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SAN FRANCISCO COMPOSERS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Presents "Languorous Liaisons"
Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 8 pm

St. Mark's Lutheran Church
1111 O'Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA

Special thanks to Park Presidio United Methodist Church for hosting rehearsals.

PROGRAM

 

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.

Harry Bernstein

Quartetto Amabile   notes

I. Allegro marziale  
II. Moderato (Swing!)  
III. Relaxed and sustained (Meditative)  
IV. Inspired by choro (Animato)  

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

Mantilla (A Game Played with Cow Chips)   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

Fantasy In D      notes    video

intermission

 

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

Eight Waltzes, Op. 252 (2016)    notes    video
from Alma Maria Schindler Mahler Gropius Werfel

I. 1880 - Julius Viktor Berger
(Alma's Mother's First Extramarital Affair)  

II. 1884 - Emil Jakob Schindler (Alma's Twice-Cuckolded Father)  
III. 1894 - Schule (Alma's Curious Education)  
IV. 1895 - Max Burckhard / Otto Mahler
(Alma's First Premarital Affair / Mahler's Brother's Suicide)  

V. 1897 - Gustav Klimt (Alma's Second Premarital Affair)  
VI. 1910 - Walter Gropius / Sigmund Freud
(Alma's First Extramarital Affair / Mahler's Psychoanalysis)  

VII. 1918 - Hulda Reserl / Hermine Moos / Martin Carl Johannes Werfel
(Kokoschka's Love Doll / Alma's Illegitimate Son)  

VIII. 1937 - Franz Werfel / Carl Zuckmayer / Franz von Papen / Oskar Kokoschka (Alma's Farewell Party / Eve of the Nazi Anschluss)  

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.

Davide Verotta

Divertimento per Piano, Violin e Orchestra     notes

I. Moderato - Allegro - Tempo primo - Piu moderato
II. Allegretto disturbato
III. Cadenza
IV. Vivace

Monika Gruber, Violin

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.

Davide Verotta, Piano

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.

John Beeman

Carla Brooke, Librettist

Ishi   notes    video

Scene 3   

Andres Ramirez, Ishi
Sepp Hammer, T.T. Waterman
Peter Webb, Sheriff
Chorus of the Ancestors

speaker Click on the links to listen to the music. video Click on the links for video.
MSMediaPlayer Microsoft Media Player or for Mac: VLCMediaPlayer VLC Media Player.

PERFORMERS
 

Flute
Bruce Salvisberg
Harry Bernstein

Oboe
Stardust
Mark Alburger

Clarinet
Michael Kimbell
Carlos Ortega

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


Trumpet
Michael Cox

Horn
Bob Satterford
Janis Lieberman

Trombone
Scott Sterling

Piano
Davide Verotta

Percussion
Victor Flaviano
Davide Verotta


Violin I
Monika Gruber

Violin II
Kristen Kline

Viola
Nansamba Ssensalo

Cello
Ariella Hyman

Bass
John Beeman

 

 
Chorus of the Ancestors
 

Soprano
Angela Arnold
Gabrielle Goozée-Nichols
Diana Pray

Alto
Valentina Osinski
Leandra Ramm
Nicole Takesono

Tenor
Will Betts
Sam Smith
Peter Webb

Bass
Harlan Hays
Jefferson Packer
Thomas Wade




 

Mantilla is an orchestral excerpt from an opera in progress. The scene is a game of Frisbee played with dried cow chips, a back and forth played by ranchers on the meadows of Fort Ross, California. A light moment in the opera, it precedes a terrible scene of violence with surreal abandon.

Divertimento Per Piano, Violin E Orchestra is a four-movement double concerto. It starts with a slow section in which the piano and violin play with very sparse orchestral accompaniment. The piano has more radiant, soothing melodies, while the violin takes more sober and almost tragic overtones. The second movement, a somewhat deranged dance, is started by the whole orchestra. The orchestra eventually leaves the foreground to piano and violin, before it actively rejoins in a crescendo that leads straight into the third movement. This is a short slow movement, where piano and violin are again almost in a duet. It opens the way to a short fast ending that takes the piece to its questioning conclusion.

Ishi, Scene 3, Ishi, the last survivor of the Yahi tribe, lived alone for three years in the wilderness near Mt. Lassen following the massacre of his people. In 1911, he was discovered by a sheriff, trembling with starvation, and soon taken to the Oroville prison. The news of Ishi's discovery reached anthropologists T.T Waterman and Alfred Kroeber who were in the process of curating the museum of anthropology in San Francisco. Scene 3 of the opera, Ishi, highlights Waterman's first meeting with Ishi inside his prison cell. An emotional connection is made as Waterman reads a list of words in his native language, climaxing on "Siwini." Ishi, recognizing the word for "yellow pine," begins to tap on the wooden frame of his prison bed. The chorus follows singing homage to the tree where Ishi and his family remained in hiding. A bond of friendship is made in dramatic form as Waterman sings in reply, "You are Yahi, yes, Yahi!" Composer John Beeman and librettist Carla Brooke convey the timeless story of Ishi through the emotional power of opera while hoping to bridge the cultural divide.

Eight Waltzes, Op. 252 (2016), from Alma Maria Schindler Mahler Gropius Werfel, is an equivocation of dances derived from the oft-affaired-and-married Austrian-American composer-socialite, who knew -- and apparently was known -- by so many in the arts, politics, and sciences of her times (1879-1965). Each dance represents a year in her life, and references music in chronology and/or spirit of same, including:
Peter Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) - 1812 Overture, Op. 49 (1880)
Charles Tomlinson Griffes (1884-1920) - The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan, Op. 8 (1912)
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) - Prelude to "The Afternoon of a Faun" (1894)
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) - Symphony No. 2 ("Resurrection"): III (1894) / Symphony No. 4: II (1900)
Alma Mahler (1879-1964) - Five Songs: I (1910)
Hector Berlioz (1803-1869} - Symphonie Fantastique, Op.14: II (1830)
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) - West Side Story: Gee, Officer Krupke! (1957)
Bela Bartok (1881-1944) - Dance Suite: II (1923)
Edward Elgar (1857-1934) - Variations on an Original Theme ("Enigma"), Op. 36: XI (1899)

A fantasy is a musical composition with a free form and often an improvisatory style. Early in the 16th-century fantasias consisted of short sections based on one or more musical motives. Fantasy In D...(ish) makes use of improvisation by the orchestra. Performers receive collections of notes or instructions and are told to improvise using them for certain period of time. Not all sections are improvised; some sections are a mix of fully notated and improvisation. There are a couple of repeating motives, but the most prominent are the repeated three notes, which are heard at the climax. There are two top-level sections; the climax of the piece is the start of the second, with is the inverse of the first (b+a rather than a+b). Each of these principal aeas are broken down until there are 64 total sub-sections. These break into various levels (2-4-8-16-32), and, depending on the level, trigger different events: texture or chord changes, instrumentation, etc. How long each sub-section lasts is based on the Golden ratio, Φ (phi) or 1.6180339887498948482..., a mathematical relation that appears in many patterns of nature, including the spiral arrangement of leaves and other plant parts. The overall feeling of Fantasy in D is very likely a bit somber or melancholy. Various life events, the passing of the composer's father and his mother's struggle with pancreatic cancer during the writing of the work, affected the mood of the piece.

Quartetto Amabile, reflects the lighter character of its music. It was written as part of a group concert by members of the Irregular Resolutions (IR), a San-Francisco based composer cooperative. IR members decided to present a program of music for string quartet at the Center for New Music in San Francisco in October, 2014. Two up-and-coming ensembles -- the Friction Quartet and the Telegraph Quartet -- were hired to work with the composers and perform their music. The piece was ultimately performed by the Telegraph Quartet, but due to the venue size, some people were turned away. The first movement is a march whose melody came to the composer rather spontaneously. The opening in G minor contrasts a scale figure in dotted rhythms with a rising augmented fourth (G-C-sharp). After an initial modulation, the main melody returns in a later passage in A major, played dolce. The return to the home key is marked by a short fugato section. In the version heard tonight, the movement is abbreviated, making a connection to the second movement through a modulation. The second movement is actually his transcription of a love song titled Be Mine that he wrote to his future partner in about 1981. An earlier transcription for a sax quintet for a performance in 1996 -- as part of a larger work -- has been revised here for string quartet. That choice was influenced by the composer's having become an avid string player over the last 10 years. The third movement came about from a session of improvising at the piano. A strong melodic or rhythmic character is lacking here. Instead, the parts exchange gestures and there are contrasts between high and low, with an emphasis on the lower registers of the violin and viola. The harmony floats among several tonal centers, finally stopping unexpectedly on an inverted B-flat major chord. The finale was inspired by the lively and rhythmic Brazilian choro music, introduced to the composer's attention by pianist and composer Carol Belcher, a fellow IR member. The finale is in five sections. The first, third, and fifth start with a syncopated accompaniment; all of them have an extended rhythmic tune followed by a refrain. The second section consists of shorter figures and even some striking glissandi. The fourth section breaks away from the prevailing sixteenth notes to a slower chordal section in triple meter. The return to the lively sixteenth notes leads to a codetta bringing the quartet to a close.

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.


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.


A native of Germany, Monika Gruber graduated from the 'Hochschule fuer Musik' in Weimar in 2003 with an Artistic Diploma and a Teaching Diploma. She spent the Academic Year 2000/01 as a recipient of the European "Erasmus" Scholarship at the 'Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique' in Lyon, France, studying violin with Stephane Tran Ngoc. In 2003 she won the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship Award, which enabled her to come to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Ian Swensen and completed her Masters Degree in May 2005. After having served as 1st violinist of the SF Conservatory's New Music Ensemble, Monika currently pursues her passion for New Music as concertmaster of the SF Composers Chamber Orchestra. A dedicated teacher, she was a faculty member of the SF Conservatory's Preparatory Division in 2005/06 and currently teaches at the SF Community Music Center, where she won this year's Faculty Concerto Competition and will perform the Sibelius Concerto in June of 2007.

Carla Brooke has collaborated with her husband John Beeman, as an author, librettist, and lyricist. Besides writing the libretto for his opera, The Answering Machine, Brooke also wrote the text for the choral Angel of Peace, performed at the Oregon Bach Festival. She co-authored Foam, a musical-dramatic work, and wrote the book and lyrics for the children's musical El Condor. As an author and poet, Carla has written Artfelt, a guide for helping children deal with grief, and recently, Hanai and I, a children's story. Her poetry and essays have been published by Insight Meditation Center in a collection called Passing It On.