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SAN FRANCISCO COMPOSERS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Presents "Pure Speculation" at Old First Church
Saturday, December 2nd, 2006 at 8 pm

Old First Presbyterian Church
1751 Sacramento Street/Van Ness, San Francisco, CA 94109

PROGRAM
 
 

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.

David Graves

Subtle and Sublime       Program Notes

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.

Michael Cooke

To Prelude Peace Collection     Program Notes

Morning Call to Prayer  
Sudan Lovers Holding Hands   
Celebration Dance   
The Harmony of Peace (The Unheard Brotherhood)   

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.

Lisa Scola Prosek

Overture to Machiavelli's "Belfagor"       Program Notes

Rachel Condry, bass clarinet

intermission

 

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 Počme for Violin and Harp has been performed in Austria and Germany and at the 2011 World Harp Congress in Vancouver.

Michael Kimbell

Aria for Oboe and Orchestra     Program Notes

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."

Philip Freihofner , oboe

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.

Mark Alburger

Sinfonietta-Suite ("En Attendant Godot"), Op. 136 (after Samuel Beckett)    Program Notes

I. Prelude - Nothing to be done   
II. Duet and Trio - And they didn't beat you  
III. Recitative - Where was I  
IV. Aria - Two thieves  

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.

Alexis Alrich

Fragile Forests: California Oaks    Program Notes

speaker Click on the links to listen to the music. video Click on the links for video.
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PERFORMERS
 

Flute
Bruce Salvisberg
Harry Bernstein

Oboe
Philip Freihofner

Clarinet (Bass Clarinet**)
Rachel Condry **
Michael Kimbell

Bassoon (ContraBassoon**)
Michael Cooke
Michael Garvey
Lori Garvey**

Soprano Sax
Michael Cooke


French Horn
Christophe Gillet

Trumpet
Erik Jekabson

Trombone
Jen Baker

Piano
Alexis Alrich
Lisa Prosek

Harp
Esther Lee

Percussion
Victor Flaviani
Chris Carrasco
Michael Cooke



Violin I
Monika Gruber

Violin II
Hande Erdem

Viola
David Medine

Cello
Farley Pearce

Bass
Ken Miller

 

 

This particular group of string players has performed at SFCCO concerts for more than a year. At our last concert I was particularly impressed with how they work together cohesively and expressively. I thought it would be great if there could be a "showpiece" for them. At the same time, I had been working on a piece that, in a very short period of time, instills that "perfect moment." That is, music where the listener becomes inexorably drawn into the music with such impact that it takes the breath away in a fleeting moment and leaves the ear with an unspoken emotion, longing for more. "Subtle and Sublime" establishes its harmonic environment within eleven measures and its bittersweet message in only eight -- and then climaxes in less than four minutes.

To Prelude Peace is a collection of four works based on middle eastern melodies. Originally written in 1991, the versions you will hear tonight are the revised 1994 version, published by Cimarron Music Press that same year. The collection is based on the idea that learning about one other and focusing on our similarities are the first steps to getting along peacefully in the world. “Morning Call to Prayer” for solo trombone is based on the Muslim call to prayer. “Sudan Lovers Holding Hands” for oboe and bassoon is based on an East Sudan love song. “Celebration Dance” for violin, viola and cello is based on the Jewish dance called “the Hashual”, which means the fox. “The Harmony of Peace (The Unheard Brotherhood)” combines all three melodies and all the instruments from the previous works. This piece shows, with a little imagination, how well these different melodies can work together in harmony.

The Overture to Machiavelli's Belfagór sets the stage for 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. Hell has become overcrowded, and it up to Belfagór to discover why. Belfagór indeed falls in love on Earth, and his ruin and disillusionment at the hands of his wife and her family tells a remarkably modern tale of shopping, borrowing, and self destruction.
Lisa Scola Prosek's new opera will premiere in May 2007, at the Thick House Theater, in San Francisco,with the "soft set" videography of film artist Jakub Kalousek. The Overture is written in the form of a concerto, featuring Rachel Condry, Bass Clarinet, with a cadenza written with and expressly for Rachel Condry.

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.

Sinfonietta Suite (“En attendant Godot”) (after Samuel Beckett) loiters in a barren Igor Stravinskian trope of The Rake's Progress, through which wander trespassers from the same composer's The Rite of Spring and Alburger's Antigone. The four movements are played without pause, aside from those inevitable pauses associated with the works of the great Irish-French playwright.

California Oaks is the first in a series of orchestral portraits of endangered forests. I grew up among California live oaks and think of them as the essence of strength and beauty. Habitat destruction, climate change and disease are threatening these trees that embody the California landscape. California Oaks is about three oak habitats: coastal live oak savannahs, valley and blue oak riparian forests, and the black oak woodlands of Yosemite Valley. A solo bass clarinet plays the main “oak” melody. An oboe theme evokes the Mokulemne and Stanislaus Rivers. The background is reminiscent of fiddle and mandolin music played by California mountain musicians. These melodies interweave and reach their peak at Yosemite Valley. Percussion interludes suggest the sounds of insects and birds and the textures of the land. After these peaceful scenes, the portrait becomes an elegy. The orchestra is reduced to strings and then a solo bass. A silence is followed with an outburst. At the end, the repetition of a harp phrase leaves a question in the air: What will be the fate of the forests?

Mark Alburger Dr. Mark Alburger is the Music Director, Conductor and founder of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra. Mark is an eclectic American composer of postminimal, postpopular, and postcomedic sensibilities. He is the Music Director of Goat Hall Productions / San Francisco Cabaret Opera, Editor-Publisher of 21st-Century Music Journal, an award-winning ASCAP composer of concert music published by New Music, Instructor in Music Theory and Literature at Diablo Valley College, Music Critic for Commuter Times, author, musicologist, oboist, pianist, and recording artist.

Dr. Alburger studied oboe with Dorothy Freeman, and played in student orchestras in association with George Crumb and Richard Wernick. He studied composition and musicology with Gerald Levinson, Joan Panetti, and James Freeman at Swarthmore College (B.A.), Karl Kohn at Pomona College, Jules Langert at Dominican College (M.A.), Tom Flaherty and Roland Jackson at Claremont Graduate School (Ph.D.), and Terry Riley.
       Since 1987 he has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, initially producing a great deal of vocal music with assembled texts, including the opera Mice and Men (1992), the crisis-madrigal collection L.A. Stories (1993), the rap sheet For My Brother For My Brother (1997), and the hieratic Passion According to Saint Matthew (1997).

Since 1997, Dr. Alburger has gridded and troped compositions upon pre-existent compositions ranging from world music and medieval sources to contemporaries such as George Crumb and Philip Glass. To date, he has written 16 concerti, 7 masses and oratorios, 12 preludes and fugues, 20 operas, 6 song cycles, 9 symphonies -- a total of 130 opus numbers and more than 800 individual pieces. He is presently at work on Waiting for Godot and Diabolic Variations.


Alexis Alrich 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.


John Kendall Bailey John Kendall Bailey is an Associate Conductor with the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra and is Principal Conductor and Chorus Master of the Trinity Lyric Opera, Music Director and Conductor of Voices of Musica Sacra, and Artistic Director of the San Francisco Song Festival. In 1994, Mr. Bailey founded the Berkeley Lyric Opera and served as its Music Director and Conductor until 2001. Since then he has been a guest conductor with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Oakland Youth Orchestra, and Oakland Ballet, and music director and conductor for productions with North Bay Opera, Mission City Opera, Goat Hall Productions, Solo Opera, the Crowden School and Dominican University. From 2002-2006 he was the Chorus Master of the Festival Opera of Walnut Creek. Mr. Bailey is also a composer, and his works have been performed and commissioned in the Bay Area and abroad.

Mr. Bailey also maintains a busy performance schedule as a bass-baritone, oboist, and pianist, and has performed with the San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Oakland East Bay, Berkeley, Redding, Napa, Sacramento, and Prometheus symphonies, American Bach Soloists, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Midsummer Mozart and West Marin music festivals, San Francisco Bach Choir, Coro Hispano de San Francisco, Pacific Mozart Ensemble, California Vocal Academy, San Francisco Concerto Orchestra, Masterworks Chorale of San Mateo, Baroque Arts Ensemble, San Francisco Korean Master Chorale, the Master Sinfonia, the Mark Morris and Merce Cunningham dance companies, Goat Hall Productions, Opera Piccola, the Berkeley, Golden Gate, and Oakland Lyric Opera companies, and many other groups. He has recorded for the Harmonia Mundi, Koch International, Pro Musica, Wildboar, Centaur, and Angelus Music labels.

Mr. Bailey has been a pre-performance lecturer for the Oakland East Bay Symphony and the San Francisco Opera, a critic for the San Francisco Classical Voice, a writer of real-time commentary for the Concert Companion, and has taught conducting at the University of California at Davis.


Rachel CondryRachel Condry is the Booking Manager of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra. She has spent her career commissioning, premiering and performing new works for solo clarinet, clarinet with tape and clarinet and orchestra. In the spring of 2005 she made her Carnegie Hall debut with The Matt Small Chamber Ensemble, a group that seamlessly blends jazz, improvised music and classical genres. As a performing member of the San Francisco Composer’s Chamber Orchestra, Rachel premiered the Cello Concerto of Thomas Goss on Bass clarinet in 2003 and in 2005 she premiered Erling Wold’s work “Brightness” for solo clarinet and orchestra. She has independently produced several concerts comprised of recent and newly commissioned work for clarinet and bass clarinet by Bay Area composers such as Earl Zindars, Erling Wold, Andrew Shapiro, Lisa Prosek, Janis Mercer, Jono Kornfeld, Melissa Hui, Alexis Alrich and others. Rachel received a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory where she was a finalist of the Oberlin Concerto Competition and was a soloist with the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble.