles in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, six articles in the New Grove Dictionary of Music in the United States, a critical edition of Charles Ives' The Unanswered Question (Peer Southern Music Publishers, 1986), and numerous articles on music theory and composition, artificial intelligence and music, and computer music.
Concertino for oboe and ensemble
Concertino for solo oboe and ensemble (1998) is in one continuous movement divided into two principal formal sections: the first of some five minutes duration and the second of approximately twice that length. Each of the principal sections consists of several sub-sections; for example the work begins with an extended, cadenza-like oboe solo which exposes the material from which the entire piece is generated. The soloist is then joined by the harp in a passage which leads to the engagement of the entire ensemble in a fast, strident, complex and virtuosic development of the initial ideas.
The second large section is made up of alternating slow, lyrical music (mainly in the high register of the ensemble) and progressively quicker, dramatic music culminating in a return to the fast, strident, complex and virtuosic character found at the end of the first principal section.
Concertino was commissioned by the Philadelphia Network for New Music. The premiere performance was given by Richard Woodhams (solo oboe) and the Network for New Music Ensemble in Philadelphia on November 15, 1998.
The music of Bernard Rands (b. 1934, Sheffield, England) has established him as a major figure among his generation of composers. Through more than one hundred published works written for a wide range of performance genre, the originality and distinctive character of his music has emerged -- a "plangent lyricism"; a "dramatic intensity"; a "musicality and clarity of idea" and a "sophisticated and elegant technical mastery" -- qualities he developed from his early studies with Dallapiccola, Maderna and Berio. His works (commissioned by soloists, ensembles and orchestras) are regularly performed and broadcast in many countries.
Since emigrating to the United States in 1975 and becoming a citizen in 1983, Rands has been honored by awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, B.M.I., the Guggenheim Foundation, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fromm Foundation. Mr. Rands' work Canti del Sole for tenor and orchestra, premiered by Paul Sperry and the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Zubin Mehta was awarded the 1984 Pulitzer Prize in Music. His work Le Tambourin won the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award in 1986.
Most recent commissions include orchestral works for the new Suntory concert hall in Tokyo; for the New York Philharmonic's 100th anniversary season and for the Philadelphia orchestra celebrating the 100th anniversary of Carnegie Hall; a work for soprano solo, chorus and orchestra for the B.B.C. London; new works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony; for the group for contemporary music, New York; the Mendelssohn and Ying String Quartets; for the Robert Page singers, Cleveland; an a cappella chorus work commissioned jointly by Musica Sacra, the Dale Warland Singers and Chanticleer in addition to many commissions for solo works from internationally recognized performers.
As a conductor, Rands is recognized by composers, performers, audiences and critics for his performances of a large and diverse repertoire of contemporary music with ensembles and orchestras around the world. He was composer in Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra between 1989 and 1996.
Bernard Rands is the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Composition at Harvard University.
WarHammer (1999) was written for Michael Burritt, Director of Percussion Studies at Northwestern University. It was premiered by Shanon Wood at Interlochen, summer of 1999. Like much of McCarthy's marimba music, this piece was inspired by the music of Frank Zappa played by "Mothers of Invention" marimbist, Ruth Underwood.
The music of Daniel McCarthy (b. 1955, Onekoma, Michigan), "writes David Patrick Stearns of U.S.A. Today, "Is intriguing, inviting, shimmering ... with the vigor of pop music and the spontaneity of jazz." The Music Connoisseur proclaims him as "one of the hot young composers on the contemporary music scene ... contemporary in the best sense of the word." Philip George of 20th Century Music Magazine writes, "[McCarthy's music is] sassy and foreboding ... refreshing and kicky. One has the sense that we're dealing with various manifestations of one large work. It's called style." With diverse influences from Stan Kenton, Don Ellis, and Frank Zappa to Mahler and Stravinsky, McCarthy's music is harmonically eclectic, rhythmically exciting, and dramatic.
For his contribution to new music for the percussion orchestra and marimba, McCarthy has received three nominations for the Pulitzer Prize and two for the Grawemeyer Award. He has received composition awards from BMI, the National Endowment for the Arts, Indiana Arts Commission, The Ohio Arts Council, Percussive Arts Society, International Association of Jazz Educators, and the National Federation of Music Clubs. With over 57 published works, 15 recordings and 386 performances of his music in 1999-2000, Daniel received the Indiana State University Distinguished Research and Creativity Award in 1998.
Dr. McCarthy's music is recorded and performed by The Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, the Arriana Quartet, The London Metropolitan Symphony, The Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Rhythm & Brass, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, The Western Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, World Youth Symphony, American marimba soloist Michael Burritt, The Cleveland and Dallas Jazz orchestras, and many individual artists throughout the United States and Europe.
McCarthy is currently chair of the Composition and Theory Section at the University of Akron School of Music. He is the founder and Director of the American new Arts Festival in Akron, Ohio, founder and former director of the Midwest Composers' Forum, and former Co-chair of the Indiana State University Contemporary Music Festival. During the summer, McCarthy is a resident composer at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Nuit was composed as a musical diary, without any pre-compositional plan, in a period between April and October 1999. Since I work primarily with abstractions (colors), I had to wait until these abstractions assumed the role of an object, and then I assembled the form. The title is derived from the French word for the night -- since I was working on this piece almost exclusively at night. It is also a reference to Nuit the goddess of the "ever unknown" who bends over Hadit (the ever known, the winged globe):
Above, the gemmed azure is
The naked splendour of Nuit;
She bends in ecstasy to kiss
The secret ardours of Hadit.
Now, therefore, I am known to ye by my name Nuit, and to him by a secret name which I will give him when at last he knoweth me. Since I am Infinite Space, and the Infinite Stars thereof, do ye also thus. Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt.
Aleister Crowley, The Book of Law
Nuit was premiered in January 2000 at the California Institute of the Arts.
Dimitri Papageorgiou was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. He holds a degree in composition from the University of Music and Dramatic at Graz, where he studied with A. Dobrowolski , who introduced him to the techniques of New Music, and H. M. Pressl who taught him aleatoric counterpoint and introduced him to the work of Hauer. He graduated in 1991 with special distinction and received the "Doris Wolf Prize" of the Ministry of Culture for outstanding academic and artistic achievement.
In 1991, Papageorgiou returned to Greece where he has taught composition and music theory until 1998. In 1998, he was awarded an Iowa Fellowship to attend the University of Iowa and decided to leave his teaching position in Greece and move to the United States. In Iowa, he studied composition with D. M. Jenni, Jeremy Dale Roberts and, currently, David Gompper.
Papageorgiou's creative output includes works for chamber, choral and orchestral music. He also composed music for the theater in 1990 when he was commissioned by the Austrian National Radio and the Forum Stadtpark Graz to write music for the theater play "Mein Schrank riecht nach Tier," by W. Grond and L. Cejpec. His music has been performed in several public concerts in Austria, Greece and the United States. Several of his works have been recorded and broadcasted by the Austrian National Radio. In 1997, Undr II for orchestra was recorded for the Third Program of the Greek National Radio. In 1998, Papageorgiou was invited by the Center for New Music to Iowa City to take part in the Festival of Contemporary Greek Composers. He has already been active in the Midwest Composers Symposium, where his compositions Tasten for piano and Kylang for contrabass and tape were performed in 1998 and 1999 respectively. Most recently, in January 2000, his composition Nuit was performed at the SCI conference of Region VII at CalArts.
Sul Filo Dei Tramonti, 2 liriche dalla Mont
The composition is written for soprano, piano and electronic sounds on poetry by Gian Giacomo Menon. This program note is even more difficult than usual to write, first because of the extremely sad circumstances during its composing: The poet passed away before I could finish the piece and we don't know, due to his condition during the last weeks of his life, whether he was aware that I was setting his poetry to music. This is something that I had wanted to do for many years after meeting him in Udine in the late 1980s. Second, because Menon's poetry is very difficult to translate due to his profoundly unique mastery of Italian nuance, and his wonderful habit of inventing his own words, on occasion, to make Italian express what "he" wanted the language to express. And what he wanted was and is a beautifully introspective lyricism that brings together disparate images, sounds, thought-feelings into a single poetic vision saturated with an exquisite intimacy of expression and sensitivity.
And that is what the music tries to capture as well, making that mix of word and sound in order to generate a transformation of both into something new, a kind of interpretation by transformation, or better, by translation into an entirely different dimension.
The title of the piece translates, approximately, into "On the Edge of Sunsets", but the multiple meanings in Italian of the word "Filo" are not captured by "edge"; among other things, there is the image of that line of light on the water when you see the sun set into the sea (or lake, or pond) that always stretches from the setting sun straight towards you no matter where you walk; and there is that bright horizontal line the setting sun lights up for an instant at the edge of the sea before disappearing; and there is the sense of the sea itself evoked by all this, and the end of day, of many days ("tramonti" is plural), the peace of evening, a touch of sadness, all this in just four words.
Technically, the piece explores yet other aspects of the composer's Dyad System, which again is used to elaborate the basic pitch structure and generate the electronic sounds. The latter are only stereophonic here, and it was an interesting challenge to try to create different senses of perceived depth for the electronic sounds with respect to the fixed presence of the soprano and the piano. The structural plan of the music is a close variation on the structure of the poetry, which is particularly clear in the second of the two selections.
The electronic sounds were all generated by the composer's MUSIC30, and elaborated with various signal processing procedures.
James Dashow (b. 1944, Chicago) has had commissions, awards and grants from the Bourges International Festival of Experimental Music, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Linz Ars Electronica Festival, the Fromm Foundation, the Biennale di Venezia, the USA National Endowment for the Arts, RAI (Italian National Radio), the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Rockefeller Foundation, Il Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte (Montepulciano, Italy), the Koussevitzky Foundation, Prague Musica Nova, and the Harvard Musical Association of Boston. Most recently, he was awarded the prestigious Prix Magistere at the 30th Festival International de Musique et d'Art Sonore Electroacoustiques in Bourges.
A pioneer in the field of computer music, Dashow was one of the founders of the Centro di Sonologia Computazionale at the University of Padova, and has taught at MIT, Princeton University and the Centro para la Difusion di Music Contemporanea in Madrid; he lectures extensively in the U.S. and Europe. He served as the first vice-president of the Computer Music Association, and was for many years the producer of the radio program "Il Forum Internazionale di Musica Contemporanea" for Italian National Radio.
He has written theoretical and analytical articles for Perspectives of New Music the Computer Music Journal, La Musica, and Interface. He is the author of the MUSIC30 language for digital sound synthesis. His music has been recorded on WERGO (Mainz), Capstone Records (New York), Neuma (Boston), RCA-BMG (Roma), ProViva (Munich), Scarlatti Classica (Roma), CRI (New York), and Pan (Roma).
Dashow makes his home in the Sabine Hills north of Rome.
The Desires of Ghosts
The Desires of Ghosts (1999) was composed for Fred Cohen and the ensemble Currents. The title reflects the rather sudden and unexpected resurfacing, during the work's composition, of some long-buried memories of the paranormal (whatever that is). The piece had gone without a title through several successive revisions of its opening minutes, and was on its way simply to being labeled Piece for 5 Players, when its ghostly character began to assert itself. I was intrigued by the idea of taking a ghost's-eye view of the world, and found in the music some suggestion of what I felt were the two things the disembodied might want most: love, and the ability to represent themselves, to articulate their feelings, clearly. These, at least, were what I found most pressing in the memories that had once again opened themselves me; it seemed to me that my own encounters with the ineffable had radiated a kind of inchoate warmth, and that my inability wholly to recall them now, after thirty years, was evidence of the spectral need I heard floating in this music.
Andrew Waggoner (b. 1960, New Orleans) grew up in New Orleans, Minneapolis and Atlanta. He studied composition at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, continuing his education at the Eastman School of Music and Cornell University, where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1986. For several years he was an announcer and producer at WXXI-FM, the National Public Radio affiliate in Rochester, New York. He has also worked as an independent producer at WNYC FM in New York City. Mr. Waggoner has received grants from ASCAP, Yaddo, The New York State Council on the Arts, Meet the Composer, the New York Federation of Music Clubs, the Eastman School of Music and Syracuse University. His music has been played by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Denver Symphony, the Syracuse Symphony, the Cassatt Quartet, the Corigliano Quartet, The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, The California EAR UNIT, pianist Gloria Cheng, and the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic of Zlin, Czech Republic. His work has been recorded for and appears on Vienna Modern Masters and CRI, and is published by MMB Music. In addition to his concert works, Mr. Waggoner has also composed extensively for theatre and for film. He is currently Director of the Syracuse University School of Music, and is Co-Director of the Seal Bay Festival of American Chamber Music in Vinalhaven, Maine.