(click the date above to view this concert on YouTube)
Program selected and performed by Jennifer Page (flute) and Eric Salazar (clarinet) of Forward Motion Ensemble:
Raspberry Twilight by Amanda S. Ellery
Out of Line by Peter Gilbert
Program selected by the 2023 SCI Online National Conference Adjudication Committee
(Melissa D’Albora, Han Hitchen, Joshua Mallard, Robert McClure, TJ Milne, Selena Ryan, and Andrew Martin Smith):
The air is full by Nicholas Cline
Nor Hope by Wenbin Lyu
Song for a Friend by Sami Seif
World on Fire (movement I) by Susanna Payne-Passmore
Site: Yizkor Roza by Andrew Conklin and Maya Ciarrocchi
Unstoppable by Kian Ravaei
Guest Ensemble Bio:
As the only ensemble of its kind in Indianapolis, FORWARD MOTION pioneers the city’s New Classical culture by bringing innovative performances to audience old and new. Forward Motion is an ensemble of emerging artists who focus on performing works by living composers.
JENNIFER PAGE is a freelance artist in the greater Indianapolis area where she maintains an active private studio and performance schedule. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Music Performance from the University of Indianapolis, where she graduated summa cum laude “with distinction”, and a Masters in Music Performance from Butler University, where she studied with Karen Moratz, principal flutist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Jennifer’s portfolio of work includes the positions of adjunct professor of music at the University of Indianapolis, Marian University, and IUPUI, substitute flute with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and a Music Unites Artist with Classical Music Indy. A contemporary music enthusiast, Jennifer is a founding member of Forward Motion, Indy’s premier new music chamber ensemble.
During the day, you can find Jennifer teaching private flute lessons and sectionals in several of the greater Indianapolis school corporations, at various local universities, and at her home studio. On the weekends, you can find her performing with local ensembles for various events and concerts. As a teacher, Jennifer seeks to provide personalized instruction tailored to each individual’s learning styles and goals. As a result, her students have found great success in their school ensembles, local youth orchestras, and various competitions and auditions. As a performer, Jennifer strives for the transcendent, to move audiences beyond the simple enjoyment of music to a deeper connection that begs for contemplation and self reflection. She believes that art and music have the power to bring positive change and healing to a broken world.
ERIC SALAZAR is a professional musician, composer, and educator.
Salazar holds a B.M. in Clarinet Performance from Ball State University and an M.M. in Clarinet Performance from Bowling Green State University. He currently serves as an Director of Community Engagement for Classical Music Indy where he manages, books, and promotes over a hundred and fifty performance events a year in Central Indiana. Eric also mentors and hires 30-40 independent classical musicians annually. With their combined efforts this group brings music to over 100,000 Indiana residents a year, with a focus on people who would not otherwise have access to live music performance.
Eric’s purpose for writing music is to create art that challenges standards, unites audiences of uncommon backgrounds, and connects souls through creative understanding.
Salazar pioneers the indie-classical genre. He takes his classical training and fuses together modern electronics with classical instruments, blending ancient styles with present musical trends. Salazar’s connective approach to performing wins the hearts of audiences as he guides them through explorations of raw emotion. Eric Salazar is a Pereira 3D Artist. He plays on a Pereira 3D printed barrel and bell, and 3D printed ligature.
Composer Bios and Program Notes:
Amanda S. Ellery is a Master of Music in Composition student at Butler University, where she is studying with Dr. Michael Schelle and Dr. Frank Felice and is a Graduate Assistant in the Composition Department. She received her Master of Music Education degree from Anderson University in 2021, where she studied composition with Dr. Caroline KyungA Ahn. Additionally, Amanda was a 2021 fellow at the US-China Music Institute’s Chinese Styles Composition Workshop with composition professor Xinyan Li. She also holds a Bachelor of Music Theory and Composition degree from Butler University.
Amanda has a diverse background and is currently a high school and junior high school choir director, as well as an elementary school general music teacher in Morristown, Indiana. She is also a flutist that plays a wide variety of musical styles and has been mentored by Robby Robinson, music director of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Outside of music, Amanda has written two children’s books published by Simon and Schuster and was an assistant at Disney Television Animation where she worked in the production and writing departments. She believes that her background in writing assists her in generating strong individual voice and personality in each of her pieces. When she is not composing, Amanda enjoys nature by gardening, kayaking, hiking, and swimming.
I wrote Raspberry Twilight during midsummer at my Indiana home. This time of year, I pick the sweet black raspberries that grow on a large bush in my backyard and are a real treat to eat and bake into pies. My favorite time of day is twilight when the woods behind my house comes alive with the songs of birds, sounds of insects, and chatter of frogs. Not so long ago in a different neighborhood in Indiana, my mother would have rung a large bell letting us children know that it was time to ride our bikes home and come in for dinner, when we would talk about our day. As the sun slowly sinks into dusk, the woods quiets and the wildlife and children go to sleep to prepare for another day in the sun.
“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)
Peter Gilbert‘s work combines traditional instrumental writing with elements of improvisation, live-performed electronics, and other media in works for the concert hall as well as for multi-media theater, film, and installation. In his words, he attempts to “become enveloped in a musical experience, disappearing into sound.”
Gilbert has held artist residencies with numerous institutions in Europe and the US including ZKM | Institut fur Akustik und Musik, Akademie Schloss Solitude (Germany), and the Aaron Copland House and festivals such as the Tage Aktueller Musik, Nurnberg (Germany) and the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival. Accolades and commissions have come from the Barlow Foundation, New Music USA, the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, Kennedy Center Education, the Russolo Foundation, the Look & Listen Festival, the Third Practice Festival, the Washington International Composers Competition, Stadtstheater Darmstadt, the Institut International de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges, and Theater Russelsheim.
Gilbert taught at Harvard University, Wellesley College, and the Cleveland Institute of Music, and was co-founder of the Young Composers Program at CIM and its Co-Directer from 2003-2010. Since 2010 he has taught 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, Affeto, Centaur, and at http://petergilbert.net.
The movements of Out of Line deal in some way with the idea of an ongoing, unified line. In the first movement this line punches and weaves its way along, always pushing ahead. In the second the line becomes meditative, with a trailing resonance that suggests a more reverberant, reflective space.
Nicholas Cline – I make music for voices, acoustic instruments, and by electroacoustic means. Deeply influenced by the natural world, my music draws on a broad range of subjects and experiences with the belief that music reveals, challenges, and shapes the listener’s understanding of the world.
I have collaborated with and been commissioned by The Crossing, Spektral Quartet, International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble VONK, Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble, Northwestern Contemporary Music Ensemble, Jeff Siegfried, Jena Gardner, Square Peg Round Hole, Stare at the Sun, Constellation Men’s Ensemble, VOICES 21C, and F-Plus. I studied at Northwestern University, Indiana University, and Columbia College Chicago. I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with my family and teach composition and music theory at Appalachian State University. www.nicholas-cline.com
“Though the air is full of singing my head is loud with the labor of words.”
the air is full was inspired and influenced by Wendell Berry’s poem, “The Silence.” I was drawn to Berry’s meditation on the relationship between silence and speech. However, I felt that setting the text directly would betray the spirit of his words. His poem permeates much of the music, both structurally and metaphorically. The five movements search for connections between sounds from nature and sounds of the human voice—a continuum of noises and resonances brought to life with breath. I am deeply grateful to Constellation Men’s Ensemble for their dedication and artistry in bringing this work into being.
Wenbin Lyu is a US-based Chinese composer and guitarist. The composition written by Wenbin Lyu combines contemporary western techniques with ancient oriental culture. He seeks inspiration from nature, science, and video games.
Lyu has received fellowships from Tanglewood Music Center, Cabrillo Festival Composers Workshop, and Atlantic Center for the Arts. Lyu’s works have been performed at many events, including the SCI, RED NOTE, TUTTI, Alba, Cabrillo, and Tanglewood. As an electronic musician, his works have been featured at ICMC, NYCEMF, EMM, IRCAM, SEAMUS, and SPLICE. His music has been performed by Beijing Symphony, Tianjin Symphony, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Fifth House Ensemble, Del Sol Quartet, icarus Quartet, Society for New Music, Capitol Quartet, Transient Canvas, and Hypercube.
Based on his outstanding academic performance, he was honored to receive the China National Scholarship in 2016 and Donald Martino Award for Excellence in Composition in 2020. Lyu is the recipient of one ASCAP Young Composer Awards and two The American Prize. Two VR movies he composed premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2016. Lyu serves as a composer-in-residence at HAcappella based at Harvard University.
Lyu received his degrees from China Conservatory (BA) and New England Conservatory (MM).
Nor Hope is a piece for soprano and electronics that I wrote in the summer of 2021. The music was inspired by William Butler Yeats’s poem “Death.” The vocalist sings a melody without words, showcasing the radiant high register of the soprano’s voice. Most of the electronic sounds in the piece are generated and processed by programming software. I used the electronics to create a tranquil soundscape that fits the mood of the poem.
In order to present the music at a digital concert during the pandemic, I created a music video that features soprano Stephany Svorinić performing in Salem. The video editing process allowed me to create a visual experience that enhanced the audience’s engagement with the music.
Sami Seif is a Lebanese composer and music theorist. His music is inspired by the aesthetics, philosophies, paradigms and poetry of his Middle-Eastern heritage. His work has been described as “very tasteful and flavorful” with “beautiful, sensitive writing!” (Webster University Young Composers Competition). His latest musical concerns center around the phenomenology of time and of differing degrees of focus.
Seif’s music has been performed by such renowned artists as Mary Kay Fink and Stanley Konopka of The Cleveland Orchestra, and has been recognized internationally by a number of institutions such as ASCAP, SOCAN, the RED NOTE New Music Festival, the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York, the Stamford Music and Arts Academy, the Foundation for Modern Music, the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs, the Cleveland Composer’s Guild, the Arizona Flute Society, Webster University, Abundant Silence, and Warren County Summer Music School, among others. Additionally, he was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra call for scores from a pool of more than 2200 applicants from more than 90 countries. In 2020, he was selected again from a larger pool of almost 8000 applicants.
Originally from the small town of Ashkout in Mount Lebanon, he was born to a non-musical family in Abu Dhabi and he is fluent in Arabic, French and English. He started out at the age of twelve as a self-taught musician, composing and playing keyboard instruments. Not having had access to music education, Seif taught himself how to read and write music by reading theory textbooks. He later formally studied piano, composition, audio engineering, and sound synthesis.
Seif completed his BM in composition and music theory at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he earned prizes in both composition and music theory. He is currently pursuing his doctoral studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Song for a Friend derives its material from my string quartet which I had written a few months earlier. The term string quartet always sounded strange to me as its medium excludes the contrabass. As such, this piece provided me with the opportunity to explore the material of my quartet, all while re-arranging, re-orchestrating, as well as re-contextualizing it for the bass.
Song for a Friend is dedicated to Stephen Castiglione, without whose inspiration and contributions, the piece could not have existed in its current form. I am eternally gratefully for all of his time, help, inspiration, and friendship.
Susanna Payne-Passmore (they/them) is a composer from Philadelphia, PA currently pursuing doctoral studies in music composition as a Benjamin Franklin Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, studying with Tyshawn Sorey. In their music, Susanna experiments with harmony to find new patterns from familiar sounds, integrating intuitive expansion of traditional tonality with new harmonic constructs. Recently, they have collaborated to create new works with Yarn/Wire, the flutist Abigail Sperling, and the Chyornii & Dorado duo, and they are currently working on a new piece for TAK Ensemble. Their current research focuses on live-processing in electroacoustic environments, feedback synthesis, and integrating their harmonic practice within a semi-improvisatory framework.
I began this string quartet (World on Fire) as a way of working through the difficult feelings that I hold around the climate crisis – frustration for the lack of action, cynicism for a devolving political discourse, and unease for the fate that awaits continued inaction. The piece aspires towards a call to action, especially for those with the power and resources to address the situation, but I hope that it may also serve as a space to simply acknowledge our experiences living through the climate crisis today.
Andrew Conklin makes music that engages with American vernacular idioms and contemporary classical practices. His work has received recognition from the Bronx Museum of Art, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, Pitchfork.com, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, New Music on the Point, the Society for Music Theory, the Center for Music Theory Pedagogy, the Society of Composers National Conference, the Lake George Music Festival, and the Florida State University Biennial New Music Festival. A Grammy-nominated performer, Andrew has toured throughout the United States and Europe as a guitarist and bassist with indie rock bands, bluegrass groups, and improvising ensembles. He has also published articles and presented papers on music theory, composition, and pedagogy in Music Theory Online, NewMusicBox, Pedagogy into Practice, and the Society of Composers National Conference. Andrew’s music can be heard on New Focus Recordings and Bot Cave Records, and he currently serves as Assistant Professor and Program Director of Composition and Music Theory at University of the Pacific.
Site: Yizkor is an interdisciplinary project created collaboratively by Maya Ciarrocchi and Andrew Conklin that documents manifestations of loss through text, video, and music. The work exists in three modes of presentation, allowing audiences and viewers alternative forms of engagement. Site: Yizkor is an autonomous video/sound installation, an evening-length musical performance in an immersive projected environment, and a workshop where participants create Yizkor* pages to mourn and commemorate lost people and places.
In June 2022, Ciarrocchi and Conklin, along with a team of American and European musicians, performed the work at the Sichow Educational Foundation, an education and research center in Sichow, Poland, followed by the Centre for International and Interdisciplinary Art and Cooperation in Ruszcza, Poland where they were joined by movement-based artists. Both locations are historical sites once belonging to aristocratic Polish families. The properties fell into ruin in the aftermath of WWII, and their restoration is ongoing. These performances of Site: Yizkor were site-specific, with the musician and dancers performing inside the buildings surrounded by video projected onto the architectural surfaces. Ciarrocchi offered Yizkor writing workshops to the participants, and their writing was included in the performance.
* Memorial books written by survivors of the Holocaust to commemorate people and places destroyed during World War II.
Whether composing piano preludes inspired by mythical creatures, flute melodies that mimic the songs of endangered birds, or a string quartet that draws from the Iranian music of his ancestral heritage, composer Kian Ravaei (b. 1999) takes listeners on a spellbinding tour of humanity’s most deeply felt emotions.
Ravaei has collaborated with performers and ensembles such as Eliot Fisk, Bella Hristova, Salastina, and Juventas New Music Ensemble, and has served as a Copland House CULTIVATE Fellow and a Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Composer Teaching Artist Fellow. In recent months, Ravaei was featured on an episode of Performance Today, America’s most popular classical music radio program. His string quartet Family Photos has garnered numerous awards, including First Prize in the Spectrum Chamber Music Composition Competition, Second Prize in the instrumental chamber music division of the American Prize, and Honorable Mention in the Tribeca New Music Young Composer Competition. DJs know Ravaei as the go-to person for creating orchestral versions of dance songs, including Wooli & Codeko’s “Crazy feat. Casey Cook (Orchestral).
Ravaei counts celebrated composers Richard Danielpour, Derek Bermel, and Tarik O’Regan among his teachers. He is an alumnus of UCLA and the Curtis Institute of Music Young Artist Summer Program.
This piece (Unstoppable) is for the survivors, the underdogs, and those who prevailed when the odds were stacked against them.