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SCI Mixtape: Region II, 2015

Wax and Wire by Viet Cuong

Viet Cuong (b. 1990) has had works performed internationally in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Aspen Music Festival, International Double Reed Society Conference, Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music, US Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, Midwest Clinic, GAMMA-UT Conference, and several CBDNA conferences. He is a winner of the ASCAP Morton Gould Award, Walter Beeler Memorial Prize from Ithaca College, Boston Guitarfest Composition Competition, Dolce Suono Ensemble Competition, Atlantic Coast Conference Band Directors Association Grant, Peabody Alumni Award, Gustav Klemm Award, Prix d'Été Competition, and National Band Association Young Composer Mentor Project. Viet has held artist residencies at Yaddo, Ucross, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and was a scholarship student at the Aspen and Bowdoin music festivals. He is currently a Naumburg and Roger Sessions Doctoral Fellow at Princeton, and holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Peabody Conservatory. Please visit www.vietcuongmusic.com to learn more.

Program Notes:

About a year ago, I was introduced to the figurative wire sculptures of Michael Gard. Each piece begins as a clay sculpture that is subsequently reproduced with wax. Wire is then woven around the wax using an intricate weaving technique Gard developed as a teenager. Once this step is complete, he melts the wax away, leaving only a light, yet strong, wire structure as the finished piece.

The wax sculpture provides a firm foundation, but disappears from the final work, becoming at first soft and then formless. The wire, at first bent to the will of the wax, preserves the structure, but in a way that gives bounce to the remarkably intricate skeleton. And though his completed sculptures are made of metal wire, many of them are dancers in gentle poses that impart a delicate quality to their innately harsh material. Wax and Wire is an aural translation of Gard’s artistic process, with diverse musical gestures representing the dualities I find in this work.

Miscellaneous Romance No. 3 (Paris) by Amit Gilutz

A native of Israel, Amit Gilutz (b.1983) studied composition in Jerusalem, Ithaca and New York. His music is influenced by working in electroacoustic mediums as well as improvisation. His work is interdisciplinary and conceptual, combining political ideas, theatrical effects and movement, as well as textual sources ranging from the work of Walter Benjamin to anonymous online personal ads, aiming at achieving disciplinary cross-fertilization and also reflecting a desire for more democratic forms of music making and audience engagement. Amit is particularly fascinated with the question of music’s ability to engage topical events and participate in the practice of social justice. His music has been performed across Europe, USA, Canada, the Far East and Israel and recognized by many awards.

Program Notes:

Miscellaneous Romance is a modular project based on 'missed connections' ads from online dating websites. These texts are curated and fed to text-to-speech software, generating sound-files which form the base of the piece’s tape part. Live performers on stage interact with these tracks through rules laid out in the score. Each new version keeps this general conception while the music and texts are adapted to reflect the locality in which they are performed. [See video]

Miscellaneous Romance No. 3 was written for Donatienne Michel-Dansac, Lionel Peintre and Richard Dubelski for IRCAM’s 2014 ManiFeste-Académie. As a musical source material it makes use of a quintessential parisian love song, Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose. The percussion part as well as the singers’ improvisations are all based on this song, a part of which also appears in the tape part towards the end of the piece. All the texts used in the piece were collected on Paris’s cyberspace on websites such as craigslist, except the text for the chanson, which appears in a distorted form achieved through repeated automated translation on google’s translator. The piece was created with the support of a Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship.

Marinera by Ivonne Paredes

At the age of 17, composer/percussionist Ivonne Paredes moved from her native Lima, Peru in search of a better education. Upon relocating to the U.S., she studied with renowned percussionists Mike Davis and Beth Gottlieb, and went on to compose under Dr. Daniel Crozier at Rollins College (Winter Park, FL). A Brooklyn College graduate, Ivonne studied under the instruction of Tania Leon. Her music has been performed in South America, Asia and the United States. Ensembles that have performed her compositions include the Rollins College Orchestra, Rollins Choir, the Brooklyn College Symphony Orchestra, the YMCA Christian College of Hong Kong’s Jazz ensemble, and Arturo O'Farrill's Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.

Program Notes:

Marinera is a piece written while Ivonne was still an undergraduate student at Rollins College, but it has been revised recently. It is influenced by Ney Rosauro’s marimba preludes and the melodies of the marinera song Asi Baila mi Trujillana by Peruvian composer Juan Benites Reyes. Marinera is a music style from the northern regions of Peru.

Rituals and Superstitions, I. Antiphonal Procession by Jessica Rudman

Jessica Rudman’s music has been performed across the United States and abroad. Her works have been included on festivals such as the Omaha Symphony New Music Symposium, Composers Now, New Voices @ CUA, the Ernest Bloch Festival, the Electroacoustic Barn Dance, the IAWM International Congress, and various SCI Conferences. Honors include winning the 2013 Robert Starer Award, the 2013 Boston Metro Opera’s Advocacy Award, the 2012 College Music Society Student Composer Award, the 2012 NewMusic@ECU Orchestra Composition Competition, IAWM’s Libby Larsen Prize (2011), and Honorable Mention for the Brian M. Israel Award (2011). She is currently completing a Ph.D. at the CUNY Graduate Center. More information about Ms. Rudman and her work can be found at her website, http://www.jessicarudman.com.

Program Notes:

Rituals and Superstitions grew out of the first movement, which involves a call and response exchange between the two players. The processional aspects of that music reminded me of a prehistoric ritual and brought to mind the role sound can play in religion, spirituality, and even magic. The other two movements (not included here) approach that idea from different angles, exploring the space between fantasy and faith.

Sleeping I am carried… by David Clay Mettens

David “Clay” Mettens (b.1990) is currently a masters composition student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. A native of Covington, KY, he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of South Carolina with a degree in music composition and a clarinet performance certificate. There, he was a recipient of the McNair Scholarship, the top award given to out-of-state students. At Eastman, he has studied composition with Robert Morris, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, and David Liptak, and computer music with Allan Schindler. His orchestra piece Sleeping I am carried… was the winner of Eastman’s 2014 Wayne Brewster Barlow Composition Prize, and received a premiere with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra in October 2014. He was a finalist for the 2011, 2013, and 2014 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and a regional finalist for the 2012 SCI/ASCAP Student Commission Competition. He studied composition at the Brevard Music Center in 2013 and attended the 2014 New Music on the Point Chamber Music Festival. Recently, his works have been performed by the Elon University Wind Ensemble, Café MoMus contemporary music ensemble at CCM, and in Composers’ Forum, Graduate Composers’ Sinfonietta, and Computer Music Center concerts at Eastman. Website: mettensmusic.com

Program Notes:

Sleeping I am carried... is based on a melodic fragment from Alban Berg's Mombert setting "Schlafend trägt man mich," Op. 2, no. 2. I scatter references to this melody throughout, but perhaps most noticeable is the poetic connection between Mombert’s imagery and the atmosphere and form of my piece. In a dream, Mombert’s speaker traverses a great distance to return home, passing over a landscape whose rough outlines and blurry forms appear only in peripheral vision. My piece transports the listener through a hazy sonic landscape of overlapping musical ideas. One idea emerges and comes into focus, only to disappear again, as another comes to the fore. Wispy lines in the strings and flutes wind around each other, and rumbles ascend from the depths of the orchestra. In a moment of clarity near the end, Berg's vocal line appears complete as the bass line of a radiant chorale. This subsides, and the piece comes to rest on an extended melody in the strings, concluding with a final evaporation of the dream world.

Glowing Boy by Ronnie Reshef (music and text)

Ronnie Reshef’s music has been described by the press as “Vivid, elegant... ...smart, and gorgeous” (Houston Chronicle). Reshef’s work spans from classical music to Off-Broadway musicals, concentrating on works for the theater. Her first opera Requiem for the Living was performed in New York city, Kentucky, and Texas, where it was a finalist in 2011 Opera Vista competition. Her musical "Conspiracy!" had an Off-Broadway run at MITF, where it was nominated for best music and lyrics, among four other nominations. Most recently, her opera Something to Live For participated in Fort-Worth Opera’s 2014 Frontiers Festival, and will receive its full production premiere by Boston Metro Opera. Ronnie is the winner of Atlanta Opera 24-hour Competition, Boston Metro Opera Main Stage Award, the Israeli Shirimon Contest, and others. Recent fellowships and workshops include American Opera Projects’ 2011-2012 Composer and the Voice program, BMI’s Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and a residency at Yaddo. Upcoming projects include productions of her short opera Lifespan of a Fly (OH, CT) and a commission of a new comic opera The Great Fall for NANOWorks Opera (OH). Born in Israel, Ronnie now resides in New York with her husband and two sons.www.ronniereshef.com

Program Notes:

“Glowing Boy” is an aria from my opera Something to Live For. The opera takes place on January 27, 1945, the day of liberation of Auschwitz Birkenau, a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Alina, a thirty-four year old prisoner, cannot celebrate with the other liberated prisoners—her eight year old son, Yashke, was taken from her upon arrival to the camp, nine months earlier. Now, she is determined to find him.

While debriefed by American soldiers, Alina tells her war story, starting at the transport nine months earlier, until this day of liberation. In her story, which constitutes the heart of the opera, we hear stories of Yashke and their forced separation, of Alina’s fellow prisoners, and of the cruelty of the Nazi soldiers. In Glowing Boy, Alina steps out of time and sings of Yashke.

Although the libretto was written as fiction, each of the events it describes is based on testimonies and diaries that remained from the war, hundreds of which constitute the foundations of Something to Live For.

Shifting Sands by Saad Haddad

Composer Saad Haddad (b. 1992) focuses on creating works that incorporate Arabic musical tradition in a Western context, both in acoustic and electroacoustic mediums. As a first-generation Arab-American living in the twenty-first century, Haddad is influenced by the dichotomy inherent between Arab and American cultures and how that relationship can be explored through the melding of traditional instruments and current advances in technology. His music has been performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, the USC Thornton Symphony, the Sonus and Argus Quartets, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, and the Hollywood Master Chorale, among others. His most recent accolades include the 2014 BMI Student Composer Award and the 2014 Copland House Residency Award. Haddad holds a Bachelor of Music—Composition from the University of Southern California, where his teachers included Donald Crockett, Stephen Hartke, Frank Ticheli, Brian Shepard, and Bruce Broughton. He is currently pursuing a Master of Music—Composition at the Juilliard School with John Corigliano.

Program Notes:

Shifting Sands constantly wavers unpredictably between the distinctive strands of Western and Arabic music, seeking to fuse the evocative, other-worldly sound of the “maqam” (scale in Arabic) within a Western scheme and tonality. One of the main ideas of the piece involves an undying, repetitive pulse from the piano that sets up an uninterrupted framework for the passage of roving scalar runs that dance all over the piano. In an abstract sense, that music is akin to the monolithic presence of the vast Arabian deserts as a backdrop for the hundreds of thousands of nomads that have traversed their ancient sands.

Sprout by Peter Michael von der Nahmer (text by Greg Moss)

Peter Michael von der Nahmer wrote his first provocative one act opera, Between Delusion and Reality, in tenth grade. This was followed by over a dozen new music theater works and numerous concert pieces. Peter Michael holds a BA in composition from the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, and an MA in music therapy from the University of Augsburg. In addition, he holds a certificate in Film Scoring from UCLA and in Music Pain Entrainment from the Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences. Peter Michael is currently pursuing an MFA in Musical Theater Writing and Tisch School of the Arts in New York City, where he was awarded a two-year Tisch School of the Arts Departmental Fellowship. His music has received many awards, scholarships, and honors and has been performed world-wide. He is currently developing several new works for music and dance theater. www.petermichaelvondernahmer.com

Program Notes:

A prisoner finds a sapling in the yard and observes its growth from his cell.

Never the Same River by Harry Stafylakis

Harry Stafylakis (b. 1982, Montreal) is a Canadian-American composer based in New York City. Described as "dreamy yet rhythmic" (NY Times), his concert music strives for dramatic emotional and intellectual expression, integrating idioms drawn from classical and popular styles. With an intimate background in progressive metal and traditional Greek music, Stafylakis has developed a unique conception of musical temporality and rhythm, infusing his compositions with a characteristic vitality and drive.

Stafylakis's works have been performed by the American Composers Orchestra, Spokane Symphony, McGill Chamber Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra, ICE, Mivos Quartet, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, Cygnus, Lorelei Ensemble, and American Modern Ensemble.

Awards include the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, four SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers, and grants from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2015-16, Stafylakis will be composer-in- residence with Lake George Music Festival, McGill Chamber Orchestra, and the National Academy Orchestra of Canada.

Stafylakis holds a B.Mus. from McGill University. He is a doctoral candidate and Graduate Teaching Fellow at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center, studying with Jason Eckardt and David Del Tredici, and serving on the music faculty at City College of New York.


Program Notes:

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.” - Heraclitus

The above aphorism, attributed to pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (quoted by Plato in the dialogue Cratylus), expresses a view of the universe as being in a constant state of change. A musical analogue to this concept of impermanence is the chaconne, a Baroque form wherein a constantly repeating pattern (e.g. harmonic progression, bass line, etc.) provides a foundation for a process of continuous variation, decoration, figuration, and melodic invention.

Never the Same River is a texture-based composition that attempts to embody Heraclitus’s philosophy of simultaneous constancy and flux. The work is built on a perpetually repeating 25-note theme that serves as a vehicle for the gradual textural development of the musical surface. The five instruments of the ensemble act as independent musical streams whose ever-shifting interactions conspire to effectuate a large-scale rhythmic, melodic, articulative, registral, and dynamic intensification. At the peak of this textural crescendo, the music buckles under its own weight and breaks off into disconnected fragments that struggle to rekindle the musical flow.