Miriam Gideon - Sonata for Viola and Piano (Noémie Chemali, viola; Derek Wang, piano)

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Noemie Chemali, New York City based violist, is a Master’s student at the Juilliard School. She graduated from the Artist Diploma program at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in May 2020. Noemie is also an alumni of the McGill  University Schulich School of Music, where she received her Bachelor’s degree. Noemie has spent her summers at music festivals such as The Music Academy of the West, Sarasota Music Festival,  Orford Musique, The Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (LAMP), Scotia Festival of Music, Manhattan in the Mountains, and Green Mountain music festivals. Passionate about diversifying musical audiences, she co-founded the Hildegard Project, which aims to bring music written by women composers to women’s shelters in the greater Montreal area and was invited to speak about her work at the Classical Evolution/Revolution Conference in Santa Barbara, CA. Most recently, she founded [email protected], an interdisciplinary performance and research project which features performances at homeless shelters in collaboration with the Sociology department at Mercer University.

Derek Wang is a New York-based pianist and communicator who is guided by the value of committed listening across musical and social spaces. He received his Bachelor of Music degree at The Juilliard School and was awarded the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding achievement and leadership in music upon graduation. He will begin graduate studies at Juilliard in the fall of 2020 with Stephen Hough and Veda Kaplinsky as a Kovner Fellowship recipient. In the summer of 2019, Derek began a fellowship position as pianist of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble at the Aspen Music Festival and School, enjoying duo collaborations with guest artists Vijay Iyer, pianist and composer, and Robert McDuffie, violinist, in addition to chamber music with members of the festival’s artist-faculty. Most recently, he launched American Stories with violinist Sophia Stoyanovich, a podcast series that celebrates American concert music as a mirror to stories of the people living in the country today, with a first episode featuring conversation with healthcare workers on the front lines of COVID-19. Derek has performed in the Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum, Lehrman Hall at the Morgan Library and Museum, and the West Gallery of the Frick Collection.

 

 

 

Miriam Gideon was born in Greeley, Colorado, where her father was a Reform rabbi. Her interest in composition soon became the primary focus of her creative energies. At Boston University, where she earned her bachelor's degree with a major in French literature and a minor in mathematics, Gideon continued to study music, and she returned to New York after graduation with a view toward a career in public school teaching. But the urge to compose absorbed her more and more.

In 1946 she earned her master's degree in musicology from Columbia University, but even before matriculation she began teaching at Brooklyn College. The eminent composer and intellect Hugo Weisgall, the chairman of the faculty at the Jewish Theological Seminary's Cantors Institute and Seminary College of Jewish Music (now the H. L. Miller Cantorial School), invited her to teach there, and thus began a fruitful, rewarding, and mutually beneficial affiliation for some forty years. Weisgall became a fervent champion of her music, and in 1970 she earned her doctorate (Doctor of Sacred Music) from the Seminary under his guidance.

Gideon felt that defined considerations of sonorities and technical devices wrongly mask the more important matters of emotional impulses—with which she believed there was insufficient concern in postwar 20th-century music. She cautioned that many composers were so eager to demonstrate facility that they didn't allow themselves to become personally involved in their own music.

 

 

Sonata for Viola and Piano - Miriam Gideon
Recorded at home in Needham, MA, July 2020
Noémi Chemali, viola
Derek Wang, piano
Mastered by Robert Scott Thompson, Aucourant Records.
Property of Shelter Recording Project, American Composers Alliance