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EARPLAY 23: Intricate inventions
in association with the

San Francisco International Arts

Festival

Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 7 PM
Herbst Theatre

 

The Earplay Ensemble

Mary Chun, conductor
Tod Brody, flutes  •  Peter Josheff, clarinets  •  Karen Rosenak, piano
Terrie Baune, violin  •  Ellen Ruth Rose, viola  •  Thalia Moore, cello

Guest Artists
   Dan Reiter, cello • Ann Yi, piano • Brenda Tom, piano
Eric Zivian, piano • Chris Froh, percussion • Daniel Kennedy, percussion

Pre-concert talk 6:15 p.m.
A conversation with Christopher Burns
* * *
Christopher Burns

Xerox Book (2001)
Chris Froh, Ann Yi


Salvatore Sciarrino
Lo Spazio inverso
(1985)

Mary Chun, Tod Brody, Peter Josheff,Terri Baune, Dan Reiter, Karen Rosenak

 

Hèctor Parra
Trio “Wortschotten”
(2004)

2007 Winner Earplay Donald Aird Memorial Composition Competition

Terrie Baune, Thalia Moore, Karen Rosenak

 

Beat Furrer
Presto con fuoco
(U.S. Premiere) (1997)

Tod Brody and Brenda Tom


Peter Maxwell Davies
Ave Maris Stella ( 1975)
Mary Chun,Tod Brody, Peter Josheff, Ellen Ruth Rose, Dan Reiter, Eric Zivian, Daniel Kennedy


Christopher Burns
Xerox Book (2001)

Chris Froh, Ann Yi

Xerox Book, for piano and percussion, is a pendant to my sextet The Location of Six Geometric Figures. In several movements of the duo, extracts from the larger work are molded and twisted through a variety of idiosyncratic transcription techniques. In other movements of Xerox Book, newly composed materials were subjected to similar processes of compression and distortion. In most of the larger movements, there were several generations of transformation before the music reached its final state - just as a sequence of photocopying will gradually distort an image into something new and unrecognizable.


The duo’s title derives from Andre Barry Huebler Kosuth LeWitt Morris Weiner, a volume published by Seth Siegelaub in 1968, informally known as the “Xerox Book.” Each of the artists named in the title of Siegelaub’s publication contributed twenty-five Xeroxed pages to the project, all addressing the idea of repetition in some way. Xerox Book is my belated contribution to the project. --C. B.

 

Christopher Burns (b. 19--) composes chamber and electroacoustic music. His works explore simultaneity and multiplicity: textures and materials are layered one on top of another, creating a dense and energetic polyphony. Christopher’s work as a computer music researcher is a decisive influence: these pieces are written with pitch and rhythmic structures which are created and transformed using custom software. Beyond algorithmic composition techniques, his research interests include the application and control of feedback in sound synthesis, and the realization of classic music with live electronic or mechanical components. Christopher teaches composition and music technology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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Ustvolskaya photo

Salvatore Sciarrino
Lo Spazio inverso (1985)

Mary Chun, Tod Brody, Peter Josheff,Terri Baune, Dan Reiter, Karen Rosenak

To create the appearance of movement using stasis, of events devoid of context, this seemingly irresolvable paradox is the magical spell given me. Abolishing rhythm, the succession of events unfold from polyphonic groupings like the constellations. The desert unveils its physiology. Islands pulsating with sounds skim over lakes of silence. Amidst the silence we rediscover the sounds of the body and recogize them as our own. At last we listen to them.

Now we hear even the slightest tensions in the intervals as something new. The gestures are emptied of their original meaning and a space is created where the composition breathes far from the usual musical forms. The persistence of events seemingly suspended in mid-air offers the reference points for our ear.

Whereas once the shape of a work had to be composed in a unitary manner, now that desire for form is overturned. The edges of thought simply set alongside each other and the work represents its own compositional process, line upon line, resembling a notebook of broken universes. No continuity, no fragments, no dialectics. Development is avoided, and there is only the suggestion of affinities or relationships between one moment and the next.

A melody of emptiness. Its lyricism emerges but only the aura is felt, almost magically, since there lacks even the most basic requirements for an attempted sequence.

Our mind is generous. It is to our mind that this faint music is addressed. The instrument of consciousness. -- SS

 

Salvatore Sciarrino (b. 1947) likes to boast that he was born free and not in a school of music. Self-taught, he began to compose when he was twelve. His first public concert was given in 1962. But Sciarrino considers what he wrote before 1966 as immature works of apprenticeship, for it is then that his personal style came to the fore. There is something truly special about this music: it induces a different way of listening, projecting a thrilling awareness of reality and of the self. And after forty years his huge catalogue of compositions is still in a phase of astonishing creative development.

After completing his schooling and a few years of university in his home town, he moved first to Rome in 1969 and then to Milan in 1977. Since 1983 he was been living in Umbria. He published for Ricordi from 1969 to 2004. From the very next year exclusive rights passed to Rai Trade.

His discography is particularly large: around 80 CDs, issued by the major international labels, have been acclaimed and often awarded prizes. As well as the librettos of his own works of music theatre, Sciarrino has written many articles, essays and texts of various kinds; some have been chosen and collected in Carte da suono (Cidim – Novecento, 2001). Also important is his interdisciplinary book on musical form: Le figure della musica, da Beethoven a oggi (Ricordi, 1998).

He has taught at the conservatories of Milan (1974-83), Perugia (1983-87) and Florence (1987-96). He has also held courses of specialization and master classes: particularly worth mentioning are those of Città di Castello from 1979 to 2000. Between 1978 and 1980 he was artistic director of the Teatro Comunale of Bologna. An Academician of Santa Cecilia (Rome), Academician of the Fine Arts of Bavaria and Academician of the Arts (Berlin), he has won numerous prizes, the most recent ones being the Prince Pierre de Monaco (2003) and the prestigious Premio Internazionale Feltrinelli (2003). He is also the first winner of the new Musikpreis Salzburg (2006).

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Sunji Hong photo


Hèctor Parra
Trio “Wortschotten” (2004)
U.S. Premiere

2007 Winner Earplay Donald Aird Memorial Composition Competition

Terrie Baune, Thalia Moore, Karen Rosenak

Two concepts of musical flow are contrasted: continuous flow and suspended flow, or static motion. Thus, in the first part of this trio, violin and cello act as propellants of the speech and the piano is almost limited to create ephemeral spacious harmonics of resonance. The timid dialogue that interweave the three leads us through different climactic moments to an end of extreme textures. The roles have been inverted: the percussive attacks in the piano structures a speech each time but cut off and abrupt. The strings are extinguished little by little in the sharp and serious extreme, as if leaving threads of resonance. -H.P.

 

Hèctor Parra (b. 1976) studied in the Conservatorium of Barcelona and later studied composi -tion with David Padros, Brian Ferneyhough and Jonathan Harvey, as well as with Michael Jarrell at the Haute École de Musique in Geneva. He received a Master in Composition from the Paris-VIII University, Annual Cursus on Composition at Ircam and Post-Cursus in the CNSMD Lyon.

Hèctor Parra has received commissions from the French government, the Ircam-Centre Pompidou, the Spanish Ministry of Culture as well as the Berlin Academy of Arts, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Strasbourg Festival and Klangforum Wien among others.

Ensembles that have performed his work include The Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Arditti Quartet, Ensemble Recherche, Musikfabrik, the Philarmonic Orchestra of Liège, National Orchestra of Ile-de-France and Holland Symfonia have premiered his work at the international festivals of Lucerne, Avignon, Agora-Ircam, Stuttgart Opera House, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Strasbourg, San Sebastián and Berlin to name a few.

In 2005 he was unanimously awarded the “Tremplin Prize” given by the Ensemble Intercontemporain and was finalist in the International Gaudeamus Competition. In 2002 he won the “INAEM Prize for Musical Composition” (The National Institute for Performing Art s and Music of Spain). Editorial Tritó publishes his music. Currently, he is professor of Electro-Acoustic Composition at the Conservatorium of Zaragoza (Spain) and composer in research at Ircam in Paris.

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Beat Furrer
Presto con fuoco (1997)

 Tod Brody and Brenda Tom

The underlying idea behind Presto con fuoco is increasing accelleration, which ends in glacial petrifaction. At the end, the rapid runs of the flute are filtered out sounding only here and there as a speck of light in the night, a sound breaks through, the same goes for the piano. This suggests that the imagined catastrophe turns into a kind of utopia. At the beginning the two instruments act without relating and communicating with each other-- the piano plays percussion-like Morse sounds, the flute switches from noisy to soundless movements then gradually closes in on its “normal” sound at the end. At similarly textured passages in Fürrer’s compositions, a language of interaction and mutual understanding can be heard. The presumption that this also symbolizes the occasion of this odd piece (PRESTO CON FUOCO is dedicated to “Barbara and Peter” for their marriage) is, however, denied by the smiling composer. -- Wolfgang Fuhrmann, Translation: Christoffer Lindner

 

Beat Furrer (b. 1954) was born in Schaffhouse, Switzerland. After studying composition at Haubenstock-Ramati Novel and conducting the orchestra of Othmar Suitner, he founded the ensemble “Klangforum Wien” in 1985. His first opera “Die Blinden” (The Blind Men), a commission of the Opera of Vienna (Wiener Staatsoper), premiered at the “Wien Modern” festival in 1989. Claudio Abbado conducted the first performance of “Face de le chaleur” for flute and orchestra. The premiere of his concerto for piano and orchestra “Nuun” was a triumphant success at the Festival of Salzburg in 1996.

Fürrer has been a professor of composition in Graz since 1991. In this city his second opera “Narcisse” was premiered during Steirischer Herbst Festival in 1994.

“I like the dramatic”, says Fürrer. His superposition of rhythmic or harmonic developments with their attendant points of fraction and junction prove to be elements of drama as well as formal structures. --- Christian Scheib

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Peter Maxwell Davies
Ave Maris Stella (1975)

 Mary Chun,Tod Brody, Peter Josheff, Ellen Ruth Rose, Dan Reiter, Eric Zivian, Daniel Kennedy

Ave Maris Stella is based not only on the well-known plainsong but also on this setting of a text by Roderic Dunnett, which I use for my Ex Libris sticker. The nine sections are to be played without a break and the piece is to be performed without a conductor.

It is dedicated to the memory of Hans Juda, the late Hon. Treasurer of The Fires, and our very dear friend. It was conceived as a virtuoso vehicle for the group, where each individual part demands new technical resources from the player concerned. For myself, I tackled the purely technical problem of making so rhythmically complex a work practicable without a conductor, who might distract from the chamber music quality of the thought.

The well known Ave Maris Stella plainsong forms the backbone of the music - familiar in settings by Dunstable and Monteverdi among others, ‘projected’ through the Magic Square of the Moon. Although magic squares are generally seen as permutations of numbers, this is no more true than with bell-permutations, which are memorable by their patterns of courses rather than by chains of numbers. I conceive magic squares originally as dance patterns, whose steps pass through ‘mazes’ and consequently as note patterns, memorable without reference to numbers.

Ave Maris has nine sections, of increasing formal complexity, until No. 7, which has seventeen over-lapping subsections, crystallizing in No. 3 into a simple transformation of the first section. All the previous music is planned so as to spiral upwards towards the climactic ninth section, characterized by slow, irregular marimba pulsations.

For me the work has, retrospectively, as well as its elegiac feeling a specially evocative flavour, in that it was the first large work written through a splendid winter and completed in my newly restored house in Orkney, described by George Mackay Brown as ‘incredibly perched on a high ledge above the Atlantic’.. ---P.M.D.


Maxwell Davies (b.1934) is one of the most significant figures in post-War European music. He rose to prominence in late 1960s with neo-expressionistic music-theatre pieces Eight Songs for a Mad King and Vesalii Icones, orchestra scores Worldes Blis and St. Thomas Wake, and the opera Taverner. Many of his works were composed for the distinctive chamber sextet of Fires of London. Davies was appointed Master of the Queen’s Music in 2004.

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Guest Artists

reiter

Dan Reiter (cello) is principal cellist with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Festival Opera Or-chestra, Diablo Ballet Orchestra and
Fremont Symphony. His solo work has included Leonard Bernstein’s Three Meditations (OEBS, 2000) and Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto (Fremont Symphony, 2002). Dan is also a former Earplay member (1989-90). As a composer, Dan has written varied chamber works.

 

yi

 

Ann Yi (piano) is an active soloist and chamber musician in the Bay Area with a broad range of musical interests, ranging from Baroque to contemporary music. As a soloist and chamber musician, Ann has appeared in the sfSound Concert Series in San Francisco, the strictly Ballroom Concert Series at Stanford University, the Musica Viva Concert Series at Joliet College in Illinois, the Music from Now and Almost Yesterday Concert Series at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and at the Community Music Center in San Francisco as a recipient of the Shenson Faculty Artist Grant.

In addition to giving numerous premiers of solo and chamber works by American and European composers, several of her performances are featured on the Innova Records <541> Music from Stanford Vol.1 (2005) and Vol. 2 (to be released in 2008) and Tazdik Records Catfish (2003).

Ann received DM and MM in Piano Performance at Indiana University and BM at San José State University. She studied principally with Evelyne Brancart, and also with Jean-Louis Haguenauer, Karen Shaw, Alfred Kanwischer and Jonathan Bass. She has taught at Indiana University as an Associate Instructor. Currently, she is a faculty member at Cañada College, Skyline College and San Francisco Community Music Center. Ann lives in San Francisco with her husband, Christopher Jones and daughter, Sonya.

 

 

Brenda Tom (piano) is well known as a soloist and as a chamber musician. She has won numerous international and national piano competitions and has performed as soloist with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the California Chamber Symphony, the Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestra, I Solisti di Oakland, the Sacramento Symphony, the Fort Collins Symphony, the Diablo Symphony, and the Sacramento Ballet Orchestra, among others. Ms. Tom has served as the principal pianist with the Sacramento Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, Monterey Symphony and Santa Cruz Symphony, and has performed with the Sacramento Chamber Music Association, MusicNow, Chamber Music/West, the Cabrillo Festival, the Festival of New American Music, Music From Bear Valley, and the Hidden Valley Music Festival. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Beatrice Beauregard and Mack McCray, and performed in the master classes of Leon Fleisher, Aldo Ciccolini, John Perry, Daniel Pollack, Russell Sherman, Anton Kuerti, and Karl Ulrich Schnabel. Ms. Tom has recorded with PianoDisc, China Recording Company, Klavier Records, V’tae Records, and IMG Media.

 

zivian

 

Eric Zivian (piano) grew up in Toronto, Canada, where he attended the Royal Conservatory of Music. At the age of 16 he was accepted as a double major at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, studying composition with Ned Rorem. Since receiving his degree from Curtis in 1989, Mr. Zivian has continued his studies in both piano and composition, receiving a Master of Music for studies with Peter Serkin at The Juilliard School and a Master of Musical Arts degree from the Yale School of Music (1995), where he studied composition with Jacob Druckman and Martin Bresnick. Mr. Zivian is pianist with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and the Clavion Quartet.

 

kennedy

 

Daniel Kennedy (percussion) is a specialist in the music of the twentieth century, and is a member of Earplay and the Empyrean Ensemble. He received his M.F.A. degree from the California Institute of the Arts and his D. M. A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Mr. Kennedy, who has recorded widely, is both Instructor of Percussion and former Artistic Director of the Festival of New American Music at California State University, Sacramento.

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