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SAN FRANCISCO COMPOSERS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Presents "In Uncertain Times"
Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 8 pm

Park Presidio United Methodist Church
4301 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA

PROGRAM

 

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).

Roberto Becheri

I Costruttori (The Builders),
a Short Cantata for Soprano and Chamber Orchestra   notes

Liisa Davilla, Soprano

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 Composerís 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 Womenís 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.

Martha Stoddard

The Song of the Loon   notes

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

Ubi Sunt (Where Have They Gone), from "Lucaria"   notes

Madrigal
Aria

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, Soprano

intermission

 

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

To the Point    notes

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

Variations on The Romanesca, Op. 251 (2016)     notes

I. Luis de Narvaez (1490-1547) - Gardeme las Vacas (1538) 
II. Braye Lute Book (b. c. 1530) - Pavana (Variations on the Romanesca, 1560)  
III. Dublin Virginal Book (b. c. 1540) - Variations on The Romanesca (1570)  
IV. Frescobaldi (1583-1643) - Aria della Romanesca (1616)  
V. England (b. c. 1620) - Greensleeves to a Ground (1650)  
VI. Johannes Pachelbel (1653-1708) - Canon in D (1694)  
VII. Henry Purcell (1659-1695) - Dido and Aeneas (1689)  
VIII. J.S. Bach (1685-1750) - Organ Passacaglia in C Minor (1713)  
IX. F.J. Haydn (1732-1809) - Symphony No. 94 ("Surprise") (1791)  
X. W.A. Mozart (1756-1791) - "Ah, Vous Dirai-Je Maman" (1781)  
XI. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) - Symphony No. 7 (1812)  
XII. Franz Schubert (1797-1828) - Piano Quintet ("Trout") (1819)  

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.

 Stardust

True of Voice Overture   notes

1. Get Your Hands Up
2. Love Adversity
3. Collateral Murder
4. Queen's Plea
5. Opening of the Mouth
6. Prison Escape
7. Opet Festival
8. Arrows of the Heart
9. Maat

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PERFORMERS
 

Flute
Bruce Salvisberg
Harry Bernstein
Martha Stoddard

Oboe
Stardust

Clarinet
Michael Kimbell

Bassoon
Michael Garvey


Trumpet
Michael Cox

Horn
Bob Satterford

Tuba
Aaron Wallace

Piano
Lisa Scola Prosek
Davide Verotta

Percussion
Victor Flaviano
Lisa Scola Prosek
Martha Stoddard
Anne Szabla


Violin I
Monika Gruber

Violin II
Kristen Kline

Viola
Nansamba Ssensalo

Cello
Ariella Hyman
Robin Reynolds

Bass
John Beeman

 

 

I Costruttori (The Builders), a Short Cantata for Soprano and Chamber Orchestra, conforms to the composer's lyrical storyline, as a series of separate but connected ideas give shape to the music. Its unity is based on a "12-different-sounds" (quite distinct from 12-tone) thematic formula, where the collection is freely exploited as melodic fragments, elements for chords, passacaglia, etc. The stately Italian lyrics consist of seven hendecasyllable / octosyllabic quatrains rhymed in various ways.

The Song of the Loon is an attempt to capture the incantation of the loon heard during cheerful summer walks along the Hudson River in rural upstate New York.

Ubi Sunt (Where Have They Gone), from "Lucaria" consists of two choral excerpts from the opera, in a version for chamber ensemble. This genre of poetry from classical antiquity ponders the loss and memory of the departed. The Madrigal is sung by the chorus to Lucaria, with the Aria as Lucaria 's response.

To the Point is a composition designed as a short introduction, or final or interlude piece in a symphonic program. It is roughly divided in two sections. First a slow prelude, where we hear the main theme of the piece in the strings, followed by a descending, meandering melody in the winds, and a restatement of the main theme. Second a faster section that takes the piece in a somewhat breathless trajectory culminating in a restatement of the original theme by the whole orchestra. The piece might be read as a metaphor for a life journey, if somehow the destiny of that life had been written at birth.

The Romanesca is a Spanish chord progression dating back to at least to 1538. Originally known as O Guárdame las Vacas (Oh, Guard the Cows), it entails the succession b3 / b7 / 1 / 5 cycling around again as b3 / b7 / 1-5 / 1, which can also be heard as 1 / 5 / 6 / 3, etc. (the beginning of Johannes Pachelbel's Canon in D / Paul McCartney's I Want to Hold Your Hand, and close to the rock cliche 1 / 5 / 6 / 4, familiar from Sting's Every Breath You Take, Bono's With Or Without You, et. al.). This is an early usage of passacaglia ("walking down the street") variation over a bassline, not formally designated as such until 1606, and of theme-and-variations in general, which likely arose c. 1590 -- the notion of improvisation evidently extending back to sentient prehistory. The 55 VARIATIONS ON THE ROMANESCA take these basic melodic-harmonic formulae and run in a madcap manner through variant works of composers ranging from Luis de Narvaez (1490-1547) and Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643) to David Bowie (1947-2016) and Mark Alburger The first 12 variants will be performed.

True of Voiceis a musical dance theatre production in development. Set in ancient Egypt and modern times, the spectacle will include incidental music performed by an ancient Egyptian orchestra playing period instruments and a hip hop orchestra. A powerful polyamorous Egyptian priestess queen magically transports three pivotal people through time to assist her king and his male lover with the pressing political and social needs of the Old Kingdom, despite the efforts of a mysterious spy who tries to thwart their plans. Transformed by their experiences in the past, the trio return energized to create change in our present-day world, each in their own unique way. These key characters are an innocent young black man shot by police, a lesbian couple turned out from a San Francisco restaurant on their tenth anniversary, and incarcerated transgender private Chelsea Manning awaiting trial for leaking military secrets. The True of Voice Overture is the composer's attempt to spark composition of the incidental music for True of Voice. The overture goes scene by scene up to the intermission, with plans for a later Entr'acte covering the post-intermission scenes. "Selections from the overture evoke theatrical scenes from the production in miniature, including "Get Your Hands Up" (listen for police gunfire), "Love Adversity" (a lesbian love song), "Collateral Murder" (this time 30mm cannon fire), "Queen's Plea" (ritualistic), "Opening of the Mouth" (more ritualistic), "Prison Escape" (Chelsea's path to ancient Egypt), "Opet Festival" (dancing and procession), "Arrows of the Heart" (love song for the king and his male lover), and "Maat" (the Egyptian equivalent of truth and righteousness). The True of Voice Overture will no doubt whet your artistic appetite for the production of True of Voice the musical appearing in workshop during 2017 and, assuming funding, in mature theatrical glory by 2018 (more info at http://ritualart.org/wordpress/true-of-voice/).

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.