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 II — Concert
|Wood Metal Hair
for Double Bass and Fixed Media
|Paul DUFFY (IA)|
|Blake Shaw, double bass|
|chi bedda vuci avia (2014)||Christina BUTERA (UMKC)|
|Regeneration||Jonathan WILSON (UI)|
|John Cummins, soprano saxophone
Matthew Mahaffey, alto saxophone
Elena Pedersen, tenor saxophone
James Skretta, baritone saxophone
— Brief Pause —
for horn quartet
|Daniel MOREL (UMKC)|
|Lauren Chambers, horn
Josh East, horn
William Keene, horn
Madeline Tarantelli, horn
| Warm Summer Sun
on a text by Mark Twain
|Joseph ADAMS (UI)|
|Hannah Green, soprano
Alice Chang, piano
Psychic Voyages of A Restless Soul
I. The Callous Neural Machinery of Self-Annihilation
|Trevor VILLWOCK (CU-B)|
|Trevor Villwock, piano|
|. . .wretched refuse of my teeming resonance||Tyler CAPP (UMKC)|
|Change||Bernard SHORT (IA)|
|Emily Duncan, flute|
|Grand Duo||Leonid IOGANSEN (UI)|
|Thiago Ancelmo de Souza, clarinet
Alexander Ponomarchuk, piano
Wood Metal Hair
Wood Metal Hair is a piece for double bass and fixed media. The title refers to the materials used to produce the sounds of the piece; everything except for a 4.7 second region was derived from various standard (e.g. pizzicato, ricochet, sul ponticello) and non-standard (e.g. bowing the side of the instrument, bowing the tuning pegs, moving a hand quickly between the instrument’s neck and body) double bass techniques. The 4.7 seconds of sound outside of the piece’s material context were derived from crushing a dried red pepper. Unfortunately, its 4.7 second contribution was not enough to earn the red pepper a place in the title.
The musical structure of the piece consists of two distinct environments. One is focused and economical—it is constructed from a minimal amount of samples and pitches. The other is vibrant and diverse; it is curious and explorative and rarely stays in the same place for long.
Paul Duffy (b. 1989) is a graduate student of composition at the University of Iowa. He has studied privately with Lawrence Fritts, Craig Weston, and David Gompper, and has attended master classes with Louis Karchin, Josh Levine, Augusta Read Thomas, and Michael Fiday. His recent works include a Duet for Prepared Piano & MIDI Keyboard, Axes, for contrabass and electronics, a choir piece selected for performance at the 2014 Midwest Composers Symposium in Cincinnati, and a trio for bass and marimbas that was choreographed for the 2015 University of Iowa Department of Dance Faculty/Grad Concert. His current compositional interests include fixed media and the incorporation of algorithmic techniques into his personal language.
chi bedda vuci avia (2014)
This piece is the first in a series of pieces, all involving electronics, which draw inspiration from a Sicilian folk song that my grandfather used to sing to us as children. The ironically lively and somewhat silly folk song U Sciccareddu is about a man lamenting the loss of his dearest friend: his donkey. Chi bedda vuci avia, which translates to “what a beautiful voice he had” (a line from the song), embodies the Sicilian irony of humor and despair. It features subtle quotes of the folk tune, as well as some beautiful voices, including those of several donkeys and my dear grandparents.
Christina Butera (b.1987) is a composer of contemporary music. Born and raised in central New Jersey, she began piano and clarinet lessons at age 9. Her formal studies in composition began at Bucknell University, where she studied composition with William Duckworth and Jackson Hill, clarinet with Elizabeth Stimpert, and piano with Barry Hannigan. She earned her B.M. in Composition from Bucknell in 2009. She recently completed her Masters degree at Bowling Green State University, where she was a student of Marilyn Shrude, Mikel Kuehn, Burton Beerman, and Andrea Reinkemeyer.
Christina composes both acoustic and electroacoustic music. In addition to writing for standard Western instruments, Christina has also writes for both Javanese and Balinese gamelan. Her music has been performed in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. She is currently working on her DMA in Composition at the University of Missouri Kansas City.
Written as a commission by a friend and a former classmate, Michael Spina, the work is virtuosic and asks for extended techniques and technical mastery from both players. The ideas revolve around a series of motives battling with each other across an ABA" form. Harmonic relationships and the emphasis on certain pitches through tension and release establish hierarchies of pitch classes in the piece.
Leonid Iogansen, born in St. Petersburg Russia in 1981, has received various commissions, most notably in 2006, from Shuang Yin International Music Festival, which has commissioned him a total of an hour of music for various ensembles. Leonid holds a Summa cum laude Bachelors of Music in violin and composition from Boston University, where he was a Trustee Scholar in 2001-2003, and a Masters degree with the same majors from Peabody Conservatory. Leonid is currently pursuing PhD in Composition at the University of Iowa as a student of David Gompper.
As an ensemble, horn quartets are adept at creating flowing melodies that arch the full breadth of a piece. This Serenade was written with this idea in mind, developing a single song for the entire quartet that passes from one player to the next effortlessly. After introducing a brief motive passed between all four horns, the Serenade opens with an introspective, minor melody. Echoed among the players, transfigured rhythmically, and shifted across neighboring modalities, the melody settles into a rousing, fugal recap for a climactic finish.
Daniel Morel is a Kansas City-based composer who energizes his music with spectral lyricism and microtonal expression. Garnering commissions and performances across the United States, his music reflects myriad literary and natural interests. His works are permeated with the Western sensibilities of his Colorado upbringing, drawing on influences ranging from prairie thunderstorms to classic American poetry.
Highlights for the 2013-14 season include commissions for the Western Michigan University Dance Department, La’Ventus Quartet, and Colorado State Music Teachers Association. Last season featured premieres with the Cherry Creek Chorale (Here Is A Land), Hartford Opera Theater (An Autumn Day), and Seasons Festival Orchestra (Wafting Mists); performances with the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra and SCI Region VI Festival; and a residency with the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild. Mr. Morel has received commissions from the Colorado State Music Teachers Association, Hartt School Community Division, Cherry Creek Chorale, Denver Municipal Band, and Duo Agosto, among many others. Other featured performances include the Westfield New Music Festival, New Music Hartford, CMEA Conference, and Wintergreen Summer Music Festival.
Among his awards are an Award of Distinction from the Longfellow Chorus, a Women's Education and Leadership Fund Grant, The Hartt School Community Division Composition Fellowship, a Business Development Grant for Artists from the City of Hartford, and selection on the Philharmonia Orchestra's inaugural GrooveSearch.
As an advocate for contemporary music, Mr. Morel has served with a number of arts organizations, including head of productions for the Cherry Creek Chorale and director of Bucknell University’s coffeehouse music series. He currently serves as Executive Director for the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra (HICO) and Festival Director for the much acclaimed Women Composers Festival of Hartford, CT.
Mr. Morel holds degrees from Bucknell University (BA) and The Hartt School, University of Hartford (MM, AD). He is currently in the DMA program at University of Missouri - Kansas City.
Warm Summer Sun
"Warm Summer Sun" was Mark Twain's eulogy to his daughter Olivia Susan Clemens, who died in 1896 at the age of 24. Adapted from "Annette" by Robert Richardson, "Warm Summer Sun" is engraved on Olivia's headstone. The piece opens with a polychordal section utilizing the extreme registers of the piano, representative of Olivia only existing in memory. As her memory comes to life in Twain's mind, the text is set to a lyrical melody.
Joseph Z. Adams is a second year doctoral student at UI, were he studies with Dr. David Gompper. He earned his Bachelor's Degree at New York University, his Masters Degree at the Hartt School of Music, and has received numerous performances of his orchestral music by regional orchestras throughout the Upper Midwest. In the Fall of 2014, 'Space Jumping' was premiered at UI by the JACK String Quartet. He recently provided original music for 'Below the Pacific', a play premiering on May 8th at the 2015 New Iowa Playwright Festival.
Psychic Voyages of A Restless Soul
is an autobiographical piece; it deals with my lifelong struggle with anxiety that in many ways came to a head in the first several months of 2014. Each of the four movements explores a different way of grappling with this anxiety, with the piece as a whole moving from a state of crippling nervous tension to a state of calm acceptance.
Trevor Villwock is a composer and pianist currently pursuing a BM Composition degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His music explores the interplay between ambience and groove and the concrete and the abstract, with vocal music being an area of particular interest. He is currently composing incidental music for Austin Shakespeare's summer 2015 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
. . .wretched refuse of my teeming resonance
(apologies to Aesop Rock) is my first composition in many years for fixed media. Whereas previous attempts in the medium were somewhat abortive musically (i.e. lacking form, development, a sense of pitch relationships, a rhythmic profile, general cohesiveness, and proper mixing), I was determined that this time around things would be different. Fueled by that determination (and Jim Beam), I set out to coax as many interesting sounds as possible from my 5-string banjo; variously employing a violin bow, coins, golf balls, a giant foam finger, screws, a guitar slide and, eventually, an empty whiskey bottle. Restrictions were placed on gratuitous processing and reverb was deployed only in the direst of circumstances; the end result a kind of sonification of my insecurities in the realm of the acousmatic.
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.
is a piece that reflects the unsettling changes that has come about within the composer’s life. The fluid use of aggregate pitch collections is meant to provide a feeling of instability and constant change, reflecting the experience of a composer moving from full-time teacher to student, a new city and state, and transitioning from having a father in one moment healthy to being severely ill. Change comes in many ways, just as this piece will suggest many different thought processes.
Bernard Short is a PhD in Music Composition student at the University of Iowa. Born in Harlem, NY and raised in Far Rockaway Queens, NY, he earned a BA in Music with a Composition focus at Morehouse College in 2007, and a Masters in Music Education at The University of Georgia in 2012. From 2008-2014 he was the Director of Bands and Orchestra Director at Cross Keys High School in Atlanta, GA. To Mr. Short, music is the expression of a person’s soul that is best used as a way to communicate with someone without allowing words to obliterate the message.
is derived from the biological term for "renewal, restoration, and growth" to form resilience to any harm inflicted upon a cell, genome, or organism. I alter the meaning of this term in this quartet to refer to the renewal, restoration, and growth of motivic material. The relationship between this composition and "regeneration" can be apprehended particularly under two conditions: when a motive returns at a given point in time and how much of that motive returns. This idea can also be connected in a broad sense to the theological definition of "regeneration" in that, when a motive returns, it is, in essence, reborn.
Jonathan Wilson is a second-year doctoral student studying music composition with David Gompper at the University of Iowa, with Masters and Bachelors degrees from Western Illinois University. He is a member of Society of Composers Inc., SEAMUS, Iowa Composers Forum, and the American Composers Forum.