The NYFA Collection
25 years of New York New Music,
In 1983, the New York State Council on the Arts established a Fellowship Program at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), now known as the NYFA Fellowships, so that artists throughout New York State could receive unrestricted support to pursue their creative endeavors. Since that time, NYSCA has granted NYFA more than $26 million to provide fellowships in 16 disciplines to more than 4,000 artists residing throughout New York State.
This anthology came out of an idea put forth from composer Cristian Amigo (one of our Artists’ Advisory Committee members) and also continues innova’s previous New York State Music Fund project that allowed them to release 43 albums by New York artists.
The Artists’ Advisory Committee is comprised of artists representing all disciplines and all regions of the state and acts as a resource/think tank on issues pertaining to issues for individual artists and the Fellowships. Cristian enabled the partnership between NYFA and innova Recordings. He and innova director/composer Philip Blackburn spent countless hours producing and curating this wonderful collection of music to put before the listener and we hope that you will enjoy the truly unique and varied artistic voices represented. We are thrilled that the NEA supported this series, attesting to the fact that the collection forms a significant piece of our nation’s musical heritage.
— Michael Royce, Executive Director-NYFA
This collection documents a body of work created by New York City and New York State composers – all NYFA Fellows – active in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Our goal in producing this collection was two-fold: to acknowledge the place of these composers and their music in the larger narrative of American music history and, more specifically, in the context of New York as a unique, highly competitive, international hub and home of artistic creativity. Histories have to be written (in our case, sounded) and disseminated in order to become a part of collective memory, to be cultural, something more than just personal reminiscence. This collection aims to bend the ear of music history and its attendants, and to find new listeners and contexts for the artists whose music is included here.
For a quarter-century, a group of Fellows have been selected annually by their composer peers as representatives of the highest standard in music composition. Some of the Fellows are now well known and established, some are less visible, a few have ceased composing, and others are emerging at the time of this writing. The high quality of works submitted for consideration made curatorial decisions difficult, and many Fellows worthy of inclusion were omitted for lack of space, contractual obligations, or other technical reasons. Thus, the collection is a slice (or, rather, five CD slices) of a larger platonic cake. We hope you will indulge your appetite for both new and familiar sounds, and that you enjoy the collection as much as we have enjoyed curating and producing it.
The producers would like to thank all of the participating composers, musicians/performers, and visual artists who contributed their time and creativity. We would also like to thank Heather Hitchens at NYSCA, Michael Royce and David C. Terry at NYFA, The National Endowment for the Arts, the American Composers Forum, and innova Recordings for making The NYFA Collection: 25 Years of New York New Music a reality.
— Cristian Amigo and Philip Blackburn
The NYFA Collection and Series are supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.
innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.
Philip Blackburn: director, design, layout, co-producer
Chris Campbell: operations manager
Produced by Cristian Amigo and Philip Blackburn.
Artwork by NYFA Visual Arts Fellows.
Thanks to proofer Fred Langenfeld; all the publishers, artists, composers, performers, and their handlers.
Mastered by Jody Elff >www.elff.net
1. Annie Gosfield: Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds Back
2. David van Tieghem: Waiting for the Gizmo - No.1
3. Joseph Bertolozzi: “Meltdown” from Bridge Music
4. Lois V Vierk/Anita Feldman: Hexa
5. Bruce Gremo: ScascadeHo
6. Lukas Ligeti: Triangulation
7. Joel Chadabe: Solo
8. Jose Halac: BLOWN 2
9. Samuel Claiborne: Viola Breath
10. Iconoclast: Accidental Touching
11. Elliott Sharp: Cryptid Fragments
12. Stefan Tcherepnin: Ouvretorture
1. Meredith Monk, arr. Anthony de Mare:
Urban March (Shadow)
2. Annea Lockwood: RCSC
3. John Morton: The Parting
4. Robert Dick: Eyewitness
5. Sorrel Hays: On The Wind
6. Elizabeth Brown: “Loons” from
Isle Royale Shakuhachi Duets
7. Daniel Goode: Tuba Thrush
8. David Simons: CIPHER
9. JG Thirlwell: 10 Ton Shadow
10. Anne LeBaron, Wadada Leo Smith, Peter van Bergen:
An Even Loan
11. Eric John Eigner: Music for Faucet
12. Monteith McCollum: Flight
1. Iconoclast: No Wave Bitte
2. Rudresh Mahanthappa: Are There Clouds in India?
3-4. Fred Ho: I Wor Kuen, No Home to Return to
5. BLOB: Robust Bog
6. Sidiki Conde: Moriba Djassa
7. John Lindberg: Skip
8. Howard Prince: Pipe Dream
9. Newman Taylor Baker: Bosom of Abraham
10. Laura Kahle: Daize
11. BLOB: Mire
12. Augusta Read Thomas: Love Twitters
1. Andy Teirstein: Rhapsody
2. Bora Yoon: g i f t
3. Mary Jane Leach: Night Blossoms
4. Pauline Oliveros: Sound Patterns and Tropes
5. Aaron Jay Kernis: Ecstatic Meditation 4
6. Paul Motian, arr. Joel Harrison: It Should Have Happened
7. Judith Sainte Croix: Los Pajaros Blancos
de la Noche Profunda
8. Ray Leslee: Nocturne
9. Roberto Sierra: Cronicas 3; Cancion
10. Jeff Raheb: Zu Twa Szi 4
11. Eve Beglarian: We Two
1-2. Raphael Mostel: Night and Dawn
3-6. George Tsontakis: Gymnopedies
7. Randall Woolf: Franz Schubert
8. Jay Anthony Gach: La Vita Autunnale
9. Peter Golub: Less Than a Week Before Christmas
10. Neil Rolnick: “The Gathering” from Extended Family
11-13. Lisa Bielawa: Trojan Women
14. Joan Tower: Tambor
1. Annie Gosfield
Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds Back (3:24)
I performed Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds Back live in the studio without overdubs, using an Ensoniq ASR-10 sampler loaded with samples of prepared piano and inside-the-piano sounds. The samples were recorded on a Kasuga-brand portable cassette recorder; a cheap Walkman knockoff that had the unusual characteristic of feeding back and creating wavering drones and odd frequencies. Even when it behaved itself, it had its own idiosyncratic sound. The Kasuga’s technology had gone the way of the wax cylinder, but in the 1990's it wound up being an integral part of my sound world, along with my trusty forty-pound sampler. The samples that I recorded inside the piano for this piece include: string scrapes, marbles rolling on the strings, and percussive hits made by striking the piano strings with the Kasuga itself. I performed this piece frequently in solo and duo concerts in the late ‘90’s. Most of the clubs that I played in at the time did not have a grand piano, so I created a library of sounds that could be accessed anywhere using my sampling keyboard. Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds Back was recorded in 1998 during a residency at Harvestworks that also produced my 1998 Tzadik CD Burnt Ivory and Loose Wires.
Hailed as "A star of the downtown scene" by The New Yorker, Annie Gosfield lives and works in New York City. She divides her time between performing on piano and sampler with her own group, and composing for many ensembles and soloists. Her music often explores the inherent beauty of non-musical sounds, such as machines, destroyed pianos, warped 78 r.p.m. records, and detuned radios. She frequently combines acoustic instruments with electronics, creating compositions such as EWA7 for percussion, guitar, and factory sounds, composed during a residency in the industrial environments of Germany. Annie's music is featured on three solo CD's on the Tzadik label. She has received commissions from ex-Kronos cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, the Bang on a Can AllStars, the Miami String Quartet, Lisa Moore, Blair McMillen, Felix Fan, and others. Her music has been performed at Warsaw Autumn, the Bang on a Can Marathon, ISCM, the Venice Biennale, Settembre Musica, OtherMinds Festival, Lincoln Center, The Kitchen, and many other venues worldwide. Gosfield held the Darius Milhaud chair of composition at Mills College, and taught at Princeton University and CalArts. Several of Annie's essays on music were published in the New York Times' contemporary music series "The Score".
Performed by Annie Gosfield, sampling keyboard.
Engineered by Leslie Lavenet at Harvestworks, NYC, as part of a Harvestworks AIR residency. Produced by Annie Gosfield and Roger Kleier. Thanks to Harvestworks, Cristian, and Philip.
2. David van Tieghem
Waiting for the Gizmo – No. 1 (3:32)
Waiting For The Gizmo – No. 1 was originally commissioned by Elizabeth Streb for the STREB Lab for Action Mechanics (S.L.A.M.).
David van Tieghem has composed dance scores for Twyla Tharp, Doug Varone, Michael Moschen, Jennifer Muller, La La Human Steps, Hilary Easton, Elisa Monte, Wendy Perron, Dawn Saito, and others. Film scores: Eye of God, My Father is Coming, Penn & Teller’s Invisible Thread, Working Girls. Albums: Thrown For A Loop, These Things Happen, Safety In Numbers, Strange Cargo. He has performed his solo percussion-theater work throughout the world, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, BAM, the Knitting Factory, the Kitchen, Town Hall, the New Music America festivals, the Festival d’Automne in Paris, and the Venice Biennale. His video collaboration with John Sanborn, Ear to the Ground, is an international favorite. As percussionist: Steve Reich, Laurie Anderson, Eno, David Byrne, Robert Ashley, Arthur Russell, Stevie Nicks, Talking Heads, Fripp, Duran Duran, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sergei Kuryokhin, Pink Floyd, John Cale, NEXUS, Nona Hendryx, Arto Lindsay, KODO, Adrian Belew, Bill Laswell, Ned Sublette, Tony Williams, Lenny Pickett, Michael Nyman, John Zorn, Anton Fier, the Golden Palominos, Peter Gordon's Love of Life Orchestra.
Performed by David Van Tieghem. Composed, performed, recorded & produced in Woodstock, NY, by David Van Tieghem (ASCAP). Published by Boomer Music (ASCAP). Special thanks to Kim Cullen, Brandon Wolcott, Cate Woodruff, and ZoĎ Van Tieghem.
3. Joseph Bertolozzi
"Meltdown" from Bridge Music (5:47)
Joseph Bertolozzi's Bridge Music is a site-specific sound art installation featuring only the sounds of New York’s Mid-Hudson Bridge. Originally conceived as a series of live concerts, the massive cost of producing such an event proved too formidable, and the project evolved into a permanent installation where listeners can go onto the Mid Hudson Bridge itself and hear the music. The installation consists of two components:  audio speakers mounted at two Listening Stations on the bridge's towers that play Bertolozzi's original ten tracks at the touch of a button, and  an FM stereo transmission 24 hours a day on 95.3FM within the parks surrounding the bridge. Directions and other information are available at:
The poet Goethe is attributed with saying “Architecture is frozen music.” And so Bridge Music’s opening number melts this great work of bridge architecture back into music. Every available surface of the bridge is used in this piece; a calling card, as it were, to the public that this is what a bridge can sound like. Varying phrase lengths for the main melodic material and a constant shifting of its position over the thundering pulse give Meltdown a vibrant energy.
Joseph Bertolozzi is forging a unique identity as a 21st century composer with works ranging from full symphony orchestra to solo gongs to suspension bridge. With numerous performances across the US and Europe to his credit, his music is performed by groups ranging from the Grammy-winning Chestnut Brass Company to The Eastman School of Music. He himself has played at such diverse venues as The Vatican and The US Tennis Open.
His latest explorations in composition have brought him to Bridge Music. This "audacious plan" (New York Times) to compose music for a suspension bridge using the bridge itself as the instrument has brought Bertolozzi sustained international attention. His CD Bridge Music entered the Billboard Classical Crossover Charts at #18.
His concert music and theatrical scores have also enjoyed particular success, including The Contemplation of Bravery, an official Bicentennial commission for The US Military Academy at West Point, and his incidental score to Waiting for Godot at the 1991 Festival Internationale de Café Theatre in Nancy, France. He also has a large body of liturgical music for use in both Christian and Jewish worship.
Realized by Joseph Bertolozzi. Meltdown was originally released on the 2009 CD Bridge Music on the Delos label (DE1045). Engineer: Ron Kuhnke for K-Town Studios; Producer: Joseph Bertolozzi. Bridge Music was made possible by the cooperation and support of The New York State Bridge Authority, John Tkazyik, Mayor of Poughkeepsie, Ray Costantino, Supervisor of the Town of Lloyd, Senator Stephen Saland, Congressman Maurice Hinchey, The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Dutchess County Tourism, Ulster County Tourism, the Poughkeepsie Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission, and the patronage of many individuals and local businesses.
4. Lois V Vierk and Anita Feldman
Three tap dancers on Tap Dance Instrument (patented by A. Feldman and D. Schmidt) - Anita Feldman, David Parker, Rhonda Price; Gary Schall, percussionist; Lois V Vierk, live electronics, Lexicon PCM 42.
Hexa (1988) is one of six music/tap dance works co-created by tap dance choreographer Anita Feldman and composer Lois V Vierk during the 1980s and 90s. This piece was the inaugural work for Feldman's Tap Dance Instrument. It had long been Feldman's belief that music made by the feet was equal to music made by musical instruments. Desiring to dance on an instrument that would allow the dancers' feet to make resonant and varied music in any performance situation, she joined forces with San Francisco instrument builder Daniel Schmidt to design the modular and portable Tap Dance Instrument, which was then constructed by Schmidt in 1987. The Tap Dance Instrument consists of six platforms, each about nine inches off the ground. Three of the modules are hexagons approximately five feet across, made of different woods and constructed in varying ways, so that they have individual resonances and timbres. A fourth platform is the "tap marimba" with seven pitched keys. These large wooden keys can be replaced with alternates, so a number of tunings are possible. The remaining two platforms are smaller and are topped with thick brass slabs. They ring like bells, one higher pitched and the other lower.
Hexa was named for all the sixes in the piece (hexagonal floor shapes, six feet on the Tap Dance Instrument, six percussion instruments played by the musician) and for the magical connotations of "hex" and "hex signs". Opening the work, tap dancers' feet play a tune on the tap marimba, accompanied by the percussionist's muted cymbals. Dancers' arms, legs, and bodies create visual designs as the tune moves the three performers back and forth across the tap marimba. Gradually the dancers move to non-pitched wood platforms and then to the brass floor modules. Feldman and Vierk worked together on all major aspects of the work. They experimented with different tapping techniques on each of the Tap Dance Instrument floor modules. They developed sound materials and phrases together, and these later turned into larger sections and then into the entire piece. The percussion part was composed to intertwine with the tap dance part. The object of the live electronics – sometimes processing the percussion, sometimes the tap, and sometimes both – was to support the sound and the dancers' movement, to add its own character and momentum, and to help the sounds and movement coalesce into a whole.
Hexa was commissioned by AT&T Foundation and the American Dance Festival, and premiered at the American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina, 1988. The Tap Dance Instrument was designed and built with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Recorded and mixed by Don Hunerberg, Pyramid Studios, NYC, 1989-90. Digital audio edit by Scott Lehrer, 2nd Story Sound, NYC, 2010.
5. Bruce Gremo
Bruce Gremo, shakuhachi
ScascadeHo is the last of nine pieces from ChoshiShoes, a suite for Japanese shakuhachi and two computers. The computer applications (MSP) are pitch-tracking intensive. Raw data are generated by analyzing the sonic and musical material through a microphone. Continuous, dynamic, and networked control data are derived, and routed to idiosyncratic sound generating routines (cascading and additive FM, granulation, spectral processing, and sound-file manipulation).
Such 'application composition' is rule bound: structure is pre-determined as an if-then consequence logic. Form and specific musical contents are encouraged, as initiatives of the player. The more the rules are engaged, the more the work becomes 'structured improvisation.' This includes saying no to the application tendencies! 'No' is also a prerogative of the improviser, and of passion. My answer to compelling musical narrative requires a relation between improvisation and predetermination.
Choshi is a standard piece played by shakuhachi players of all styles. ScascadeHo exercises a variation on some small aspect of the original Choshi. As each application proposes a different idea of interaction, the suite could be called a variation on variations. Each piece combines two applications, creating a new hybrid. Are there 3 players, 2, or 1.x? In any event, chamber music for one player.
Composer, multiple flutist, programmer, and digital instrument-maker Bruce Gremo has written interactive computer music since 1997. He is co-inventor of the Cilia, an electronic flute controller. His awards include; ITA Residence Award at Harvestworks (2005, NYC), 2004 JUSFC Creative Artist Exchange fellowship (NEA sponsored, for six-months' study in Japan), Composer in Residence at Civitella Rainieri Foundation (Italy, 2003), and 2002 NYFA Fellow. A featured composer at New York venues such as Experimental Intermedia, Roulette, Harvestworks, and Lotus Studios, he has also been Artist in Residence at Steim (Amsterdam 2002), Engine 27 (NYC 2002), and Harvestworks (NYC 2000). His computer music has been performed around the world.
A classical flutist, he also plays the Japanese Shakuhachi, the Chinese Xun, the Indian Bansuri, and two hybrid flutes, the Shakulute and the Glissando Flute. Soloist performances at major festivals include: the Lincoln Center Festival, Wien Modern, the BBC Proms, and the Knitting Factory Jazz Festival under Ornette Coleman’s direction.
He has two Masters degrees: Music Composition (U of Vic, Martin Bartlett), and Philosophy (NSSR, Reiner Schurmann). He currently resides in Beijing working as composer, principal orchestra flutist featured with the Beijing orchestra, XinYaKongQi, freelance recitalist, and teacher.
Recording engineered by Bruce Gremo (June 2006, Garrison NY), and mastered by Tom Hamilton (August 2006, NYC). All MSP programming by the composer, Bruce Gremo.
6. Lukas Ligeti
Like many other pieces in my solo electronic percussion repertoire, the sounds in Triangulation come mainly from my travels – samples of singers in Ghana, alarm sirens in Johannesburg, and two of my favorite guitarists, Wende K. Blass and Marco Cappelli. These three soundworlds form the points of the triangle inside of which I am oscillating, mixing, crossfading, and collaging via the marimba lumina, an electronic instrument designed by California engineer Don
Lukas Ligeti was born in Vienna and now lives in New York. A drummer, percussionist, composer, and improviser, he has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, Bang on a Can, the Kronos Quartet, Ensemble Modern, and others, and has perforned with John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, Henry Kaiser, Marilyn Crispell, and many other
musicians in the field of creative improvisation. He has collaborated with traditional musicians across Africa in Côte d'Ivoire, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Lesotho, etc., and has taught composition at universities in South Africa and Ghana. He is a founding member of the African electro band Burkina Electric, based in Burkina Faso.
Recorded live on 9/29/08 at Dohnányi Hall, Florida State University, Tallahassee. Thanks to Karey Fowler.
7. Joel Chadabe
Solo was composed in 1978. In performing it, I was standing behind two antennas – actually theremins built for me by Robert Moog – and moving my hands towards or away from each antenna to control speed and timbre, as if I was conducting an improvising orchestra. The melodic idea, in fact, was based on a wild clarinet improvisation by J. D. Parran that I had heard in New York, with notes racing around through changes in register and speed, and the harmonies were composed by the software I'd created. Indeed, I was conducting tempo and orchestration, not unlike what normal conductors do, but never knew exactly what would come next. In positioning my hands for the next sounds, I knew what the tempo would be and I knew which instruments would be playing, but I never knew what the notes would be. Would it be wide voicing over several octaves? Or would it be a tightly knit group of sounds? There was great unpredictability in the notes of the melody and in the harmonies. I had created an interactive instrument. I was influencing it and it was influencing me, and the music came alive through that mutually influential relationship.
Joel Chadabe, composer, performs with interactive musical instruments. His music has been presented at The Human Voice in a New World (New York City), Xenakis and a Changing Climate (La Tourette, France), Suono Aperto (Conservatorio G Rossini, Pesaro, Italy), ElectroWorks Festival (Athens), NYU Interactive (NYC), New Mix (Palais de Tokyo, Paris), and many other venues worldwide. His music is recorded on EMF Media, Deep Listening, CDCM, Lovely Music, and other labels.
He is the author of Electric Sound, a comprehensive history of electronic music. His articles have been published in Organized Sound, Leonardo Music Journal, Computer Music Journal, and other journals, and anthologized in books by MIT Press, Routledge, and other publishers.
He has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Fulbright Commission, and other organizations. He was keynote speaker at the NIME Conference at the MIT Media Lab, Dublin, 2002, and International Computer Music Conference, Berlin, September 2000. He received the 2007 SEAMUS Lifetime Achievement Award.
He is currently on the faculties of Manhattan School of Music and New York University; and he is founder and president of Electronic Music Foundation.
Solo was composed thanks to an individual grant-in-aid from the Rockefeller Foundation to explore the creation of interactive instruments.
8. Jose Halac
BLOWN 2 (9:14)
Nicolas Maza, bass clarinet
BLOWN 2 was written between March 2007 and November 2009 in my studio. The piece was created with plastic tubes, piano, and sounds recorded by bass-clarinet player Nicolás Maza, from Córdoba (Argentina), who recorded a collection of phrases, noises, notes, breathing technique sounds, key slaps, and voice effects all close-miked to enable micro-details of his performance to be heard.
I organized the collection of sounds into categories (pitched-noise-airy or breathing sounds-percussive sounds) and then created multiple layers of articulated passages. The compositional plan was to go from the inside of the tube of the clarinet all the way to the perception of an outside spectator. To achieve this I articulated the form through virtuosic passages using high-speed gestures, extreme close-ups, and sudden rests so that this illusory aural narration could be brought to life. Mr. Maza added his live part, which resulted from his improvisatory gestures and my re-organizing them into the final recording.
BLOWN 2 is abstract in its aural realism, but it is descriptive in spirit. The player’s breathing (sometimes exaggerated) also articulates a level that can be described as more “human”. But in all, a super-human quality emerges, a sense of magnified sublimation flows to multiply the angles of perception.
Jose Halac is a composer and professor of Composition teaching at the School of Arts at the National University of Córdoba, Argentina. He lived in New York from 1990 until 2004. His music ranges from chamber, improvisatory, to electro-acoustic. He also works actively for video art, theatre, film, and dance projects. He has been awarded several prizes and grants, among them the 1st Prize at the Bourges Electroacoustic Music Festival (France), 2000, the National Endowment for the Arts in 1994, NYFA, 2001, PHONOS Foundation in Barcelona, American Composers Forum, 2000, Centro Experimental Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, 2002, and UNESCO-Rostrum of Composers in 1996. His music appears in discs from the Tellus, Bourges GhMB, Wasbe, Centaur, and Innova labels and has been programmed at festivals such as the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, the Bourges festival, ISEA, and Sonidos de las Americas in New York. Mr. Halac created and directs the International Biennial in Composition and Education at his university in Cordoba. A video/sound installation with his music and German artist Jana Kluge’s video art, called “Gutenberg Galaxy”, opened in Cordoba and Germany in 2010. Mr. Halac participated in the 2009 Destellos Foundation's Conference in Esthetics, directed by Elsa Justel, presenting his research in musical syncretism.
Nicolas Maza, an Argentine musician with an eclectic background, began his studies with the saxophone, which led him to the jazz environment. He has also developed a career as a clarinet player (Bb and bass) which brings him closer to the chamber, orchestral, and the wind ensemble worlds. He plays regularly as a soloist for the Cordoba Wind Ensemble (Banda Sinfónica de Córdoba). He has worked since 2000 in collaboration with Argentine composers of his generation, premiering pieces by Jose Halac, Juan Tolosa, Hector Tortosa, Marcos Franciosi, Yamil Burguener, Luis Toro, and Mariano Velez. He founded the ensemble “La Ficha” in 2001, the “Córdoba Ensemble” in 2002, and the reed quintet SLAP! in 2007, with which he has also premiered his own compositions.His quintet SLAP! currently serves as ensemble in residence for the Composition Department at the National University of Córdoba.
9. Samuel Claiborne
Viola Breath (5:09)
Samuel Claiborne, viola & vocals
Samuel Claiborne (born 1959) is a composer, performer, photographer, poet, video artist, and political commentator for Northeast Public Radio. He started playing and composing rock & roll and experimental music about the same time in 1978. Since then he’s performed in several bands, solo and, since 1985, as one half of the electro-acoustic ‘avant-bizarro’ duo, Loons in the Monastery. He is also a recovered quadriplegic.
This piece was recorded live direct to digital during a sound check at the Deep Listening Space in Kingston, NY. Engineered, mastered and produced by Samuel Claiborne at Sonotrope Sound and Image, High Falls, NY, Autumn, 2008. Published by Low Born Music (ASCAP).
Accidental Touching (1:59)
Leo Ciesa, piano; Julie Joslyn, violin
Accidental Touching is a track from ICONOCLAST’s CD, Dirty Jazz (Fang Records, 2010). It is an improvised duet between grand piano and electric violin played through a Marshall amplifier.
ICONOCLAST is a duo comprised of Julie Joslyn (alto saxophone, live electronics, violin, vocals) and Leo Ciesa (drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals). Ciesa and Joslyn have been composing and performing together since the beginning of 1987, and have developed a bold and distinctive sound. ICONOCLAST's music and performance is known for its intensity, physicality, and "larger than duo" impact. Acoustic and electronic sounds exist side by side as the music moves between improvisation and composition without stylistic limitation. As AllAboutJazz noted: “If your ears have been begging for something different, it's time to check out Iconoclast... With their film noir visuals, irreverent humor, and fabulously devious imaginations, Iconoclast is a group deserving of its name."
ICONOCLAST has received grants from Meet the Composer, Arts International: The Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions, and The New York Foundation for the Arts.
Leo Ciesa is also the drummer in the octet Doctor Nerve and can be heard on their numerous recordings. He has an endorsement with Pro-Mark drumsticks. Julie Joslyn is also a practicing psychoanalyst and painter. She thanks Roberto Romeo for saxophone maintenance and for his generosity.
Recorded October 8-10, 2009 at Water Music, Hoboken, NJ. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Christopher Howard. Produced by ICONOCLAST.
11. Elliott Sharp
Cryptid Fragments (3:16)
Maggie Parkins, cello; Sara Parkins, violin
Cryptid Fragments (excerpt, 1991) was created from hundreds of samples that I recorded of cellist Maggie Parkins and violinist Sara Parkins playing from a menu of gestures, extended techniques, and text instructions. These fragments were then processed and recombined in recursive chains using the basic Sound Tools software I then had available running on a Mac IIx, as well as external digital and analog sound processing. The full piece is 17 minutes in length.
Composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Elliott Sharp has been a central figure in the experimental music scene in New York City for over thirty years, and currently leads his ensemble projects Carbon, Orchestra Carbon, Tectonics, and Terraplane. He has pioneered techniques of applying fractal geometry, chaos theory, and genetic metaphors to musical composition and interaction, and has collaborated with a diverse range of artists, including Ensemble Modern, Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Radio-Symphony of Frankfurt, pop singer Debbie Harry, computer artist Perry Hoberman, blues legends Hubert Sumlin and Pops Staples, jazz greats Jack deJohnette and Sonny Sharrock, and Bachir Attar, leader of the Master Musicians of Jajouka from Morocco. Sharp's work has been featured at festivals worldwide, including the 2008 New Music Stockholm festival, the 2007 Hessischer Rundfunk Klangbiennale, the 2002 Ferienkürse fur Neue Musik Darmstadt, and the 2003 and 2006 Venice Biennales. He has composed for video artists Nam June Paik and Paul Garrin and for filmmakers Toni Dove, Jonathan Berman, and Illppo Pohjola. His sci-fi opera for teenage performers, About Us, was commissioned by the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and premiered in July 2010. Sharp's work is the subject of a documentary, Doing The Don't by Bert Shapiro.
12. Stefan Tcherepnin
Composed, recorded and performed by Stefan Tcherepnin on synthesizer in 2004. Stefan is a New York-based composer and performer whose work incorporates elements of noise, indeterminacy, and improvisation, as well as aspects of traditional composition.
• Cover art by Andrea Dezsö, from "Sometimes in My Dreams I Fly", 8 April - 8 August 2010. Commission: Rice University Art Gallery. Photo: Nash Baker © nashbaker.com
• Total time: 75:09
1. Meredith Monk (arr. Anthony de Mare)
urban march (shadow) (2:46)
Anthony de Mare, piano, voice
In his 2002 review of Meredith Monk and Ann Hamilton’s richly collaborative work mercy, writer Mark Swed refers to Monk as a “composer, choreographer, singer, dancer, myth maker, the model of a poly-artist with an all-encompassing vision. Two and a half years ago, in a Westside synagogue, Meredith Monk sang to the Dalai Lama, who was on hand to give a talk. She stood before him and welcomed him with an invocation, making distinct music in her wordless, elemental manner that seems to come directly out of her body and being. She beamed. He beamed. Before long, the large temple seemed aglow.”
Kyle Gann has described Monk’s creativity as “simple but powerful, and powerful precisely because it is so simple … it speaks to the human condition … deeply archetypal—partly, but not solely, because it begins with the human voice.” Marc Swed continues with “…what this intensely moving, drop-dead gorgeous, can’t-be-categorized fluid piece of meditative music, movement and milieu presents is an immersion into the process of transcendence.”
In Meredith Monk’s words, mercy is a contemplation of help and harm. It calls forth essential questions of our humanity. Compassion begins with the awareness of things as they are. With its chromatic harmonies, urban march (shadow) (2001) creates an atmosphere of a haunted landscape, suggesting the Buddhist notion of darkness and light being part of one whole.
Special thanks to Meredith for her invaluable suggestions with this piano transcription and for her continued support of my performances of her marvelous works. This version was first performed at the concert “Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama” at the Rubin Museum of Art. (-AdM)
Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, director/choreographer and creator of new opera, music theater works, films, and installations. A pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal techniques” and “interdisciplinary performance,” Monk creates works that thrive at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound, in an effort to discover and weave together new modes of perception. Her groundbreaking exploration of the voice as an instrument – as an eloquent language in and of itself – expands the boundaries of musical composition, creating landscapes of sound that unearth feelings, energies, and memories for which we have no words. She has alternately been proclaimed as a “magician of the voice” and “one of America’s coolest composers.” During a career that spans more than 40 years she has been acclaimed by audiences and critics as a major creative force in the performing arts.
Anthony de Mare’s dazzling virtuosity and originality have helped establish him as a true champion of contemporary music. He has inspired and premiered the creation of new work by composers of all generations and styles and has commissioned and collaborated with many of the world’s most esteemed musical artists. Praised for his “muscularly virtuosic, remarkably uninhibited performance [and] impressive talents” (The New York Times), his performances draw praise from leading music critics for breathing new life into the recital format.
Having been awarded First Prize and Audience Prize at the International Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition (The Netherlands) and The International Competition of Contemporary Piano Music (France), de Mare debuted under the auspices of Young Concert Artists and gave his Carnegie Hall debut at Zankel Hall. Since then he has become well known to international audiences for his solo and concerto performances as well as his pioneering achievements in concert theater. He has often been credited for fueling the explosive growth and popularity of compositions written for the speaking/singing pianist — the genre that he created 20 years ago.
De Mare is currently professor of piano at Manhattan School of Music and New York University. Through his many residencies across North America he has inspired a new generation of pianists and contemporary music advocates to initiate creative strategies as innovative professionals
Produced by Judith Sherman. Engineers: Emma Lain and John D.S. Adams. Assistant engineer: Will Howie. Editing assistant: Jeanne Velonis. Piano technician: Albert Picknell. Recording appears courtesy of E1 Music ©2010
urban march (shadow) was recorded November 2, 2008, in Rolston Recital Hall, Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta, Canada. It also appears on Speak!, the speaking/singing pianist (innova 241).
2. Annea Lockwood
Sarah Cahill, piano
RCSC was commissioned by Sarah Cahill in 2001 as one of a set of seven short pieces by women composers in honor of Ruth Crawford Seeger. The title is a near palindrome of their names, and for its pitch content the piece draws on a ten-note row from the final movement of Crawford Seeger's second string quartet.
Annea Lockwood is known for her explorations of the rich world of natural acoustic sounds and environments, in works ranging from sound art and installations, text-sound and performance art to concert music.
Mastered by Tom Hamilton; a live performance recorded at the Santa Fe New Music Festival.
3. John Morton
The Parting (5:06)
John Morton, music box and electronics
The Parting was written as an interlude to a Passover dinner. It is played on a single original music box, with piano wire pulled through holes in the music box and the comb strummed with a paper clip.
John Morton is a composer and sound artist who has composed with music boxes for the last 10 years, including works for voice, gamelan and various ensembles. Working with simple tools, he frees up the music box's inner works, expanding the variety of available sounds, and generating a method for the continual layering and variation of musical material. Through digital technology, the music box sound is directly merged into the compositional process. These works have led to sound installations that utilize site-specific sounds and mechanical music devices. In the summer of 2009, he built and installed a 6-channel installation, Central Park Sound Tunnel in a pedestrian tunnel in Central Park (commissioned by Harvestworks and funded by NYSCA). In November 2009 he collaborated on The Voyage Out, a sculpture/music box installation based on Darwin's writings for Glyndor Gallery at Wave Hill. He was in residence at the Bellagio Study Center in Italy in April 2010. Recent performances include (le) Poisson Rouge, Baryshnikov Studios, Bard College and Issue Project Room.
Recorded in Tappan, NY, December 2009
4. Robert Dick
EYEWITNESS Movement 2 (6:00)
Flute Force: Gretchen Pusch, flute and piccolo; Sheryl Henze, flute and piccolo; Rie Schmidt, flute, alto flute and bass flute; Wendy Stern, flute and bass flute
Robert Dick’s lexicon of extended techniques for the flute is employed throughout Eyewitness, and has become a standard part of flutists’ vocabulary. The work was commissioned jointly by three flute quartets — Flute Force, the Powell Quartet, and the CalArts Contemporary Chamber Players — and was made possible with funds from the Meet the Composer/Readers Digest Commissioning Program, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Acheson Wallace-Readers Digest Fund.
Dick holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.M. in composition from the Yale School of Music. While best known for his many works for flute, Dick has been creating chamber music for many years. Robert Dick teaches at New York University (NYU) and the City University of New York Graduate Center.
Praised as "an extremely persuasive advocate for the flute quartet medium: four top-quality players in a perfectly balanced and expressive ensemble" by Musical America, Flute Force was first presented in its Carnegie Recital Hall debut as winner of the Artists International Competition, returning in 2008 to celebrate their 25th anniversary season with premieres by Elizabeth Brown and Joseph Schwantner. Based in New York City, Flute Force utilizes the instruments of the flute family (piccolo, flute, alto, bass and contrabass) in various combinations, and through their performances, recordings and commitment to championing new works, Flute Force has established the flute quartet as a bona fide genre in the chamber music community.
Recorded, produced and edited by Adam Abeshouse. Recorded at SUNY College at Purchase between December 20, 1998 and June 20, 2000. Eyewitness also appears on Innova 556. Published by Multiple Breath Music.
5. Sorrel Hays
On the Wind (4:21)
Andrew Bolotowsky, flutes
This music honors Dutch citizens who valiantly resisted occupation by German military during World War II. When I performed with the Orchestra of the Hague for John Cage’s 60th birthday, we were given accommodations at Scheveningen Beach, on the North Sea. Daily before rehearsal I walked the dunes, which were dotted with cylindrical fence poles tilting in the sand; rusting vestiges of barbed wire fortifications meant to insulate the European Continent from liberators. As breezes reveled over the sand, the pipe poles moaned and wailed, bending pitches. On the Wind contains nonsynchronous sections, which remind me of that wind across Scheveningen Beach. After war, what's left is the music. Performance scores are available from Heskin Editions.
Sorrel Hays’s recent music includes Our Giraffe, headliner at New York City Opera’s 2008 VOX Festival, about the giraffe (sung by Beth Griffith) who journeyed from Egypt to Paris in 1826. TOOWHOPERA, a cantatera on love in space, premiered in 2009, as part of a Georgia Music Teachers' commission. Hays’s comedy The Bee Opera premiered 2003 at Medicine Show Theater in New York City. Hays created unique combinations of song and sound effects for eight Westdeutscher Rundfunk commissions of experimental drama. Something (To Do) Doing/ Etwas Tun, a spoof on American busyness for actors and scat singer, was featured in the Whitney Museum’s 1990 Audio Art show. Dream in Her Mind/ Traum in ihrem Kopf, about women mapping Venus, exhibited at Media Museum Roskilde, Copenhagen Festiival 1996. Writes Kyle Gann, “The chief quality of Hays’s music is a joyously earthy mysticism.”
Andrew Bolotowsky is one of America’s most versatile virtuoso flute players. He recently recorded baroque music on Baroque flute (for Quill Classics), but is equally at home in the avant-garde, lately in ensembles with vocalists Beth Griffith, his wife Mary Hurlbut, jazz improvisers Lenore von Stein, and guitarist Bern Nix. Andrew Bolotowsky lives in New York City.
Recorded Nola Studios, NYC, 2002; Marilyn Ries, mix and mastering engineer. Thanks to the Gaudeamus Foundation. ©2009 Tallapoosa Music, ASCAP.
6. Elizabeth Brown
Loons, from Isle Royale Shakuhachi Duets (4:43)
Elizabeth Brown, shakuhachi
Isle Royale Shakuhachi Duets (2005) were written during an artist residency in Isle Royale National Park, a US Biosphere Reserve in the middle of Lake Superior. Each movement is modeled on traditional Kinko School shakuhachi gestures, and uses the slightly overlapping phrase form of the famous shakuhachi duet Shika no Tone. The piece is dedicated to Ralph Samuelson, who performed the premiere with the composer at Roulette in New York City in 2006.
Elizabeth Brown combines a composing career with a diverse performing life, playing flute, shakuhachi, theremin, and dan bau (Vietnamese monochord) in a wide variety of musical circles. Her chamber music, shaped by this unique group of instruments and experiences, has been called luminous, dreamlike and hallucinatory. Brown’s music has been heard in Japan, the Soviet Union, Colombia, Australia, and Vietnam, as well as across the US and Europe. She has received grants, awards and commissions from Orpheus, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Newband, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Asian Cultural Council, the Japan/US Friendship Commission, the Cary Trust, the Barlow Foundation, and NYFA.
Recorded by the composer on July 9th, 2005 in Brooklyn, NY.
7. Daniel Goode
Tuba Thrush (14:52)
The Flexible Orchestra: Tara Simoncic, cond.
Tuba Thrush is a scoring of the harmony of one individual Hermit Thrush I made from my field recording of 1981 on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The orchestra equals the sound of one “giant” thrush, a “tuba thrush.” The unique structure of each individual’s song of the species becomes in my mind a repeated chord progression, a “natural passacaglia,” but with a twist: the bird orders its phrases with certain combinations coming more often than others. At the risk of jargon, I would call this a “weighted permutational passacaglia.” It is a wonderful form! I first noticed this when listening to the hermit thrush in the woods of Cape Breton. I marveled at how each phrase when it returned was exactly the same. And I started to hear the combinations that returned more often than others. Sometimes I even anticipated what would come next. I’ve made many compositions of the melodies of the hermit and wood thrushes, like Eight Thrushes, Accordion and Bagpipe (on Eight Thrushes in New York on Frog Peak Records). This is the first realization I’ve made just of the harmony of a hermit thrush.
Daniel Goode, composer and clarinetist, was born in New York. His solo, ensemble and intermedia works have been performed worldwide. He is co-founder/director of the DownTown Ensemble, formed in 1983. He has been a performer and composer with Gamelan Son of Lion since 1976. He was a 2004 Fellowship recipient from the New York Foundation for the Arts. The same year he founded the Flexible Orchestra, a new concept of orchestra. He has premiered four works for it since then, which are among the Flexible Orchestra’s twenty-one new works.
Tara Simoncic conceived of the Flexible Orchestra in 1999, and made it a reality in 2004. It is a re-forming of the symphony orchestra so that a group of, say 15-20 musicians through strategic instrumentation has an orchestral sound: both the “mass” and the variety. For example: 10 trombones, 2 clarinets, 2 double basses, piano, percussion (the 2007 orchestra).
Recorded by Ben Manley on Oct.16, 2009 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, NYC. Funding: New York State Council on the Arts, The Rosenberg Foundation, and private contributors.
8. David Simons
The Downtown Ensemble: David Simons, zheng; Skip LaPlante, styrobab; Stephanie Griffin, viola; Alex Waterman, cello
CIPHER was written for string quartet in 1992. There are 17 musical gestures, each represented by a number. For example number 1 is “long downwards gliss”, while number 12 is “sustain one note and whistle the same”. There are no specific pitches indicated, but there are a few rhythmic motifs. It is up to the improvisational skills of the players and group interaction to decipher the music. A symbol next to the number indicates how you interpret the gesture: play it once; sustain it the entire length of the system; repeat; or repeat with different pitches. Each player's part is different, of course. The ensemble moves through the numbers together (2-14 seconds each) sometimes exactly, sometimes overlapping. CIPHER could be performed by any type of string quartet. This was the premiere performance – the piece waited 16 years to get played!
David Simons is a composer and performer specializing in percussion, theremin, electronics, homemade instruments, and World music. Recordings of his works include 2 CDs on Tzadik Prismatic Hearing (2004) and Fung Sha Noon (2009); the opera The Birth of George (Tellus/Harvestworks) with Lisa Karrer (2003); 3 CDs for Gamelan Son of Lion (including Sonogram 2008 on innova), and on albums by God is My Co-Pilot, Stockhausen, Shelley Hirsch, Music for Homemade Instruments, Denman Maroney, Laura Andel, and many others. David’s work in music for theater and dance has brought him to Europe, Asia, Guantanamo, Honolulu, and Bali. He has been awarded a Rockefeller Bellagio residency, NYFA fellowships, commissions, and travel awards. Simons' composition Odentity for the Harry Partch instruments was premiered by Newband in 2007. Recent premieres include the 2009 GONG(hump)ing Ceremony for gamelan. David is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts. His writings on music and sound are published in Radiotexte (Semiotexte#16), EAR magazine, and Soundings.
The DOWNTOWN ENSEMBLE was founded in 1983 by its co-directors Daniel Goode and William Hellermann in response to a perceived need for music of open (unspecified) instrumentation ranging from the completely notated to the minimally notated. This particular concert featured music by Betsey Biggs, Skip LaPlante and David Simons, with featured performers Stephanie Griffin and Alex Waterman. The SoundArt Foundation has produced and presented many premieres at the Renee Weiler Auditorium at Greenwich House, 46 Barrow Street in New York City's historic West Village.
Engineer: Ben Manley. Producer: Downtown Ensemble. Recorded June 25, 2008 in concert at Greenwich House Music School, NYC.
9. JG Thirlwell
10 Ton Shadow (4.06)
JG Thirlwell is a composer/producer/performer based in Brooklyn who works under many pseudonyms including Foetus, Steroid Maximus, Manorexia, Baby Zizanie Clint Ruin and Wiseblood. If there is a common thread to his varied musical styles it is a dramatic intensity and an evocative, cinematic quality. He is also widely recognized for his remix and production work; mixing everyone from Nine Inch Nails to Excepter. He is also celebrated for his graphic design, which adorns his album sleeves. As of 2010 he has released thirty albums.
JG has composed commissions for Kronos Quartet, Bang On A Can and League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots and is a member of the "freq_out" sound-art collective, who create on-site sound and light installations. He also scores "The Venture Brothers", a hit cartoon show on Adult Swim/Cartoon Network.
Composed, produced, performed and recorded by JG Thirlwell at Self Immolation Studios, Brooklyn, 2010.
Published by Ectopic Music.
10. Anne LeBaron, Wadada Leo Smith,
Peter van Bergen
An Even Loan (11:51)
Anne LeBaron, harp; Wadada Leo Smith,
trumpet; Peter van Bergen, woodwinds
An Even Loan emerged from an impromptu gathering in May 2007. The setting: Roy O. Disney Hall, at CalArts in Valencia, California. The title of this music is anagrammatic, the source being the middle names of the three musicians: Anne (her first name being Alice); Leo, and Van. It also refers to the borrowed instrument played by Wadada Leo Smith. The piece showcases a spectrum of crisscrossing sonorities that each player has developed and refined over their collective years of explorations.
Anne LeBaron’s compositions embrace an exotic array of subjects ranging from the mysterious Singing Dunes of Kazakhstan, and probes into physical and cultural forms of extinction, to the controversial cross-dressing Papessa Joanna. Widely recognized for her work in instrumental, electronic, and performance realms, she has received numerous awards and prizes, including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Alpert Award in the Arts, a Fulbright Full Fellowship, an award from the Rockefeller MAP Fund. Her works have recently been performed in Sweden, Dresden, New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles. >www.annelebaron.com
Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist, composer and improviser, has been active in creative contemporary music for over forty years. His systemic music language, Ankhrasmation, is significant in his development as an artist and educator. Mr. Smith currently has three ensembles: Golden Quartet, Silver Orchestra, and Organic. His compositions have also been performed by other contemporary music ensembles: AACM-Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Da Capo Chamber Player, New Century Players, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Contemporary Chamber Players (University of Chicago), S.E.M. Ensemble, among others.
Peter J.A. van Bergen is known worldwide as a composer, improviser, and performer of contemporary music, his instruments being woodwinds, live electronics & computer. He is also a prolific organizer: Director of the International Institute for Improvisation, and Director of the LOOS Foundation. He has received several commissions and long-term stipends from the Dutch Fund for Composition and the City of Amsterdam. Besides all his compositions for the LOOS Ensemble, he has written for soloists, ASKO Ensemble, De Volharding, Maarten Altena Ensemble, Holz Fuer Europa, Pianoduo Post & Mulder, and Zengea Karimba Ensemble (ZIM).
11. Eric John Eigner
Music for Faucet (2:16)
Eric John Eigner, faucet
This piece of music is credited to an amazing bathroom faucet in my old apartment in Bed-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn where I spent many a moment improvising pieces by manipulating the hot and cold water-knobs. This temperamental faucet would not always allow me to perform upon it as the temperature and water pressure in the pipes had to seemingly be just right to bring the faucet to life with sound. I controlled pitch and rhythm by adjusting the flow of the hot and cold water, and the opening of the valves. At these opportune moments, I amused myself (and likely exasperated my neighbors) by playing the faucet. When I decided to move, though impossible, I wanted to bring the faucet with me.
Eric John Eigner spent his formative years in Minneapolis, MN, where he was heavily involved in music for theatre, and dance, rock, jazz, and experimental bands. Eigner migrated to New York in 1994 to further develop his work. He plays drumset and Table-top Percussion and has released three CD’s from his Mysterium Project on Eavesdrop Records, a label he created as a platform for contemporary work. Eigner works in a number of diverse Soundpainting projects and has performed with the Walter Thompson Orchestra, the Tours Soundpainting Orchestra, and ZAHA. Eigner is currently working on two solo recordings as well as a duet recording with guitarist Bruce Holmberg. He has played with Steve Swell, Reuben Radding, Kenny Wollesen, CAVEnsemble, Mark Stewart, Sabir Mateen, Butch Morris, Anthony Braxton, John King, Daniel Carter, Nate Wooley, Burnt Sugar, and Steve Dalachinsky. Eigner has worked in a number of other bands, from Steve Albini produced Pillow Theory, to Earthdriver, a band made up of a wide variety of international talent, joining forces to create a unified musical and social statement. He is also a painter and photographer.
12. Monteith McCollum
Flight (from the film “Hybrid”) (3:56)
Monteith McCollum, violin and viola
Monteith McCollum is an independent filmmaker and musician. He has made several films that have received international recognition. His best-known work, Hybrid, received the IFP/Direct TV Truer Than Fiction Spirit Award and the NYFA Prize. Monteith has also been the recipient of a Rockefeller Fellowship, NEA Creative Arts Grant, and Kodak Film Stock awards. In 2008 he received a NYFA Fellowship for Music Composition. He continues to create his compositions in a barn full of instruments and objects that he can play both proficiently and remedially.
• Cover art: Sergio Sericolo
• Total time: 73:29
No Wave Bitte (1:50)
Julie Joslyn, alto saxophone; Leo Ciesa, drums
No Wave Bitte is a track from ICONOCLAST’S CD The Body Never Lies (Fang Records, 2006). It is a composition based on an additive rhythmic structure where the drums and saxophone are both playing the drum score.
Notes on ICONOCLAST can be found on Disc A, Track 10.
Recorded June 18-21, 2004 at Water Music, Hoboken, NJ. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Christopher Howard. Produced by ICONOCLAST
2. Rudresh Mahanthappa
Are There Clouds in India?
(from the "Black Water Suite") (6:56)
Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto saxophone; Vijay Iyer, piano; Franćois Moutin, bass; Elliot Humberto Kavee, drums
Black Water is a musical attempt at describing my hybrid identity as an Indian-American. "Are there clouds in India?" was an actual question posed to my father soon after he came to the USA. The piece itself is a subtle tribute to the victims of 9/11, in the use of a bass line that consists of 9 pitches laid over an 11 beat cycle.
Guggenheim Fellow and 2009 Downbeat International Critics Poll Winner (“Rising Star-Jazz Artist” and “Rising Star-Alto Saxophone”) Rudresh Mahanthappa is one of the most innovative young musicians and composers in jazz today. Named Alto Saxophonist of the Year for 2009 by the Jazz Journalist Association, Rudresh has incorporated the culture of his Indian ancestry and has fused myriad influences to create a truly groundbreaking artistic vision. As a performer, he leads/co-leads seven groups, to critical acclaim. His release for Pi Recordings, Kinsmen, featuring Carnatic saxophone legend Kadri Gopalnath, was named one of the Top Jazz CDs of 2008 by over 20 news sources including the New York Times, NPR, BBC, Boston Globe, slate.com, JazzTimes, and the Village Voice. His innova CD, Apti, with the Indo-Pak Coalition, received similar acclaim. Mahanthappa holds a Bachelors of Music Degree in jazz performance from Berklee College of Music and a Masters of Music degree in jazz composition from Chicago's DePaul University. He lives in New York where he is widely regarded as an important and influential voice in the jazz world. Rudresh K. Mahanthappa uses Vandoren reeds exclusively. Mahanthappa is also a NYFA Fellow.
Recorded by John Rosenberg at The Studio, New York, New York on April 8, 2002. The creation of "Black Water" was underwritten by the American Composers Forum with funds provided by the Jerome Foundation, and was a sponsored project of NYFA with funding provided by NYSCA.
3: I Wor Kuen (3:00)
4: No Home to Return to (11:11)
Afro Asian Music Ensemble: Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto sax; David Bindman, tenor sax; Fred Ho, baritone sax; Richard Harper, piano; Wes Brown, bass; royal hartigan, drums and chinese percussion
I Wor Kuen is the Cantonese name for the Society of Harmonious Righteous Fists, who were the militant rebels also known as “The Boxers.” During the early 1970s, the merger of two revolutionary Asian American organizations on the east and west coasts formed a revolutionary nationalist nationwide organization called I Wor Kuen (which also happened to be the name of the east coast group). This important historical accounting is provided in the book LEGACY TO LIBERATION: POLITICS AND CULTURE OF REVOLUTIONARY ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICA (AK Press).
No Home to Return to is dedicated to the newly arrived working-class immigrants who form part of the human trafficking of forced labor from “the third world” to the U.S. and other affluent countries. It was originally composed in the early 1990s to call attention to the vile “snakeheads” (smugglers) and the maltreatment of their “cargo” (the Chinese who were smuggled via cargo ships) when the ship, The Golden Venture, grounded ashore off New York City. I have extended the dedication to indict all human trafficking globally and to support the struggles of the smuggled (or so-called “illegal” or “undocumented”) workers.
The old Fred Ho died August 4, 2006 of advanced (stage 3b) colo-rectal cancer. The new Fred Ho was born August 5, 2006 and is a revolutionary, matriarchal and aspiring luddite socialist who composes music, writes epic stage narratives, plays the baritone saxophone, and leads musical and performance ensembles.
He leads the Afro Asian Music Ensemble (a sextet), the Green Monster Big Band (a 21-piece chamber orchestra), the Monkey Orchestra (the world’s most unusual chamber ensemble/big band comprised of traditional Chinese and western instrumentation and Chinese language vocals), Caliente! Circle Around the Sun duet with poet Magdalena Gomez, the Afro Asian Scientific Soul Duo with tenor saxophonist-scholar-revolutionary activist Dr. Salim Washington, and the Saxophone Liberation Front (a saxophone quartet).
He has received numerous commissions and awards. Of recent note, he is the 2009 Harvard Arts Medalist, of which there have only been 16 recipients. He is the youngest and first Asian American recipient of the Duke Ellington Distinguished Artist Lifetime Achievement Award from the Black Musicians Conference (in 1988, Ho was 30 years old). He is also the first artist to ever receive twice the Peter Ivers Fellowship from Harvard University. Ho is a 1979 graduate of Harvard University, a sociology major. He is a self-taught musician and composer. In 2010, he received the American Music Center’s Letter of Distinction.
Fred Ho has created over a dozen revolutionary operas, including MONKEY: JOURNEY BEYOND THE WEST, DEADLY SHE-WOLF ASSASSIN AT ARMAGEDDON! (with Ruth Margraff), VOICE OF THE DRAGON TRILOGY (VOD 1: ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINESE AMERICA…THE MARTIAL ARTS EPIC, VOD 2: SHAOLIN SECRET STORIES, VOD 3: DRAGON VS. EAGLE: ENTER THE WHITE BARBARIANS, all with Ruth Margraff); A CHINAMAN’S CHANCE, BAMBOO THAT SNAPS BACK TRILOGY; WARRIOR SISTERS: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF AFRICAN AND ASIAN WOMYN WARRIORS (with librettist Ann T. Greene), and NIGHTVISION: A THIRD TO FIRST WORLD VAMPYRE OPERA (with librettist Ruth Margraff).
Recorded July 5, 2004 at Systems Two, Brooklyn, NY. Engineered by Jon Rosenberg. All compositions by Fred Ho and © Fred Ho/Transformation Art Publisher, ASCAP. All rights reserved.
Robust Bog (1:44)
BLOB: John Lindberg, double bass and effects devices; Ted Orr, electric guitar and Axon MIDI guitar; Harvey Sorgen, drums. With Special Guest Ralph Carney on clarinets, bass saxophone, tuba, bass trombone, flute
Vague and indefinite forms that embed themselves in your soul. A boisterous romp on wet, spongy ground. BLOB is all about the moment, and those moments are eclectic, honest, and heart pounding. It is full-out instrumental playing, utilizing live electronics, within a stream of consciousness mindset that speaks to a world in desperate need of this level of immediate expressionism.
NYFA Fellow John Lindberg has been a seminal figure as a composer/bassist in the world of creative music for well over thirty years. He has toured worldwide performing his own work leading a variety of ensembles, with the String Trio of New York, and as featured bassist with the Human Arts Ensemble, Anthony Braxton, and Wadada Leo Smith.
Ted Orr is a renowned guitar virtuoso and an innovator in the arena of MIDI guitar performance. He has recorded and/or performed with a wide span of artists including Sly Stone, George Clinton & P-Funk, Karl Berger, and Nana Vasconcelos. Ted maintains a parallel career as an audio engineer; a talent that has given BLOB its public voice.
Harvey Sorgen has developed a unique and broad-based drumming vocabulary that has added vitality to the works of artists ranging from Hot Tuna, Dave Douglas, David Torn, Bill Frisell, Greg Allman, and Garth Hudson, among many others. He maintains an active presence as an international touring and recording artist in high demand.
Special guest multi-instrumentalist Ralph Carney brings his astounding musical empathy to this recording, adding yet another spice to the BLOB mix.
Produced by Lindberg/Orr/Sorgen. Engineered, edited and mixed by Ted Orr at Sertso Studio, Woodstock, NY, June, 2009. "Robust Bog" by Lindberg/Orr/Sorgen, Lindy Publishing Co. (ASCAP/SACEM)
6. Sidiki Conde
Moriba Djassa (4:12)
Sidiki Conde, drums; Sekou Dembele, banjo
Mandingo to English translation:
Uptown people don’t lend to me
Downtown people don’t lend to me
But if anyone wants to enjoy my happiness
I let you enjoy because my happiness comes with my music
The music called Moriba Djassa.
Sidiki Conde is a musician and dancer from Guinea, West Africa, who, despite losing the use of his legs at the age of fourteen, followed his dream of music. His music derives from the traditional rhythms of his homeland. Harmony is created by a series of melodic rhythms that are played by each of the instruments. In keeping with the West African griot traditions of his homeland the lyrics are his own compositions within which he chronicles his life’s journey. In cultures where very few can read or write; histories are passed by word of mouth from generation to generation. African traditional music is a living art form; it speaks of present conditions. Music is never a solitary action for Conde. Music has always been about bringing people together and creating communities. In 2007 Conde received the NEA “National Heritage Fellowship” for his artistic contributions to the people of America.
Sekou Dembele was a lead djembe drummer in Koteba, Ivory Coast's premier traditional music and dance ensemble under the direction of Soulyman Koli. He has toured the world – including Japan, Madagascar, Kenya and Europe – for 11 years. Dembele is from a long line of griot musicians. The banjo has its origin to the n’goni instrument of Mali. Djassa’s music evolved late nights at Conde’s New York apartment when Sekou and Sidiki sang and played instruments together.
7. John Lindberg
TriPolar: John Lindberg, composer and double bass; Don Davis, soprano saxophone; Kevin Norton, drums and vibraphone
This piece is dedicated to Karl Wallenda, Sr.. Well-known as the patriarchal figure of The Flying Wallendas, Karl was quoted as having remarked, “Life is on the wire. Everything else is just waiting.” The sentiment expressed here is one I relate to deeply, and is the essential inspiration for this composition. One definition of the word 'skip' is: To bounce along a surface. TriPolar creates just such an effect with this rendition of Skip; in its own TriPolar fashion, of course.
Composer/bassist John Lindberg embarked on his professional career in 1975 at the age of sixteen in New York, where he pursued private bass studies with Dr. David Izenzon, who became his mentor. In 1977 he co-founded the String Trio of New York – a composers collective performance unit that has produced nineteen recordings, presented hundreds of concerts worldwide, and is currently active in its 33rd season. In 1979, he formed his first ensemble dedicated entirely to the performance of his compositions, and has recorded over sixty albums that feature his works. This same year he founded Lindy Publishing Company, the exclusive publisher of his works. He has performed thousands of concerts throughout Europe, North and South America, East Asia, and the Middle East. As a bassist he has appeared on over eighty discs, including landmark recordings with Anthony Braxton, Jimmy Lyons, Steve Lacy, Albert Mangelsdorff, and Wadada Leo Smith, among others. He recently founded LindyEditions, where he serves as a producer of music, film, and literary productions and co-productions. He has received numerous commissions of his work while equally being been granted several fellowships and awards.
Produced by John Lindberg. Engineered, edited and mixed by Ted Orr at Sertso Studio, Woodstock, NY August, 2009, Skip, John Lindberg, Lindy Publishing Co. (ASCAP/SACEM)
8. Howard Prince
Pipe Dream (5:12)
John Stubblefield, tenor sax; Howard Prince, trombone; Claudio Roditi, trumpet; Jon Davis, piano; Dennis Irwin, bass; Marvin “Smitty” Smith, drums; Bashiri Johnson, percussion
Teo Macero writes: “After listening to H.P.’s new CD, I find the future in jazz a whole lot better. The new young players like Howard are showing that there’s still room for experimentation, gentle swing, African, Caribbean, and modal music.”
Pipe Dream (1994) appears on Double Take (Cats Paw Records, 6401). Executive Producers: George Petersen and Howard Prince; Producer: Chris Hajian; Engineer: Bob Brockman.
9. Newman Taylor Baker
Bosom Of Abraham (7:45)
Newman Taylor Baker, drums
Bosom of Abraham comes from a suite for drum set, Drum – Suite – Life, which honors the drum of U. S. African culture. It expresses my memories – as young boy – of football games and the cheers of the students on the campus of Virginia State College – my home – with the rhythmic feel of New Orleans and its famous second line, and the melody inspired by the Negro Spiritual, Rock-A-My Soul.
Newman Taylor Baker began composing as an undergraduate at Virginia State College where he composed for the drum section of the marching band, and for the jazz band. Since 1989, he has been composer for the Avodah Dance Ensemble, which featured his music in Mayim, A Ritual of Transformation; Newman’s Blanket; Balancing Act; and The Forgiveness Project. He received a 2000 NYFA Fellowship for Music Composition for his solo project Singin’ Drums and Drum-Suite-Life [innova 238] – Baker’s first step in developing a repertoire for the instrument. He studied composition with Undine Smith Moore at Virginia State College and Gregory Kosteck at East Carolina University.
Baker received his first drum at two years old and, at age five, played in the Children’s band formed by Dr. F. Nathaniel Gatlin, Virginia State College. He played in the college concert band from nine until twelve years old. Baker has performed in 48 countries with world-class musicians and ensembles such as Billy Bang, Henry Grimes, Billy Harper, Joe Henderson, Sam Rivers, Reggie Workman, McCoy Tyner, Ahmed Jamal, Leroy Jenkins, Jeanne Lee, Lou Donaldson, Abdullah Ibrahim, Henry Threadgill, Kenny Baron, Kevin Eubanks, Delaware Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Aaron Copland, and others. Recent CD credits include: David Schnitter, The Spirit Of Things (CIMP); Kali Z. Fasteau, Live at Kerava (Flying Note); Henry Grimes, Live at Edgefest (HenryGrimes.com); Bobby Few/Avram Fefer Quartet, Sanctuary (CIMP); Judi Silvano, Let Yourself Go (Zoho); Francesca Tanksley, Journey (DreamCaller); Billy Harper, Soul of an Angel (Metropolitan).
Engineer: John Vanore; Producer: Jeanette Vuocolo, Acoustic Concepts, Chester, PA; August 2000. Funded by NYFA. Special thanks to T. Nelson Baker, III, Cullen Knight, and Gerry Eastman.
10. Laura Kahle
Laura Kahle, pocket trumpet; Yosvany Terry, alto saxophone; JD Allen, tenor saxophone; Orlando le Fleming, bass; Jeff Watts, drums
A 2008 NYFA Fellow in music composition, Laura Kahle studied music at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane Australia, earning a B.Mus in Jazz Trumpet and M.Mus in Composition. Since moving to New York in 2004 to participate in the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, Laura has arranged music for Jeff “Tain” Watts, performed by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the Danish Radio Big Band. Laura has also arranged music for the Branford Marsalis Septet, Eric Revis, Orrin Evans, and has been commissioned to compose music for Jazz QLD, Pinnacles Festival, Women’s Work Festival and Encore Music Forum. In 2006, Laura scored and conducted the short film A Little Silence directed by Nathan Milford.
Recorded at Skyline Studios, NYC on April 18, 2008 for Dark Key Music. Thank you to the musicians for your dedication, energy and positive support.
BLOB: John Lindberg, double bass and effects devices; Ted Orr, electric guitar and Axon MIDI guitar; Harvey Sorgen, drums. With Special Guest Ralph Carney on clarinets, bass saxophone, tuba, bass trombone, flute
Spots and splashes of color that enlighten your brain. To be involved and entangled in slimy soil of some considerable depth.
Ensemble info: see Track 5. Produced by Lindberg/Orr/Sorgen. Engineered, edited, and mixed by Ted Orr at Sertso Studio, Woodstock, NY June, 2009. "Mire" by Lindberg/Orr/Sorgen, Lindy Publishing Co. (ASCAP/SACEM).
12. Augusta Read Thomas
Love Twitters (3:07)
Nicola Melville, piano
When Nicola Melville asked me to compose a piece for solo piano that was musically recognizable as an American-style work, the result was my Love Twitters, which uses Irving Berlin’s They Say it’s Wonderful as its basis.
Love Twitters is a jittery, twittering, energized, fun, spirited work. The pianist is asked to accentuate the jittery rhythms throughout making a clear difference between different rhythmic blocks (2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 7s, etc.). The fermatas are meant to add to the “stop/start” changeable moods; likewise, the grace notes are meant to throw the beat off, making the pulse less stable. Love Twitters should be played as fast as possible.
Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964) is one of America’s leading composers, her works having been performed to acclaim throughout the world. In 2007, her Astral Canticle was one of the two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Nicola Melville, “a marvelous pianist who plays with splashy color but also exquisite tone and nuance” (American Record Guide), appears regularly in solo and collaborative recital, and has been involved in numerous interdisciplinary projects with dancers and filmmakers. She has won many awards for the commissioning, performing, and recording of new music, and has recorded for the innova and Equilibrium labels; her live performances and recordings have been broadcast around the world. Nicola is on the faculty of Carleton College, Minnesota.
Love Twitters appears on “Melville’s Dozen” (innova 691). Recorded in the Carleton College Concert Hall, November 20 and 21, 2007. Recording and editing engineer: John Scherf.
• Cover art by Sylvia de Swaan
• Total time: 61:56
1. Andy Teirstein
Rhapsody for Boy Soprano and Strings (13:21)
Boy Sopranos: Sam Rivers, Ian Ferguson, Matico Josephson; String Quartet: Marshall Coid – violin I, Robert Zubrycki – violin II, David Cerutti, viola – Michael Finckel – cello; String Ensemble: The Interschools String Orchestra of New York; Andy Teirstein, conductor
Rhapsody for Boy Soprano and Strings was commissioned by the Stephen Petronio Company for a dance entitled “Drawn That Way.” Its sections are timed to correspond with the phrasing and form of the choreography. The concept of the piece involved having three boy sopranos positioned around New York’s Joyce Theater along with a string orchestra. As the dance is an interlacing of group patterns growing organically from a soloist, the music begins with a figure presented in a solo violin, which gives way to a layering of contrapuntal elements, often drawn from the rhythmic impetus of folk bowings.
Andy Teirstein’s work is inspired by the rich and diverse folk roots of modern culture. His music has been recorded by The Cassatt Quartet, The Cygnus Ensemble, and The Alaria Trio. Film scores for BBC and PBS include MEN, Margaret Sanger and The West. His musicals Winter Man, Skels, and The Wild have each received NEA Awards. The Village Voice has said that Teirstein’s music “seems to speak in celestial accents of some utopia whose chief industry is dancing,” and he has worked with many renowned choreographers. As an actor, he performed in the Broadway hit show, Barnum, the TV series Search for Tomorrow, the film Sophie’s Choice, and the musical Woody Sez.
Teirstein studied with Henry Brant and Leonard Bernstein. He received a Ph.D. in 2010 from the CUNY Graduate Center, where we studied with Tania Leon, Bruce Saylor, and David del Tredici. He has expanded his musical background by learning fiddle tunes in Ireland and Eastern Europe, and performing as a musical clown with a Mexican circus. Previous CDs include Open Crossings, Mannahatta, and Welcome to Willieworld. He is currently an Associate Arts Professor at New York University. Andy is grateful to NYFA for two fellowships (1987, 2008).
Recording Studio: Sorcerer Sound. Producer: Andy Teirstein. Engineer: Andy Heermans. Rec. date: 4/12/96. 19 Mercer St., NYC. Commissioned by Choreographer Stephen Petronio; Premiere: The Joyce Theater, New York, 1996.
2. Bora Yoon
g i f t (live at Brooklyn Academy of Music) (4:31)
Bora Yoon: Tibetan singing bowls, voice, chimes, electronics
g i f t explores where sound connects to the subliminal through the timbre languages of the voice, found sounds, new and antiquated instruments, and electronic devices. Engaging with music as music, and not as part of a genre, g i f t takes the means to one end and uses it for another, forming new utterances of sound and the beginnings of a new sonic language within its spatial and architectural context. g i f t has been performed world-wide including Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Patravadi Theatre in Bangkok, and the Nam Jun Paik Museum in Seoul.
Bora Yoon is an experimental multi-instrumentalist, composer, and performer, who creates architectural soundscapes from found objects, chamber instruments, digital devices, antiquated technology, and voice. Featured in WIRE magazine and on the front page of The Wall Street Journal for her musical innovations, Yoon has presented her original soundwork ( (( PHONATION )) ) internationally, at Lincoln Center, the Nam June Paik Museum in Seoul, Patravadi Theatre in Bangkok, the Bang on a Can Marathon, BAM, and John Zorn’s Stone. Her music has been presented by Samsung and the Electronic Music Foundation; commissioned by the Young People’s Chorus Chorus of NYC and SAYAKA Ladies Chorale of Tokyo; awarded by the Asian American Arts Alliance, BMI, the Sorel Foundation, and NYFA; and published by Boosey & Hawkes, Swirl Records, SubRosa, and the Journal of Popular Noise. Upcoming plans include scoring and performing the live music for Haruki Murakami's Wind Up Bird Chronicle; remix projects with DJ Spooky, Meredith Monk, and early music group New York Polyphony; and a wax cylinder record for UK phonograph artist Aleks Kolkowski’s museum collection.
g i f t also appears on ( (( PHONATION )) ) Swirl Records, 2008
Recorded live at Brooklyn Academy of Music, by Carlton Bright, Brooklyn NEXT Festival, February, 2007. Engineered by Matt Saccucimorano. Produced by Bora Yoon.
3. Mary Jane Leach
Night Blossoms (2:02)
Kiitos: Eileen Clark, soprano; Karen Goldfeder, mezzo-soprano; Gregory Davidson, tenor; Jared Stamm, baritone.
Night Blossoms, for vocal quartet, was commissioned by Kiitos. It uses a haiku by Yofu translated by Lucien Stryk (Night cherry blossoms tinted by the bonfire.). The setting is atmospheric, with the lyric appearing fleetingly. Used with permission from Ohio University Press/Swallow Press.
Mary Jane Leach is a composer/performer whose work reveals a fascination with the physicality of sound, its acoustic properties and how they interact with space. In many of her works Leach creates an other-worldly sound environment using difference, combination, and interference tones; these are tones not actually sounded by the performers, but acoustic phenomena arising from Leach’s deft manipulation of intonation and timbral qualities.
Recorded live at Church of the Ascension NYC. Dongsok Shin, Engineer.
4. Pauline Oliveros
Sound Patterns and Tropes (13:07)
for Mixed Chorus and Percussion.
University of Wisconsin-River Falls Concert Choir and Percussion Quartet; Percussion Quartet: Sarah Belanger, Michael Cain, Patti Cudd, Becki Hedstrom
Commissioned by the University of Wisconsin River Falls. Sound Patterns and Tropes (2001) has performer and conductor choices for improvising and shaping the piece with guidelines. Improvised sections are mixed with brief quotations and metrical patterns.
The chorus consists of 30-40 SATB singers and 4 percussionists are required.
Percussionists should have approximately equal resources of metal, skin and wood instruments and each should have at least one instrument that is different from the others, i.e. Djembe, Bongos, Conga, etc. Pitch needed is C – any octave for each player: Glockenspiel, bells, Chimes, Vibraphone, Timpani, etc. Percussionists should be organized in back of the chorus spread out across the stage.
Pauline Oliveros, composer, performer and humanitarian, is an important pioneer in American Music. Acclaimed internationally, for four decades she has explored sound – forging new ground for herself and others. Through improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching, and meditation she has created a body of work with such breadth of vision that it profoundly affects those who experience it and eludes many who try to write about it. Through Deep Listening Pieces and earlier Sonic Meditations, Oliveros introduced the concept of incorporating all environmental sounds into musical performance. To make a pleasurable experience of this requires focused concentration, skilled musicianship, and strong improvisational skills, which are the hallmarks of Oliveros's form.
She serves as Distinguished Research Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Darius Milhaud Composer in Residence at Mills College. "Through Pauline Oliveros and Deep Listening I finally know what harmony is... It's about the pleasure of making music." – John Cage, 1989.
The UWRF Commissioned Composer program (founded in 1967) is the longest running, continuous commissioning program in the U.S. It is made possible by the Musical Arts Committee under the Leadership Development and Programming Board. Recorded at the premiere, March 15, 2001 at the William C. Abbott Concert Hall.
5. Aaron Jay Kernis
Ecstatic Meditation 4 (5:34)
Volti; Robert Geary, conductor
Ecstatic Meditations is a set of four pieces composed in 1996–1999. The texts are taken from Vliessende Iieht miner gotheit (The Flowing Light of the Godhead), by Mechthild of Magdeburg (1210–c. 1285 C.E.), a medieval mystic, Beguine, and Cistercian nun, whose book describes her visions of God. The Flowing Light of the Godhead is the first mystical text that was neither a translation nor a free adaptation of a Latin text, but rather an independent composition in vernacular Low German.
It is my nature that makes me love you often, For I am love itself. It is my longing that makes me love you intensely, For I yearn to be loved from the heart. It is my eternity that makes me love you long, For I have no end.
The texts of Kernis’s settings emphasize a sensual relation between the soul and God. The second and fourth movements describe a dialogue between the soul and God as lovers. The work was named by the National Endowment for the Arts as an American Masterpiece of Choral Music.
Aaron Jay Kernis attended the San Francisco Conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music, and Yale University. In 1998, Kernis was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and, in 2002, the Grawemeyer Award in Music Composition. Kernis served for over ten years as new music advisor to the Minnesota Orchestra and he is currently the Director of Minnesota Orchestra’s Composer Institute. He teaches composition at Yale School of Music.
Volti is a 20-voice chamber choir based in San Francisco. Robert Geary, founder of Volti and the internationally acclaimed Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choirs, also holds directorial positions with the San Francisco Choral Society and the Golden Gate International Children’s Choral Festival. A champion of contemporary music, he and his choirs have commissioned many new works, and won numerous international and national awards.
Recorded May 2007–May 2009 at Unitarian Universalist Center, Kensington, CA; St. Ignatius Church, San Francisco, CA; and Chapel of the Chimes, Oakland, CA. Recording Engineer: Don Ososke. Ecstatic Meditations appears complete on Volti’s Turn the Page (innova 759). Translation © 1989, Oliver Davies, Beguine Spirituality (Crossroad Publishing).
6. Paul Motian, arranged by Joel Harrison
It Should Have Happened a Long Time Ago (5:22)
Guitars: Joel Harrison, Liberty Ellman
String Quartet: Christian Howes, Sam Bardfield, Mat Maneri, Dana Leong
This is a song from a project entitled “Joel Harrison’s String Choir” where I have arranged a number of drummer Paul Motian’s tunes for string quartet and two guitars. Paul, of course, is one of the great jazz drummers of our time, having played with Bill Evans, Paul Bley, Keith Jarrett, and countless other folks. He has led his own groups – notably the trio with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano – for many years. His singular compositions are at once quizzical, lovely, melancholy, and fierce. The arrangements call for a rare blend of freedom and focus, where rhythm is often implied rather than stated. It is highly unusual for a string ensemble to function in this way, moving back and forth between spontaneity and formal notation. The eclectic arrangements call for group and individual solos, as well as all manner of expressive string techniques. The players in this ensemble are among the few who can accomplish these goals.
Guitarist, composer, and vocalist Joel Harrison has one of the most unpredictable, fascinating discographies in contemporary music. He has developed a rare lyrical voice through immersion in jazz, modern classical, world traditions, and American roots music. His rejection of stylistic boundaries has led him to wander freely wherever inspiration is found; from inner city blues bars to the finest concert halls. Harrison has released ten CDs of his own compositions and arrangements on six different record labels since 1995. He has received a number of prestigious commissions and fellowships from the Jazz Composer’s Alliance, Meet the Composer, the Mary Flagler Cary Trust, NYSCA, the Jerome Foundation, and Chamber Music America. He is a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow.
Recorded at Sear Sound, NYC, in 2010 and mixed by Liberty Ellman.
7. Judith Sainte Croix
Los Pajaros Blancos de la Noche Profunda
(The White Birds of the Deep Night) (8:11)
The Sonora Trio: Judith Sainte Croix, piano; Andrew Bolotowsky, flute; Oren Fader, guitar.
Los Pajaros Blancos de la Noche Profunda (The White Birds of the Deep Night) is part of a suite conceived while the composer was in the Costa Rican rainforest at the David and Julia White Artist Colony. It is inspired by a bird that sang in the night, which was of a white color, although never seen - only heard. The music expresses the finding of something pure and magical emanating from the depths of an inscrutable mystery. Jungle imagery is used to convey quantum physics ideas and allows for various freedoms for the performers. The piano gestures represent non-physical energy waves that become particles when observed. Harmonics on the guitar represent transport between physical and non-physical worlds. The flute represents physical nature. The piano, flute and electric guitar used in this recording are, respectively, the legendary vintage Steinway at Seltzer Sound Studios, a Peter Noy recreation of a G. A. Rottenburgh Baroque flute (440-A Heart Joint), and a PRS CE 24.
Judith Sainte Croix writes opera as well as chamber, orchestral, and electronic music. She is interested in work that is transformational, with themes of redemption, often using subjects of social and environmental awareness. The sound palette is lyrical and atmospheric with interruptions of driving rhythms, drawing on both ancient and futuristic sounds. She was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, educated at Indiana University (MA Composition) where she studied with Xenakis, and is presently a freelance composer, performer and educator in New York City. In workshops, she designs multi-modality structures linking the creative process to new music for Sonora House and Lincoln Center. Fellowships she has received include the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico, the Atlantic Center for the Arts and Julia and David White Artist Colony in Costa Rica. Some of her awards/commissions include the Gaudeamus Award in the Netherlands, the New York State Council on the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the Jerome, Heathcote and Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundations, The Con Ed Musicians Residency Composition Program and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust Recording Program. Recently she received commissions from Chamber Music America, the Rhode Island Symphony and the American Composers Forum.
The Sonora Trio incorporates a wide range of instruments from around the world - both classical and indigenous - electric and acoustic guitars, piccolo, C, alto and bass flutes, Egyptian ney, penny whistles, ethnic pipes & whistles, recorders, Native American flutes and drums, wooden and bass Baroque flutes, ocarinas, mosenos, tarkas, rainstick, shakers, cymbals, piano, synthesizer, keyboards as well as voices - spoken and sung. Part of the vision of the group includes presenting other art forms with contemporary chamber music — like the visual art of the hand-carved and painted masks of the indigenous Brunka from Costa Rica which signal the sound of the bird in the work Los Pajaros Blancos de la Noche Profunda.
Recording and Mastering Engineer – Marcelo Mella; Producers – Marcelo Mella and Judith Sainte Croix; Recorded live at Seltzer Sound Studio in New York City, May 12, 2009.
8. Ray Leslee
Nocturne for Violin and Piano (4:28)
Ashley Horne, violin; Barbara Bilach, piano
(Dedicated to Rosalind Simon Fruchter)
This Nocturne is an expression of longing. Of regret. Of what might have been. An early version of the piece was featured in a production of A Christmas Carol at the San Diego Repertory Theatre in 2000. The Ghost of Christmas Past magically transports Ebeneezer Scrooge back in time to witness the happiest moment of his life. He watches himself as a young man dancing with beautiful Belle, his lost love. The music for the play was originally performed by members of the San Diego Symphony and received a Garland Award nomination for Best Score.
Ray Leslee received the 2008 Fellowship in Music Composition from the New York Foundation For the Arts. He has written over 100 original scores for theatre, television, dance, and the concert hall -- and is known for his distinctive and memorable melodies. His chamber musical Standup Shakespeare was produced Off-Broadway by The Shubert Organization and directed by Mike Nichols. His groundbreaking a cappella musical Avenue X has had some 50 productions around the world, winning Best Musical in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas and Seattle, to name a few. His music for the theatre has been produced by Playwrights Horizons in New York, Steppenwolf Theatre, The Vienna Chamber Opera, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Kennedy Center, The Actor’s Studio, The Acting Company, The Culture Project, the Cincinnati Playhouse, and many others. In classical music, The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned and premiered his symphony Romeo & Juliet For Orchestra & Actors, which was also played by The New Haven Symphony, conducted by Jung Ho Pak. In 1997 he received the Gilman & Gonzalez musical theatre award for lifetime achievement and was honored at Lincoln Center. >www.rayleslee.com
Ashley Horne plays with the American Symphony Orchestra and Barbara Bilach with the American Ballet Theatre. Recorded July 18, 2009.
9. Roberto Sierra
Cronicas del discubrimiento:
Tercera Cronica: 1: Cancion (2:53)
Selma Moore, flute; Timothy Schmidt, guitar
Cronicas del discubrimiento, 1991-1995, is a series of chronicles (cronica in Spanish) composed on the subject of the meeting between the aboriginal Indian culture of the Caribbean islands and the Spanish Conquistadores. The image of surprise and bewilderment from both sides is particularly fascinating. Canción (heard here) and Batallia close the cycle with stark contrasts: the innocence of a simple song and the violence of battle.
Roberto Sierra was born in Puerto Rico and earned both music and humanities degrees there before continuing his education at the Royal College of Music and Kings College in London, the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht, and with György Ligeti at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg. He returned to Puerto Rico in 1982 to teach and become Chancellor of the Conservatory of Music, although he was much sought after as a composer on the international scene during this time. He then served as Composer-in-Residence of the Milwaukee Symphony from 1989-92, at which time he joined the Cornell faculty, succeeding Karel Husa. His music has been much in demand for performances throughout the U.S. and abroad.
James S. Abbott: recording engineer, editing, and mastering. Cronicas (Editions Orphées) also appears on American Masters for the 21st Century (innova 616), Society for New Music (for whom it was commissioned).
10. Jeff Raheb
Zu Twa Szi, Part 4 (7:09)
Laurel Ann Maurer, flute; Peter Matthews, guitar
Zu Twa Szi (Don’t mind me I’m just the wind) was written for flutist, Laurel Ann Maurer. It was inspired by a Swahili saying and a poem I wrote of the same name: ‘I'm just the wind, a traveler with no baggage or destination, with nothing to see and nowhere to be seen, seemingly nothing; you are the absence of space that merely hinders my journey’ (excerpt). This is the last movement of a four part work. I utilize extended techniques for the guitar to imitate the buzzing sound of various African percussion instruments.
Jeff Raheb was born in Brooklyn, New York and has written over 200 works for a variety of mediums including: voice, symphony, chamber, and jazz orchestras, string and flute quartets, brass and woodwind quintets, and his own jazz octet and trio. His Sax Quartet No. 1 was performed by the Australian Saxophone Quartet in a coast-to-coast radio broadcast at the Sydney Opera House. In 2005 he premiered Topaz under Moon for the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Akita Mani Yo for The South Dakota Chamber Orchestra, with Mr. Raheb as a soloist. In 2006, the Sioux Falls Municipal band premiered Makato, a work commissioned for the 150th anniversary of Sioux Falls. His guitar compositions have been performed throughout the U.S. and Europe. He has been a featured composer on WBAI, WKCR, WNYC and WBGO radio in New York. In 2002, Mr. Raheb was a recipient of the New York Foundation For The Arts Fellowship. His latest CD’s are Guitar Works, Cyclo, for jazz trio and Topaz Under Moon, for 21-piece jazz orchestra. As a photographer, Mr. Raheb won first place (people category), in Smithsonian Magazines 2006 international photo contest. He is also a published poet.
Flutist Laurel Ann Maurer began her musical studies in Seattle, Washington as a member of the Seattle Youth Symphony and a recipient of awards from the Seattle Young Artists Festival. She studied with Julius Baker, Jeanne Baxtresser, and Samuel Baron. Mr. Baker has stated that she is "One of our outstanding and gifted flutists." She has been lauded by The New York Times as "...a secure technician and an assured, communicative interpreter."
As an award winner from such organizations as the National Association of Composers – USA, the National Flute Association, the National Orchestra of New York, the Chautauqua Institute and the Utah Arts Council, Ms. Maurer has appeared as flute soloist throughout the United States and Europe, including performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. She has appeared as concerto soloist with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Flute Association's American Flutist Concerto Orchestra, the Salt Lake Symphony and the Long Island Chamber Orchestra. At the forefront of Ms. Maurer's career is her dedication to contemporary music. Laurel Ann Maurer has recorded for Albany Records, CRI, Soundspells, and 4-Tay Records. Ms. Maurer performs exclusively on Miyazawa flutes and is a Miyazawa artist.
Classical guitarist Peter Matthews resides in Vermont and is active as a performer and teacher. He has performed with the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble and with the vocal ensemble, Counterpoint. He holds a MM in performance from the University of Akron where he studied with Stephen Aron. He also pursued post-graduate studies with Thomas Patterson at the University of Arizona. He has been on the faculty of the University of Akron School of Music and currently teaches in the Northeast Franklin Supervisory Union in Vermont, receiving special recognition by the Vermont Alliance for Arts Education for his work there.
Engineer & Producer: Jeff Raheb. Recorded in Colchester, Vermont, 1/30/2010.
11. Eve Beglarian
We Two (4:38)
Eve Beglarian with Corey Dargel (additional vocals) and Cristian Amigo (additional guitars)
We Two, a setting of the Walt Whitman poem, is April 30th in A Book of Days, an ongoing project of 365 pieces, one for each day of the year. The date was chosen to celebrate the wedding of Raquel Rodriguez and Matt Feduzi.
We two, how long we were fool’d,
Now transmuted, we swiftly escape as Nature escapes,
We are Nature, long have we been absent, but now we return.
We become plants, trunks, foliage, roots, bark,
We are bedded in the ground, we are rocks,
We are oaks, we grow in the openings side by side,
We browse, we are two among the wild herds spontaneous as any,
We are two fishes swimming in the sea together,
We are two predatory hawks, we soar above and look down,
We are two resplendent suns, we it is who balance ourselves orbic and stellar,
We are seas mingling, we are two of those cheerful waves rolling over each other and interwetting each other,
We are snow, rain, cold, darkness, we are each product and influence of the globe,
We have circled and circled till we have arrived home again, we two,
We have voided all but freedom and all but our own joy.
[slightly abridged from the original]
According to the Los Angeles Times, composer and performer Eve Beglarian “is a humane, idealistic rebel, and a musical sensualist.” She recently completed a journey down the Mississippi River by kayak and bicycle, which is documented on her RiverBlog. Beglarian's music has been commissioned and performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the American Composers Orchestra, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the California EAR Unit, and the Paul Dresher Ensemble. She has also worked extensively in theater, with directors Lee Breuer (Mabou Mines) and Chen Shi Zheng; in dance, with Ann Carlson, Victoria Marks, Susan Marshall, and David Neumann, and with visual and video artists Cory Arcangel, Anne Bray, Barbara Hammer, and Shirin Neshat. Recordings of Eve's music are available on Koch, New World, Cantaloupe, Accurate Distortion, Atavistic, innova, Kill Rock Stars, and Naxos.
Mixed by Cristian Amigo.
• Cover art by Terry Boddie
• Total time: 71:13
Night and Dawn (Nacht en Dageraad) [8:38]
1. Night (5:52)
2. Dawn (2:46)
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Brass Ensemble, conducted by Ivan Meylemans. Trumpets: Hans Alting, Frits Damrow, Bert Langenkamp, Peter Masseurs. Horns (doubling shofars): Jacob Slagter, Sharon St. Onge, Martin van der Merwe, Jaap van der Vliet. Trombones: Bart Claessens, Nico Schippers, Jörgen van Rijen. Bass Trombone: Raymond Munnecom. Tuba: Perry Hoogendijk
When asked to compose music in commemoration of the liberation of the Netherlands, my mind kept flashing on the Nazi destruction of the port city of Rotterdam, which precipitated Holland’s capitulation. I was working at my desk in another port city, New York, the morning of 9/11 when the plane flew almost directly over the building I live in. Even before it crashed into the World Trade Center towers, the noise of that plane flying so close instantly gave the sense that something was horribly wrong.
The memory of that noise and its sense of violation gave me the kernel of this piece, and its brutal echo can be heard from the very first notes. I restricted the choice of pitches, harmonies, and rhythms to emphasize each choice, its ramifications, and resonances. Much of the material is derived — albeit in an extremely fragmented way, and only brief phrases are explicit — from the Dutch national anthem, the 16th century Wilhelmus.
To commemorate the horror of the deportation of the vast majority of Dutch Jews — which included several musicians of the RCO — I have included a brief passage for shofars (ram’s horns) at the climax of the first part.
Composer Raphael Mostel is drawn to the boundaries between categories — as when speech approaches music, or music speech, or -image — and how rudimentary means can be used to elicit profound imagination. His most-performed work, with 50 presentations already, The Travels of Babar (using the classic book of Jean de Brunhoff) has been hailed by The New York Times as “the 21st century’s Peter and the Wolf.” The Metropolitan Opera Guild and New York City Opera education programs collaborated on a study guide for it. Mostel also invented the Tibetan Singing Bowl Ensemble: New Music for Old Instruments, the first of its kind in the world, creating an innovative sound-world from ambiguous-pitched instruments which some supposed “experts” have even mistaken for something from some “other” time or culture. His theatrically ritualistic 'TSBE:NMOI' compositions have been acclaimed by John Cage, featured in a multi-media retrospective exhibition at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center, and frequently broadcast live via WNYC. His Swiftly, How Swiftly… and The River marked the first time an American had been invited to compose for and perform at the commemoration ceremonies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, and is dedicated to the victims of the atom bombs. Eleven CDs of his compositions have been released. As writer, Mostel’s essays have appeared in The New York Times. With architect Steven Holl, Mostel has jointly taught the acclaimed seminar/studio “Architectonics of Music” at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. He lives in New York City.
In 2003, when the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra did not make its usual yearly tour to the United States, the American Friends of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra invited its brass section to give concerts and master-classes in the United States. The brass had been performing in various formations for many years but never all together (trumpets, horns, trombones and tuba). The brass section was so enthusiastic after the tour that they decided to perform more often together.
Since then, the RCO Brass has performed “side by slide” with the Brass and Percussion of the New York Philharmonic and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, as well as on their own throughout Europe. Using prize money awarded by the RCO to Ivan Meylemans, conductor and then co-principal trombone, the ensemble recorded its first CD, released on the RCO label in March 2007. Meylemans is currently pursuing a conducting career. In 2009, he was named assistant conductor to Mariss Jansons at the RCO. Meylemans is chief conductor of the Collegium Instrumentale Brugense.
Live, unedited recording, May 5, 2005, Grinnell College, IA. Composition commissioned by the American Friends of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, with funding from The Netherland-America Foundation, in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi rule. World premiere performance of Night and Dawn was jointly by Royal Concertgebouw and Chicago Symphony orchestras’ brass at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, May 3, 2005, conducted by Jay Friedman.
3. Magical (3:08)
4. Cascades (3:22)
5. Glistening (2:30)
6. Bratty (4:49)
Concert:nova: Randolph Bowman, flute; Ixi Chen, clarinet; Matt Annin, french horn; Tatiana Berman, violin; Theodore Nelson, cello; Gillian Benet Sella, harp; Patrick Schleker, percussion; George Tsontakis, guest conductor
My Gymnopedies are four compact pieces that highlight translucent colors, textural layering, and centrifugal energies. As the titles imply, “Magical” and “Glistening” are gentle and sparkling; “Cascades” and “Bratty” are muscular and energetic. All, however, contradict Erik Satie’s soft and lazy musical vision of these ancient Greek dances, which I would imagine to have been, at times, vigorous, aerobic, and propulsive.
Gymnopedies were commissioned by the Philadelphia-based Network for New Music and premiered there on April 25 and 27, 2008. The original version was for an octet which included harp and soprano sax. I have since created a leaner, more practical version; a septet without harp. In either version, Bb clarinet may replace the soprano sax.
George Tsontakis (1951-) has been the recipient of the two richest prizes awarded in all of classical music; the international Grawemeyer Award, in 2005, for his Second Violin Concerto, and the 2007 Ives Living, from the American Academy. He studied with Roger Sessions at Juilliard and in Rome, with Franco Donatoni. Born in Astoria, NY into Cretan heritage, he has become an important figure in the music of Greece and his music is increasingly performed abroad, with dozens of performances in Europe every season. Most of his music has been recorded by Hyperion and Koch, leading to two Grammy Nominations for Best Classical Composition. He is Distinguished Composer-in-Residence at the Bard Conservatory and at the Aspen Music Festival, where he was founding director of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble from 1991-99. He served as Composer-in-Residence with the Oxford (England) Philomusica and is continuing a six-year Music Alive residency with the Albany Symphony, and served as Composer in Residence with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He lives in New York’s Catskill Mountains.
Concert:nova is a fresh and dynamic chamber music ensemble that blends together the traditional and contemporary with a visual twist to explore a modern, kinetic, and powerful new concert experience. Made up of musicians from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the group aims to reinvent the stage and delve into four and five dimensions to charge the atmosphere with a wide-angled perspective on brilliant works of music.
Recording engineer, Chelsea Vandedrink. Edited by Brian Heller.
7. Randall Woolf
Franz Schubert (11:55)
Esther Noh, violin 1; Jennifer Choi, violin 2; Orlando Wells, viola; Joanne Lin, cello
So much of new music, mine included, is process music of one kind or another. Whether tonal, atonal, noise, or conceptual, it’s usually more about a process working out than about phrases. I’ve become more and more interested in phrases, meaning by that melodic structures with a feeling of rhyme, of call and response, and which suggest patterns of four-bar groups. One can create multiple layers of expectation this way, to be thwarted or followed. I’ve often thought that Franz Schubert (the composer) fused the Classical period’s dialectic Sonata form and its use of many sections with Song form’s simple ABA forms and emphasis on matching phrases. In Franz Schubert (the string quartet), I hope to marry process music and rock and blues songs in a similar way.
Randall Woolf studied composition privately with David Del Tredici and Joseph Maneri, and at Harvard, where he earned a Ph.D. He is a member of the Common Sense Composers Collective and is composer-in-residence for the Brooklyn Philharmonic. For the 2009-10 season, Woolf was composer-in-residence for the Fulcrum Point New Music Project, sponsored by Meet The Composer, continuing his 10-year relationship with FPNMP. He works frequently with John Cale, notably on his score to American Psycho. He re-created four songs of Nico for Cale’s Nico tribute concert On The Borderline. In 2009, Woolf composed orchestral arrangements for a performance of Cale's most celebrated solo album Paris 1919. It was performed at London’s Royal Festival Hall in March, 2010.
His works have been performed by Kathleen Supové, Kronos Quartet, Jennifer Choi, Timothy Fain, Mary Rowell, Todd Reynolds, Ethel, conductor and flutist Ransom Wilson, Present Music, Fulcrum Point, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Seattle Symphony, Paul Dresher Ensemble, Bang On A Can/SPIT Orchestra, California EAR Unit, and others. The CD of his ballet of Where the Wild Things Are and his most recent CD, Modern Primitive, are available on cdbaby.com.
Producer: Sheldon Steiger, November 20, 2008, recorded at Major Who Media.
8. Jay Anthony Gach
La Vita Autunnale
(1st Movement from TRIO GRANDE) (8:54)
MONTAGE Music Society: Debra Ayers, piano; Jason Horowitz, violin; Marc Moskovitz, cello
I had been reading some Italian poetry on the subject of autumn – in any language always a very pregnant theme, replete with austere and sobering images and metaphors. The realization gradually struck me that these poets were writing about me – albeit a universal or metaphorical me. The poems impacted my own vague reflections upon entering the autumnal phase of my lifetime, consequently helping me to flesh out and give expression to previously internalized or unexpressed intuitions.
La Vita Autunnale (the first movement of my TRIO GRANDE) is the music that came out of me inspired by the Italian poetry and stimulated by a new autumnal consciousness. It is music that looks backwards with nostalgia and forward with some trepidation, yes – but importantly music that still has the energy to grasp life and shake it as hard as one can!
Jay Anthony Gach’s concert music has been critically acclaimed as "witty, virtuosic and accessible," Clarinet & Saxophone Magazine, "so exuberant [and] so characterful," SPNM New Notes, "a natural crowd pleaser," New York Newsday, "vibrant textures," New York Times, "multi-layered, whirling and propulsive," Minneapolis Star. Summarized by the composer Lukas Foss during his tenure as conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, "his writing for orchestra is brilliant beyond words". The composer Hugo Weisgal wrote of him, "a composer... of extraordinary technical command and intellectual grasp of what music is all about". >http://members.sibeliusmusic.com/jgach
MONTAGE Music Society displays a passion for combining a healthy mix of acknowledged masterpieces with exciting music of today. Dedicated to reaching a diverse public, MONTAGE is equally committed to performances in homes, concert halls, and for underserved audiences.
Recorded 2005, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Wellesley, MA. On-site recording engineer, Andy Ryder. Post production, Silas Brown. Special thanks to Patricia Griffin.
9. Peter Golub
Less Than a Week Before Christmas
for Chorus and Orchestra (4:44)
Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra and Chamber Choir Kyiv, conducted by Robert Ian Winstin.
This is the second of a five-movement piece, a contemporary approach to the holiday season that deals with a darker and more ironic approach than one usually encounters in Christmas season music. The text is by Philip Littell.
Less Than a Week Before Christmas
A thaw. A freeze. A blur of miles
and miles and miles of lights and trees.
A million, million trees and lights
and merry weary days and nights.
The days and nights and lights all blur
together with the trees and years...
the bitter weather's treachery.
Tears of cold, old tears, are streaming
Down his cheek and out his nose.
Less than a week before Christmas
Less than a week before Christmas
You saw a friend go by.
Peter Golub is the composer of numerous concert works as well as scores for film, theatre, and ballet. Golub's concert works have been performed by Peter Serkin and Tashi, The Brooklyn Philharmonia and others, with performances at Carnegie, Merkin, BAM, Wigmore Hall, Frankfurt Opera, and others. He received a Doctorate in Composition from the Yale School of Music; his teachers included Toru Takemitsu, Henry Brant and Jacob Druckman. Recent film scores include Countdown to Zero, Frozen River, Outrage, and The Great Debaters. He has written four ballets and is the Director of the Sundance Film Music Program.
10. Neil Rolnick
(Movement 5 from Extended Family) (4:41)
ETHEL: Cornelius Dufallo and Mary Rowell, violins, Ralph Ferris, viola, Dorothy Lawson, cello
When my wife and I moved to New York City in 2002, we didn’t think much about extended family. Our daughter lived at the other end of the City, and my parents lived in the distant suburbs. We saw them each with some regularity, but we were most focused on enjoying our careers, our new city, and each other as we settled into our post-child-rearing years. Little did we know…
Seven years later, our daughter has married, moved into our neighborhood and had three children: bang, bang, bang. My daughter’s family and my grandchildren are now a constant presence in my life. In fact, as I write these notes, the two oldest are running around just outside my studio door blowing bubbles and scheming how to destroy our apartment. An added benefit, since my wife and I are often out and about with one or more grandkids in tow, is that we’ve developed relationships with many young parents in the neighborhood, making connections the way we did when we had a young child ourselves. So the entire neighborhood has become something of an extended family, thanks to the grandkids.
This was what I expected to be focusing on when I proposed writing a string quartet called Extended Family. But between the proposal and the writing, things got more complicated. My mother passed away, I found myself helping to coordinate her end of life care, and then the management of her affairs with my three siblings and our various children and grandchildren. There were many trips from all around the world to see her in rural Missouri, and then for a family memorial in New York. So my view of my extended family grew considerably, to include not just the family I live near, but also relatives living far away, with whom I ended up in daily contact for a good portion of the time I was writing this piece.
The string quartet Extended Family (2009) explores some of the ways I think about these relationships. I tried to trace what I think of as key features of my experience of an extended family across the five movements.
The final movement, The Gathering, is a response to the kinds of family gatherings that follow a loss. In a reflection of the way that these gatherings tend to be structured, this movement is structured as a fugue. But, in the way in which my own family seems to be unable to hold on to traditional structures, but re-invents itself whenever given the opportunity, this fugue manages to wander in a variety of different directions, incorporating many of the “children” and descendents of the original gene pool, bringing them all together in an affirmation of the family’s continued life.
Since he moved to New York City in 2002, Neil Rolnick’s music has been receiving increasingly wide recognition and numerous performances both in the US and abroad. A pioneer in the use of computers in performance, beginning in the late 1970s, Rolnick has often included unexpected and unusual combinations of materials and media in his music. He has performed around the world, and his music has appeared on 14 CD’s. Rolnick teaches at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, where he was founding director of the iEAR Studios. Four Rolnick CDs appear on innova: Shadow Quartet, Digits, The Economic Engine, and Extended Family.
Trojan Women: [12:02]
11. Hecuba (4:42)
12. Cassandra (1:54)
13. Andromache (5:25)
Miami String Quartet
Here is where Dawn found the lover of her bed,
Made her children,
Soared into the sky
In a chariot of four blazing stars.
But now we are nothing.
Troy was golden once.
And now is only dust. - Euripides
In 1999 I composed a continuous score for Euripides' tragedy The Trojan Women. This string quartet and the string orchestra version I made in 2003 are based on that music. The special musical challenge of this project was to identify and convey, in three movements, three variegated forms of grief, each one a consequence of one woman's particular sufferings: “Hecuba,” “Cassandra,” and “Andromache.” These women lost husbands and sons in the notorious brutality of the Trojan War. When I revisited the piece as it evolved from music for the theatre to string quartet, I was informed by a slightly different understanding of the nature of public and private grieving. Euripides’ eulogy to the fallen Troy takes its place alongside the picture of Jerusalem in the Lamentations of Jeremiah, W.G. Sebald’s searching inquiries into the rubble of Dresden, or the jarring pictures we see daily in the media from troubled cities around the world.
Composer-vocalist Lisa Bielawa takes inspiration from literary sources and close artistic collaborations. The New York Times describes her music as, “ruminative, pointillistic, and harmonically slightly tart.” She won a Rome Prize in 2009 and in 2007 was a Radcliffe Institute Fellow. Born in San Francisco into a musical family, Bielawa played the violin and piano, sang, and wrote music from childhood. She moved to New York two weeks after receiving her B.A. in Literature from Yale in 1990. In 1992 she began touring with the Philip Glass Ensemble; in 1997 she co-founded the MATA Festival, which celebrates young composers.
Bielawa was Composer-in-Residence with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (2006-09). Her piece Chance Encounter, for migrating ensemble and soprano, has been performed in New York and Rome, and recorded for Orange Mountain Music. Bielawa’s music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Whitney Museum, American Academy in Rome, Boston’s Jordan Hall, and Seattle’s Town Hall, among other venues. She has recordings on Tzadik, BMOP/sound, Orange Mountain Music, Albany, and innova.
In addition to singing with the Philip Glass Ensemble, Bielawa tours with John Zorn and performs the music of numerous composer colleagues.
Praised in the New York Times as having "everything one wants in a quartet: a rich, precisely balanced sound, a broad coloristic palette, real unity of interpretive purpose, and seemingly unflagging energy," the Miami String Quartet has established its place among the most widely respected quartets in America. For over twenty years, their diversity in programming, poise in performance, keen sense of ensemble, and impeccable musicality has made the Miami String Quartet one of the most sought after quartets in chamber music today.
In the spring of 2003, the Miami Quartet was named visiting Quartet in Residence at the Hartt School in Hartford, CT. In the fall of 2004, the Miami Quartet began as faculty members of Kent State University in Ohio, where the quartet serves as Quartet in Residence. Winners of the Cleveland Quartet Award presented by Chamber Music America, the Miami String Quartet has served as Quartet in Residence at Florida International University, and was also the resident ensemble of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's "Chamber Music Society Two" from 1999-2001.
Special thanks to the Quartet, Alliance Artist Management, and to The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center where the work was premiered.
14. Joan Tower
Nashville Symphony, directed by Leonard Slatkin
Tower’s upbringing around the drum-rich music of South America could account for her self-proclaimed passion for percussion, which is particularly apparent in Tambor. The title itself is the Spanish word for drum, and the music is, like many of Tower’s compositions, rhythmically driven. Tambor was commissioned by Mariss Jansons and the Pittsburgh Symphony, who gave the premier in May of 1998. It is dedicated to Pittsburgh Symphony’s Vice President of Artistic Planning, Robert Moir.
Hailed as one of the most successful female composers of all time in The New Yorker, Joan Tower was the first woman ever to receive the Grawemeyer Award in Composition in 1990. Tower was a founding member of the Da Capo Chamber Players, who premiered many of her works. Since 1972, Tower has taught at Bard College as the Asher Edelman Professor of Music.
Recorded at the Laura Turner Concert Hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, on June 29th and 30th, 2006. Producer and Engineer: Tim Handley. Track and artist information used by permission from Joan Tower: Made in America (NAXOS).
• Cover art by John Jacobsmeyer
• Total time: 78:32