Monday, June 13th 2011

ACA Summer Festival 2011
Symphony Space Thalia
2537 Broadway at 95th St.
New York, NY 10025

"ESSAYS IN SOUND"
Monday, June 13, 2011 - 7:30pm - Buy Tickets

Arthur Kreiger - Strike Zone - Peter Jarvis, percussion and fixed media
John Eaton - The Greeks: Ancient to Modern - Marcy Richardson, soprano; Christopher Oldfather and Vicky Chow, pianos; Karl Kramer, conductor.
John Melby - Aftermath - Soprano and Fixed Media - Patricia Sonego, soprano
Hubert Howe - 19-Tone Clusters - fixed media, with Linda Past, dancer
Richard Brooks - Hymn to Intellectual Beauty - Patricia Sonego, soprano; Taka Kigawa, piano
Robert Ceely - Ontogeny - fixed media
Gheorghe Costinescu - Essay in Sound - Stephen Gosling, piano


Arthur Kreiger - Strike Zone - Peter Jarvis, percussion & fixed media

Program Note: Created for a percussionist possessing both overpowering technical brilliance and a marked dramatic persona, “Strike Zone” intricately combines an unexpected palette of electronic sounds with a traditional dance band drum set.  The resulting composition is explosive, introspective, reckless, contained, raw and nuanced.  The instrumental portion emulates aspects of an improvised drum solo.  However, nothing is spontaneously created, the music is completely written out.  The electronic soundscape was realized at the Cummings Electronic and Digital Sound Studio of Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut.  “Strike Zone” is published by Calabrese Brothers Music and will eventually appear in an anthology of drum set solo pieces.  Completed in the summer of 2010, the composition is dedicated to the remarkable Peter Jarvis who gave the premiere performance at the 2011 National Conference of the Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) held in Coral Gables, Florida.

Biography: Arthur Kreiger’s most recent project is a CD presenting nine of his compositions.  Entitled “Meeting Places,” the disc features highly acclaimed performances by the New York New Music Ensemble and the Juilliard Percussion Quartet.  Each work in the collection contains an electronic component.  The CD was released on Albany Records through the generous financial support of the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.  A recent review in Fanfare Magazine cites “music of tremendous craft, charm, and even beauty… Give it a listen.”

Arthur Kreiger and his wife Diane Brackett live in Connecticut on Moosup Pond.  The composer is Sylvia Pasternack Marx Professor of Music at Connecticut College in New London.

Peter Jarvis, percussion:  Peter Jarvis is a percussionist, conductor, drummer, composer, copyist, print music editor and educator. As a freelance musician he has performed as a soloist, chamber player and conductor with many highly distinguished chamber music ensembles including the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Group for Contemporary Music, The American Modern Ensemble, The New Jersey Percussion Ensemble (which he directs) among others and on new music/arts festivals such as the Europe/Asia Festival in Russia and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. The New York Times has said about Jarvis's conducting: ". . . [He] did full justice to its rhythmic complexities; Mr. Jarvis and his forces richly deserved the standing ovation they received."

As conductor he has appeared with the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, The New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, Ensemble21 and several other groups. He has appeared as guest conductor on the San Francisco Symphony’s New and Unusual Music Series.

As copyist he has worked on the music of Leonard Bernstein, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Ned Rorem, George Walker and several dozen other American and International composers.  His work is in the catalog of most major music publishers, including CF Peters, Boosey a& Hawkes, Theodore Presser, Schirmer, and others.

Jarvis teaches music at Connecticut College and William Paterson University, his teaching responsibilities include academic classes, percussion lessons, coaching/conducting chamber music and directing the New Music Series at William Paterson University and Connecticut College. His compositions are published by Calabrese Brothers Music, LLC and he is a member of BMI.


Hubert Howe - 19-Tone Clusters (2010)- fixed media, with Linda Past, dancer

Program Note: Most sounds that we hear in music consist of a spectrum of harmonic partials or overtones, and sometimes these also include some inharmonic components.  In 19-tone Clusters, all the overtones are clusters of 5-note chords duplicated through three to four octaves above the note, but they are also in 19-tone equal temperament.  In other words, harmony becomes spectrum.  The amplitudes of these components are varied so that they have a kind of “shimmer” moving up and down the spectrum. There are five different kinds of “instruments” used in the piece: the basic cluster, a “sparkling” cluster, a “whoosh” sound that attacks each of the components separately, a “gong” sound, and a cluster glissando. Consistent with my theories of 19-tone music, each short passage is based on different but related chords, and passages state both the entire 19-tone pitch classes and all nine interval classes. The piece begins in the middle range and proceeds through several short passages to a big climax with all instruments playing, and finally concludes quietly, much as it began. The piece was synthesized using Csound.

Biography: Hubert Howe was educated at Princeton University, where he studied with J. K. Randall, Godfrey Winham and Milton Babbitt, and from which he received the A.B., M.F.A. and Ph.D. degrees.  He was one of the first researchers in computer music, and became Professor of Music and Director of the Electronic Music studios at Queens College of the City University of New York.  He also taught at the Juilliard School for 20 years.  From 1989 to 1998, 2001 to 2002, and Fall 2007, he was Director of the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College of the City University of New York.  He has been a member of the American Composers Alliance since 1974 and was President from 2002 to 2011.  Recordings of his computer music (Overtone Music, CPS-8678, Filtered Music, CPS-8719, and Temperamental Music and Created Sounds, CPS- 8771) have been released by Capstone Records.

Linda Past, dancer: Dancing since age 4, Linda Past loves moving to music.  She has choreographed and danced to Joseph Pehrson's electronic compositions in New York, St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia.  Trained in ballet, modern and jazz she especially enjoys giving electronic pieces a visual element.  A highlight in her career was choreographing and dancing to Hubert Howe’s Timbre Study No. 7 in The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival and on last week’s New York Composers Circle concert.  She has also danced in 60x60 events - in Dance Parade and in a concert  co-produced with Composers Concordance. This performance is the premiere of her choreography and dancing to Hubert Howe’s 19-tone Clusters. 
Robert Ceely - Ontogeny - fixed media

Program Note: In October of 1963 I walked into the STUDIO DI FONOLOGIA in Milano and was confronted by the resident technician, Marino  Zuccheri who held a patch cord in his hand and turning to me exclaimed; Dove Maestro? Thus began a year of joy and exploration in one of the finest electronic music studios at the time. One should realize that  “At the Time” means there were no keyboards, no voltage controlled modules, no envelope generators, no digital equipment of any kind. What we worked with were magnetic tape, splicing tape, and scissors. All sounds were strung together by concatination which meant one could have very different sounds next to each other; the envelopes depended on how one cut the tape.

In Ontogeny I used some of the same modus operandi from back then. The piece is composed now, but has references to those yonder years. Hope you enjoy!

Biography: Robert Ceely went to the New England Conservatory where he studied with Francis Cooke. Further studies were with Darius Milhaud and Leon Kirchner at Mills College, and with Roger Sessions. Edward Cone and Milton Babbitt at Princeton University. In 1963-64 he worked in the Electronic Music Studio in Milan as guest of The Italian Government. His compositions include solo, chamber, and orchestral music as well as music for tape alone and tape with instruments. His ballet “Beyond the Ghost Spectrum”, with choreography by James Waring commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation, was performed at Tanglewood in 1969 with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting. His opera” Automobile Graveyard”, after a play by Fernando Arrabal, was presented at the New England Conservatory in 1995. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ditson Fund, the Manon Jarrof dancers, the Massachusetts Arts Council the Fromm Music Foundation and others. In 1995 he was a recipient of an outstanding alumni award from the New England Conservatory. He has taught at the Naval School of Music, The Lawrenceville School, Robert College in Istanbul, and for thirty-eight years at the New England Conservatory where he established and directed the Electronic Music Studio and taught composition. In 2003 he retired from teaching, and presently devotes all his time and energy to composition.


John Melby - Aftermath - Soprano and Fixed Media - Patricia Sonego, soprano

- World Premiere -

Program Note: Amy Lawrence Lowell, an American poet of the “imagist” school, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on February 9, 1874, and died there unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage at 51 on May 12, 1925. In the year following her death, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry posthumously. Lowell was one of several illustrious members of a prominent Boston family: one of her brothers, Percival Lowell, was a famous astronomer who predicted the existence of the now-demoted planet Pluto, and another brother, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, became President of Harvard University. (Other members of this distinguished family have included the poet and critic James Russell Lowell and the poet Robert Lowell.)

Though Amy Lowell herself did not attend college because of the prevailing attitude at the time regarding the education of women, she began educating herself by voracious reading in her family’s collection of over 7,000 books. Lowell was known as an eccentric and formidable figure whose lesbianism was only one manifestation of her unconventionality and her rebellion against her distinguished Boston lineage; her unusual appearance (she was greatly overweight because of a glandular problem) was heightened by her habit of smoking cigars almost constantly, claiming that because they lasted longer than cigarettes, they took less time away from her work. She began to write poetry in 1902 and her first published work appeared in 1910 in the Atlantic Monthly.

The first published collection of her poetry appeared two years later (see below). She subsequently became one of the most famous and widely-read American poets of her time. Following her death, her work became quite unfashionable and was largely forgotten. However, recent years have seen a marked resurgence of interest in her poetry. Aftermath is a setting in one uninterrupted movement for soprano and computer-synthesized sounds of three poems by the American poet Amy Lowell (1874-1925): “Frankincense and Myrrh,” “Dreams,” and “The End,” all three of which are found in the first published volume of her poetry, A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass, which appeared in 1912, and all of which deal with the subject of lost love.

(The British spellings in the texts represent those of the poet.) Ironically, I had originally planned to set four of Lowell’s poems, one of which, “Aftermath,” was to have provided the title for the set — but because the length of the work would have exceeded my desired goal, I was forced to make the decision to omit one of them, and “Aftermath” was the unlucky loser. However, since I liked the title, and since I felt it was nevertheless fitting, I decided to keep the name, if not the poem. The work was composed in 2009 for soprano Patricia Sonego.

Text:

                  Frankincense and Myrrh

          My heart is tuned to sorrow, and the strings
            Vibrate most readily to minor chords,
          Searching and sad; my mind is stuffed with words
           Which voice the passion and the ache of things:
          Illusions beating with their baffled wings
           Against the walls of circumstance, and hoards
           Of torn desires, broken joys; records
          Of all a bruised life's maimed imaginings.
           Now you are come!  You tremble like a star
          Poised where, behind earth's rim, the sun has set.
             Your voice has sung across my heart, but numb
           And mute, I have no tones to answer.  Far
          Within I kneel before you, speechless yet,
             And life ablaze with beauty, I am dumb.


                   The End


          I do not care to talk to you although
           Your speech evokes a thousand sympathies,
           And all my being's silent harmonies
          Wake trembling into music.  When you go
          It is as if some sudden, dreadful blow
           Had severed all the strings with savage ease.
           No, do not talk; but let us rather seize
          This intimate gift of silence which we know.
           Others may guess your thoughts from what you say,
          As storms are guessed from clouds where darkness broods.
           To me the very essence of the day
          Reveals its inner purpose and its moods;
           As poplars feel the rain and then straightway
          Reverse their leaves and shimmer through the woods.

                     Dreams


         Throughout the echoing chambers of my brain
           I hear your words in mournful cadence toll
           Like some slow passing-bell which warns the soul
          Of sundering darkness.  Unrelenting, fain
          To batter down resistance, fall again
           Stroke after stroke, insistent diastole,
           The bitter blows of truth, until the whole
          Is hammered into fact made strangely plain.
           Where shall I look for comfort?  Not to you.
            Our worlds are drawn apart, our spirit's suns
          Divided, and the light of mine burnt dim.
           Now in the haunted twilight I must do
            Your will.  I grasp the cup which over-runs,
          And with my trembling lips I touch the rim.

Biography: Born in 1941 in Whitehall, Wisconsin, John Melby attended the Curtis Institute of Music,  the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton University. His composition teachers include Henry Weinberg, George Crumb, Peter Westergaard, J. K. Randall, and Milton Babbitt. In 1973 he was appointed to the Composition/Theory faculty in the School of Music of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was Professor of Music until his retirement in August of 1997 and where he now holds the title of Professor Emeritus.

John Melby is best known for his music written for computer-synthesized sounds, including a series of concerti for various instruments with computer; other compositions  include two piano sonatas, three string quartets (the most recent of which includes computer), songs for voice and piano, pieces for larger ensembles, numerous compositions for computer alone, an opera, two symphonies, and other orchestral works. His compositions have won numerous awards and have been widely performed both in the United States and abroad. He has been the recipient of an NEA Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, an associateship in the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study, and numerous other grants and awards, including First Prize in 1979, at the International Electroacoustic Music Awards (Bourges, France). His music is published by American Composers Alliance, Associated Music Publishers, and Merion Music, Inc. (Theodore Presser Co.), and recorded on the Albany, CRI, Advance, New World, Centaur, and Zuma labels, and on a CD issued by the Institute International de Musique Electroacoustique in Bourges, France.

John Melby is a member of BMI, American Music Center, SEAMUS, International Computer Music Association, SCI, American Composers Forum, and American Composers Alliance. His biography is included in the current edition of Who's Who in America. 

Patricia Sonego, soprano: Patricia Sonego, soprano, (www.patriciasonego.com) was noted by Canada’s National Post for her ‘Voice of an angel…hailed for its true sensitivity and drama.’ She made her operatic debut in New York City in the world premiere of American composer Jack Beeson's Sorry, wrong number, for which she received praise from Robert Prag of Opera News. A CD of the live performance is available on Albany Records. A champion of new music, Ms. Sonego is in demand to premiere and record new works, many of which have been composed for her. ‘Aftermath’ is the second piece composed for her by John Melby. She premiered ‘In Darkness,’ a 20 minute work for soprano and computer, on the 2008 ACA Festival. Patricia will record Melby’s complete works for soprano for Albany records, due out in 2012. This past year she premiered a song composed for her by composer/keyboardist Patrick Grant, as well as performing songs by Patrick Hardish with pianist Taka Kigawa, both to appear on CD in 2011 on the CCR/Naxos label. On a recent NYCC concert, Patricia performed Richard Brook’s Oscar Wilde songs with pianist Hiromi Abe. An international performer originally from Canada, Patricia also travels with the early baroque ensemble ‘Le Nuove Musiche’ and her new music group ‘Reizen Ensemble.’ She is also General Dir. for the producing organization ‘Joy of New Music.’
Richard Brooks - Hymn to Intellectual Beauty (1996)- Patricia Sonego, soprano; Taka Kigawa, piano

HYMN TO INTELLECTUAL BEAUTY (1996) is a cycle of seven songs for high voice and piano.  The text is a seven stanza poem of the same title by Percy Bysshe Shelley.  Each stanza of the poem is set as a separate song.  As a result there is an unfolding dramatic profile and a high degree of musical unity over the course of the cycle.  All of the musical material for each song is derived in various ways from the opening of the first song: the first five pitches in the piano, in fact, reappear at crucial moments as a kind of motto representing Shelley's "awful beauty." 

The text is quintessentially Romantic in its depiction of the youthful search for intellectual truth and beauty which Shelley found in  poetry and which I find chiefly, though not exclusively, in music.  The epiphany of discovery is achieved in song (stanza) number five after the restless searching of the first four songs.  The final two songs portray the sense of serenity and apotheosis which the beauty of knowledge and the knowledge of beauty brings. This vision may seem somewhat naive after the complex and terrible events of recent history; however, one can still embrace the hope that man can learn to "fear himself, and love all humankind."

Composer's note: The poem is too long to be set as one piece.  Instead, I set each verse separately.  The narrative arc of the text provides an over-all dramatic unity to the song cycle.  In addition, there are subtle musical motives which unify the whole; chief among these is heard in the piano at the opening.

Biography: Richard Brooks is a native of upstate New York and holds a B.S. degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music, Potsdam College, an M.A. in Composition from Binghamton University and a Ph. D. in Composition from New York University.  From 1975-2004 he was on the music faculty of Nassau Community College where he was Professor and Department Chair for 22 years.

From 1977 to 1982 he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Society of University Composers (now the Society of Composers, Inc.) on which he continues to serve as the Producer of the SCI Compact Disk Series.  In 1981 he was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Composers Alliance.  After serving two terms as Secretary and three terms as Vice-President he was elected President in the Fall of 1993 and served until 2002; he is currently Chair of the Board of Governors. He served as a member of the Junior/Community College Commission on Accreditation of the National Association of Schools of Music for ten years.

He has received a major grant from the SUNY Research Foundation (for composition), a Composer Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, an American Music Center grant and several Meet the Composer awards. In 1994 he received a commission for Quintet for Oboe (Sax) and Strings from the New York State Music Teachers National Association; premiere performance took place at the NYSMTA Conference in Ithaca, NY in October 1994. Landscape...with Grace, commissioned for the twentieth anniversary season of the Kent Philharmonia Orchestra in Grand Rapids, Michigan was premiered on April 21, 1996. He has also received commissions from Elaine Comparone and Harpsichord Unlimited, the Lark Ascending and several individual performers.  A second commission from the Kent Philharmonia Orchestra resulted in Concerto for Trumpet/Flugelhorn and Orchestra which was premiered in May 2006.  In 2006 he was appointed Composer-in-Residence with the Lark Ascending and was elected New Music Champion by New Music Connoisseur magazine.

He has composed over ninety works in all media.  His opera for young audiences, Rapunzel, was commissioned by the Tri-Cities Opera (Binghamton) in 1971 and has been mounted also by the Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, Wolf Trap Farm Park and the Denver Symphony/Central City Singers and. most recently, by the Cincinnati Opera which gave it 65 performances.  A full length opera, Moby Dick, was completed in 1987.  A second full length opera, Robert and Hal, was completed in 2001. In 1990, the Golden Fleece, Ltd, presented extensive excerpts of Moby DickRobert and Hal was presented in a workshop reading by The Lark Ascending in 2004 and was staged by the Golden Fleece, Ltd. in June 2008.

Text:

HYMN TO INTELLECTUAL BEAUTY

I

The awful shadow of some unseen Power
Floats though unseen among us, visiting
This various world with as inconstant wing
As summer winds that creep from flower to flower;
Like moonbeams that that behind some piny mountain shower,
It visits with inconstant glance
Each human heart and countenance;
Like hues and harmonies of evening,
Like clouds in starlight widely spread,
Like memory of music fled,
Like aught that for its grace may be
Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.

II

Spirit of beauty, that doth consecrate
With thine own hues all thou doth shine upon
Of human thought or form, where art thou gone?
Why dost thou pass away, and leave our state,
This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate?—
Ask why the sunlight not forever
Weaves rainbows o’er yon mountain river;
Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown;
Why fear and dream and death and birth
Cast on the daylight of this earth
Such gloom; why man has such a scope
For love and hate, despondency and hope.

III

No voice from some sublimer world hath ever
To sage or poet these responses given;
Therefore the name of Demon, Ghost or Heaven,
Remain the record of their vain endeavor—
Frail spells, whose uttered charm might not avail to sever,
From all we hear and all we see,
Doubt, chance and mutability.
Thy light alone, like mist o’er mountains driven,
Or music by the night wind sent
Through strings of some still instrument,
Of moonlight on a mountain stream,
Gives grace and truth to life’s unquiet dream.

IV

Love, Hope and Self-esteem, like clouds, depart,
And come, for some uncertain moments lent.
Man were immortal and omnipotent,
Didst thou, unknown and awful as thou art,
Keep with thy glorious train firm state within his heart.
Thou messenger of sympathies
That wax and wane in lovers’ eyes!
Thou, that to human thought art nourishment,
Like darkness to a dying flame,
Depart not as thy shadow came!
Depart not, lest the grave should be,
Like life and fear, a dark reality!

V

While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped
Through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin,
And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing
Hopes of high talk with the departed dead;
I called on poisonous names with which our youth is fed.
I was not heard—I saw them not—
When, musing deeply on the lot
Of life, at that sweet time when winds are wooing
All vital things that wake to bring
News of birds and blossoming,--
Sudden thy shadow fell on me;
I shrieked, and clasped my hands in ecstasy!

VI

I vowed that I would dedicate my powers
To thee and thine—have I not kept the vow?
With beating heart and streaming eyes, even now
I call the phantoms of a thousand hours
Each from his voiceless grave; they have in visioned bowers
Of studious zeal or love’s delight
Outwatched with me the envious night—
They know that never joy illumed my brow
Unlinked with hope that thous wouldst free
This world from its dark slavery,--
That thou, O awful Loveliness,
Wouldst give whate’er these words cannot express.

VII

The day becomes more solemn and serene
When noon is past; there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!
Thus let thy power, which like the truth
Of nature on my passive youth
Descended, to my onward life supply
Its calm,--to one who worships thee,
And every form containing theee,
Whom, Spirit fair, thy spells did bind
To fear himself, and love all humankind.

-Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1817

Taka Kigawa, pianist: Critically acclaimed pianist TAKA KIGAWA has earned outstanding international recognition as a recitalist, soloist, and chamber music artist since winning First Prize in the prestigious 1990 Japan Music Foundation Piano Competition in Tokyo, and the Diploma Prize at the 1990 Concurs Internacional Maria Canals De Barcelona in Spain, with such accolades from The New York Times as “Mr. Kigawa’s feat deserves the highest praise, especially since it was combined with such alacrity and sensitivity to the musical material ... brilliantly done … a careful and serious-minded musician, quietly poetic and considerate” and from The New Yorker “Unbelievably challenging program. Kigawa is a young artist of stature.”

He has performed extensively as a recitalist and soloist in New York, Washington DC, Boston, Cleveland, Paris, Milan and Barcelona, with appearances in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Kosciuszko Foundation, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Salle Gaveau in Paris, and Plau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona. He frequently tours in his native Japan, appearing in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagano and Kyoto, both as a recitalist and a soloist with orchestra and in chamber music groups. He has been a featured artist on many television and radio networks throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.

His repertoire is extremely large and varied, ranging from the baroque to avant-garde compositions of today. Mr. Kigawa is well known for his recitals devoted to the works of a single composer, including J.S. Bach’s complete The Art of the Fugue and Goldberg Variations, Chopin’s 24 Etudes and 28 Preludes, and the complete piano music of Debussy, György Ligeti, and Pierre Boulez. He has collaborated closely with such renowned musicians as Pierre Boulez, Myung-Whun Chung and Jonathan Nott.

Mr. Kigawa grew up in Nagano, Japan, where he began piano studies at the age of three, winning his first competition at the age of seven. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Shinsyu University, and his Master of Arts degree from Tokyo Gakugei (Liberal Arts) University, graduating with honors in Piano Performance. During both his undergraduate and graduate years, he also studied composition and conducting, receiving high honors in both disciplines. He furthered his studies in the United States at The Juilliard School in New York, where he studied with Josef Raieff, was recipient of the distinguished Alexander Siloti Award, and earned his Master of Music degree. Mr. Kigawa currently lives in New York.
John Eaton - The Greeks: Ancient to Modern - Marcy Richardson, soprano; Christopher Oldfather and Vicky Chow, pianos; Karl Kramer, conductor

- World Premiere -

The Greeks – Ancient to Modern

I   Homer "The Iliad" Excerpt from the Prologue (Robert Fagles)
II  George Seferis "Helen" Excerpt (Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard)
III Homer "The Iliad" Excerpt from Book IV (Bruce Heiden)
IV George Seferis "Helen" Excerpt (Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard)
V  Homer "The Odyssey"  Excerpt from the Prologue (Robert Fagles)
VI "Greek Folk Song" (Karen Van Dyck - adapted from a translation by David Ross Rotheringham)

Program Note: My song cycle is dedicated to Edmund (Mike) and Mary Keeley, the two people most responsible for fostering my - and many others - love of the Greeks, ancient and modern. (Mike is responsible for magnificent translations of many Greek poets; and. I believe to a great extent the unusual number of Nobel Prizes that relatively small country has won is in great part due to him.) The texts speak for themselves: the inordinate slaughter in the Iliad caused by a phantom Helen planted by the Gods; the destruction of all of Odysseus's comrades because they offended Apollo; the contrasting ending in a demotic barcarolle depicting a sea's sudden rage.

Text:

I   Homer "The Iliad" Excerpt from the Prologue (Robert Fagles)

Rage – Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’s son Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that caused the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls,
great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion,
feasts for the dogs and birds,
and the will of Zeus was moving towards its end.

-Homer, The Iliad, from the Prologue, translated by Robert Fagles

II  George Seferis "Helen" Excerpt (Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard)

‘The nightingales won’t let you sleep in Platres.’

Breasts girded high, the sun in her hair, and that stature
shadows and smiles everywhere,
on shoulders, thighs and knees;
the skin alive, and her eyes
with the large eyelids,
she was there on the banks of a Delta.
              And at Troy?

At Troy, nothing: just a phantom image.
That’s how the gods wanted it.
And Paris, Paris lay with a shadow as though it were a solid being;
and for ten whole years we slaughtered ourselves for Helen.

-George Seferis, from Helen,  translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

III Homer "The Iliad" Excerpt from Book IV (Bruce Heiden)

And so that couple lay, body by body,
dead, in the dirt, together, leaders both,
one of the Thracians, one of the armored Epeians.
and others – many others – were bleeding and dying nearby.

The preliminaries were over; nobody now
could underestimate the mission, no
embedded guest, who toured the sea of combat
untouched, untorn by tools of sharpened bronze,
Under official escort of Pallas Athena,
who served as guide, held his hand, deflected
deadly missiles that darted around his head.
For that day many Trojans and many Greeks
stretched in the dirt together, face down, dead.

-Homer, The Iliad, lines 536-544,  translated by Bruce Heiden

IV George Seferis "Helen" Excerpt (Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard)

‘The nightingales won’t let you sleep in Platres.’

Tearful bird,
            on sun kissed Cyprus

consecrated to remind me of my country,
I moored alone with this fable,
If it’s true that it is a fable,
if it’s true that mortals will no longer take up
the old deceit of the gods;
               if it’s true

that in future years some other Teucer,
or some Ajax or Priam or Hecuba,
or someone unknown or nameless who nevertheless saw
a Scamander overflow with corpses,
isn’t fated to hear
messengers coming to tell him
that so much suffering, so much life,
went into the abyss
all for an empty tunic, all for a Helen.

-George Seferis, from Helen, translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

V  Homer "The Odyssey"  Excerpt from the Prologue (Robert Fagles)

Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns
driven time and again off course, once he had plundered
the hallowed heights of Troy.
many cities of man he saw and learned their minds,
many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea,
fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home.
But he could not save them from disaster, hard as he strove –
The recklessness of their own ways destroyed them all,
The blind fools, they devoured the cattle of the Sun
And the Sungod blotted out the day of their return.

-Homer, The Odyssey, from the prologue,  translated by Robert Fagles

VI "Greek Folk Song" (Karen Van Dyck - adapted from a translation by David Ross Rotheringham)

Close to the beach hugging the shore
Gently and slowly we ply our oars
Don’t let the swell sweep us away
Gently and slowly crossing the bay

Up in a flash hoisting the sail
Canvas bulging we catch the gale
See how the south wind drives us along
Cheerily, comrades, singing our song

Hastily, hastily, hands to the oars
Down with the mast, row to the shore
Here comes the tempest blackening the sky
Listen! The storm shrieks from on high!

-anonymous Greek folksong

adapted from the translation of David Ross Rotheringham by Karen Van Dyck

Biography: John Eaton was called "The most interesting opera composer writing in America today" by Andrew Porter in The London Financial Times.  He has received international recognition as a composer and performer of electronic and microtonal music as well.  In addition, he had an extensive career as a jazz pianist, having recorded an album at 19 for Columbia and two subsequent ones for Epic, as well as one for RCA.

Eaton's work has been performed extensively throughout the world. International performances include those in Italy (at the Venice Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentina, RAI, etc.), Germany (Hamburg Opera, NDR, Sud-West Funk, etc.), France, England, Spain, Portugal, Czechoslovakia (Prague Festival), Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Israel, Japan, South Korea, China, Russia, Latvia and Estonia.  In America, his work has been performed by the San Francisco Opera, Cincinnati Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera and Brooklyn Academy of Music, among others, and has been featured at the Tanglewood, Aspen, and Pepsico Summerfare Festivals.  In addition, several works have been broadcast on Public Radio and Television, and, his opera, Myshkin, was seen throughout the U.S.A. and foreign countries by an estimated 15,000,000 people.

 In the early 1960’s he did perhaps the first live performances on modern sound synthesizers. They were put together for him by Paolo Ketoff (the Syn-Ket) and Robert Moog. Later, he performed on the new Eaton-Moog Multiple-Touch-Sensitive Keyboard, called “the most sensitive instrument to human nuance ever developed except for the human voice.” A number of these early pieces were recently re-issued on a record called First Performances by the Electronic Music Foundation.

Among his best known works are his opera, The Cry of Clytaemnestra, which has received great public and critical acclaim at its nearly twenty performances, including those under the auspices of the San Francisco Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Bolshoi Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.  The Lion and Androcles, written especially for children, was shown on national television and taken on tour by the Cincinnati Symphony.  The Tempest was called a "formidible intellectual as well as musical achievement ... an opera of stark beauty" by Michael Walsh of Time Magazine following its premiere by the Santa Fe Opera.  His grand opera, The Reverend Jim Jones, was commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts.   His last grand opera, Losing Paradise, was completed in 2008.

In 1993 he formed the Pocket Opera Players, which presented his operatic pieces for a small group of musicians in a new form which he developed Peer Gynt and Let's Get This Show on the Road  to great public and critical acclaim; as was the case in 1996, when it premiered Don Quixote and Golk as well.  On May 30th, 1997, Boston Musica Viva premiered his Travelling with Gulliver, commissioned by them and made possible by a grant from the Fromm Music Foundation.  A new opera, Antigone, was added to it in very successful performances in Chicago by his opera company on Dec.9th, 10th, and 11th, 1999.   In 2000, his provocative opera Youth was premiered.  After it’s first performances at Symphony Space, May 21st and 22nd, 2002, Anne Midgette of the New York Times called “inasmuch…” “creative, antic, quirky and enchanting”.  Further New York Premieres of Travelling with Gulliver and Golk as well as the World Premiere of Salome’s Flea Circus were done on June 23rd and 24th of 2003.   A festival of his music occurred at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center on May 18th and 19th of 2004, featuring the World Premiere of Pinocchio and the New York Premiere of Antigone, as well as panels on The Acting Instrumentalist: Eaton’s Pocket Operas and Eaton’s Contributions to Electronic Music.  His full length comic opera Pumped Fiction, premiered at Symphony Space on June 20th, 2007, was repeated by popular demand on Sept. 6th.  Allan Kozinn spoke of it as a “…considerable achievement” in the New York Times.  Of his last opera, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Martin Bernheimer raved in The London Financial Times and Opera News, “Everyone made the dumb charades seem smart.  Everyone managed to focus the fuzzy line that connects whimsy to pathos.” And Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times said “…opera is a form of drama, and ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ kept me involved right through.”     

Eaton has been the recipient of many awards. In 1990, he received the "genius" award from the MacArthur Foundation.  His music was chosen to represent the U.S.A. in 1970 at the International Rostrum of Composers (UNESCO).  He has received a citation and award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, three Prix de Rome Grants, 2 Guggenheim Fellowships, and, among others, commissions from the Fromm and Koussevitsky Foundations and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  He has lectured at the Salzburg Center of American Studies, and was Composer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome. In September, 2000 his career was celebrated in the American Music Center’s web site and excerpts of his operas can still be seen as well as an extended interview in the archives of www.newmusicbox.org for Sept., 2000.  He did a lecture tour for Phi Beta Kappa in 2006 as well as lecturing on his operas at Oxford in 2007.     

Eaton received his BA in the Special Program in the Humanities in 1957 and his MFA in 1959 from Princeton University where he studied composition with Milton Babbitt, Edward Toner Cone, Earl Kim and Roger Sessions.  At the same time he was studying piano with Erich Itor Kahn, Eduard Steuermann, Frank Sheridan, and Louise Strunsky.  He is Professor Emeritus of Music Composition at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1991 to 2001.  Before that time, he was Professor of Composition at Indiana University (Bloomington) from 1970 to 1991.  His compositions are handled by Shawnee Press, G.Schirmer (A.M.P.), and the American Composers Alliance.  They have been recorded on American Decca, Tournabout, C.R.I., Aguava, Albany, E.M.F. and A.U.V. records.

Marcy Richardson, soprano:  Hailed for her “best all-around performance” in Handel’s Ariodante (Opera News) and described as a “great Handel singer” (Philadelphia Inquirer) and "delicious lyric coloratura," (CentralJersey.com) soprano Marcy Richardson is a versatile performer with a passion for contemporary music, baroque, and sophisticated musical theater. She sang the role of The Watchman in John Eaton’s Antigone at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center under Carmen Tellez, the US premiere of Sven-David Sandström’s High Mass under Philip Brunelle, George Benjamin’s A Mind of Winter with the Orlando Philharmonic, Webern’s Op. 18 at the Lucerne Festival, where she was a member of the Contemporary Music Academy under Pierre Boulez, and performed at the Festival de Cervantino in Guanajato, Mexico with Aguavá New Music Ensemble. She is a graduate of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she was a member of the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble and regularly performed in composition recitals.

This past year, Ms. Richardson made her Avery Fisher Hall debut as the soprano soloist in the Mozart Vesperae solennes de confessore and Faure Requiem, starred in Kurt Weill’s Berlin to Broadway with Opera Columbus, sang Papagena in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Vivente, and Dalinda in Handel’s Ariodante with the Princeton Festival, a role she will reprise with Opera Vivente in 2012. Inspired by her work in Weill’s Berlin to Broadway, she developed a special interest in this repertoire and starred in Kurt Weill Uncovered: A Cabaret Chronology with Operamission at the Gershwin Hotel.

Originally from Grosse Pointe, Ms. Richardson’s other stage credits include Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Mrs. Hayes in Susannah with Orlando Opera, Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro and Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore with Baltimore Opera, Emmaline in Purcell’s King Arthur with the Bloomington Early Music Festival, Fiorilla in Il Turco in Italia, and Poussette in Manon at Indiana University. She has also performed with the Carmel Bach Festival, Brevard Music Festival, Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, the Lafayette Bach Chorale Singers, and has won various awards and grants from the Kurt Weill Foundation, Gerda Lissner Foundation, Heinz Rehfuss Singing Actor Awards, Metropolitan Opera National Council, Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation, Heida Hermanns International Voice Competition, and Opera Birmingham’s Cassell Stewart Vocal Competition. Vicky Chow, pianist: Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has performed extensively as a classical and contemporary soloist, chamber musician, and ensemble member, and has been described as “brilliant” (New York Times), “virtuosic” (New Jersey Star Ledger) with a “feisty technique” (MIT Tech). She is the pianist for the New York based eclectic contemporary sextet, Bang on a Can All-Stars and has performed with other groups such as Wordless Music Orchestra, Opera Cabal, Wet Ink Ensemble, ai ensemble and AXIOM. Her passion has propelled Vicky to work with an A-to-Z of leading composers and musicians such as John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Nik Bärtsch, Don Byron, Bryce Dessner (The Nationals) Michael Gordon David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Terry Riley, Evan Ziporyn, Glenn Kotche (Wilco), David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), and Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth). In 2010, Ms. Chow did a performance tour in China, Italy, Germany, and Holland with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, a performance tour in Malaysia with the Perak Performing Arts Society, and performances in Chicago with Opera Cabal. Recent performances include a recital tour across Canada, Evan Ziporyn’s opera ‘A House in Bali‘ at BAM, a solo appearance at Carnegie Hall, The Stone, and Merkin Hall, and premiering Louis Andriessen’s work with video titled “Life” written for the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Upcoming concerts include a tour with the Bang on a Can All-Stars to Australia, Portugal, Hong Kong, London and Portugal, collaborations with Kronos Quartet, performances with Detroit New Music ensemble at the Detroit Institute of Art, and with eighth blackbird at Carnegie Hall performing Pulitzer-Prize-winner Steve Reich’s Double Sextet and 2x5.

Her upcoming album of solo piano music by Ryan Francis will be released April 2011 under the ‘tzadik’ label. In addition to performing, Ms. Chow also produces and curates “Contagious Sounds”, a new music series focusing on adventurous contemporary artists and composers at the Gershwin Hotel in New York City.

Originally from Vancouver Canada, Ms. Chow studied at The Juilliard School with Yoheved Kaplinsky and Julian Martin (B.M, M.M. ‘Piano Performance’) before continuing studies at Manhattan School of Music (M.M., P.S. ‘Contemporary Performance’) with Christopher Oldfather. Starting the piano at age 5, she was invited to perform at the age of 9 at the International Gilmore Music Keyboard Festival where she performed a solo program of Chopin, Debussy and Bartok and Ravel’s Piano Concerto. She made her orchestral debut at the age of 10 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and made her last orchestral appearance at Alice Tully Hall with the Juilliard Symphony performing Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

Ms. Chow resides in New York City.

www.vickychow.com

Christopher Oldfather, pianist: One of New York's most gifted, trusted, respected, often-requested, and well-liked pianists, Christopher Oldfather has devoted himself to the performance of twentieth-century music for more than thirty years. He has participated in innumerable world-première performances, in every possible combination of instruments, in cities all over America. He has been a member of Boston’s Collage New Music since 1979, New York City’s Parnassus since 1997, appears regularly in Chicago, and as a collaborator has joined singers and instrumentalists of all kinds in recitals throughout the United States. In 1986 he presented his recital début in Carnegie Recital Hall, and since then he has pursued a career as a freelance musician. This work has taken him as far afield as Moscow and Tokyo, and he has worked on every sort of keyboard ever made, even including the Chromelodeon. He is widely known for his expertise on the harpsichord, and is one of the leading interpreters of twentieth-century works for that instrument. As a soloist he has appeared with the MET Chamber Players, the San Francisco Symphony, and Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, Germany. His recording of Elliott Carter’s violin-piano Duo with Robert Mann was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 1990. He has collaborated with the conductor Robert Craft, and can be heard on several of his recordings.
Gheorghe Costinescu - Essay in Sound  (2011)
Stephen Gosling, piano -World Premiere-

Program Note: “Essay in Sound” for the piano reflects the way I play, think of, and feel about the instrument. The grammar of the work differs from the principle of building a musical edifice starting from a single cell or idea. Here, several short, apparently disparate statements are introduced, each expanding on its own terms, while merging into a more-or-less continuous discourse of all entities.

Biography: Gheorghe Costinescu, born in Bucharest in 1934 and residing in New York since 1969, has been active as a composer, conductor, pianist, musicologist, and educator.

After earning an MA in composition from the Bucharest Conservatory under Mihail Jora, he continued his studies with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Cologne and Luciano Berio at the Juilliard School in New York. In 1976 he received a PhD with Distinction from Columbia University, where he studied with Chou Wen-chung.

His chamber, choral, orchestral, and stage works have been performed in  major cities in Europe and the United States, and at the Royan, Shiraz–Persepolis, and Tanglewood festivals.

His stage work The Musical Seminar, a winner in the League-ISCM National Composers Competition, was premiered at Lincoln Center in New York City. The German version of the work was produced by the State Opera of Stuttgart, and the British premiere took place at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.   

Costinescu has received grants and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the American Music Center, Meet the Composer, and the Ford Foundation. He also received a Fulbright Scholarship, the Romanian Academy’s George Enescu prize, and the Alexandre Gretchaninoff Memorial Prize from The Juilliard School.  

His theoretical writings include studies and articles on contemporary music, essays on comparative aesthetics, and A Treatise on Musical Phonology.  

Gheorghe Costinescu has held teaching positions at The Juilliard School, Columbia University, and the New School for Social Research. In 1982, he joined the faculty and subsequently directed the electronic music program at Lehman College of the City University of New York, where he became Professor Emeritus of Music in 2003.

Stephen Gosling, pianist: Pianist Stephen Gosling is a member of the New York New Music Ensemble, Ensemble Sospeso, American Modern Ensemble, the Orchestra of the League of Composers/ISCM, and Ne(x)tworks. He has additionally been a frequent guest artist of many other groups, including the New York Philharmonic, Dutch Radio Philharmonic, Orpheus, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, American Composers Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Speculum Musicae. His work has garnered consistent critical acclaim, and he was profiled by the New York Times in October 2005.

Mr. Gosling earned his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees at the Juilliard School, garnering the Mennin Prize for Outstanding Excellence and Leadership in Music and the Sony Elevated Standards Fellowship. He was also featured as concerto soloist an unprecedented four times. Mr. Gosling has collaborated with numerous American and European composers, including John Adams, Milton Babbitt, Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, Brian Ferneyhough, Oliver Knussen, Steve Reich, Poul Ruders, Charles Wuorinen and John Zorn. He has also worked extensively with New Zealand’s pre-eminent composer, John Psathas, recording two award-winning CDs of his work (Rhythm Spike and Fragments) and premiering his piano concerto Three Psalms with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Recently Mr. Gosling has performed Corigliano’s Piano Concerto with the Phoenix Synphony, the prinicpal part of Boulez’s Sur Incises with the Met Chamber Orchestra under James Levine at Zankel Hall, solo recitals at the Stone and at Bargemusic (where he has another recital scheduled for July 28), and has recording his third volume of solo piano music by Phillip Ramey. He is co-curating (with composer Derek Bermel) the SONiC festival, which will take place at numerous New York venues from October 14th to 22nd, and is entirely dedicated to 21st-century music by composers 40 and under. Mr. Gosling has performed throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, and made over 50 recordings to date.