San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra - Music for Humans
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1. Music for Humans
by Michael Cooke
2. Quello lí chi é? (Who is that guy?)
by Lisa Scola Prosek
by John Beeman
by Beeri Moalem
5. Yearnings of a Middle Aged Composer About to Be Drowned
by David Graves
6. Canticle of the Sun
by Alexis Alrich
7. Baron Ochs: Valzaccho Returns to the Forest
by Erling Wold
by Martha Stoddard
9. Aria for Oboe and Orchestra
by Michael A. Kimbell
10. Missa "Thé à deux": Kyrie
by Mark Alburger
11. Earth March
by Allan Crossman
Live Recording by Karen Stackpole in 2006 and 2007 at Old First Church in San Fransisco, CAThese Sample are in Windows Media format. You will need to have Media Player.
Mixed & Mastered by Michael Cooke at Black Hat Records in Belmont, CA
Copyright © 2008 SFCCO. All rights reserved.
The multi-instrumentalist Michael Cooke is a composer of jazz and classical music. This two-time Emmy, ASCAPLUS Award and Louis Armstrong Jazz Award winner plays a variety of instruments: you can hear him on soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones, flute, soprano and bass clarinets, bassoon and percussion. A cum laude graduate with a music degree from the University of North Texas, he had many different areas of study; jazz, ethnomusicology, music history, theory and of course composition. In 1991 Michael began his professional orchestral career performing in many north Texas area symphonies. Michael has played in Europe, Mexico, and all over the United States. Cimarron Music Press began published many of Michael's compositions in 1994. After relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area, he has been exploring new paths in improvised and composed music, mixing a variety of styles and techniques that draw upon the creative energy of a multicultural experience, both in and out of America. In 1999, Michael started a jazz label called Black Hat Records (blackhatrecords.com) and is currently on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra. The San Francisco Beacon describes Michael's music as "flowing out color and tone with a feeling I haven't heard in quite a while. Michael plays with such dimension and flavor that it sets (his) sound apart from the rest." Uncompromising, fiery, complex, passionate, and cathartic is how the All Music Guide labeled Michael's playing on Searching by Cooke Quartet, Statements by Michael Cooke and The Is by CKW Trio. His latest release, An Indefinite Suspension of The Possible, is an unusual mixture of woodwinds, trombone, cello, koto and percussion, creating a distinct synergy in improvised music that has previously been untapped.
Dr. Mark Alburger (b. 1957, Upper Darby, PA) is a multiple-award-winning ASCAP composer of postminimal, postpopular, and postcomedic sensibilities. His compositions are generally assembled or gridded over pieces ranging from ancient and world music, to postmodern art and vernacular sources -- 174 opus numbers (markalburgerworks.blogspot.com), including 16 concertos, 20 operas, 9 symphonies, and the four-hours-and-counting opera-oratorio work-in-progress, The Bible. He is Music Director of San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra (sfcco.org) and San Francisco Cabaret Opera / Goat Hall Productions (goathall.org), Editor-Publisher of 21st-Century Music Journal (21st-centurymusic.blogspot.com and 21st-centurymusic.com), Instructor in Music Literature and Theory at Diablo Valley and St. Mary's Colleges, and Music Critic for Commuter Times. He studied at Swarthmore College (B.A.) with Gerald Levinson and Joan Panetti, Dominican University (M.A., Composition) with Jules Langert, Claremont Graduate University (Ph.D., Musicology) with Roland Jackson, and privately with Terry Riley. Alburger writes daily at markalburger2009.blogspot.com and is in the fifth year of an 11-year project recording his complete works for New Music Publications and Recordings.
Alexis Alrich is presently living in Hong Kong but visits the Bay Area frequently. Her Marimba Concerto, which was presented by the SFCCO, will be played by the Plymouth Symphony in Plymouth, Michigan in 2009 with conductor Nan Washburn. Her piece Island of the Blue Dolphins was performed by the Santa Barbara Symphony on January 19, 2007. She attended an artists' colony in 2007, I-Park in Connecticut, where she wrote Fragile Forests II: Cambodia, next in the series after Fragile Forests I: California Oaks, which was premiered in December 2006 by the San Francisco Composers Orchestra. As one of the winners of a Continental Harmony grant from the American Composers Forum she has written a piece for chorus, orchestra and soloists for the state of Maine. Avenues, her first orchestra piece, was premiered by the Women's Philharmonic and has been played around the country. Her chamber compositions have been performed by members of the San Francisco ballet, opera and symphony orchestras and ensembles including Bay Brass, City Winds, the Ahlert and Schwab guitar and mandolin duo in Germany, the Ariel Ensemble, New Release Alliance and Earplay in San Francisco. Ms. Alrich is the director of the John Adams Young Composers program in Berkeley, California. This is an intensive training program for composers ages 9-18 in honor of and under the aegis of John Adams.
David Graves has been writing a variety of musical works since the 1970s, including jazz, pop, electronic and neoclassical pieces for film, theater, studio recordings and orchestra. He has studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and City College of San Francisco. In 2003 and 2005 David was a resident composer with the Djerassi Resident Artist Program where he was awarded the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fellowship. He was also a resident composer with the Berkeley Symphony for two consecutive seasons and wrote six pieces that were performed as a part of their Under Construction series. His large-scale ambient works have been installed in a redwood canyon (tree/sigh), The LAB (Deciduous), and the renowned San Francisco AudioBus (Human Street Textures). For many years, he has been the Coordinator for the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra and has had pieces performed annually by that ensemble as well as the Irregular Resolutions composer collective. In the late 2000s he released albums with the prog-rock group ScienceNV, recorded a collection of pop vocal tunes, received grants from the American Composers Forum and Meet the Composer, was sound designer for Miss Julie at the Aurora Theater, and developed a collection of short video dreams (Living in the Village of My Dreams). More recently, he was sound designer for Mary Stuart at Shotgun Theater, performed as AmbientBlack at various venues, created soundscapes for the featurette Alien Worlds at the California Academy of Sciences, and installed Fog and Expectations in the backyard garden of Urban Bazaar.
Gary Friedman was born in 1934 and raised in University Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, Gary Friedman received his higher education at Antioch College, The University of Chicago (B.S. and M.D. degrees), and Harvard University (M.S. degree). His main career has been as a physician-epidemiologist. He worked in the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research for 30 years including 7 years as its Director. Since retiring from Kaiser Permanente in 1999, his current position is Consulting Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Friedman's musical education started with piano at age 5. He also played trumpet in junior high and high school and studied organ and music theory during teen age. Playing and improvising on the piano only occasionally during adulthood, he returned to music seriously at age 54, studying oboe and English horn with Janet Popesco Archibald. He currently plays these instruments in the San Francisco Civic Symphony, the College of Marin Symphony, the Bohemian Club Band and chamber groups. Starting at age 64, he studied composition for four years with Alexis Alrich in the Adult Extension Division of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His musical compositions, mostly chamber works, are described in his music web site www.garyfriedmanmusic.net.
Davide Verotta was born in a boring Italian town close to Milano and moved to the very much more exciting San Francisco in his late twenties. He studied piano at the Milano Conservatory and piano and composition at the San Francisco Conservatory and State University (MA in composition), and at the University of California at Davis (PhD). He is an active solo and ensemble piano recitalist, and he is actively involved in the new music performance and composition scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recent compositions include works for orchestra, chamber opera, dance, piano solo, and different chamber ensembles. For more information please visit his web site at http://www.davideverotta.com.
Igor Stravinsky (June 17 [O.S. June 5] 1882 - April 6, 1971) was a Russian, and later French and American composer, pianist, and conductor. He is acknowledged by many as one of [and by some as] the most important and influential composer[s] of the 20th Century.
Samuel Ostroff is a Bay Area composer. His debut work Before You Read, was performed last year by the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra. His ventures into other forms of music include his role as singer songwriter in The Lysdexics, and attending Stanford Jazz Workshop. Samuel currently studies classical piano and composition with Lisa Scola Prosek.
John Cage (September 5, 1912 - August 12, 1992) was an American composer, music theorist, writer, and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was Cage\'s partner for most of their lives.
Lisa Scola Prosek is a graduate of Princeton University in Music Composition. Her teachers include Edward Cone, Milton Babbitt, Lukas Foss, and Gaetano Giani Luporini. Scola Prosek is the recipient of numerous grants, commissions and awards, including The NY Center for Contemporary Opera "Atelier" Award for The Lariat. Scola Prosek has composed and produced eight operas with librettos in Italian and English. In 2012, Daughter of the Red Tzar, written for acclaimed tenor John Duykers, premiered in San Francisco to capacity audiences, and is currently on the outreach season with Long Beach Opera. Lisa serves as General Manager and Director of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra, since 2001. Other awards have been from Theatre Bay Area, the LEF Foundation, The Argosy Contemporary Music Fund, Meet the Composer, the Hewlett Foundation, the American Composers Forum, The San Francisco Arts Commission, The Center for Cultural Innovation, The California Arts Council, the NEA and the Zellerbach Foundation.
Stardust started writing music in 2011 with little formal training in composition. His orchestral and chamber works have been performed as part of the Opus Project and at Humboldt Chamber Music Workshops. Stardust plays the oboe and the angled (English) horn.
Scott Sterling is a freelance trombonist in the Bay Area and makes his home in Berkeley. He earned his Bachelor’s in Music Education at California State University East Bay in 2010. Sterling is the bass trombonist in the Kensington Symphony Orchestra. As a composer, he is a frequent contributor to The Opus Project. In February, 2013, for The Opus Project presents Opus 13, he wrote Musical Portraits in Phrasing; a compilation of 13 eight-bar harmonized Introductory Melodious Etudes set as a walk through an Art Gallery. The Promenade is the same for both works. Sterling is currently writing a book and developing an online course about teaching Sight Reading, entitled Page to Performance.
Sheli Nan is a Berkeley composer, musician, arts educator, and performer whose life’s work focuses on the creation, performance, distribution, and teaching of music. She has been professionally involved in the musical landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area for more than three decades. The Music Studio is an umbrella for her various musicals enterprises, including composition, performance, recording and teaching, privately and in school programs, as well as written publications. Sheli is the author of two books, many articles on music and has had 20 editions of music published and performed including her symphony, Signatures in Time and Place. Her latest large scale musical work is Saga: Portrait of a 21st Century Child, an opera for our time, with a libretto by the composer. She is a member of ASCAP and the consistent recipient of the Standard Awards Panel. She is also a member of the New York Composers Circle, The Western Early Keyboard Society, Early Music America, The San Francisco Early Music Society, The Society of Composers International, and the American Composers Forum.
Martha Stoddard earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Humboldt State University and Master of Music from San Francisco State University, where she studied flute, conducting, and composition. She was recently named Program Director of the John Adams Young Composers Program at the Crowden Music Center and has held the position of Artistic Director of the Oakland Civic Orchestra since 1997. Stoddard is Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra and Director of Instrumental Music at Lick-Wilmerding High School. Other activities include engagements as Musical Director for Lisa Scola Prosek's Belfagor and Trap Door, John Bilotta's Trifles, Mark Alburger's Job: A Masque, and the Erling Wold / Davide Verotta / Scola Prosek / Stoddard Dieci Giorni, premiered in San Francisco in 2010. In October 2012, she conducted the premiere of Scola Prosek's The Daughter o the Red Tsar, featuring tenor John Duykers. A 2009 and 2010 recipient of AscapPlus Awards, her music has been performed in San Francisco through the American Composer’s Forum, by the Sierra Ensemble, Avenue Winds and in the UK by flutists Carla Rees and Lisa Bost. She has had performances by the San Francisco Choral Artists, Schwungvoll!, the Community Women’s Orchestra, Oakland Civic Orchestra, Womensing, Bakersfield Symphony New Directions Series, in the Trinity Chamber Concert Series and the New Music Forum Festival of Contemporary Music. Recent commissions include Points of Reference, Outbursts: an Homage to Brahms, Orchestral Suite for the Young of all Ages, and the Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano.
Loren Jones began experimenting with composition as a child. He spent his early years dividing his time between film-making and music, and some of his film work was periodically broadcast on local San Francisco television. Eventually choosing to pursue music instead of film, Loren formed and was part of several bands performing and creating different genres of original music. To this point largely self-taught, in the 1980's Loren returned to serious study to acquire greater depth musical education in order be able to create the kind of music that he had always been the most passionate about. Loren has studied with Tom Constantine, Alexis Alrich and is currently working with David Conte at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he is also a member of the chorus.
His music has been performed by his own chamber group, by the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra, and by students and teachers from around the Bay Area. He has produced several recordings, worked in radio and film, including creating the sound track for an animated short which won a special Academy Award. His 2006 release, Woodward's Gardens, features two guitars, piano, flute, oboe, harp, and cello. He was the recipient of a 2007 Meet the Composer Grant. His project, Dancing on the Brink of the World, a fourteen movement piece for chamber orchestra and period instruments, on the history of San Francisco, has been an ongoing part of the repertoire of the past three seasons of SFCCO concerts.
Dr. Erling Wold is a composer and man-about-town. He recently premiered two large works, his Missa Beati Notkeri Balbuli Sancti Galli Monachi in St Gallen, Switzerland, and his solo opera Mordake for tenor John Duykers as part of the San Francisco International Arts Festival. He is currently working on a personal autobiographical theater piece detailing his corruption and death with the help of James Bisso, which may never be finished, and just finished a more tractable violin sonata for the Denisova-Kornienko duo in Vienna. He is best known for his operas, including Sub Pontio Pilato, an historical fantasy on the death and remembrance of Pontius Pilate, a chamber opera based on William Burroughs' early autobiographical novel Queer, and his critically acclaimed work A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil, based on the Max Ernst collage novel.
Dan Reiter is the Principal cellist with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the Fremont Symphony and the Festival Opera orchestra. In 2007, the contemporary music ensemble "earplay" performed his trio for clarinet, viola and cello. At the Oakland symphonys Sound Spectrum series Dan recieved critical acclaim for his Pyramids, Canon and Raga, for 3 cellos and middle eastern drum. In 1997 he earned an "Izzy" award for his dance piece, Raga Bach D minor, for cello percussion and solo dancer Robert Moses. As arranger and performer, he has worked with Indias master musician,Ustad Ali Akbar Khan , on 2 recordind projects and the "Maihar" orchestra. In collaboration with his wife, harpist Natalie Cox, they have toured the U.S. performing his many transcriptions and compositions including a cello and harp sonata, a trio for flute, cello and harp, and a sonata for flute and harp.
Philip Freihofner -- oboist, synthesist & composer, has been a member of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra since the fall of 2004. He has an A.B. in Music from the University of California in Berkeley, and works variously as a contract programmer, oboe performer, coach & "reed doctor," composer & sound designer, and as a retail clerk on Saturdays at Forrests Music in Berkeley. His diverse musical background includes classwork at the SF Conservatory of Music (Prep Dept), Blue Bear School of Music and the Ali Akbar College of Music, and appearances on a recording each by The Residents & negativland, performance with the groups "Flak" and J Poet's rock band "Young Adults," and scoring (artistic, commercial and experimental) for video, A/V, drama and dance. Credits include title music for the UC Berkeley "The Distinguished Teaching Awards" and the theme music for Harry Kreisler's "Conversations with History" series (over 400 episodes produced). He wrote and served as Music Director for Cheryl Koehler/Zig Zag Theatre's full-length dance theater production: "The Fish and the Fire" (performed at Julia Morgan Center in 1993, and the Cowell Theater in 1994) as well as three UC Berkeley Drama Department productions (with directors George House & Lorne Buckmann). The New Music group EARPLAY workshopped a sketch that has been further developed into a work-in-progress setting of the short story "Carmilla" by Sheridan Le Fanu (performed at SFCCO's December 2008 concert). His "Quartet #1 for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn & Bassoon" has been performed by the UC Santa Cruz Music Department faculty, and excerpts of his silent film score for "Der Golem" were recently released on CD by the double reed consort: "WiZARDS!". Most recent work includes electro-acoustic compositions, including "It's only the Wind" premiered at SFCCO Fall 2009 concert at Chapel-of-the-Chimes, "The Obelisk" performed by Steve Adams (SFCCO June 2009) and "What Are You Going to Dream Tonight?" (SFCCO Feb 2009). He also self-publishes and sells sheet music arrangements and original compositions for chamber music ensembles, with an emphasis on double reed quartets, and invented a tool to assist with oboe reed making, the "Blend-Guide Mandrel," currently being marketed by Forrests Music. As an oboist, in addition to working with SFCCO, he has recently performed with Bay Area Chamber Harmonies, and for Bay Area composers Harry Bernstein, Mark Alburger, Jan Pusina, and in Lisa Schola Prosek's Chamber Opera "Trap Door."
Erik Jekabson is a trumpet player and composer whose music draws from many different sources, but remains firmly rooted in the “third-stream” explorative west coast tradition. A Berkeley, California native, his music has been shaped by his time spent studying at the Oberlin Conservatory, playing professionally in New Orleans (1994-98) and New York (1998-2003), and by his recent completion of graduate studies in classical composition at the San Francisco Conservatory in 2006. Erik has toured with John Mayer, Illinois Jacquet, the Woody Herman Big Band and the jam-band Galactic, and has composed for film and dance projects. His solo album “Intersection” was released in the fall of 2003 by the Fresh Sound/New Talent label.
Jonathan Russell writes music for a wide variety of ensembles, from orchestra to chorus to rock band. His works have been performed by numerous ensembles, including the San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, Empyrean Ensemble, the new music bands FIREWORKS and Capital M, and pianists Sarah Cahill and Lisa Moore. Important influences on his work include Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler, Igor Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen, Charles Mingus, Steve Reich, Guns N' Roses, Radiohead, Cornelius Boots, Ryan Brown, Ben Gribble, klezmer music, and free improvisation. Also active as a performer on clarinet, bass clarinet, and alto saxophone, Jonathan is a member of the heavy-metal inspired Edmund Welles bass clarinet quartet and the Balkan/Klezmer/Experimental band Zoyres. He also plays in, composes for, and is a founding member of the Sqwonk bass clarinet duo, and freelances in the Bay Area as a classical and klezmer clarinetist. Jonathan teaches Theory and Musicianship at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, serves as Music Director at First Congregational Church, San Francisco, and is a critic for the San Francisco Classical Voice. He has a BA in Music from Harvard University and an MM in Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His composition teachers have included Dan Becker, Elinor Armer, Eric Sawyer, John Stewart, and Eric Ewazen.
John Beeman studied with Peter Fricker and William Bergsma at the University of Washington where he received his Master's degree. His first opera, The Great American Dinner Table was produced on National Public Radio. Orchestral works have been performed by the Fremont-Newark Philharmonic, Santa Rosa Symphony, and the Peninsula Symphony. The composer's second opera, Law Offices, premiered in San Francisco in 1996 and was performed again in 1998 on the steps of the San Mateo County Courthouse. Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra was premiered in January 2001 by Paul Dresher, electric guitar. Mr. Beeman has attended the Ernest Bloch Composers' Symposium, the Bard Composer-Conductor program, the Oxford Summer Institutes, and the Oregon Bach Festival and has received awards through Meet the Composer, the American Music Center and ASCAP. Compositions have been performed by Ensemble Sorelle, the Mission Chamber Orchestra, the Ives Quartet, Fireworks Ensemble, the Oregon Repertory Singers and Schola Cantorum of San Francisco.
Beeri Moalem is a violist, violinist, composer, teacher, writer. In addition to SFCCO, he plays with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Monterey Symphony, and Fresno Symphony. He teaches orchestra at Terman School in Palo Alto, and is a critic for the San Francisco Classical Voice. His other interests include mountain biking, travel, green technology, and computer games.
Allan Crossman has written for many soloists and ensemble. The North/South Consonance (NYC) recording of Millennium Overture Dance received a GRAMMY nomination in 2003; Music for Human Choir (SATB) shared Top Honors at the Waging Peace through Singing Festival; North/South recently recorded his FLYER (cello and string orchestra, with soloist Nina Flyer); and a recent commission is the piano trio Icarus, for the New Pacific Trio (San Francisco).
One of his many theatre scores, The Log of the Skipper's Wife, was produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford and the Kennedy Center, with Crossman's music drawn from Irish/English shanties and dances. His music is the soundtrack for the award-winning animated short, X man, by Christopher Hinton (National Film Board of Canada). His work has been supported by such organizations as Canada Council for the Arts, American Composers Forum, and Meet the Composer (NY). Professor Emeritus, Concordia University (Montreal), he has also taught at Wheaton College, the Pacific Conservatory, and is presently on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His doctoral studies were with George Rochberg, George Crumb, and Hugo Weisgall at the University of Pennsylvania.
Brian Holmes is a physics professor at San Jose State University, specializing in the physics of musical instruments. He usually composes for voice or chorus. During the last year, he has completed commissions for the Peninsula Women's Chorus, the Peninsula Girls Chorus, Pinewood School, and Castileja School. His opera The Fashion God was performed last May by Fresh Voices VI; the song cycle Updike's Science will be performed by Lara Bruckmann as part of Fresh Voices VII later this month. Next weekend, the San Jose Symphonic Choir will perform two pieces of his in Palo Alto as part of a NACUSA concert; one is a premier.
Harry Bernstein has been involved in San Francisco Bay Area music for many years as a composer, performer and teacher. He began his musical training on the trumpet, later learning the recorder as well as the Baroque the modern flutes. More recently, his life has been altered by the invasion of a viola. This occurred a few years after Bernstein began his association with City College. Why take up a stringed instrument in one's fifties? In his case, he took on the challenge of learning the viola in order to explore both orchestral and chamber music, and to learn how to write more effectively for strings. Not long after earning a D.M.A. in early music performance from Stanford University, he moved 30 miles north to San Francisco where he has lived ever since. He has studied composition with Jerry Mueller and has written vocal and instrumental music. Bernstein is co-founder of the Golden Age Ensemble, a duo presenting varied programs of instrumental and vocal music around the Bay Area and is a partner in Micro Pro Musica Press, SF, which offers music engraving, arranging and transcription services. He is currently active with the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra (flute), the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony (viola), and that unpredictable composers' circle known as Irregular Resolutions. Bernstein is an instructor in both the Music and Older Adults Departments at City College of San Francisco, and also teaches privately.
Katrina Wreede has been a professional symphony musician, a jazz violist, a member of the Turtle Island String Quartet, a concert soloist, a belly dancer, a police fingerprinter, a non-denominational wedding officiant, a player of Tango Nuevo, Persian, Central European and Roma (gypsy) music and a composer for soloists, chamber ensembles, orchestras, film, and dance, sometimes collaborating with other artists to create works about social injustice. Her works are distributed by MMB Music and performed internationally, including "Mr. Twitty's Chair", now in it's 10th touring season with the David Parsons Dance Group.
Christopher Carrasco is a burgeoning young composer, hailing from the San Francisco bay area. He is becoming fairly well known throughout the Contra Costa and Solano Counties and has been commissioned by several schools in that area to write works for band and percussion ensembles, many of which have received awards. An expert in the fields of brass and percussion, Christopher toured for two years with the world champion Concord Blue Devils. A combination of this strong wind band and percussion background along with a passion for minimalist music gives his music its unique sound that can be described as Drum Corps meets Philip Glass.
Dr. Michael A. Kimbell is composer-in-residence and principal clarinettist of the San Francisco Community Music Center Orchestra directed by Urs Leonhardt Steiner. He studied composition with Robert Palmer and Karel Husa at Cornell University where he received his D.M.A. in 1973. He has written works for orchestra, piano, chamber ensembles, chorus and theatre. His orchestral works, which were premiered by the CMC Orchestra, include Rondino Capriccioso, Kritik des Herzens (also performed by SFCCO), Taklamakán, Night Songs, and Arcadian Symphony (which was also performed by the Mission Chamber Orchestra and won the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra Competition in 1998).Kimbell's Poème for Violin and Harp has been performed in Austria and Germany and at the 2011 World Harp Congress in Vancouver.
Jan Pusina's compositional career started in the 1960's while he was studying at U.C. Berkeley, with Four Songs on Zen Texts and Tape Composition #1. It continues today in the instrumental and electro-acoustic genres. His recent performances include Pink Wind, by the San Francisco Community Music Center Orchestra, and Furtive Assymptotes by the SFCCO. He has also recently produced a set of computer music pieces, available on request.
Ruby Fulton is a native of Northwest Iowa, she has studied composition at Boston University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Peabody Institute. Her music has been played in Boston, San Francisco, Cincinnati and London. Primary mentors include Elinor Armer, Dan Becker, Charles Fussell, Tom Benjamin and Chris Theofanidis.
Clare Twohy is an active performer and composer in the Bay Area and an alumna of The Crowden School and a former violin student of Anne Crowden,. She holds a B.M. in violin performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied violin with Camilla Wicks and composition with Elinor Armer. Clare is a long-standing member of the SFCCO, which performed her latest composition last November. Clare has attended summer festivals including the Music Academy of the West, Roundtop, and Bowdoin festivals. Currently, she has a private composition studio and is on the Musicianship faculty in the Preparatory division at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Composer, conductor and bass trombonist, Frank Bunger has recently returned to California after performing as acting bass trombonist with the Auckland Philharmonia, in Auckland, New Zealand. Among his top honors: he was 1st place in the 2001 Zellmer Competition, the world's largest cash-prize awarding trombone competition; 1st place in the 1997 Eastern Trombone Workshop HS division competition; and 3rd place in the 2002 Lewis Van Haney competition.
John G. Bilotta was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, but has spent most his life in the San Francisco Bay Area where he studied composition with Frederick Saunders. His works have been performed by Rarescale, Earplay, Chamber Mix, Oakland Civic Orchestra, Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, Kiev Philharmonic, North/South Consonance, Boston Metro Opera, Talea Ensemble, Avenue Winds, San Francisco Cabaret Opera, Musica Nova, VocalWorks, Boston String Quartet, and the Blue Grass Opera. Quantum Mechanic won the 2007 Opera-in-a-Month Competition and has received nearly a dozen performances around the country since then. His newest opera Trifles, based on the 1916 play by Susan Glaspell, will receive its premiere in a San Francisco Cabaret Opera production in June, 2010. His works have been released on several labels including Capstone Records, New Music North, Beauport Classical Music, Navona Records, Vox Novus, and ERM Media. John is Director of the San Francisco Chamber Wind Festival, and co-directs with Brian Bice the Festival of Contemporary Music. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Society of Composers, Inc., and is editor of SCION, the organization's opportunities newsletter.
Phil Lockwood is a composer of ambient and electronic music and soundscapes. His work has been featured on NBC, MTV, Bravo, and the SyFy channel. When he's not writing music, he's probably out playing jazz guitar or hunting mushrooms.
Kit Ruscoe, originally from Louisville KY, studied Classical Composition at the University of Louisville and Jazz Performance and Improvisation at the University of North Texas. He has over 25 years of experience in composing, performing, recording, and teaching music and guitar. Kit is currently working on film scoring and compositions for TV and documentaries as well as playing in several recognized Bay area bands.
David Sprung was born in Jersey City, New Jersey and grew up in New York City where he attended Stuyvesant High School and Queens College from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors in Music. After military service during the Korean War, he attended Princeton University, receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree in Music Composition. His composition teachers included Vittorio Rieti, Luigi Dallapiccola, Roger Sessions and Milton Babbitt. Boris Schwarz and Seymour Lipkin were his teachers in conducting. Mr. Sprung's career has been divided between education, performance and composition. He has been a professor on the faculties of Wichita State University, Sonoma State University and is Professor Emeritus of Music at California State University, East Bay. He is a well-known French horn performer, having played principal horn with a number of major and regional symphony orchestras, opera companies and festivals. Highlights have been his 35 year tenure as co-principal horn with the San Francisco Opera orchestra and as principal horn with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Wichita Symphony, San Francisco Ballet orchestra, the Chautauqua Symphony and Opera and the Midsummer Mozart Festival. Mr. Sprung was music director and conductor of the Flagler Symphonic Society, Sonoma State Philharmonic and has appeared as guest conductor of the Wichita Community Theatre, Napa Symphony, CSUEB orchestra, and others.Davide Verotta studied piano in Milano (Italy) with Isabella Zielonka Crivelli, Ernesto Esposito, and Giacinto Salvetti. and in San Francisco with Renee Witon, Peggy Salkind, Robert Helps, Julian White; composition at SFSU with Josh Levine, at UC Davis with Kurt Rode, and, this coming year, Laurie San Martin. He performs regularly in the Bay area as a piano soloist, and for the last three years has played with the San Francisco Composers' Chamber Orchestra. He teaches piano in his home studio and at the Community Music Center in San Francisco.
Tom Heasley is in possession of – or possessed by – a very distinctive musical persona. He is an internationally-acclaimed composer, performer and recording artist whose music creates “a rich and sonorous aural experience that flies in the face of all the dumb cliches about what tuba music is” whose work achieves a unique synthesis of composition and improvisation. Heasley conjures music of great individuality, originality and power, which is deceptively meditative, calm and tranquil. His music speaks to a wide variety of listeners, as diverse as conservatory students at Oberlin and inmates of San Quentin. He is a true “father of invention,” who finally turned his albatross - the tuba - into a strength through the development of a unique musical voice. Heasley has recorded for Tzadik, Leo, Hypnos, Innova, Music and Arts, New Albion, Old Gold and Farfield Records, among others.
Stan McDaniel studied composition with an inspiring teacher and consummate musician named H. Klyne Headley, who (although now forgotten) at that time was quite well known as a composer, conductor and concert pianist. Mr. Headley taught him skills for serious musical composition. Although he pursued a career in philosophy, Stan continued to compose music, bits here and there, and even one or two major pieces over the years, based on further reading and experience as time permitted. Stan made efforts at self-publishing, and in 1965-66 two of his pieces, "The White Tree" and "Estel" (Hope) for solo alto recorder, were received favorably, the first by a laudatory review in The American Recorder magazine (1965) and the second in a letter from the outstanding professional recorder artist Franz Bruggen, who called "Estel" "a real contribution to the modern recorder repertoire."
Pianist/composer Marcia Burchard received an MA in Music from Dominican University of California, where she currently teaches piano, composition, and music theory. She served as pianist for the Napa Valley Symphony from 1996 to 1998, and has been a soloist with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra, the Dominican Community Orchestra, and the Santa Rosa Wind Ensemble, performing concertos by Bach, Beethoven, Grieg, and Stravinsky. She has worked with the Sophia Foundation of North American since 1998, providing piano accompaniment for Choreocosmic workshops as well as original compositions, including music for the sacred dramas Parsifal and The Mystery of Love. In 2000 Ms. Burchard was sponsored to do on-site research into the musical implications of the famous labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral. This led to a paper on the subject and her composition Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth, portions of which were performed by the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra in 2002. In 2003 a CD was made of her vocal setting of the Sophia Foundation Prayer Sequence. In 2004 her String Trio No. 1 in G minor was premiered at Dominican University's Guest Concert Series, and the same year she was commissioned by Contemporary Opera Marin to compose a one-act opera, for which she chose as her theme The Descent of Inanna. She then received an Academic Excellence Grant to present the current expanded, three-act production of the opera. The Descent of Inanna represents only one episode in the longer myth, for which she also hopes to have the opportunity to compose an operatic score.
Thomas Goss's credits as a composer include music written for dance, film, television, and the concert stage. His works have been commissioned and premiered by such groups as Marin Symphony, Earplay, Onyx String Quartet, and the San Francisco Symphony Chamber Ensemble, and he has created concerto repertoire for soloists such as violist Linda Ghidossi-DeLuca and erhuist Xiaofeng Zhang. He lives in New Zealand with his wife Erica and one unappreciative cat. Goss is a member of ASCAP, and is published by Tiritiri Matangi Music.
Cowell grew up in poverty in Menlo Park, California and on family farms in Kansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma. He acquired a piano at age 14, and the following year he gave a concert of his experimental piano compositions. At 17 he studied at the University of California with the influential musicologist Charles Seeger, who persuaded him to undertake the systematic study of traditional European musical techniques. He also urged Cowell to formulate a theoretical framework for his innovations, which he did in his book New Musical Resources (1919; published 1930), an influential technical study of music. While studying comparative musicology in Berlin with Erich von Hornbostel, Cowell became interested in the music of other cultures; he later studied Asian and Middle Eastern music, elements of which he absorbed into many of his own compositions.
Darius Milhaud was a French composer and teacher, though he taught at Mills College in Oakland, California for many years. He was a member of Les Six—also known as The Group of Six—and one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century. His compositions are influenced by jazz and make use of polytonality (music in more than one key at once).
Born in Colfax, California, Terry Riley studied at Shasta College, San Francisco State University, and the San Francisco Conservatory before earning an MA in composition at the University of California, Berkeley, studying with Seymour Shifrin and Robert Erickson. He was involved in the experimental San Francisco Tape Music Center working with Morton Subotnick, Steve Reich, Pauline Oliveros, and Ramon Sender. His most influential teacher, however, was Pandit Pran Nath (1918–1996), a master of Indian classical voice, who also taught La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. Riley made numerous trips to India over the course of their association to study and to accompany him on tabla, tambura, and voice. Throughout the 1960s he traveled frequently around Europe as well, taking in musical influences and supporting himself by playing in piano bars, until he joined the Mills College faculty in 1971 to teach Indian classical music. Riley was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Music at Chapman University in 2007.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1957, Jorge studied at the Rubin School of Music in Jerusalem and earned a doctorate in composition from the University of Chicago in 1988. He joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley in 1989. His opera “Antigona Furiosa” (1991), commissioned by Hans Werner Henze, won the 1992 Munich Biennale International Prize in Composition. He has also received awards from the Guggenheim, Harper, Gaudeamus and Fromm Foundations, as well as from ISCM, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the University of California President’s Fellowship program. He died February 3, 2008 in an apparent suicide, struck by an incoming Richmond-bound train at the El Cerrito Plaza BART station in El Cerrito. Liderman’s music can be found on CRI , ERM, Cadenza, Bridge, and Albany Records.
Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975) was one of the most famous and influential film composers of the 20th Century, and is best known for his scores for Citizen Kane, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Taxi Driver, and for his collaborations with filmmakers Ray Harryhausen (The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts) and Alfred Hitchcock (Vertigo, Psycho, and North By Northwest). Herrmann aspired to be a composer of works for the concert hall and wrote a handful of excellent works: an opera on Emily Brontë\'s Wuthering Heights, a cantata version of Melville\'s Moby Dick, and a superb symphony, among others. Though his concert works are rarely performed now, they were initially premiered by some of the top orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, BBC Symphony, and Hallé Symphony and championed by conductors Sir John Barbirolli, Sir Thomas Beecham, Eugene Ormandy, and Leopold Stokowski. One area of Herrmann\'s work which has received the least amount of attention is his work for television and radio. Herrmann collaborated with Orson Welles and Norman Corwin in the 1930\'s, writing innovative music for radio dramas. When the focus of the world turned to television, Herrmann wrote marvelous music for The Twilight Zone, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Have Gun-Will Travel, and others.
William Severson (b. 1941), at age eight, negotiated piano lessons before informing his parents in a small mountain town in California, but waited until he was 27 to begin vocal lessons in Hawaii when singing with the Honolulu Chorale. This latter instruction was somewhat successful as he sang 1976-7 season with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, which is a volunteer professional chorus associated with the Boston Symphony in Massachussetts. His parents insisted that he have a livelihood so he has a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and worked in the computer field for 40 years. He has not mixed computers with music except to be one of the partners of Micro Pro Musica Press. It uses computers to engrave music including his own compositions and arrangements and offer them over the internet. Severson performs around the greater Bay Area with the Golden Age Ensemble. He has had permanent singing positions in churches for 20 years. Severson begain composing in 1979 and was a founding member of the Society of Gay and Lesbian Composers, which performed several of his works. He is a member of the Irregular Resolutions, based in San Francisco. Severson studiedwith Rebeca Mauleon-Santana at CCSF, and Janis Mercer at CMC.
Although his complete surviving works only last about three hours, Edgar [d Victor Achille Charles] Varese (December 22, 1883, Paris - November 6, 1965, New York) has been recognized as a major influence in 20th-century music and beyond. He grew up in Le Villars, Burgundy, and Turin, before returning to his birthplace in 1904 to study with Albert Roussel, Vincent d’Indy, and Charles-Marie Widor. From 1907 to 1915 became acquainted with Claude Debussy, Ferruccio Busoni, and Arnold Schoenberg. After moving to New York in December of 1915, virtually all his European compositions were either lost or destroyed in a Berlin warehouse fire. With Carlos Salzedo, he founded the International Composers’ Guild, whose 1922 manifesto declared that, “The present day composers refuse to die.” Varese composed many of his ensemble pieces under the auspices of the ICG during its six year existence, including Offrandes, Hyperprism, OCTANDRE, and Integrales. He became an American citizen in 1926, and four years later composed Ionisation, the first stand-alone composition to feature only percussion instruments. Le Corbusier was commissioned by Philips to present a pavilion at the 1958 World Fair and insisted (against the sponsors’ resistance) on working with Varese, who developed his Poème électronique for the venue, where it was heard by an estimated two million people.
Roberto Becheri received his Doctorate in Composition, at the Conservatory of Florence, Italy, and also a degree in Literature from the University of Bologna. His Composition studies were with Gaetano Giani Luporini, Carlo Prosperi, Armando Gentilucci, and Giacomo Manzoni. He currently teaches composition at the Conservatory of Florence. He also teaches musical analysis with the Guido D'Arezzo Foundation, in Arezzo. His compositions include works for theater, and "microtheatrical" works, a musical genre he created, characterized by music purposefully bare of all elements of lyric opera. Roberto Becheri is currently collaborating on Italy's National Edition of the Works of Palestrina. He is the author of In attesa dell'alba a treatise on the intersection of his various interests (philosophy, aesthetics, history of religions, acoustics, and harmony).
Leon Hyman has served on the faculties of the Juilliard school, Teachers College Columbia University, and Montclair State University. Hyman's career as conductor has encompassed the areas of ballet, orchestra, chorus, opera and theater. He co-founded the New Philharmonic of New Jersey, for which he serves as Music Director and Conductor. This orchestra has received widespread acclaim and recognition as one of the state's finest ensembles. Hyman has conducted the Robert Joffrey Ballet on tours of the former Soviet Union and the United States, the New York Philharmonic, and the Columbia Symphony orchestras for Columbia Records, the American Symphony, the Philharmonia Virtuosi, the Orchestra da Camera of Long Island, the Jerusalem Orchestra, and the New Jersey Symphony with the New Jersey Ballet. He has conducted operas in New York and Dallas, the Tokyo production of West Side Story (directed by Jerome Robbins), Dancin', 1776, Appletree, and Half-a-Sixpence on Broadway. Hyman has also had extensive experience conducting choral ensembles, including 25 years as director of the Montclair State University Chorus. Since 1955, he has served as choirmaster of Congregation Shearith Israel (the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue in New York City), the oldest congregation of Jews in North America.
Music for Humans makes use of extended vocal sounds instead of the traditional chorus sing text. Based on ideas Michael has for a choral symphony, the chorus is asked to make sounds humans can make but choirs are rarely asked to. Clapping, snapping and clicking of the tongues are some of the extra sounds the chorus is asked to make. Since there is no text instead of the traditional Ooos and Aaahs, Michael has used the rich sounds of the Chinese Phonetic alphabet, Zhuyin Fuhao or BaPaMaFa. Not only are the sounds the choir makes in Music for Humans unusual, but so is the way the choir is used. Instead of being a soloist, they are used as just another set of instruments like they way he used 4 vocalist in his first symphony. As for the sound of work, one can hear hints of Witold Lutoslawski, Paul Hindemith, and Meredith Monk. Michael also makes use of techniques made famous by Giacinto Scelsi, where he improvises sections then transcribes them into notation for the orchestra to replay. Over all the work maybe a meditation of the human mind, with points of calm clarity, beauty and intense confusion that is how we humans live our lives everyday.
Sempervirens was written in my studio overlooking Sam MacDonald Park in La Honda. The studio offers a panoramic view of a majestic forest of California redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens. Sempervirens literally means “always green.” The text was inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem,”Wild Geese.”
Sempervirens, ancient tree,
you don’t have to be heard.
You do not have to wonder if your song
will be heard in a hundred years, remembered,
You only have to let your long and sturdy branches
sway with the wind without resisting.
Tell me of your past and I will tell of mine.
Sempervirens, your life flows on, always living.
The dove and the white owl of the night
find shelter in your shadows,
over your mountains and your valleys,
soar the redtail and the eagle.
I wonder if human voices
will be singing high again?
No matter what I say, no matter what I do,
your beauty plants itself inside my memory;
soothes me in a pure, sweet voice.
Now and forever, my song remains whole
in your always living heart.
Missa "Thé à deux" (1980) , Op. 21, for Voices and Orchestra, is a cantus firmus mass ordinary based on the Vincent Youmans' "Tea for Two." The opening Kyrie is a medieval organum in the spirit of Leonin, Perotin, and the anonymous two-part Ductia in The Historical Anthology of Music, Volume I. The scoring is open, and can be realized by an early music mixed "pick-up" ensemble or a modern chorus and orchestra of any size, or any admixture of the previous. Performers play from score or parts, as they are comfortable.
Canticle of the Sun by Alexis Alrich is based up the poem by St. Francis of Assisi in praise of the creator and creation. St. Francis was born in 1181, the son of a wealthy merchant, and after a riotous youth he underwent a conversion and renounced money and possessions. The sun, moon, fire, earth and even death are personified as “brother sun,” “sister moon,” “mother earth,” and so on, and described in colorful detail. I was attracted by this vibrant imagery and by the lyrical language which is partway between classical Latin and modern Italian.
Wedding Scene: from the opera Belfagor is made Possible by a grant from the ARGOSY Contemporary Music Fund. Machiavelli's Belfagor, a comic novella about the evils of women and marriage, describes the story of the comic arch devil, who is compelled to return amongst the living to discover why women, and wives in particular, are the downfall of so many men. This movement describes the lavish wedding reception that is required bylaw, to promote the new couples social standing in town, all at the grooms (Belfagor) expense. Discovering that he is laden with cash, and dressed as richly as a Sultan, they hurry the priest in to perform the ceremony. But Belfagor is willing to be bankrupted by his new family, for he is hopelessly in love, and sings Le Tue Mani, to his new bride. This Opera Buffa is all about Commedia Dell'Arte gestures and characters, and will premiere at Thick House Theater in San Francisco on June 1,2,and 3, featuring the videography of Jakub Kalousek.
Baron Ochs Ersatz opera con vivo; a pluralistic demonstration composed of a myriad of animistic elements: the puffy attractions of a porcine cockalorum surrounded by the greased trumpets of his sycophantic catamites, the naifish masochism of a vestal-skinned ward replete with bubbling womb, the soft squire whose tumescent lips add a wounded crimson to his otherwise pallid exterior, the dark servant with the dominating maw that feels so warm and reassuring, and the sublime Valzaccho whose turgid gasps and leering hands seem to add a certain beauty to the inexorable violence of this psychosexual drama. The ROSE BEARER provides an unctuously feral setting for this exploration of sexual confusion and its relation to religious conviction. Rather than presenting the basic theme in a simple diachronic form, it is unfolded in a synchronic fashion. At the same time, a wide variety of compositional techniques (linguistic, sonic, and theatrical) are used to produce a vibrant, if not scatological, environment certain to stimulate the most senseless of participants. While the vertiginously careening pace may upset the perineal appendages of meek and obese listeners, the spiritual confrontation that results amply justifies the risks. Questions of secular-sexual transgression (does god have a penis?) are universal and form an integral part of the personal experience of all salacious individuals in modern society. Nonetheless Baron Ochs does not go far enough into the psychoanalytic structures that support the occidental predisposition to hide or ratiocinate sexual misidentification with religious inculcation. Rather than destroying the baggage of Luther and the Calvinists, modern European society has added a shiny new patina, a hip-hop patois with tight pants. It is this preposterous "disco of the church" that continues to promulgate a false sense of procreative correctness. Despite this failing, Baron Ochs is an important and uplifting work, one that is certain to remain vivid, ominous, and as reckless as the brazen youth whose speeding motorcycle is moments from impact. - Earnest A. Z. Feathermouth
Avinu Malkeinu is sung on the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). It is chanted by the entire congregation at the end of the prayer service. The prayer translates to:
Our Father, our King
Have mercy on us, answer us
For we have no deeds.
Do with us
Justice and benevolence
And save us.
This plea is followed by the sounding of the Shofar—a traditional instrument usually made of ram's horn. This composition is based entirely on the prayer song and the Shofar calls. As a Jew, the melodies are very meaningful to me. As a composer I exercised a lot of restraint with this piece. I deliberately resisted adding more melodies, more harmony, and counterpoint. In this way, one might call this a minimalist composition, but it does not in any way sound like the "minimalist" aesthetic popular with contemporary composers. Rather, it is minimalist in the primitive and meditative sense of the word.
Here is how it will happen. Walking on Ocean Beach, forgetting himself and looking away from the surf, he hears the roar. As he turns to look at the waves he realizes he is about to be swept away. In these final moments he only has time for a few thoughts, and they come suddenly, rushing at him like the dark water: he wishes that he had been courted, at least once in his life; he thinks of those who have wronged him, however subtly, and longs for revenge; and he yearns for something more than how he’s lived (although he really doesn’t know what that would be). Finally, his face pushes into the cold sea…In Yearnings, the chamber orchestra is augmented by two synthesizers. These are not pre-recorded tracks; in contrast to synthesizers of the twentieth century, computer processing is now sufficiently fast to enable live performance of very complex synthetic algorithms. This frees the conductor to choose tempos traditionally, eliminating the need for pre-recorded tracks. One of these parts (“dark bells”) plays continuously between the first and second movements.
The origins of Parodies for Chamber Orchestra lie in an unfinished trio for clarinet, bassoon and piano, themes from which were reworked in an orchestral context. The single movement form is comprised of several distinct segments all framed by two rather stiff matching pillars. These serve as a gateway to the playful interior, where references to French wind music, contrapuntal textures, minimalist gestures, band elements of jazz and rock idioms appear in succession, in a carnival “fun-house” parody.
The Aria for Oboe and Orchestra is the central slow movement of a large-scale oboe concerto that the composer has been working on for the past few years. Inspired by Bach’s cantata arias which often include the oboe, it is a lyrical, philosophically probing piece with spun-out melodies. For this concert the Aria has been re-scored for chamber ensemble.