CNM Concerts XVII-XX

Sixth Annual Exchange
Midwest Collegiate Composers

An annual spring festival of contemporary music
featuring new music from the composition programs of

The University of Colorado-Boulder,
The University of Missouri, Kansas City, and
The University of Iowa

Jonah Elrod, Nima Hamidi & Joshua Marquez, Student Committee

Session I — Concert

 

Program

Four Characters (2010)   Kurt MEHLENBACHER (CU-B)
  Jeiran Hasan, flute
Anna Peterson, oboe
Christine Burke, clarinet
Alex Widstrand, bassoon
 
3 petits récits (2015)   Alexandros SPYROU (UI)

I. Tête-à-tête
II. Tableau
III. Esprit

   
  Emily Duncan, flute
Allison Offerman, oboe
Thiago Ancelmo de Souza, clarinet
Wannapha Yannavut, percussion
Christine Tithecott, piano
Tim Cuffman, violin
Matthew Laughlin, violoncello
David Gompper*, conductor
 
Repercussions No. 2 (2014)    Brian KELLY (CU-B)
   Emily Duncan, flute  
 then gently light unfading (2014)    Morgan GREENWOOD (UMKC)
  Emily Duncan, flute
Thiago Ancelmo de Souza, clarinet
Andrew Gentzsch, violin
Matthew Laughlin, violoncello
Korak Lertpibulchai, piano
Andrew Thierauf, percussion
David Gompper*, conductor
 
 …in inky night… (2015)    Joshua MARQUEZ (UI)
  Jeiran Hasan, flute
Allison Offerman, oboe
Christine Burke, clarinet
Alex Widstrand, bassoon
James Naigus, horn
Courtney Jones*, trumpet
David Gier*, trombone
Andrew Thierauf, percussion I
Wannapha Yannavut, percussion II
Korak Lertpibulchai, piano
Andrew Gentzsch, violin
Rebecca Bressanelli, violin II
Elizabeth Upson, viola
Matthew Laughlin, violoncello
Michael White, double bass
David Gompper*, conductor
 
 
 — Intermission —
 
 
 Invention (2013)    Zane WINTER (UMKC)
  Andrew Thierauf, percussion
Korak Lertpibulchai, piano
 
 three frames (2013)    J.P. MERZ (CU-B)
  Jeiran Hasan, flute
Allison Offerman, oboe
Christine Burke, clarinet
Alex Widstrand, bassoon
James Naigus, horn
Andrew Thierauf, percussion I
Andrew Gentzsch, violin
Rebecca Bressanelli, violin II
Elizabeth Upson, viola
Matthew Laughlin, violoncello
Michael White, double bass
David Gompper*, conductor
 
 Clang (2012)    Tyler CAPP (UMKC)
  Emily Duncan, flute
Thiago Ancelmo de Souza, clarinet
Andrew Gentzsch, violin
Matthew Laughlin, violoncello
Andrew Thierauf, percussion
Korak Lertpibulchai, piano
David Gompper*, conductor
 
 Distorted Conception (2015)    Nima HAMIDI (UI)
  Jeiran Hasan, flute
Allison Offerman, oboe
Christine Burke, clarinet
Alex Widstrand, bassoon
James Naigus, horn
Courtney Jones*, trumpet
David Gier*, trombone
Andrew Thierauf, percussion I
Wannapha Yannavut, percussion II
Korak Lertpibulchai, piano
Andrew Gentzsch, violin
Rebecca Bressanelli, violin II
Elizabeth Upson, viola
Matthew Laughlin, violoncello
Michael White, double bass
David Gompper*, conductor
 

 * faculty

 

Notes

Kurt MEHLENBACHER (CU-B)

Four Characters

is a collection of miniatures characterized by each of the players of the commissioning ensemble, Paradise Winds. They are presented in the following order: flute, bassoon, oboe, and clarinet.

Kurt Mehlenbacher (b. 1985) is currently a DMA student in Music Composition at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He has studied at Arizona State University, the École Normale de Musique in Paris, and the University of Oregon. His principle teachers include Carter Pann, Daniel Kellogg, Roshanne Etezady, Rodney Rogers, Jody Rockmaker, Michele Merlet, and Robert Kyr. He has also studied bassoon with Steve Vacchi, and conducting with Robert Ponto and Gary Hill.


Alexandros SPYROU (UI)

3 petits récits

is based on a network of short localized narratives which congregate under the form of 3 movements. The narratives consist of schematic elements in a state of constant fluctuation which is realized through processes of rhythmic, intervalic and timbral distortion. The notion of structure is informed by the flux and pacing of micro events and temporal edges.

This piece attempts to address the crisis of narratives and structures and the condition of knowledge in the present liquid times. The title and the conceptual terminology used here allude to works on postmodern criticism by thinkers such as J. F. Lyotard and Z. Bauman. In a crude analogy, Tête-à-tête reflects the shock of the individual faced with uncertainty, Tableau the state of an internally fluctuating globule and Esprit the challenges of constructing legitimate representations in a dismantled environment.

Alexandros Spyrou is a Greek composer and music theorist. His works have been performed in Greece, the United Kingdom and the United States by ensembles such as London Sinfonietta, JACK Quartet, New York Miniaturist Ensemble, Contemporary Directions Ensemble, Musica Nova Ensemble and Ensemble DissonArt. He studied composition with Michael Finnissy, Evangelia Kikou, Georges Papoutsis and Athanasios Zervas.

Alexandros has been a scholar of the Fulbright Foundation, the State Scholarship Foundation of Greece, the Graduate College-University of Iowa, the City Council of Ioannina and Harry Triantafillu Foundation. He holds degrees in Harmony, Counterpoint and Fugue from the Conservatory of Ioannina (Greece), a B.Mus from the University of Macedonia (Greece), an M.Mus from the University of Southampton (UK), and an M.Phil from the University of Bristol (UK). He is presently a Ph.D candidate at the University of Iowa studying composition with David Gompper.


Brian KELLY (CU-B)

Repercussions No. 2

The "Repercussions" series of pieces are short solo explorations of percussive extended techniques on instruments that are not traditionally percussive. Repercussions No. 2 was written for solo flute in August, 2014.

Brian D. Kelly is an internationally performed composer of multimedia sound works that are often both acoustic and electronic in nature. Sound, visuals, poetry, and drama are freely combined in works that often explore social themes and challenge the status quo of Western ideals of culture, gender, theism, and sexuality. He is currently pursuing his DMA in Composition at the University of Colorado Boulder.


Morgan GREENWOOD (UMKC)

then gently light unfading

This work takes its inspiration from a short piece by Samuel Beckett: a 13-line poem or piece of prose entitled “Neither”, originally given to Morton Feldman for use in his opera/monodrama of the same name. While this work’s title “then gently light unfading” comes directly from Beckett’s text, this piece is not intended to follow the text as a dramatic scene. Instead, I sought musical analogies of some of Beckett’s preoccupations, namely the ideas of shadow vs. light, self vs. unself through musical means while also using an idea of process approximating Beckett’s process. Beckett often wrote not only in English, but also in French. Through experimentation he found that if he were to take a line he wrote in English and translate it to French and then back to English the meaning of the line would be subtly, but undeniably changed. This text seems to follow a similar framework. It essentially works its form by saying the same thing in many ways, indicating a single idea but giving rise to new connotations and implications throughout. My “line” is a small musical phrase, which incidentally is never heard in the version it first arrived to me.

Translating that phrase into different instruments (alone, simultaneously as a chord structure, fragmented across time and instruments, etc.) I investigated how the inherent language (the instruments used: special characteristics, playing techniques, ranges, and the like) changed the meaning of the musical “line” that I was creating. The result might be considered similar to a theme and variations, but without a theme, leaving only variation. It is all the same, yet it is all different, mirroring the “self vs. unself” question. At what point does something become something else? The material for this piece grew concurrently with a now defunct piece for orchestra, both following the same inspiration, each growing from and informing the other. In this way the same process of translation was carried out on another level: the difference in instrumental forces between orchestra and sextet necessarily changing the inherent meaning of the material used.

Morgan Greenwood (b. 1993) is a composer, drummer, percussionist, and improviser based in Kansas City, Missouri. His predominant musical interest lies in the elasticity of moments and searching out the forces within them. The main source of inspiration for his work is quickly becoming the appropriation of creative process, but not style, from artists of other mediums (painting, sculpture, literature, and poetry).

Though growing, his body of work spans both the acoustic and electronic mediums. His acoustic music has been performed by the likes of the newEar Contemporary Music Ensemble and the H2 Saxophone Quartet, as well as recorded by Eighth Blackbird in a live public reading session. His electroacoustic music has been presented variously at the SEAMUS, N_SEME, and SCI National conferences. Morgan has studied composition with James Mobberley, Zhou Long, Chen Yi, and Paul Rudy. As a percussionist, he previously studied with Nick Petrella. The band Riala, in which Morgan plays drums and collaboratively participates, will release their first album in the spring of 2015. If not composing, you might find Morgan practicing yoga, running, or failing to follow the recipe of a new dish.


Joshua MARQUEZ (UI)

…in inky night…

is a quote from Jack Kerouac's novel, On the Road, in which Kerouac periodically uses this phrase, or a variant thereof, to describe the American sky at night:

"Every bump, rise, and stretch in it mystified my longing. In inky night we crossed New Mexico..."

"And now we shot in inky darkness through the scream of insects, and the great, rank, almost rotten smell descended..."

Growing up, I would often camp and backpack around the American South during the summer months, and no matter where I was, the night sky was always saturated "in inky darkness."

Joshua Marquez (b. 1990) is a Filipino American composer, classical guitarist, and BioMusic researcher currently pursuing a PhD in composition at the University of Iowa. Joshua holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (MM in composition '13), and Campbell University (BA in composition '11 and BA in classical guitar '11). Marquez's music has been performed by ensembles such as the JACK Quartet, Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, University of Iowa Center for New Music, Akropolis Reed Quintet, Gate City Camerata, Quintet Sirocco, and the Cape Fear Wind Symphony along with performances at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYCEMF 2014), the National Student Electronic Music Event (N_SEME 2014), Birmingham New Music Festival, Circuit Bridges , and the Vox Novus Composer's Voice Concert Series.

His music has been heard in venues such as Symphony Space, Abron Arts Center, Gallery MC, Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Hulsey Recital Hall, Georgia Southern University, McIntosh Theatre, as well as other universities and institutions. Joshua's music for film has also been featured at the Canada International Film Festival and the Utopia Film Festival. He has studied with David Gompper, Mark Engebretson, Alejandro Rutty, Ran Whitley, William Pruett, Milen Parashkevov, and Dwayne Wilson in addition to private studies Samuel Adler, Derek Bermel, Anthony Cheung, Michael Harrison, Laura Kaminsky, Louis Karchin, Kristin Kuster, Josh Levine, Zae Munn, Michael Schelle, Marilyn Shrude, and Augusta Read Thomas. For more information, please visit www.joshuamarquez.com.


Zane WINTER (UMKC)

Invention

was written in the Fall of 2013. On the surface, the focus of the work is rhythm- be it irregular beat patterns, asymmetry, or layers that move at different speeds. Although there are distinct melodies and melodic fragments that tie the piece together, the underlying pitch structure is based on a self-contained system of scales, largely drawn from Messiaen’s modes of limited transposition. This highly systematic treatment of pitch allows for a free, joyous exploration of some fairly gnarly rhythmic techniques.

Zane Winter is a Kansas City based composer, curator, and collaborator driven by projects focused on audience building and non-traditional concert models. As a student at Valparaiso University, he curated showcases of new works by student composers, gaining experience as a coach, composer, and organizer. He entered the University of Missouri Kansas City in the fall of 2013, where he has continued his curatorial work. During his time at UMKC, he has studied with Paul Rudy, James Mobberley, Zhou Long, and Chen Yi. In the fall of 2014, he co-founded FuseBox New Music, a collective dedicated to emerging composers in Kansas City.


J.P. MERZ (CU-B)

three frames

I was visualizing this piece as a three framed triptych. The three part structure manifests itself in the viola line which only uses three pitches E, G and A. The viola line drives the other instruments, which act more as colors complementing the structure. As the piece progresses, the viola pushes these colors to become more intense, collectively becoming faster and denser. This eventually results in the puncturing of the frames themselves. I was imagining someone taking a needle, poking a hole in these frames and black ooze begins to trickle out. Everything becomes blurred in this ooze but the frames remain intact and the viola line continues until the end.

J.P. Merz is a composer who works with classical musicians, jazz musicians, rock musicians, improvisers, dancers, electrical engineers, programming languages, and robots. Originally from Janesville, Wisconsin, he is currently pursuing an MM in Composition at the University of Colorado-Boulder. In addition to composing, JP is particularly interested in music technology and free improvisation, and performs on guitar, electric viola and electronics with a variety of groups. His works have been played by the NOW Ensemble, Colorfield Ensemble, Lawrence Symphony Orchestra and at Electronic Music Midwest, N_SEME and NYCEMF. JP holds a BM in Composition from Lawrence University.


Tyler CAPP (UMKC)

Clang

The inspiration for Clang was twofold: first, I wanted to explore an ecology of harmonies derived from fundamentals a major third apart and, second, to pay homage to the off-the-wall music of composer-turned-rocker-turned-composer Frank Zappa. A rabid polystylist, Zappa's music has immeasurably influenced my own compositional thinking, especially regarding the use of wildly different styles to create musical tension. In the case of Clang, my concoction of harmonic residue is subjected to extreme, dynamic, registral, and stylistic flux, bringing the two opposing poles of musical attraction established in the opening towards some kind of reconciliation. It never completely works. Hopefully, though, the listener experiences something similar to the unsettled glee I feel when I listen to a particularly bizarre Zappa tune.

Tyler Capp (b. 1983) has received fellowships from Copland House CULTIVATE and the UC Davis Composition Workshop, and his work has been featured at the highSCORE Music Festival, June in Buffalo, and the Thailand International Composition Festival, among others. In 2010, his piece Stranger Variations for violin was released on Stony Brook Soundings, Vol. II, and his work Cryptogram for wind ensemble was the recipient of a 2013 Morton Gould Young Composer Award from the ASCAP Foundation. In 2014-2015, Tyler was the recipient of five residencies throughout the United States, including a Copland House Residency Award.

Tyler holds degrees from the University of Delaware and Stony Brook University, and is currently pursuing his doctoral degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he was a Chancellor's Doctoral Fellow. His composition teachers have included Jennifer Margaret Barker, Chen Yi, James Mobberley, Paul Rudy, Sheila Silver, Peter Winkler, and Zhou Long.


Nima HAMIDI (UI)

Distorted Conception

A conception – an abstraction of reality or a realization of an abstract meaning – provides the core of any society with aesthetic values and choices. Complex human thought forms abstract hypotheses which, in order to be understood by humanity, requires nature to make those abstract symbols real. This unending cycle generates numerous levels of understanding and a variety of intellectual possibilities. Add to this how people might perceive a concept in different ways and you end up with a massive number of possible readings, a seeming turmoil that simply needs to be “flipped” in order to be understood. Distorted Conception is an sonic representation of how an idea is altered and twisted as it is being expressed in a coherent work. At play are the subjective choices of aesthetic elements from source materials as well as a logical and objective approach to all musical elements.

Iranian composer Nima Hamidi lived in Tehran before starting his PhD at the University of Iowa in 2011. Accomplished on the Setar, a traditional folk instrument, his original music is an attempt to bridge common musical ideas between Iranian traditional elements and Western contemporary techniques. At Iowa he has studied composition with Lawrence Fritts and David Gompper.