Hammer Down! by Benjamin Boone
Darker than Dark by Hong-Da Chin
Violin Miniatures by Robert McClure
Impressions by Ilya Levinson
formula for taking any form one wishes, spell 76 by Christopher Poovey
Gaslight by Mickie Wadsworth
Luftagogia by Gabriel Mălăncioiu
Die Reflexionen des Schattens by Peter Gilbert
Integrity by Ethan Soledad
Bios and Program Notes:
A U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Ireland (2022-23), Ghana (2017-18) and the Republic of Moldova (Specialist, 2005), Benjamin Boone straddles the worlds of contemporary classical concert music and jazz. His 2018 Origin Records release, The Poetry of Jazz, a collaboration with the late U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize recipient Philip Levine, was recognized as “an album of unmistakable… historic importance” (UK Vibe), praised in leading musical and literary publications, featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” voted the #3 “Best Album of 2018” in DownBeat Magazine’s annual Readers Poll (just behind Chick Corea and Wynton Marsalis), and a Staff Pick in The Paris Review.
Boone’s 2020 release, Benjamin Boone with the Ghana Jazz Collective: Joy, has been called “dramatic and explicit” (Downbeat); “jubilant and propulsive,” (JazzWeek) and “one of the best releases so far this year” (London’s JazzFM). This album was awarded #5 “Best Album of 2020” and Boone was awarded #3 “Best Alto Saxophonist of 2020”in the 42nd Annual JazzStation Awards. The Poets are Gathering, also released in 2020 on Origin Records, addresses systemic racism, police murder, homelessness, immigration, war, poverty, abuse, and how not to lose hope. It has been described as “an absolute must – a vector for the reflection of injustice” (Belgium’s Jazz Halo), “worthy of praise” (Black Grooves), and All About Jazz writes: “The union of poetry and jazz has never been so powerfully presented…perhaps best defines the iconic year of 2020. Featured poets include Tyehimba Jess (Pulitzer Prize), Juan Felipe Herrera (U.S. Poet Laureate), Patricia Smith (Guggenheim/NAACP Image Award), TR Hummer (Guggenheim), and Edward Hirsch (MacArthur/National Book Award), alongside jazz greats such as Kenny Werner (piano) and Ben Monder (guitar).
Boone’s classical compositions have garnered national/international awards and honors from organizations such as the International Society of Contemporary Music, the Olympia International Prize for Composition, Billboard Magazine, the National Association of Composers, New Music USA, The American Music Center, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. These works appear on 28 albums and are performed in 38 countries at venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Boone is a Professor at California State University, Fresno, where he lives with his wife, a journalist, and two teenage sons.
Hammer Down! was inspired by jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara, an energetic, flashy, technically brilliant, and engaging performer and composer. In her composition Voice, she plays a single re-articulated note for 43 seconds, as the harmonies around it change and meters shift in a frenetic display of compositional prowess and virtuosity. I played this work for my beginning composition seminar class, and challenged them to write a piece of their own that keeps a re-articulated note going for as long as possible. To provide a model, I did the exercise myself, and the beginning of this piece was the result. Later, when the Verdi String Quartet of Germany commissioned a single-movement, vibrant, and energetic piece, I extended this exercise into what you will hear today. Notice the rearticulated note at the beginning. How long does it last? Also, notice how each member of the quartet is given several solo passages, each trying to better the other. The piece is in a fast ¾ meter, but listen for times when units of 2 or 4 are played against the basic unit of 3 to create tension. The title comes from the visualization of the hammer of Hiromi’s piano hitting the string as she rearticulates a single note, and also from the image of a heavy hammer swinging and striking a surface with great force – which is essentially what I am asking the players to do with their bows on their strings at times. The Verdi Quartet premiered Hammer Down! at Festival Vielsaitig, in Füssen, Germany, August 24, 2017. To learn more, visit www.BenjaminBoone.com
Malaysian composer Hong-Da Chin’s music has been performed by the No Exit New Music Ensemble, Bent Frequency, Ogni Suono Saxophone Duo, Patchwork, among others. Besides composing, Chin is a Chinese flutist and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others. Chin is faculty of Theory and Music Composition at Western Illinois University. For more information, please visit hongdachin.com.
The electronics in this improvisation is taken from another composition of mine written for clarinet and electronics titled Darker than Dark. The inspiration of the electronics comes from the flanger effect which, with different level of depth, creates oscillations with wide vibrato, therefore creating a distorted otherworldly microtonal world that compliments the microtonal versatility of the xiao.
Robert McClure‘s music attempts to discover beauty in unconventional places using non-traditional means. His work has been featured at festivals including NYCEMF, Beijing Modern Music Festival, ISCM, TIES, SEAMUS, and ICMC.
His works may be found through ADJ•ective New Music, Bachovich Music Publications, Resolute Music Publications, and Tapspace Publications as well as on ABLAZE, Albany, and New Focus Record labels.
Robert received his doctorate from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Robert has previously held positions at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Soochow University in Suzhou, China. He serves as Assistant Professor of Composition/Theory at Ohio University.
Violin Miniatures was written in the spring of 2019 while I was teaching a graduate music theory course on reverse engineering theoretical concepts as compositional tools. The three topics were Fortean set theory, modular transformations using MODTrans by Matthew Santa, and Klumpenhouwer networks. All three analytical methods have been reverse engineered for compositional purposes in Violin Miniatures. Each miniature features its own collection of tetrachords. All collections exhibit modular transformation relationships with each other as well as belong to a single network.
Grammy-nominated artist and composer Ilya Levinson lives in Chicago since 1988. Levinson’s catalog includes operas, musicals, symphonic and chamber music, film scores, and original music for theatre productions. His works were performed in the US, Europe, and the Middle East by Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra, Sarajevo Philharmonic, CUBE Ensemble, New Music Ensembles of The University of Chicago and Northwestern University, Duo Montagnard, Atar Trio, violinist David Yonan, pianists Susan Merdinger and Stéphane Seban, cellists Lisa Erbes, Ian Maksin, and Rebecca Zimmerman, West Coast Jewish Theatre, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre among others. In July 2019 Levinson was composer-in residence at Saillagouse en Concert, music festival in Saillagouse, France. Levinson is the music director, arranger, and pianist of the New Budapest Orpheum Society, an ensemble-in-residence at The University of Chicago. Their last CD: As Dreams Fall Apart: The Golden Age of Jewish Film and Stage Music (1925-1955) recorded on the Cedille label was Grammy-nominated in 2016. Ilya Levinson is composer-in-residence with American Music Festivals, an organization committed to promoting cultural exchange and American music. Ilya Levinson is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of Composition Studies at the Music Department of Columbia College Chicago
In the Fall of 2019, I went to Andy Warhol’s exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. I was particularly fascinated by his creative process in 1973 Mao prints. In this work Warhol Instructed his collaborator Julia Martin to make 300 Xerox copies of his hand-traced drawing of Mao Zedong’s face progressively enlarging and distorting each subsequent copy using the previous copy as a source. The resulting copies starting with numbers following 200 show just abstract lines that can be recognized as elements of the original image only if presented back to back with the original. I felt that this can be an idea for a piece of music. In Impressions I followed Warhol’s idea of image distortion using musical means of rhythmic, timbral, registral, and melodic distortions to change the opening theme of the piece. The piece ends with one short sound of the bass drum; a single dot remains from the original image after all the manipulations.
Christopher Poovey is a composer and creative coder based in Dallas Texas who creates music and software which produce rich and colorful sound and encourages interactive structures. Christopher’s compositions have been performed by Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Mise-en, University of North Texas’s Nova Ensemble, Indiana University’s New Music Ensemble, and IU Brass Choir. Chris was a finalist for the International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music Grand Prix and has received a special mention from the Ars Electronica Forum Wallis. His work has also been selected for performance at conferences such as the International Computer Music Conference, Seoul International Computer Music Festival, International Confederation of Electroacoustic General Assembly, New York Electronic Music Festival, and Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States National Conference. Chris is ABD for a PhD in composition from the University or North Texas, has an MA from the same institution, and a BM from Indiana University.
Spell 76 is from Songs from Vessels: Spellbook in the House of Hearts which is a collection of songs from my VR micro-opera cycle Vessels. Each song is a kind of evocative painting, intertwining technology with the sensual, the poetic, and the eerie. Spell 76 evokes a pen cascading a river of ink representing the flow of ideas; granular sampling pulls ideas from the beginning in a current flowing through the end, pulling fragmented memories of the instrumental timbres into the present and stirring them into both real and synthetic water sounds. This emphasizes the friction of writing as a creative process that stems the tide of the artist’s ideas into a crystalline entity- an imperfect and beautiful distillation represented by the frozen timbres of the voice, flute, and viola.
Mickie Wadsworth is a soprano and composer based in Upstate New York. They have written works for solo instrument, voice, electronics, small chamber and large ensembles. Wadsworth’s commissions include works for multimedia (podcasts and short films) as well as works for recitals. Recently their work Lake Song was published in NewMusicShelf Anthology of New Music: Trans & Non-binary Voices, Vol. 1. They have participated in several workshops and festivals including N.E.O. Voice Festival (2021), Art Song Lab (2020), and Electronic Music Midwest (2019). This spring they will be performing their work I’m So Cold at SEAMUS, EMM, Manchester New Music Festival and NYCEM. Additionally they will be attending SPLICE Institute as a performer.
Wadsworth is currently pursuing their masters in Music Composition at Ohio University where they are studying with Dr. Robert McClure. They graduated from The State University of New York at Fredonia with their B.M. in Music Composition in 2021. At Fredonia they studied privately with Dr. Andrew Martin Smith and Jamie Leigh Sampson.
*Content Warning: Emotional and Sexual Abuse*
Gaslight seeks to capture the portions of abuse that are often kept behind closed doors. It explores the conversations and situations that victims find themselves in with their abusers. The text is largely taken from personal experiences of the composer.
Gabriel Malancioiu‘s music has been presented to audiences on five continents in over 270 concerts, performed by prestigious ensembles such as Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, the Slovenian Chamber Choir or the Aventure ensemble, by performers such as Florian Mueller, Gudrun Hinze or Richard Craig, by conductors such as Michael Wendeberg, Huba Hollokoi or Martina Batic. Composer Corneliu Dan Georgescu remarked that Gabriel Malancioiu is “one of the most active personalities, a confident and very original voice in the contemporary musical landscape”. His scores are published by Universal Edition.
Gabriel Malancioiu is a member of the Union of Romanian Composers and Musicologists, of the Executive Committee of ISCM – Romanian section – and of some international music organizations such as Vox Novus (USA), La Villa des Compositeurs (France/Italy), Tempora (France), Access Contemporary Music (USA), Society of Composers (USA). Gabriel Malancioiu is currently teaching Stylistics of contemporary music performance, Orchestration and Musical Analysis at the West University of Timisoara, Faculty of Music and Theater.
The title of the piece is justified by the fact that the main idea of Luftagogia is the experience of breathing, which is also the theme of a poem written by Rainer Maria Rilke – included in the composition. The title also refers to the term glossolalia – a technique encountered in several religious currents in which the exit from the patterns of the rational mind is tried to be achieved by “speaking in tongues” – the emission of phonemes that do not have a semantic meaning.
Luftagogia was dedicated to AUDITIVVOKAL ensemble from Dresden. The unconventional writing agrees both with the basic idea of the work and with the specifics of the AUDITIVVOKAL ensemble – to focus almost exclusively on avant-garde works that favor sonic experiment. By using repetitive patterns, the music also acquires a ritual touch. Few sections of the work focus on the traditional use of the voice, an example being right at the end of Luftagogia, when a fragment of Riener Maria Rilke’s poem appears.
“Peter Gilbert‘s [music] is filled with the ghosts of sounds. He captures a dark, yet hopeful wonder through variation in color, mood, and the semblance of melodies. …Ethereal, ambient, and benignly haunting like a morning fog on the ocean. There is always something hidden, just beyond what is happening, that seems to slowly reveal itself but never quite does.” (American Record Guide)
Gilbert has held artist residencies at ZKM | Institut fuer Akustik und Musik, the Aaron Copland House, Akademie Schloss Solitude, La Mortella, Tage Aktueller Musik Nuernberg, and the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival. Accolades and commissions have come from the Barlow Foundation, New Music USA, the Russolo Foundation, Kennedy Center Education, the Look & Listen Festival, the Third Practice Festival, IMEB Bourges, and the Washington International Composers Competition. He has taught at Harvard University, Wellesley College, Northeastern University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music, and currently teaches composition at the University of New Mexico. Gilbert’s second portrait album for New Focus Recordings was named a Best of 2021 by Sequenza21. His work as a composer, performer and producer can also be heard on Innova Recordings, GM Recordings, Sono Luminus, Centaur, a planned album forthcoming with Neuma Records, and at http://petergilbert.net.
Die Reflexionen des Schattens
[The Reflections of Shadows] “…sich entwickeln…auf mich einwirken…”
This piece is a virtuosic solo for cello and triggered live electronics which moves through a series of scenes, delineated by pizzicato octaves, as follows:
I. A Quiet Force Becoming Audible
II. At the flickering edge of the flame
III. During a dance of sparks
IV. A turn in the dark
V. In a reflecting glow — VI. Above the shadow
The electronics employ parabolically curving delays which arc and sway in constant motion. The work was written for Michael Veit as a part of the Sternbilder series for Theater Russelsheim.
Bold, dramatic, with an exquisite attention to detail, Ethan Soledad (b. 1999) is a Filipino-American composer whose work aims to express emotions in their most raw form. An experienced singer, he incorporates drama in his work, emphasizing the importance of silence and one’s perception of time. Ethan’s music draws from a wide palette of compositional styles and colors ranging from impressionism and neoclassicism to post-minimalism and the avant-garde. His musical style is marked by unapologetic expression, dynamic extremes, and the ability to do more with less but never shying away from doing more with more.
His music has been performed and recognized by ensembles such as The Choral Project, True Concord Voices and Orchestra, Fear No Music, the Beo String Quartet, the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York, Crossing Borders Music, the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble (ECCE), Fifth House Ensemble, and New York Youth Symphony.
His previous composition teachers include Liliya Ugay and Orlando Jacinto Garcia.
He graduated with his Bachelor of Music in Composition at Florida State University 2021 and will be pursuing his Master of Music in Composition at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University starting in the fall of 2022.
For Fear No Music as part of the Oregon Bach Festival Composer Symposium 2021
(Project #1: Social and Racial Justice).
This piece explores the idea of speaking up against racism and injustice and being silenced for it. I portray this concept by giving the flute and bass clarinet the role of the protestor and the string quartet the role of those who would silence them.
Coming from my own personal experience calling out racism the and hypocrisy of a person in a position of power, the most difficult part of the experience was not necessarily the backlash from the other higher-ups, but more so the indifference of my colleagues. For me to so clearly see an issue and be completely livid and to be met with deafening silence and sometimes anger from people whom I considered to be my friends- there was never another time in my life where I felt more alone. Even so, the only regret I have from that experience is that I wish I did more.
Integrity – The practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values.