The American Celebration Duo: 

Diana Guhin Wooley, soprano

Richard Steinbach, pianist


The American Celebration Duo was established in 1994 and since that time, Richard and Diana have performed “Celebration” concerts of American music throughout the Midwest.  The American Celebration Duo is a members of Chamber Music America, the American Composers Forum and has been recently honored by being included in the prestigious Arts Midwest & Mid-America Arts Alliances’ Heartland Fund Roster of Artists, a distinguished group of select performing artists from fifteen Midwestern states.  One of today’s most innovative vocal/piano ensembles, the American Celebration Duo has captivated audiences of all ages with their invigorating approach to contemporary American music.  Their innovative and engaging concerts showcase the most recent creations of American composers; bringing American music—in all its exciting diversity—to life.


This recording project began in 1996 when the American Celebration Duo commissioned composer, John Luebke, and poet, Jeanne Emmons, to create a set of new American songs entitled Barn Swallow Suite.  Following the premiere of this work, the duo sent out a call for scores through the American Composers Forum, requesting new works for soprano and piano.  Over 100 composers from all over the United States submitted works for this recording project from which the present set was selected.  The American Celebration Duo is grateful to both the American Composers Forum and the Iowa Arts Council for their assistance in this recording project. 


Gwyneth Walker                   though love be a day


Dr. Gwyneth Walker is a graduate of Brown University and the Hartt School of Music.  She holds B.A., M.M., and D.M.A. Degrees in Music Composition.  A former faculty member of the Oberlin College Conservatory, she resigned from academic employment in 1982 in order to pursue a career as a full-time composer.  She now lives on a dairy farm in Braintree, Vermont.  Walker’s catalog includes over 120 commissioned works for orchestra, band, chorus, and chamber ensembles.  The music of Gwyneth Walker is published by E.C. Schirmer of Boston (choral/vocal music) and MMB Music of St. Louis (orchestral/instrumental music).  Recent works are About Leaves, commissioned by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and An Hour to Dance, choral settings of the poetry of Virginia Hamilton Adair.  Works in progress include Appalachian Carols for Chorus and Brass Quintet for “Desert Voices”  and The Writings on the Wall, with choral lyrics taken from inscriptions on the Berlin Wall.  A special Millennium Celebration for orchestra, chorus and school ensembles has been commissioned by the community of Bradenton, Florida to welcome the year 2000.


text:  e.e. cummings                                                                           


I. thy fingers make early flowers


            thy fingers make early flowers of all things

            thy hair mostly the hours love

            a smoothness which sings

            saying do not fear

            though love be a day we will go amaying


            thy whitest feet crisply are straying

            always thy moist eyes are at kisses playing

            whose strangeness much says;

            singing for which girl art thou flowers bringing

            though love be a day flowers bringing


            to be thy lips is a sweet thing and small

            Death, Thee i call rich beyond wishing

            if this thou catch, else missing

            and life be nothing,

            though love be a day it shall not stop kissing


II.  lily has a rose


            lily has a rose, i have none

            “don’t cry dear violet you can have mine”


            o how could I ever wear it now

            for the boy who gave it to you is the tallest of boys


            “he’ll give me another if I let him kiss me twice,

            but my lover has a brother who is good and kind to all”


            o no let the roses come and go

            for kindness and goodness do not make a fellow tall


            lily has a rose no rose i’ve,

            lily has a rose no rose have i


            losing is less than winning

            but love is more than love


III. after all white horses are in bed


            after all white horses are in bed

            will you walking beside me, my very lady,

            touch lightly my eyes

            and send life out of me

            and the night absolutely into me

            after all white horses are in bed


            after all white horses are in bed

            will you walking beside me, my very lady,

            touch lightly my eyes

            after all white horses are in bed


IV. maggie and milly and molly and may


            maggie and milly and molly and may

            went down to the beach to play one day

            and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly

            she couldn’t remember her troubles

            and milly befriended a stranded star

            whose rays five languid fingers were


            and molly was chased by a horrible thing

            which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:

            and may came home with a smooth round stone

            as small as a world and as large as alone.

            for whatever we lose like a you or a me

            it’s always ourselves we find in the sea


V. Still  (lyrics by G. Walker)


            When the streets are new-wet dawning,

            night lamps glowing, capering eyes,

            walk gently in the song of morning

            you are with me as I arise.


            still, still beyond my fingers,

            beyond the reaching of my eyes,

            comes the time beyond my seeking

            you are with me as I arise.


            comes the time beyond all question:

            is it you or is it I

            who spoke the word to crack the darkness,

            to bring you near as I arise.


            Love, love this moment glistens

            in sacred mourning of our lives.

            beyond the speaking and the breaking

            you are with me as I arise.


© Liveright Publishing.  Used by permission.


Mark Carlson               From the Song of Songs


Composer Mark Carlson’s lyrical, emotionally powerful, and stylistically distinct music has earned him the admiration of audiences and musicians throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.  A versatile composer, his more than 70 works include art songs, chamber music, choral music, concertos and other large ensemble works, and songs for musical theater.  Mr. Carlson is the founder and Artistic Director of the Los Angeles chamber music ensemble, Pacific Serenades—now in its 14th season—known for its unique combination of commissioned works (52 to date) and standard repertoire.  Born in 1952 in Ft. Lewis, Washington, he grew up in California, attended the University of Redlands, graduated from Cal State University, Fresno, and received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in composition from University of California Los Angeles.  Very active as a private teacher, he is also now on the faculty at Santa Monica College and UCLA, where he has taught music theory and composition for many years.


text:  translation by Marcia Falk                                                                     


1. O for your kiss!


O for your kiss! For your love

More enticing that wine,

For your scent and sweet name—

For all this they love you.


Take me away to your room,

Like a king to his rooms—

We’ll rejoice there with wine.

No wonder they love you!


2. He brings me to the winehall


He brings me to the winehall,

Gazing at me with love.


Feed me raisincakes and quinces!

For I am sick with love.


O for his arms around me,

Beneath me and above!


O women of the city,

Swear by the wild field doe


Not to wake or rouse us

Till we fulfill our love.


3. Turning to him, who meets me with desire—


Come, love, let us go out to the open fields

And spend our night lying where the henna blooms,

Rising early to leave for the near vineyards

Where the vines flower, opening tender buds,

And the pomegranate boughs unfold their blossoms.


There among blossom and vine I will give you my love,

Musk of the violet mandrakes spilled upon us . . .

And returning, finding our doorways piled with fruits,

The best of the new-picked and the long-stored,

My love, I will give you all I have saved for you.


4. Come away


The sound of my lover

coming from the hills

quickly, like a deer

upon the mountains


Now at my windows,

walking by the walls,

here at the lattices

he calls—


Come with me,

my love,

come away


For the long wet months are past,

the rains have fed the earth

and left it bright with blossoms


Birds wing in the low sky,

dove and songbird singing

in the open air above


Earth nourishing tree and vine,

green fig and tender grape,

green and tender fragrance


Come with me,

my love,

come away


from The Song of Songs: A New Translation and Interpretation by Marcia Falk (Harper Collins, 1990) © 1990 by Marcia Lee Falk.  Used by permission.


Robert Beaser               Landscape With Bells  (for piano solo)


Born in 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts, and educated at Yale, Robert Beaser has emerged as one of the most accomplished creative musicians of his generation.  Beaser has received numerous major awards and commissions from orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the American Composers Orchestra and the Baltimore Symphony.  His music has been performed frequently by such renowned artists as Renee Fleming, Dennis Russell Davies, Dawn Upshaw, Elliot Fisk, Leonard Slatkin, and David Zinman.  He has been the recipient of a Grammy Award nomination for Best Classical Composition, the Prix de Rome, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Fellowships, and the Academy Award in music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  He is currently writing a one-act opera The Food of Love which has been commissioned by New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and WNET/Great Performances with a libretto by the playwright Terrence McNally to be premiered in the summer of 1999.  Currently, Beaser is Chair of the Composition Department at the Juilliard School, and serves as the Artistic Advisor to the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York City.


C. Edward Hupton       Canciones de Caribe


C. Edward Hupton holds degrees from Drake University and The New England Conservatory of Music, and has continued study in Barcelona, Spain; Washington, DC; and Iowa State University.   He has traveled extensively as pianist, composer, and teacher, and is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including ASCAP Special Writer’s Awards, Arts Council Touring Grants, and composition commissions.  His musical versatility has led to concerts throughout the United States, including three performances at Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City.  His works have appeared on Minnesota and Iowa public television stations.  His Concertino for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra has been recorded by the Moravian Philharmonie in the Czech Republic for relase on CD under the Master Musician’s Collective label.


text:  Gina Hupton                                                                                          


I. Mama Dice


Mama Dice                                                                  Mama Says

Los pajaros cantan piden agua                                     The birds sing, asking for water,

Lluvia en las mantañas                                                rain in the mountains


Mama Dice                                                                  Mama Says

Cuentas de agua caen de                                              Beads of water fall from

los arboles helechos                                                    the fern trees


Mama Dice                                                                  Mama Says

Los valles verdes se la empapan                                  The green valleys soak it up

Las gotas decoran mi pelo largo                                  The droplets decorate my long hair

y ornamentan mi cara café, quemada                           and ornament my brown, burned face


El silencio del bosque                                                  The silence of the forest

Que rico suena el silencio del                                      How rich sounds the silence of the

bosque lluvioso                                                           rain forest,

Mama Dice                                                                  Mama Says


II.  Los Piropos


¡Machita!  ¡Machita!                                                    “Blondie”   “Blondie”

Que guapa                                                                   How pretty

Mi amor                                                                       My love

Sus piernas del cielo                                                    Your legs from heaven

Los ojos de Dios                                                         The eyes from God


¡Que cosa mas fea!                                                      What an ugly thing!

Nadie entiende la mentalidad                                       No one understands the mentality

de una gringa cuyo padre                                            of a gringa whose father

cocinó y hico toda la tarea de casa                               cooked and did all the housework

Deje me y mi cuerpo también                                      Leave me alone and my body also

Deje nos caminar en paz                                              Leave us to walk in peace

No me conoce y nunca me concerá                             You don’t know me and you never will


III.  Da Me Un Beso


Da me un beso amigo mío                                           Give me a kiss, my freind

Mi muy amigo                                                             My very good friend

Bailemos al ritmo salsa y merengue                            Let’s dance to the salsa & and merengue

Es facile                                                                       It’s easy

Siento el calor, el sudor abajo de mi                            Feel the heat, the sweat under my dress

vestido cuando bailamos                                             when we dance

La gente esta platicando                                               The people are chatting

¿No saben que la luna esta llena?                                Don’t they know the moon is full?

Siento el ritmo, el sudor en la mano                            Feel the rhythm, the sweat in my hand

que te quiere                                                                that loves you

¡Mueve su cadera!                                                       Move your hips!

y hos reimos toda la noche, larga,                               and we laugh all the long, drunk

borracha tropical                                                          tropical night

Mi muy amigo                                                             My very good friend


IV.  Las Lágrimas


Las lágrimas caen pesa damente en mi regazo             The tears fall heavily in my lap

Mi cabeza descansa en la silla                                      My head rests on the seat

y mis ojos mirando por la ventana                               and my eyes look out the window

Un pais désaparecido                                                  A country lost

Ella llora una pura tristeza                                           She cries a pure sadness

No dependencia                                                           Not dependency

sino una armargura de perdida                                    but a misery of loss

¿Para que lo corta de mis manos                                 Why is it cut from hands

y pone enfermo mi corazon?                                       and makes my heart sick?

Todo perdido a las lágrimas                                        All is lost to the tears

… a las lágrimas                                                          … to the tears


© Gina Hupton.  Used by permission.


John Luebke                Barn Swallow Suite


John Luebke, originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Fredonia.  His masters and doctorate, in music theory and composition, are from The University of Miami where he studied with Dennis Kam and John VanderSlice.  He also studied arranging and composition in New York with Don Sebesky.  Equally comfortable with many different musical idioms, Mr. Luebke is currently working on both jazz and orchestral commission projects.  His latest jazz band works can be heard on the Mike Vax Big Band CD, I Remember You  from the Master Communications Group.  His solo instrumental works are published by Belwin Mills.  He is thrilled to be a part of The American Celebration Duo CD, and believes that his work with Richard and Diana, plus lyricist Jeanne Emmons has been one of the more challenging, yet fun projects of his career.  John lives in Sioux City, Iowa with his wife and son, where he also serves as the Executive Director of the Sioux City Symphony.


text:  Jeanne Emmons                                                                                        


I. Iowa Hands


Gripping the bridles of horses, pushing the plow,

twisting the flax and spinning wheels, wiping the brow,

wiring bales in the hay fields, kneading the bread,

grieving at the kitchen table, bathing the dead,

flying over type-writers, tapping the keys

lifting out honeycombs covered with bees,

digging up bloodroot for medicine bags,

cutting and piecing and stitching quilts out of rags,

shearing the wool from sheep, milking goats,

planting and harvesting corn, soybeans, and oats,

rolling out pie crusts, smoking the hams,

picking thru raspberries, making the jams,

hands covered with blood on the cutting room floor,

driving the nails, running the lathe, planing the door,

hands laid on the foreheads of feverish boys,

hands turning the wooden wheels of handmade toys,

these are the makers of Iowa,

the strong hands, the kind hands, the hard hands, the long hands.



II. Barn Swallows


When Cecil climbed to the hayloft with Jennifer Jane,

he knew there would be soft, dusty straw

and the sweet smell of dried grass.

He did not know the swallows would be nesting in the rafters.


When Jennifer’s father opened the door of the barn,

he thought there was a stray cat in the loft.

for the dust was flying furiously in the sun’s rays

and there was a tumultuous flapping of wings.


III.  Dream


Late last night I dreamed of you.

The moon was rising in the east as moons do.

Your skin was glowing white in the moonlight,

and milkweed bloomed in the meadow all around you.

The wind was gusting through the grass,

and at your knees the bluestem was swaying,

scattering its seeds into the darkness.


I was in the cupola of the old red barn.

I saw you cutting hay, I saw you raking.

I stretched out my hands and flew from the roof

and landed in the sweet, dry straw.

There I lay quietly while the dew fell

and soaked my clothes through to the bare skin.

The moon was setting in the west as moons do.

Late last night I dreamed this.  I was awake.


© Jeanne Emmons.  Used by permission.


Antonio Carlos DeFeo            Sonnet XXIII     

                                    (Sonnets from the Portuguese)


Antonio Carlos DeFeo is a New York based film composer whose latest screen credits include the short films Psychobabble, Timepiece, and Ripple.  His score and incidental music for the production of Princess Turandot at the Williamstown Theatre Festival achieved critical acclaim.  Recent orchestral and chamber performances of his music include Symphonic Dances With Gene Tierney, An American Suite, The Gate, Three Simple Songs, and Arias for Solo Horn  with performances by Michael Ambramovich, Misha Piatigorsky, Elizabeth Batton, and Glen Barton Cortese.


text:  Elizabeth Barrett Browning                                                       


Is it indeed so? If I lay here dead,

Wouldst thou miss any life in losing mine?

And would the sun for thee more coldly shine

Because of grave-damps falling round my head?

I marvelled, my Beloved, when I read

Thy thought so in the letter.  I am thine— much to thee?  Can I pour thy wine

While my hands tremble?  Then my soul, instead

Of dreams of death, resumes life’s lower range.

Then, love me, Love! look on me—breathe on me!

As brighter ladies do not count it strange,

For love, to give up acres and degree,

I yield the grave for thy sake, and exchange

My near sweet view of Heaven, for earth with thee!


Beth Wiemann             Night Thought


Beth Wiemann was raised in Burlington, Vermont and studied composition and clarinet at Oberlin College and Princeton University.  Her works have been performed in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, DC and elsewhere by the ensembles Continuum, Parnassus, Earplay, Buffalo New Music Ensemble, Washington Square Contemporary Players, ALEA III, singers Paul Hillier, Susan Narucki, D. Anna Fortunato and others.  Her compositions have won awards from the Colorado New Music Festival, American Women Composers, and Marimolin as well as various art councils.  A founding member of Griffin Music Ensemble, a contemporary music group in Boston, she premiered many clarinet works and conducted composer-in-the-schools workshops in the Boston and Worcester public schools.  After teaching at the College of the Holy Cross and Salisbury State University, she now teaches at the University of Maine and performs as principal clarinetist with the Bangor Symphony.


text:  Gerald Jonas


Jonathan Chenette                Prairie Autumn


Jonathan Chenette, born in 1954, has composed vocal and instrumental works in diverse genres, often treating the relationships between people and the land as a central theme.  His larger works have been performed by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra.  Mr. Chenette received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and grants of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Iowa Arts Council, the American Music Center, Meet the Composer, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy.  He teaches at Grinnell College in Iowa, where he is Blanche Johnson Professor of Music.


text:  Willa Cather                                                                               


Evening and the flat land,

rich and somber, always silent;

the miles of golden grain, the soil heavy and black,

full of strength and harshness;


the growing corn, the growing weeds,

the toiling horses, the tired men;

the long empty roads, sullen fires of sunset,

fading, the eternal, unresponsive sky.


Against all this,

Youth, flaming like the wild roses,

singing like the larks over the plowed fields,

flashing like a star out of the twilight;


Youth, with its insupportable sweetness,

its fierce necessity, its sharp desire;

singing out of the lips of silence,

out of the earthy dusk.


Evening and the flat land,

the eternal, unresponsive sky.


Drew Placzek               Stop All The Clocks


Drew Placzek graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan with degrees in composition and jazz studies, having studied composition with nationally recognized composer James Hartway and orchestration and arranging with film and television composer/arranger Matt Michaels.  Now living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mr. Placzek works primarily as a composer for film and television.  He is also in demand as a jazz pianist, leading his own quartet, Swing! Swang! Swung!, with his wife and singer Holly Graham.  In addition to his composition and performance activities, he is often found behind the recording console, engineering and producing recordings for classical and jazz albums, as well as studio recording sessions for film and video productions.


text:  W.H. Auden


Howard Helvey             Another Spring


Howard Helvey presently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he is active as a composer, arranger, pianist, and organist.  Nationally, he appears often as a guest choral composer, conductor, and speaker; and frequently presents recitals of solo and four-hand piano literature with artist Richard Steinbach.  Originally from Missouri, Mr. Helvey holds a Bachelor of Music degree in composition from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Master of Music degree in composition and piano performance from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.  In demand particularly as a writer of choral music, Helvey maintains a diverse range of expression in fulfilling commissioned works.  Mr. Helvey’s anthems, piano solo collections, and hymn free-harmonizations for organ are widely published, and have recently appeared on various compact disc recordings and national network television broadcasts.


text:  Christina Rossetti                                                                                  


If I might see another Spring

I’d listen to the daylight birds

That build their nests and pair and sing.

Nor wait for mateless nightingale;


I’d listen to the lusty herds,

The ewes with lambs as white as snow,

I’d find out music in the hail

And all the winds that blow.


If I might see another Spring

Oh stinging comment on my past

That all my past results in “if”

If I might see another Spring

I’d laugh today, today is brief;


I would not wait for anything that cannot last,

Be glad today and sing, and sing.


Diana Guhin Wooley


Diana Guhin Wooley’s vocal versatility has taken her from leading roles on the Musical Theatre stage to stunning performances of classical art songs in the concert hall.  A Sioux City native, Diana co-owns Sioux City’s Lamb Productions Dinner Theatre and teaches Impact: Fine Arts (an integrated fine arts course) in one of the high schools.  She is also Coordinator/Head Teacher of Lamb “Ewe”-niversity (an original and sequential study in creative dramatics, music and movement for students ages five through nineteen) and is Coordinator/Head Teacher of Lamb’s Academy of Theatrical Arts—ATA(an intensive theatre program for gifted youth).  Diana is a frequent performer with the Siouxland All America Band, the Sioux City Municipal Summer Band, the Sioux City Symphony Pops Concert Series, and has been a featured artist with the Sioux City Symphony performing Samuel Barber’s Knoxville:Summer of 1915  and Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs.  Diana has also performed Mahler’s: Des Knab en Wunderhorn  and the one act opera, The Telephone with the Sioux City Chamber Ensemble.  She and her husband, Russ, are featured vocalists on the Klineway CD, which is the music and lyrics of Marvin Kline, arranged by John Luebke and performed by members of the Sioux City Symphony.  As an actress, Diana has performed in over 50 roles as varied and diverse as Eva Peron in Evita, Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias, Lily in The Secret Garden Mame in Mame, and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter.


Richard Steinbach


Since winning the top prize in the French Piano Institute’s 1995 International Festival in Paris, Richard Steinbach has established himself as an extraordinarily versatile artist whose insightful interpretations of both French and American music have been widely acclaimed.  As the festival’s grand prize winner, he made his solo debut at the Salle Cortot in Paris in 1996, and has since performed extensively as both soloist and collaborative artist in concerts throughout the United States.  Orchestral appearances have included such diverse works as Rachmaninnof’s Paganini Variations, Liszt’s Totentanz, Beethoven’s Chorale Fantasy, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1,  and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.


Richard Steinbach is currently a Professor of Music at Briar Cliff College in Sioux City, Iowa.  He holds degrees in piano performance from the University of Colorado (Boulder), the Eastman School of Music (New York) and the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Iowa.  A champion of contemporary American music, he has been consistently praised for his passionate intensity, rhythmic vitality and imaginative sense of texture and color.  In June of 1998, Dr. Steinbach presented a series of nine solo performances in Japan and the People’s Republic of China as part of an international cultural exchange.  In addition to solo performances and appearances with the American Celebration Duo, he also performs duo-piano programs with composer/pianist Howard Helvey.  The duo recently performed concerts in San Francisco, Chicago, Aspen and Toronto and London.




Recording Engineer:                      Lynn Gross


Recording Consultant/Editor:     Peter Nothnagle


Recorded in June 1998, Eppley Auditorium, Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa.


This recording project was sponsored in part by a grant from the Iowa Arts Council. [insert logo]


American Celebration Duo

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Fax: (712) 279-1698