Grinnell College, Dordt College & University of Iowa
October 1-3, 1999
|Duo (1991)||Yehuda YANNAY|
Antonio Guimaraes, flute
Annette Machetta, bass clarinet
|from Another World*||Peter BLAUVELT|
The Ancia Saxophone Quartet
|Quintet for saxophone and strings||Richard BROOKS|
Matthew Sintchak, saxophone
|Viola Variations||Paul RICHARDS|
Jacqueline Schmidt, viola
Antonio Guimaraes, flute
* Performed at the Grinnell College concert only.
Notes & Bios
is dedicated to the prominent Brazilian composer Gilberto Mendes and his wife Eliane who introduced me and my wife Marie to the cultural riches of Brazil and the Portuguese language. Duo was influenced by the poetry of Fernando Pessoa, the quintessential modernist of Portugal, and by an extended visit to the city of Lisbon, his source of inspiration.
A brief, undulating eight-note theme on the flute (a splashing, broken wave on a windy afternoon on a beach north of Lisbon?) opens a conversation with the cello. Brief sentences play variations on the theme as they concur, argue and overlap. I can't forget that crystalline voice of a street performer: the dirge-chanting blind woman who accompanied herself with a chiming ostinato on a metal triangle. Once in a while, like in a daydream, the music takes off briefly in the direction of jazzy latino moods. Also, two fleeting moments from a piano piece by Mendes dedicated to his wife surface toward the end of the piece. David Cowley and James Grine have recorded this piece on my solo album on INNOVA entitled "Music Now And From Almost Yesterday."
Yehuda Yannay was born in Romania and emigrated to Israel in 1951. He is a graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel-Aviv, Brandeis University and holds a doctorate from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. In the 1980s he was awarded two Senior Fulbright Fellowships to Germany where he served as guest-professor at the Staatliche Hochschule füaut;r Musik in Stuttgart and Hamburg. Yannay is a prolific and versatile composer, conductor and media artist whose list of more than ninety works include: music for orchestra, electronic, live electronic and synthesizer pieces, environmental compositions, film, music-theater, and a large body of vocal and chamber music pieces. Considered an international figure in contemporary music, his contribution to new ideas in 20th Century music in a number textbooks and music dictionaries.
Yannay is Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and the founder of the Music From Almost Yesterday concert series at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee now celebrating 28 years of new music performances. The second CD compilation of his chamber music, including this piece, will be issued on the innova label of the American Composers Forum.
Concepts (1994, rev. 1997)
I was researching several compositional aspects in writing this piece. These include an extended vehicle for a solo monophonic instrument, the use of multiphonics, and the use of an extended range for the bass clarinet. The single-movement work has three sections. The first is active with jagged expressions of contrasting registers. The second is slow, rubato and lyrical. The third returns to the active style as a developed structural mirror inversion of the beginning.
Chihchun Chi-sun Lee (b. 1970, Taiwan) has received a BA from Soochow University, double MA degrees from Ohio University, and is currently finishing a Doctorate at the University of Michigan. Among her teachers were William Albright, William Bolcom, Yien-Chung Huang, Yien Lu, Mark Phillips, Bright Sheng and Loong-Shing Wen. Her numerous composition awards include the Hong Kong Chou Scholarship, the "Music in Taipei" award, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Bureau Music Contest, Taiwan Provincial Music Competition among others.
She was selected for a recital in Taiwan's prestigious National Concert Hall and to events presented by the American Composers Forum, the Asian Composers League, ISCM, the International Composition Seminar in Poland, the International Music Festival in Taiwan, and the US Midwest Composers Symposium.
Her works have been performed by the Formosa Ensemble, MusicLink Contemporary Consort, the Plymouth New Music Series, Music from China, the Windsor New Music Ensemble, and musicians from the Prague Philharmonic, the Prague Radio Orchestra, and the Czech Philharmonic.
She is composer-in-residence with Taiwan's premiere traditional Chinese instrumental group, China Found Music Workshop. During 1998, she organized nine concerts across North and Central America for China Found Music Workshop, which included performances of her piece, Liam-Hiong. Her music has also been performed worldwide, including Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Hawaii, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Costa Rica and the U.S.
Currently, she teaches composition and electronic music at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas.
From Another World (1998)
is basically an electronic piece written for four saxophones. Since this scenario is the opposite of electronic music imitating much more limited acoustic sounds, the performers in this piece are required to use a wide range of extended techniques. The result may not sound anything like an actual electronic piece, and yet the composition will certainly come across differently from that of a saxophone quartet which is conceptually acoustic. Hence the title.
Peter Blauvelt was born in France and grew up in Germany, where he began his studies in composition and piano. In 1975, he came to the U.S., where he studied at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. There, he received three degrees-including a doctorate in composition-and taught theory, composition and piano.
Since 1968, he has often given recitals-not only of his own pieces-in the U.S., France and Germany, and in public and on the radio, and has received several prizes for both composition and piano.
After leaving the Boston area for Florida in 1984, he co-founded the "Tampa Bay Composers' Forum" and has served as treasurer, vice-president and president. Around the same time, he founded "Creative Arts and Tutoring Services" which has enabled him to continue the teaching he started over twenty years ago.
The Ancia Saxophone Quartet was founded in 1990 as an ensemble dedicated to the performance of traditional saxophone quartet repertoire and to the creation of new works for saxophone quartet. Based in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the quartet has performed concerts and presented educational workshops in the United States, Canada and Europe. The Ancia Saxophone Quartet has appeared frequently on Minnesota Public Radio. Their debut compact disc, Variations, available from the Public Radio Music Source, includes selections by Gershwin, Bach, and Duke Ellington along with music composed especially for the quartet. The Ancia Saxophone Quartet has premiered many compositions written expressly for the group, including commissions underwritten by the American Composers Forum/Jerome Foundation and The Commission Project. The quartet has performed at recent regional and national conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance in Chicago, Winnipeg, and Florida. In 1993, 1995 and 1997 the quartet presented joint concerts with the Berlin Saxophone Quartet, including quartet and octet performances at "Klangfenster '95" in Berlin, Germany. The Ancia Saxophone Quartet is a Selmer Company artist group.
Quintet for Oboe (Saxophone) and Strings (1994)
From the earliest stages of composition it was intended that the work be equally suited to performance with saxophone as well as oboe. Though there are distinct sectional divisions creating a broad ternary structure, it was conceived as a single movement. The middle section, in a slower tempo, is perceived as an interruption of the main, fast movement. All the material is derived from a twelve tone set which begins and ends with a minor triad. The inversion, therefore, begins and ends with a major triad. These chords are used in the accompaniment figures at the beginning and elsewhere. The primary melodic idea presented first by the oboe (or sax) combines the interior six tones of the tone row and the inversion. This melody is also highly tonally inflected. At the beginning, three conflicting "meters" are juxtaposed: the five-eight accompaniment in the violins and viola, a six-eight (three-four) pizzicato pattern in the cello and the four-eight pattern of the melody. These various meters vie for assertiveness and each predominates at various moments in the piece. The melody is subjected to intense contrapuntal treatment as well as motivic development. The middle, slow section also plays with meters using a repetitive 8-7-6-5-4-5-6-7-8 alternation of measures.
Richard Brooks (b. 1942) is a native of upstate New York and holds a BS degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, an MA in Composition from SUNY Binghamton and a PhD in Composition from New York University. Since 1975 he has been on the music faculty of Nassau Community College where he is Professor and Department Chair.
From 1977 to 1982 he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Society of University Composers (now the Society of Composers, Inc.) on which he continues to serve as the Producer of the SCI Compact Disk Series. In 1981 he was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Composers Alliance. After serving two terms as Secretary and three terms as vice-president he was elected President in the Fall of 1993. From 1992-1998 he was a member of the Junior/Community College Commission on Accreditation of the National Association of Schools of Music. He has received a major grant from the SUNY Research Foundation (for composition), a Composer Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, an American Music Center grant and several Meet the Composer Awards.
In 1994 he received a commission for Quintet for Oboe (Sax) and Strings from the New York State Music Teachers National Association. The premiere performance took place at the NYSMTA Conference in Ithaca, NY in October 1994. Landscape...with Grace, commissioned for the twentieth anniversary season of the Kent Philharmonic Orchestra in Grand Rapids, Michigan was premiered on April 21, 1996.
He has composed over fifty works in all media. His opera for young audiences, Rapunzel, was commissioned by the Tri-Cities Opera (Binghamton) in 1971 and has been mounted also by the Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, Wolf Trap Farm Park and the Denver Symphony/Central City Singers. A full length opera, Moby Dick, was complete in 1987. Sonata for violin and piano (1973) is published in Vol. XI of the ASUC Journal of Music Scores and recorded on Record no. 5 of the ASUC Record Series (Advance label). Prelude and Lament for wind quintet (1970) and Suite for Percussion (1975) are recorded on the Capstone label (CPS-8601). Chorale Variations for Horns and Strings is recorded on compact disk by the Constanta Symphony Orchestra (Capstone (CPS-8627 "Tonus Tomis").
was written for Ann Marie Hudson, capitalizing on her considerable technique and expressive ability. The brief original theme is reminiscent of a renaissance dance figure, while the variations wander through intimations of baroque, popular, and other styles, with the overriding goal of displaying the capabilities of the viola, and violist.
Paul Richards (b. 1969) has written works in virtually every genre, with commissions for orchestral, choral, and chamber works coming from a variety of individuals and institutions, including Meet the Composer, AZ, the Arizona Repertory Singers, and the Catalina Chamber Orchestra. He has twice won the Guild of Temple Musicians Young Composers Award, and received Honorable Mention in the 1998 ASCAP Foundation Grants to Young Composers. His works have been performed across the country in universities, synagogues, and at conferences of SEAMUS and SCI. Currently on the faculty of Baylor University, he holds a DMA from The University of Texas at Austin, and an MM and a BM degree from the University of Arizona. Former president of the UT Austin student chapter of SCI, he is currently a member of SCI Region V.
The title describes its form. The three Prologues present material through the process of coalescing; the four Epilogues are characterized by summation and fragmentation. Each section is paired with a dialectical opposite, although pairs are not necessarily presented in order. This form allowed me to create a single-minded, monothematic work without relying on the traditional variation and development techniques. The resulting piece is tightly constructed and easily approached, and is also nonlinear, or, more accurately, what Jonathan Kramer might call "multiply-directed". Although the music has directed motion, antecedents and consequences are not necessarily conjunct, and sometimes the latter precede the former. I feel that this process for controlling musical time is representative of the way people in the computer age process information, including even musical sounds.
Upon hearing me describe an early version of the form of this piece, theorist Larry Zbikowski directed me to the third movement of Beethoven's String Quartet, Op. 132, the main theme of which happened to bear a great resemblance to the four-note melody I had been exploring. This happy coincidence led me to rewrite my quintet, exploiting its relationship to the Beethoven. Further revisions, mainly to the last movement, followed the May 1998 premiere performance by the University of Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players.
David Smooke is a Chicago-based composer who is also active as a teacher and lecturer. His honors include a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, the William Schuman Prize for most outstanding score in the BMI Young Composers Competition and a first level prize in the National Association of Composers USA Student Composer Competition. His music has been presented by the University of Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players, the Pacific Chamber Soloists and the New Horizons Chamber ensemble, among others, and has been heard on Provincetown and Chicago radio, and has been published by Alfred Publishing Co., Inc. He has taught at the University of Chicago, Peabody Elderhostel and the Birch Creek Music Performance Center, where he was also composer in resident, and has delivered public lectures for, among others, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He received an MM degree from the Peabody Conservatory and a BA magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago as a recipient of the highest fellowship offered by the Humanities Division, the Century Fellowship. His composition teachers have included Shulamit Ran, Marta Ptaszynska, Robert Hall Lewis, Richard Wernick and George Crumb.