Sunday, April 03, 2011, 7:30 p.m.
University Capitol Center Recital Hall (map)
Remembering William Albright
Guest Pianist, Robert Satterlee
|Two Etudes (Homage to William Albright) *
|bodacious gaits *||Doug OPEL|
|La follia II: Lacuna *||Marilyn SHRUDE|
|Vendaval *||Gabriela Lena FRANK|
|torn *||Evan CHAMBERS|
|Rag latino *||William BOLCOM|
|Prelude and Toccata *||Evan HAUSE|
|— Intermission —|
|Five Chromatic Dances
Procession and Rounds
Pianist Robert Satterlee has developed a reputation as an accomplished and versatile solo recitalist and chamber musician. He plays regularly throughout the United States, delighting audiences with his incisive and imaginative performances. He has appeared on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in Chicago, San Francisco's Old First Concert Series, the Schubert Club in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Music Teachers National Association national conventions, the Quad Cities Mozart Festival and many colleges and universities.
In the summer of 2010 he played concerts at the new Romanian-American festival in Romania and at the Interlochen Arts Center in the United States. He recently was a featured performer at the Piano Plus Festival and the Corfu Festival in Greece and has also played concerts in China, Thailand, Sweden, Holland and Kenya. He has been heard in radio broadcasts throughout the United States, most notably on Minnesota Public Radio and WFMT in Chicago.
Music of our time plays an important role in Satterlee's performing activity, and he has given premieres of several works. In June of 2004 he was invited to perform at the Music04 festival in Cincinnati, where he shared a program with the composer and pianist Frederick Rzewski. In 2006 he toured the US with a program of the composer's works, including a new piece specially written for the tour, and has recorded a CD of his works.
Satterlee's avid interest in chamber music has led him to collaborate with members of the Chicago, London, Philadelphia and Detroit Symphony Orchestras in chamber music performances, and he was co-artistic director of Chamber Music Quad Cities, an organization presenting a concert series and music festival in Iowa and Illinois. He was also a member of the North Coast Chamber Players, a string/winds mixed ensemble which toured extensively on the West Coast.
Satterlee was appointed in the fall of 1998 to the piano faculty of Bowling Green State University in Ohio, having previously held teaching positions in Illinois, Missouri, California and Connecticut. He teaches at the Interlochen Arts Camp in the summer. He has been awarded prizes in many competitions, among them honors in the St. Louis Symphony Young Artists Competition. Satterlee has participated in many music festivals and summer programs, including the Aspen Festival, the Banff Centre, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the Festival at Sandpoint. He holds degrees in piano from Yale University, Peabody Conservatory, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music.
Toccata, from Two Etudes (Homage to William Albright)
This is the second of three planned piano solo works in memory of Bill Albright. The first piece, written ten years ago and simply entitled Homage a W.A., is based on a complex chord generated from his surname. In this newly-composed movement, I returned to that same collection and combined it (at the intervallic "DNA" level) with the first five pitches from his Five Chromatic Dances. Formally presented in three episodes framed by an introduction and coda, the work taps not only my own experience with Prokofiev's Toccata op. 4, but also suggests faux-stride as well as one of Bill's greatest strengths as a composer, his lyricism.
David Gompper has lived and worked professionally as a pianist, a conductor, and a composer in New York, San Diego, London, Nigeria, Michigan, Texas and Iowa. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London and, after teaching in Nigeria, received his doctorate at the University of Michigan. Since 1991 he has been Professor of Composition and Director of the Center for New Music at the University of Iowa. In 2002-2003 Gompper was in Russia as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching, performing and conducting at the Moscow Conservatory. In 2009 he received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City. His compositions are heard throughout the United States and Europe, including premiers at Carnegie Hall and London's Wigmore Hall.
My favorite moments in William Albright's music are when wild and lucid come together and somehow logically occupy the same space. In those moments, there's a sense of something wanting to break loose and run amok, of something that quite frequently comes close to escaping, or better still, is purposely let loose and then masterfuly reined in again. With bodacious gaits, I attempted to capture that same strange mix through my own language while paying homage to Albright by hinting at his love of rags, boogie-woogie, and other popular American, piano-based idioms. From my earliest drafts, I came up with an altered stride piano lick and gradually slowed it down to emphasize the groove resulting from changing the octave/chord/octave/chord sequence of the traditional stride left hand to an octave/octave/chord sequence. The term "stride" then became the impetus for deriving the sequence of musical interpretations based on various manners of walking or moving on foot that make up the piece in toto: skip — tip-toe/stomp — hobble — saunter and finally strut.
Drawing from a seemingly bottomless pool of wide-ranging styles and influences, Doug Opel creates a strange and wonderfully eclectic sort of musical stew for the concert stage that is at once dark and humorous, controlled and chaotic, reflective and passionate, traditional and contemporary.
Opel's music has been performed around the world by such notable organizations and artists as New York City's Keys to the Future and MATA Festivasl, the Duquesne Contemporary Ensemble, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Aldeburgh Festival at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Music Studies in England. In 2003, he became one of seven composers to receive the Aaron Copland Award. He holds degrees from Ball State University, the University of Michigan and Indiana University.
La Follia II: Lacuna
I have been an avid student of the music of William Albright since 1971, when I heard his intriguing work for organ, Juba. His music was bold, gentle and deep; I found myself returning to it again and again. Perhaps a lasting impression was made after intimately getting to know his Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, which John Sampen and I recorded and performed repeatedly in places such as Moscow, Shanghai, Basel, Paris and Carnegie Hall. This important composition is now a staple of the saxophone repertoire.
It is the 2nd movement, La follia nuova: a lament for George Cacioppo, to which I pay homage with my work for piano. The incessant rhythmic and harmonic scheme of the follia is an appropriate backdrop for Albright's traditional lament for a dear friend and is adapted here for my own personal commentary. The subtitle, lacuna, is originally a literary term and signifies some type of "gap" or missing text. Its musical counterpart could be a purposeful silence, a journey into the black hole of a resonance that follows an extensive buildup (in this case repeated segments of 23, Albright's follia scheme). The lacuna is also Albright himself, a complex and mysterious man, who left us too soon. La Follia II: Lacuna is dedicated to Robert Satterlee, who commissioned and premiered the work.
Chicago-born composer Marilyn Shrude received degrees from Alverno College and Northwestern University. Her works have been performed by the Czech Radio, Toledo, Fox Valley, Chicago Civic, Curtis Institute, Bowling Green, South Dakota, Interlochen World Youth and Daegu (Korea) Orchestras; at the Kennedy Center, Symphony Hall (Boston), the Ravenna Festival (Italy), Smetana Hall (Prague), Carnegie Recital Hall, Merkin Hall and Brussels Town Hall; on the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Series, Fromm Music Series, St. Louis Orchestra Chamber Series, Music Today and New Music Chicago; and at meetings of the World Saxophone Congress, Society of Composers, International Harp Congress, MENC, CBDNA and MTNA. She has been a guest at numerous college campuses and festivals throughout the world. Her work for saxophone and piano, Renewing the Myth, was the required piece for the 150 participants of the 3rd International Adolphe Sax Concours in Belgium (2002).
Since 1977 she has been on the faculty of Bowling Green State University, where she teaches and chairs the Department of Musicology/Composition/Theory. She continues to be active as a pianist and clinician with saxophonist John Sampen. In 2001 she was named a Distinguished Artist Professor of Music.
Gabriela Lena FRANK
which is a fanciful way of saying "storm" in Spanish, is in homage to my former teacher, William Albright. As a composer and keyboardist, Bill was unparalleled in gutsy imagination and gutsy virtuosity... Bueno, guts in general? Bill had them. Lessons could be electric as he pushed me to the stranger corners of my pieces, asking that I spend more time in the quirks. I especially appreciated how he pushed me to write piano music that was beyond what I could immediately play, that stared down my own shortcomings. It was Bill who first suggested that I write pieces for just the left hand, a genre identified with difficulty and, yes, guts. It has taken me many years before I took up the challenge, but nearly thirteen years after Bill passed on all too early, I finally have the first of what will be a series of "vendavales" for one hand. It's an honor to partner with pianist Robert Satterlee, another admirer of Bill, in the creation of this tribute.
Identity has always been at the center of Gabriela Lena Frank's music. Born in Berkeley, California, to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Frank explores her multicultural heritage most ardently through her compositions. She has traveled extensively throughout South America and her pieces reflect and refract her studies of Latin-American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework that is uniquely her own.
A 2009 recipient of a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship to assist in research and artistic creation, Frank's premieres have included a new song cycle for Dawn Upshaw and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, a work for Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble and pieces for the Indianapolis, Seattle, Houston and Utah Symphonies, Chanticleer, the Brentano String Quartet and the Aspen Music Festival. Frank attended Rice University in Houston and the University of Michigan.
When Bill Albright died, I think many of us were torn. Sadness crowded in with anger at his too-early death. In writing this piece I still found myself veering between those feelings and my fond memories and gratitude for his teaching, his friendship, and his brilliant, compelling music.
As a student of Bill's, I've been influenced and inspired by him in countless ways, so I hope that this is a piece in his spirit as well as in his honor, and I offer it more as a tribute than as an elegy. Torn between wistful nostalgia and manic fury, the music occasionally even threatens to tip over into the ridiculous. There are a few small details and rough paraphrases of remembered moments from Bill's music, as well as some from my own.
For my part, I have decided not to try to tape back together the page that was torn at his death, and so this piece still shows some of the rough edges of the hole he left behind.
Evan Chambers is currently Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan. His orchestral song cycle The Old Burying Ground was performed in Carnegie Hall in February 2008. Chambers' compositions have been performed by the Cincinnati, Kansas City, Memphis, New Hampshire, and Albany Symphonies, and he has appeared as a soloist in Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra. His work has been recognized by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Luigi Russolo Competition, Vienna Modern Masters, NACUSA, the American Composers Forum, and the Tampa Bay Composers Forum. He has been a resident of the MacDowell Colony, and been awarded individual artist grants from Meet the Composer, the Arts Foundation of Michigan and ArtServe Michigan.
William Albright and I began sending each other new rags we composed (by mail, like chess problems) in about 1967 or 68; together we would give the first concert of any kind in Minneapolis's Walker Arts Center auditorium in the early 70's, where we compiled a list of about 100 rags which we chose from to play.
When the pianist Robert Satterlee recently asked me to do a piano piece in Bill's memory I was compelled to revisit the rag form but in this case with a Latin twist, my exploration into American ragtime having been followed by steeping myself in the related piano music springing up all around the Gulf Coast (after all Joplin was from Texarkana): Ernesto Nazareth, Ignacio Cervantes, Manuel Campos, Ramon Delgado Palacios from the early 20th century, and of course the great Astor Piazzolla from only a few years ago. All of that, plus Albeniz's character pieces, would feed into the style of Rag Latino. Although Bill Albright's interest in the tangos, danzas, choros, and the like from Latin America was not as great as mine, I nevertheless hope he would have enjoyed the piece.
Named 2007 Composer of the Year by Musical America, and honored with multiple Grammy Awards for his ground-breaking setting of Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience, William Bolcom is a composer of cabaret songs, concertos, sonatas, operas, symphonies, and much more. He was awarded the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Twelve New Etudes for piano.
As a pianist he has recorded for Advance, Jazzology, Musical Heritage, Nonesuch, Vox, and Omega. With his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, he has performed in concert for more than 35 years throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad.
As a composer, Bolcom has written four violin sonatas; eight symphonies; three operas (McTeague, A View from the Bridge and A Wedding), plus several musical theater operas; eleven string quartets; two film scores (Hester Street and Illuminata); incidental music for stage plays, including Arthur Miller's Broken Glass; fanfares and occasional pieces; and an extensive catalogue of chamber and vocal works. His music has been performed world-wide.
Bolcom taught composition at the University of Michigan from 1973-2008. Named a full professor in 1983, he was Chairman of the Composition Department from 1998 to 2003 and was named the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Composition in the fall of 1994. He retired from teaching in 2008.
Prelude and Toccata
Though the piano is my first instrument (I am known as a percussionist), I have written very few serious solo concert piano works. Ironically, part of my lack of piano completions might have had something to do with my studying with two of the world's finest composer-pianists in Williams Albright and Bolcom. Prelude and Toccata could not help but to be a clearing house of pianistic ideas for me. What would Bill Albright say to this? He was unpredictable. I might expect him to say that I should not try to do too much in one work, and then he would say I didn't push it hard enough! He had a duality, to my mind, and Prelude and Toccata does, too.
The Prelude begins in a dark place. Cavernous. Perhaps angry. Not only had I to think about Albright's untimely passing, but I began the composition a week after my own father died. Etched into this opening are left hand spanning figures derived from stride piano. Yet, there are beams of heavenly light peeking into this Prelude sepulchre. The Toccata's raison d'être is to develop a most-favorite fragment of running music that I composed in 1998, meaningfully, about a month before Albright died. Its ultimate goal is to tie the Toccata together with the Prelude.
Composer Evan Hause studied composition and percussion at the Oberlin Conservatory, the University of Michigan, and the North Carolina School of the Arts. He has an active career as a composer and performer. His music has been commissioned or performed by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Salt Lake City Contemporary Music Consortium, Albany, Boston, Phoenix, Utah, Louisville, Memphis, Brooklyn and Grand Rapids Symphonies, the Oberlin Percussion Group and Contemporary Ensemble, the Banff Centre for the Arts, CalArts, June in Buffalo, U. S. Marine Corps, the Yellow Barn Festival, and the "Spring in Havana" Electronic Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, as well as numerous venues throughout the world. He is the Publications Director for the Edward B. Marks Music Company.
Upon his graduation in 1970, William Albright joined the faculty at the University of Michigan. He directed the electronic music studio at the university, specializing in what was becoming known as electro-acoustic music, the blending of acoustic instruments with electronic modifications. He was widely hailed by his composition students for the way in which he allowed them to identify and give voice to their own style; he received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the university.
Even before his formal study was concluded, William Albright began to receive what would become a steady stream of commissions, awards, and honors. These included the Queen Marie-Jose Prize for his Organbook I (1967), the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award (1970), two Guggenheim fellowships (1970 and 1986), and three NEA fellowships (1976, 1981, 1984). In 1974, he was commissioned to compose for the 900th anniversary of Chichester Cathedral, producing the Chichester Mass. At UNESCO's International Rostrum of Composers in 1979, Albright was selected to represent the USA, a testament to his rapid ascent; the same year, he was composer-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome. In later years, he was named Composer of the Year by the American Guild of Organists (1993) and in 1995 was recognized by the Richard Wagner Center for outstanding choral composition.
As a composer, William Albright's music stands out for its humor and vibrant eclecticism. In such pieces as the Chichester Mass or his oratorio A Song to David (1983), his adoption or rejection of tonality always seems appropriate to the music at hand. Though Albright explored a vast variety of style, it was typically his wont to explore a specific genre within a single movement while touching on several styles over the course of the entire work. This tendency, as well as his knack for subtly alluding to but never actually quoting other compositions, is evidenced in his monumental Five Chromatic Dances for piano (1976). Over the course of a half an hour, Albright references Chopin mazurkas, boogie woogie style, and almost everything in between while exploring the range of chromatic motion. Albright widely concertized as an organist with a focus in contemporary music and a pianist specializing exclusively in ragtime music, a style that attracted and influenced he and his colleague William Bolcom. William Albright passed away due to health complications stemming from alcoholism.