Clapp Recital Hall

Friday, September 16, 2005, 8:00 p.m.


Star of the Country Down (2005)   David K. GOMPPER
  Wolfgang David,  violin
David Gompper,  piano
The Waves Roll On,
Thundering and Shimmering (2005)
  Megan Luljak, flute
Stuart Breczinski, oboe
Tom Yu, clarinet
Michele Bowen, bassoon
Matt Hellenbrand, horn
Brian Umlah, trumpet
Andrew Knapp, trombone
Sean Truelove, bass trombone
Ginny Armstrong & Christopher Sande, percussion
Kazuo Murakami, piano
Armine Chamasyan, violin 1
Gabrielle Harvey, violin 2
Julia Immel, viola
Ursula Dial, violoncello
Alec Mariani, double bass
Piccolos and Plungers   John BERNERS
  Tamara Thweatt, flute/piccolo
Andrew Brobston, sop. saxophone
Brian Umlah, trumpet
Sean Truelove, trombone
Kazuo Murakami, piano
Ginny Armstrong & Christopher Sande, percussion
Crazed for the Flame (2001)   Evan CHAMBERS
  Sara Haack, flute
Stuart Breczinski, oboe
Yasmin Flores, clarinet
Michele Bowen, bassoon
Matt Hellenbrand, horn
Ginny Armstrong & Christopher Sande, percussion
Armine Chamasyan, violin 1
Gabrielle Harvey, violin 2
Julia Immel, viola
Ursula Dial, violoncello
Alec Mariani, double bass
David Gompper, conductor


Notes & Bios


Star of the Country Down (2005)

Star of the Country Down (2005), for violin and piano, is likely to become the first in a series of three pieces for violin and piano based on Irish tunes, together with Music in the Glen (2004) and Finnegan's Wake (1997). The single movement work, beginning and ending with simple statements of the tune, is made up of a series of variations moto perpetuo with a climax that finds the tune continually being fragmented, torn and warped.

David Gompper (b. 1954) has lived and worked professionally as a pianist, a conductor, and a composer in New York, San Diego, London, Nigeria, Michigan, and Texas. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Jeremy Dale Roberts, Humphrey Searle and Phyllis Sellick. After teaching in Nigeria, he received his doctorate at the University of Michigan, taught at the University of Texas, Arlington, and since 1991 has been Professor of Composition and Director of the Center for New Music at the University of Iowa. In 2002-2003 Gompper was in Russia as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching, performing and conducting at the Moscow Conservatory.

Gompper's compositions are heard throughout the United States and Europe. In 1999 his Transitus (for wind ensemble) premiered at Carnegie Hall, and a number of his works have premiered in London's Wigmore Hall, including: Hommage a W. A. (William Albright) for piano; and Shades of Love, a song cycle on the poetry of Constantin Cavafy. Gompper completed a number of works this past summer for premieres this fall: a prepared-piano work called Inside Cage for a German pianist written to complement Cage's Sonata and Interludes this November in Mainz; Chorale & Prelude for organ based on a hymn written for Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims; and Star of the Country Down, the third and final series of works for violin and piano along with Finnegan's Wake (1997) and Music in the Glen (2004). The new compositions for organ and violin/piano will be premiered at the Moscow Autumn Concert Series in Moscow this November. He is completing his violin concerto, which will be premiered and recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic next February 2006.

In October 2004, Albany Records released a CD entitled Finnegan's Wake with performances of works for violin and piano by Gompper and David.

Wolfgang David has become ensconced on the international stage, both as a recitalist, and as a guest soloist with many of the world's leading orchestras, including a performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons with The New York Virtuosi Chamber Symphony, conducted by Kenneth Klein in the Great Assembly Hall at the United Nations (1999). David's growing reputation is marked in reviews by the likes of Thomas Frost, Senior Executive Producer at SONY Classical, who foresees for him "a significant international concert and recording career." The Washington Post says of David that he has "scaled the heights of music making."

David concertizes widely in Europe, the United States, Russia, Japan, South Korea, India, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and South Africa. The winner of many competitions and prizes--including the University of Vienna's "Foundation Stefanie Hohl" award, top prize in the Kulenkampff International Competition (Cologne), and the International Music Competition (Pretoria, South Africa). David's teachers have included Rainer Kuechl (concert master of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra), Igor Ozim (Musikhochschule Cologne), and Yfrah Neaman (London's Guildhall School of Music).

Wolfgang David performs on a violin built in 1731 by Joseph Guarneri del Gesu, Cremona, on exclusive loan to him from the Austrian National Bank.


The Waves Roll On, Thundering and Shimmering

The Waves Roll On, Thundering and Shimmering, is a particularly vivid line from Fedor Tychev's (1803-73) poem The Last Love. In The Last Love, Tychev equates the sea to the "boundless and free" afterlife, where it is "bathed in dim the solitude of night." Using that image as my impetus, I created a motive with a very simple contour that reflected the ebb and tide motion of the sea, as suggested by Tyuchev. My motive then served as my melodic, rhythmic and formal guide.

Joseph Dangerfield (b. 1977) is Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition at McNeese State University. He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in music theory and composition from Marshall University (1999), a masters in composition from Bowling Green State University (2002), and a PhD in composition from the University of Iowa (2005). His principle composition instructors were Michael Golden, David Gompper, Mikel Kuehn, and Marilyn Shrude. He also studied Electroacoustic music with Lawrence Fritts and Elainie Lillios.

Dangerfield's music has been performed throughout the United States, England, Italy, and Cairo at various festivals. His dissertation, The Waves Roll on Thundering and Shimmering (2005) will be performed and professionally recorded by the Moscow Ensemble of Soloists in April 2006. The work will be distributed on CD by Albany Records the following autumn. He is the recipient of several awards which include, ASCAP Standard Awards (2004/05), the Young and Emerging Composers Award (2002), and the Henry and Parker Pelzer Prize (2005) for excellence in composition. Dangerfield was also a top ranking finalist in the Student Fulbright Competition (2004/05) for study at the Moscow Conservatory.


Piccolos and Plungers

I am fond of this piece partly because it is the main work I completed during the year I studied with William Albright. He seemed to like the aggressiveness of the opening idea and the relentless hammering of the swing rhythm, which never really lets go of the piece. Naturally, the piccolo and the plungers make their appearances. A slower middle section was inspired by the weird, mechanically idyllic sound of one of Conlon Nancarrow's Studies for Player Piano.

John Berners is Visiting Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory at the University of Iowa. He attended Northwestern University, earning a B.M. in trombone and a B.A. in mathematics. His composition studies began privately with C. Curtis-Smith in Kalamazoo and continued at the University of Michigan under William Albright, Evan Chambers, Bright Sheng, Michael Daugherty and William Bolcom. There he earned an M.M. in Composition and a Ph.D. in Composition & Music Theory.

John's works have been performed by the Detroit Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, Boston Symphony brass section, Tanglewood Festival Brass, Brave New Works, and many university ensembles. His music has been recorded by the Millar Brass Ensemble, Brave New Works and University of Iowa pianist Alan Huckleberry, among others. John has taught at Interlochen, Kalamazoo College, the Colburn School in Los Angeles, Cal State Fullerton, and American University in Washington, D.C. His composition dissertation, a concerto for trumpet and orchestra entitled A Walk in Heavenly Grass, was completed in 2004 and premiered with piano by trumpeter David Greenhoe. This past summer the piece won the Concerto Competition of the Symposium Franco-Europeen de la Trompette and will be premiered with orchestra in France in the 2005-2006 season.

John and his wife, Iowa Flute Professor Tamara Thweatt, live on the east side of Iowa City with their children, Carlynn and Benjamin.


Crazed for the Flame (2001)

    Will transformation
    Oh be crazed for the flame
    in which a thing that bursts with becoming
    consumes itself;
    that spirit of re-creation, master of earthly form,
    loves most in our turning the single pivoting point of change.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Sonnets to Orpheus, Series 2, # 12
translation by Evan Chambers

The title Crazed for the Flame comes from Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus. The piece was inspired by that image of intense spiritual longing, of wild yearning for union with the absolute. It is a state exemplified in the music and literature of Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, as well, and the piece was also inspired my experiences listening to one kind of Sufi music: the Qawwai music of the great Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his ensemble. I've been listening to this group for years, and had one of the most profound musical experiences of my life hearing them in concert--to put it plainly, I've been so affected by the power, sincerity, and radiant depth of feeling in Qawwali music for so long that it had to come out in my own writing sooner or later. I wanted to write a a grateful hommage that drew on the form of Qawwali without directly imitating the style.

In this piece, as in Qawwali, the music consists of tight melodic cells that are repeated to create a dynamic of intensification; highly charged and often ecstatic group singing alternates with long wailing solo lines. The piece is also influenced by the melodic shapes of southern Albanian Kaba, a semi-improvised instrumental music sometimes referred to as "music with tears."

Evan Chambers (b 1963, Alexandria, Louisiana) is currently Associate Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan. He serves as resident composer with the new-music ensemble Quorum.

Chambers' compositions have been performed by the Cincinnati, Kansas City, Memphis, New Hampshire, and Albany Symphonies; he won first prize in the Cincinnati Symphony Competition, and in 1998 was awarded the Walter Beeler Prize by Ithaca College. His work has been recognized by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Luigi Russolo Competition, Vienna Modern Masters, NACUSA, the American Composers Forum, and the Tampa Bay Composers Forum. He has been a resident of the MacDowell Colony, and been awarded individual artist grants from Meet the Composer, the Arts Foundation of Michigan and ArtServe Michigan. His composition teachers include William Albright, Leslie Bassett, Nicholas Thorne, and Marilyn Shrude, with studies in electronic music with George Wilson and Burton Beerman. Recordings have been released by Albany Records, the Foundation Russolo-Pratella, Cambria, Clarinet Classics, Equillibrium, and Centaur. His solo chamber music disk (Cold Water, Dry Stone) is available on Albany records.