FRANK ZAPPA, (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993),
was born Frank Vincent Zappa in Baltimore, Maryland and began to play drums at the age of 12. He first played in R & B groups by high school, and then switched to guitar at 18. After narrowly graduating from high school, and then dropping out of Junior College, Zappa worked as a window dresser, copywriter, and door-to-door salesperson. With the money he earned from scoring Run Home Slow (1965), a film written by his high school English teacher, Zappa purchased a recording studio. ZappaÕs diverse range of albums Ñ with The Mothers Of Invention, as well as his solo releases Ñ are renowned not only for their bravura musicianship and satire, but also for offending various demographic populations.
Zappa was a workaholic, a perfectionist rock star who eschewed the hippie culture of the 1960s, deploring its conformism, spurious ideals, and drug use. He was a legendary rock guitarist, but an orchestral composer, filmmaker, music producer, businessperson, and iconoclast. His oeuvre includes over 60 albums of music from rock to orchestral, in addition to innumerable films, and concerts.
JOAN SZYMKO, (b.1957) was born in Chicago into a family that placed a high value on education the arts— especially music. She studied choral conducting and music education at the University of Illinois (Urbana, 1978). Immediately after graduating she moved to the Pacific Northwest where she soon began composing choral music to fill repertoire needs of the church and women’s choirs she directed in Seattle in the 1980’s.
Szymko moved to Portland, Oregon in 1993 upon the invitation to lead Aurora Chorus, a 100+ voice community women’s chorus, which she continues to serve as Artistic Director. Szymko founded a select women’s choir, Viriditas Vocal Ensemble in 1994. Leading Viriditas served as inspiration, as she composed prolifically during her years with this group (1994-2002). Equally inspiring was her collaboration with Robin Lane and Do Jump! Movement Theater. She has been a resident composer for Do Jump! since 1995, performing her music with the company at their home theater in Portland and on tour, including runs on Broadway, at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
Abundant lyricism, rhythmic integrity and vigorous attention to text are hallmarks of Joan Szymko’s diverse and distinctive choral writing. Fresh and inspiring, her text selections are as notable as her music. Especially significant is Szymko’s contribution to the body of literature for women’s voices. With over sixty published octavos in print, her music is sung by distinguished choral ensembles across the country and abroad including the IFCM World Symposium on Choral Music (Kyoto) and at four consecutive National Conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. The ACDA has recognized Szymko’s contribution to choral arts in America by selecting her as the recipient of the 2010 Raymond W. Brock Memorial Commission. The resulting piece, “All Works of Love” was premiered at all seven regional conferences of the ACDA in the spring of 2010.
Joan Szymko’s choral music is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing (primary), Roger Dean Publishing Company, earthsongs, Treble Clef Press and Yelton Rhodes Music. Szymko plans to launch a self publishing venture, Viriditas Music Press, later in 2010.
For more info, please visit: joanszymko.com
FRANZ SCHUBERT January 31, 1797 – November 19, 1828) was an Austrian composer. Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies (including the famous “Unfinished Symphony”), liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music. Appreciation of his music during his lifetime was limited, but interest in Schubert’s work increased dramatically in the decades following his death at the age of 31. Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn, among others, discovered and championed his works in the 19th Century. Today, Schubert is admired as one of the leading exponents of the Romantic era in music and he remains one of the most frequently performed composers.
For more info, please visit: classiccat.net
ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (13 September 1874 – 13 July 1951) was an Austrian and later American composer, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School. He used the spelling Schšnberg until after his move to the United States in 1934 (Steinberg 1995, 463), whereupon he altered it to Schoenberg “in deference to American practice” (Foss 1951, 401), though one writer claims he made the change a year earlier (Ross 2007, 45).
Schoenberg’s approach, both in terms of harmony and development, is among the major landmarks of 20th century musical thought; at least three generations of composers in the European and American traditions have consciously extended his thinking or, in some cases, passionately reacted against it. During the rise of the Nazi party in Austria, his music was labeled, alongside jazz, as degenerate art.
Schoenberg was widely known early in his career for his success in simultaneously extending the traditionally opposed German Romantic styles of both Brahms and Wagner. Later, his name would come to personify pioneering innovations in atonality that would become the most polemical feature of 20th-century art music. In the 1920s, Schoenberg developed the twelve-tone technique, a widely influential compositional method of manipulating an ordered series of all twelve notes in the chromatic scale. He also coined the term developing variation, and was the first modern composer to embrace ways of developing motifs without resorting to the dominance of a centralized melodic idea.
Schoenberg was also a painter, an important music theorist, and an influential teacher of composition; his students included Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Hanns Eisler, and later John Cage, Lou Harrison, Earl Kim, and many other prominent musicians. Many of Schoenberg’s practices, including the formalization of compositional method, and his habit of openly inviting audiences to think analytically, are echoed in avant-garde musical thought throughout the 20th century. His often polemical views of music history and aesthetics were crucial to many of the 20th century’s significant musicologists and critics, including Theodor Adorno, Charles Rosen, and Carl Dahlhaus.
Schoenberg’s archival legacy is collected at the Arnold Schoenberg Center in Vienna.
For more info, please visit: classiccat.net
JON SCOVILLE is currently Music Director of Tandy Beal & Company and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Utah. Accomplished composer and dance accompanist, he has toured world-wide and accompanied for many dancers including a partial listing: Glady’s Bailin, Tandy Beal, Ellen Bromberg, Carolyn Carlson, Remy Charlip, Loa Clawson, Lynda Davis, Laura Dean, Bill Evans, Abby Fiat, Phyllis Haskell, David Hochoy, Kelly Holt, Cliff Keuter, Betty Jones, Steve Koester, Marc Lawton, Murray Louis, Cathy McCann, Kathleen McClintock, Donald McKayle, Susan McLain, Douglas Nielsen, Alwin Nikolais, David Popalisky, Shirley Ririe, Carl Schaeffer, Ellen Sevy, Jeff Slayton, Robert Small, Erik Stern, Clay Taliaferro, Doug Varone, Tim Wengerd, Donna White, and Joan Woodbury.
A partial listing of his works include: An Atlas of Shadows (1999 Tandy Beal Salt Lake City Premiere), Looking for Signs At The Crossroads (Instrumental Suite produced and recorded in Rio de Janiero 1998), HATS (1997 Instrumental Suitecommissioned by New Music Works), DEMODEX (Score for Amiens Ecole du Dance, Premiere 1996 in Amiens, France), Clad Only in Green and Starstream (2 pieces for VIVA! a musical circus featuring performers from the Moscow Circus), Aurora (a dance score for Alwin Nikolais), and Ceremonies in Dark Places (dance score for Murray Louis, premiere Verona, Italy) to name a few. PIS ALLER, his most recent percussion score for Laura Dean’s Ultimate Journey premiered in 2000 in Salt Lake City.
Additionally, Jon has received several composer’s grants and has co-authored a book on musical instrument building.
For more info, please visit: asgardprod.com/scovillebio.htm
HYO-SHIN NA, After studying piano and composition in her native Korea, Hyo-shin Na came to the U.S. in 1983 to do graduate work at the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Colorado, where she received her doctorate. After moving to San Francisco in 1988, she met Cage, Rzewski, Wolff and Takahashi, and encountered the music of Nancarrow. At the same time, she made return trips to Korea to hear and study traditional Korean music while also taking a broad interest in the music of other regions of Asia.
Hyo-shin Na has written for western instruments, for traditional Korean instruments and has written music that combines western and Asian (Korean and Japanese) instruments and ways of playing. Her music for traditional Korean instruments is recognized by both composers and performers in Korea (particularly by the younger generation) as being uniquely innovative. Her writing for combinations of western and eastern instruments is unusual in its refusal to compromise the integrity of differing sounds and ideas; she prefers to let them interact, coexist and conflict in the music.
In Korea, she has twice been awarded the Korean National Composers Prize, and in the west she has been commissioned by the Fromm and Koussevitzky Foundations among many others. Her music has been played worldwide by ensembles as varied as the Barton Workshop, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Kronos Quartet, and the Korean Traditional Orchestra of the National Theatre. Portrait concerts, consisting solely of her music, have been presented in Amsterdam by the Barton Workshop (2006), in Seoul by JeonGaAkHoe (2009) and Buam Arts (2009), and at Texas A&M University (2007). New Music Works of Santa Cruz will present a portrait concert of Hyo-shin Na on April 28 in Santa Cruz and April 29 in San Francisco, 2012.
She is the author of the bilingual book Conversations with Kayageum Master Byung-ki Hwang (Pulbit Press, 2001). Her music has been recorded on the Fontec (Japan), Top Arts (Korea),Seoul (Korea) and New World Records (US) labels and has been published in Korea and Australia. Since 2006 her music has been published exclusively by Lantro Music (Belgium).
DAVID LOEB studied with Peter Pindar Stearns at the Mannes College of Music in New York. He currently teaches at Mannes and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. For thirty five years he has composed extensively for traditional Japanese instruments and for early-music instruments. For twenty years he and Kohei Nishikawa have collaborated, and three of his works have appeared on CDs with Nishikawa as soloist. Among his many awards are prizes from the Viola da Gamba Societies of the UK, US and Japan, and from the Andres Segovia Centennial Competition in Spain. David Loeb’s thesis on Japanese koto music was published by Columbia University Press.
David Loeb has composed extensively in many conventional media from solo pieces to works for large orchestra. He has also composed a large number of pieces for Chinese and Japanese instruments, sometimes in combination with Western instruments. He also frequently works with early instruments, again sometimes in combination with conventional ones.
For more info, please visit: philmultic.com/composers/loeb.html
BUN-CHING LAM, born in the Macao region of China, began studying piano at the age of seven and gave her first public solo recital at fifteen. In 1976, she received a B.A. degree in piano performance from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She then accepted a scholarship from the University of California at San Diego, where she studied composition with Bernard Rands, Robert Erickson, Roger Reynolds, Pauline Oliveros, and earned a Ph.D. in 1981. She taught at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle from 1981 to 1986.
Recently appointed to serve as the resident composer of the Macao Orchestra, Ms. Lam was also a composer in residence at the America Dance Festival and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for the 2000-2001 season. She has been honored by fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She also won the Rome Prize and was awarded first prizes at the Aspen Music Festival, the Northwest Composer’s Symposium, and the highest honor at the Shanghai Music Competition, which was the first international composers ’ contest to take place in China.
NAOKO KURAUCHI, is a graduate of the Musashino Music College in Japan. She studied under Hirohiko TAMURA and Tohru TAMURA . Naoko was selected for the 54th Japan Music Competition and received the 2nd New Composer Award by Japanese Society for Contemporary Music (JSCM) in 1985. Naoko was also the recipient of Nao-aki FUKUI Memorial Fellowship in 1986-88. She held a personal music exhibition in 1988. Her “Triptych” for Guitar solo was published in 2001 (JFC) and recorded in CD in 2002. “Dreaming” for Percussion solo, was published in 2003 (JFC) and recorded in CD in 2005. Naoko was selected for the Asian Music Festival 2003 in Tokyo and for the Asian Music Festival in 2007 in New Zealand. She is a member of the Japan Society for Contemporary Music (JSCM) and the Japan Federation of Composers, INC (JFC). Presently she is appointed part-time Lecturer of the Faculty of Music at Kwassui Women’s College in Nagasaki, Japan.
MARK KILSTOFTE, is admired as a composer of lyrical line, engaging harmony, strong, dramatic gesture and keen sensitivity to sound, shape and event. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle as “exciting and beautiful, consistently gripping,” his music has garnered a growing number of awards and honors including the Rome Prize, the Guggenheim Fellowship, ASCAP’s Rudolf Nissim Award, the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship and Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Aaron
Copland Award (three times) and the Gardner Read and Francis & William Schuman Fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, as well as commissions from (among others) the Dale Warland Singers and the Fromm Foundation. His music, performed regularly throughout the United States and Canada, has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today and is heard in concert halls from Moscow to Bangkok.
Kilstofte’s compositional style reflects his interest in everything from Gesualdo to Jethro Tull. His innovative approach to formÑhe is the son of a structural engineerÑresults in a music of tremendous integrity and clarity which can be humorous one moment, achingly beautiful the next.
An experienced performer and conductor, Kilstofte studied with William Albright, Leslie Bassett, and William Bolcom at the University of Michigan where he was a Rackham Pre-Doctoral Fellow and assistant conductor of the new music ensemble, Contemporary Directions. He teaches theory and composition at Furman University, a liberal arts college known for its
dedication to teaching and undergraduate research. His music is published by the Newmatic Press.
For more info, please visit: furman.edu/~mkilstof/
LOU HARRISON, (1917-2003), for fifty years, was in the vanguard of American composers. An innovator of musical composition and performance that transcended cultural boundaries, Harrison’s highly acclaimed work juxtaposes and synthesizes musical dialects from virtually every corner of the world.
Lou was born in Portland, Oregon, and raised in the culturally diverse San Francisco Bay Area, where he was influenced by Cantonese Opera, Gregorian chants and the music of California’s Spanish and Mexican cultures. As a young man, Lou worked as a dancer and a dance accompanist, while studying composition and World Music with Henry Cowell. Lou met John Cage through Cowell and the two students created a wealth of percussion music that freely mingled junkyard-items with percussion instruments indigenous of Asia, Africa and the Americas.
In 1941 Lou began a year of study with Arnold Schoenberg in Los Angeles, followed by nearly a decade in New York, during which time he wrote music reviews for the Herald Tribune under the editorship of Virgil Thomson. In addition to reviewing, Lou composed prolifically, built instruments, and continued his editing of Charles Ives’ music, a responsibility of Harrison’s since 1935, when Ives sent him box loads of scores. In 1946 Lou conducted the premiere of Ives’ Third Symphony, which won the composer a Pulitzer Prize.
Lou returned to the West Coast in 1953, to a cabin in the mountains of Aptos, California. During his 50 years in Aptos, Lou composed 138 works, many that reflect his deep fondness for Asian cultures and tunings.
OSVALDO GOLIJOV, (born December 5, 1960), grew up in an Eastern European Jewish household in La Plata, Argentina. Born to a piano teacher mother and physician father, Golijov was raised surrounded by chamber classical music, Jewish liturgical and klezmer music, and the new tango of Astor Piazzolla. After studying piano at the local conservatory and composition with Gerardo Gandini he moved to Israel in 1983, where he studied with Mark Kopytman at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy and immersed himself in the colliding musical traditions of that city. Upon moving to the United States in 1986, Golijov earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied with George Crumb, and was a fellow at Tanglewood, studying with Oliver Knussen.
In the early 90’s Golijov began to work closely with two string quartets, the St Lawrence and the Kronos. Both ensembles were the earliest to project Golijov’s volatile and category-defying style in its true, full form, and continue to perform his music regularly. In 2002, EMI released Yiddishbbuk, a Grammy-nominated CD of Golijov’s chamber music, celebrating ten years of collaboration with the St Lawrence String Quartet, featuring clarinetist Todd Palmer. The Kronos Quartet released three recordings featuring their collaborations with Golijov: The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, featuring David Krakauer, as well as Caravan, and Nuevo. Kronos also expanded Golijov’s musical family through collaborations with artists such as the Romanian Gypsy band Taraf de Haidouks, the Mexican Rock group Café Tacuba, tablas virtuoso Zakir Hussain, and legendary Argentine composer, guitarist and producer Gustavo Santaolalla, with whom Golijov continues to collaborate. For the past decade Golijov has been inspired by the voice of Dawn Upshaw, for whom he composed several works, including the Three Songs for Soprano and Orchestra, the opera Ainadamar, the cycle Ayre, and a number of arrangements of popular and classical songs.
In 2000, the premiere of Golijov’s St. Mark Passion took the music world by storm. Commissioned by Helmuth Rilling for the European Music Festival, to commemorate the 250th anniversary of J.S. Bach’s death, the piece featured the Schola Cantorum of Caracas, with the Orquesta La Pasión (especially assembled for this work by Golijov together with percussionist Mikael Ringquist), all conducted by Maria Guinand. The CD of the premiere of this work, on the Haenssler Classic label, received Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations in 2002. For the premiere of Ayre, Golijov founded another virtuoso ensemble: The Andalucian Dogs. Together with Dawn Upshaw, they premiered the piece at Zankel Hall and recorded it on a Grammy-nominated CD for Deutsche Grammophon in 2005. In 2006 Deutsche Grammophon released the recording of Ainadamar, with Dawn Upshaw, Kelley O’Connor and Jessica Rivera singing the principal roles, and the Atlanta Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Robert Spano, an artist and friend who has worked closely with Golijov for almost a decade and conducted the world premiere of the opera, as well as the American premiere of the Passion. The record earned two Grammy awards: for best opera recording, and best contemporary composition.
Golijov has received numerous commissions from major ensembles and institutions in the U.S. and Europe. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the Vilcek Prize among other awards. In addition to the artists mentioned above, he collaborates closely with conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya; vocalists Luciana Souza and Biella da Costa; cellists Yo-Yo Ma, Alisa Weilerstein, Maya Beiser and Matt Haimovitz, the Kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor, and percussionist Jamey Haddad; also with young, multitalented musicians such as Michael Ward-Bergeman, Gonzalo Grau, Ljova, Jeremy Flower and Cristina Pato; ensembles including the Atlanta Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, Silk Road Ensemble and eighth blackbird; artist Gronk, playwright David H. Hwang, and director Peter Sellars, who staged sold out and critically acclaimed runs of Ainadamar at the Santa Fe Opera and Lincoln Center.
In January and February 2006 Lincoln Center presented a sold out festival called “The Passion of Osvaldo Golijov”, featuring multiple performances of his major works, his chamber music, and late night programs of music dear to him. In 2007 he was named first composer-in-residence at the Mostly Mozart Festival. He is currently co-composer-in-residence, together with Marc-Anthony Turnage, at the Chicago Symphony. He has also been composer-in-residence at the Spoleto USA Festival, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Music Alive series, Marlboro Music, Ravinia, Ojai, and several other festivals. Golijov is Loyola Professor of Music at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, where he has taught since 1991.
Recently completed compositions include the soundtrack for Francis Ford Coppola’s Youth Without Youth (released by Deutsche Grammophon); Azul, a cello concerto for Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony; Rose of the Winds, premiered by the Silk Road Ensemble and the Chicago Symphony under Miguel Harth-Bedoya; Mariel, an elegy for cello and orchestra premiered at Carnegie Hall by Alban Gerhardt, Miguel Harth-Bedoya and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra; She Was Here, a work based on Schubert lieder premiered by Dawn Upshaw and the St Paul Chamber Orchestra. Future works include the soundtrack for Tetro, an upcoming film by Francis Ford Coppola, and a new opera, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera.
His works are published by Ytalianna Music Publishing. In addition to Ainadamar, Ayre, Oceana, and Youth Without Youth, Deutsche Grammophon will release a new recording of the St Mark Passion in 2009 as well as recordings of recent works. Other compositions have been released on Nonesuch, Sony Classical, Hanssler Classics, Naxos, Koch, and EMI.
PHILIP GLASS, through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.
The operas – “Einstein on the Beach,” “Satyagraha,” “Akhnaten,” and “The Voyage,” among many others – play throughout the world’s leading houses, and rarely to an empty seat. Glass has written music for experimental theater and for Academy Award-winning motion pictures such as “The Hours” and Martin Scorsese’s “Kundun,” while “Koyaanisqatsi,” his initial filmic landscape with Godfrey Reggio and the Philip Glass Ensemble, may be the most radical and influential mating of sound and vision since “Fantasia.” His associations, personal and professional, with leading rock, pop and world music artists date back to the 1960s, including the beginning of his collaborative relationship with artist Robert Wilson. Indeed, Glass is the first composer to win a wide, multi-generational audience in the opera house, the concert hall, the dance world, in film and in popular music — simultaneously.
He was born in 1937 and grew up in Baltimore. He studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger (who also taught Aaron Copland , Virgil Thomson and Quincy Jones) and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar. He returned to New York in 1967 and formed the Philip Glass Ensemble – seven musicians playing keyboards and a variety of woodwinds, amplified and fed through a mixer.
The new musical style that Glass was evolving was eventually dubbed “minimalism.” Glass himself never liked the term and preferred to speak of himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” Much of his early work was based on the extended reiteration of brief, elegant melodic fragments that wove in and out of an aural tapestry. Or, to put it another way, it immersed a listener in a sort of sonic weather that twists, turns, surrounds, develops.
There has been nothing “minimalist” about his output. In the past 25 years, Glass has composed more than twenty operas, large and small; eight symphonies (with others already on the way); two piano concertos and concertos for violin, piano, timpani, and saxophone quartet and orchestra; soundtracks to films ranging from new scores for the stylized classics of Jean Cocteau to Errol Morris’s documentary about former defense secretary Robert McNamara; string quartets; a growing body of work for solo piano and organ. He has collaborated with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Yo-Yo Ma, and Doris Lessing, among many others. He presents lectures, workshops, and solo keyboard performances around the world, and continues to appear regularly with the Philip Glass Ensemble. (biography by Tim Page)
LUIGI DENZA, (1846 – 1922) was born on 24 February 1846 in Castellemmare di Stabia, Italy. He studied music under Saverio Mercadante and Paolo Serrao at the Naples Conservatory. After graduation, he began to compose opera music and his Wallenstein (1876) was received with praise in Naples. In 1884, he moved to London to pursue his career as a composer. He was appointed Professor of singing at the Royal Academy of Music in 1898, and taught there while working on his music. One of the songs that he wrote during that time, the one which became his most popular, is the tarantella-style Funiculi-funicula. Many others, such as Luna fedel, Occhi di fata, and Se have been sung by some of the most important singers in the world such as Mario Lanza, Luciano Pavaroti, Carlo Bergonzi and Rona Tynan. Luigi Denza died in 1922 in London. (Credit: www.naxos.com)
STEED COWART, is a composer and conductor, most interested in the progressive areas of new music, especially American experimental music. His compositions are for an array of instrumental and vocal combinations, electronics and inter-media. Timbre, harmonic definition, hocket, mobiles, and chance are among his compositional interests.
His work has been performed around the United States and Canada by such groups as the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio, SONOR, Ensemble Nova, Mills Contemporary Performance Ensemble, Shakespeare/Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz New Music Works, Heliotrope, the Club Foot Orchestra, the Ellen Webb Dance Company, the Gus Solomons Dance Company, Sincronia, performers Ellen Ruth Rose (viola), Paul Vorwerk (tenor), Curtis Nash (trumpet), William Winant (percussion), Bernhardt Batschelet (flute), Gino Robair (percussion), Andy Connell (clarinet), and at the CalArts Contemporary Music Festival.
Born May 11, 1953 in Shelbyville, a small town in the rolling hills of middle Tennessee. He grew up in the country outside Dalton, Georgia, a textile producing town nestled in the red clay foothills of the southern-most Appalachians near Chattanooga. At about age ten he began school band at the urging of his mother. He initially played cornet, later trumpet, then French horn. Although a resident of a rural community, he had very good early teachers. Herman Johnson, then William R. Lee were band directors who were his earliest contacts with musicians. In fact, his first attempt at writing music was in response to an assignment from Johnson to his sixth-grade band to compose a solo to play for the class. Early in high school he began piano lessons with Richard Winchell, a composer. In addition to piano, Winchell taught him elementary music theory, and sparked his interest in composition.
Cowart’s education included study at Florida State University (composition with Roy Johnson, Harold Schiffman, and John Boda). It was here in Tallahassee the first public performances of his original compositions took place. These earliest pieces included Fanfare and Ricercare for brass quintet, Movements for piano, and a choral work, Dona Nobis Pacem. He transferred to The College of Wooster (composition with Ruth Still, conducting with Marshall Haddock), where he earned a BMus degree. He holds an MA and a PhD from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied with Bernard Rands, Pauline Oliveros, Robert Erickson, Roger Reynolds, and Edwin Harkins. Further professional studies include: the Centre Acanthes 1983 at the Conservatoire Darius Milhaud in Aix-en-Provence for a program devoted to the music of Luciano Berio (Berio, David Osmond-Smith, Stuart Dempster), The Dartington Summer School of Music near Totnes, England (Richard Rodney Bennett, Peter Maxwell Davies, Charles Rosen), the Composers’ Summer Seminars at California State University Long Beach (Donald Erb, Miles Anderson), The Conductors Institute Workshop (The Camellia Symphony Orchestra, Harold Farberman, Conductors Institute Director/Instructor). He surreptitiously attended the Fromm New Music Weeks at Aspen in 1985, hearing lectures and concerts by Berio, Subotnick, Rands, Druckman, Brown, Lucier, Sperry, and the Kronos Quartet.
His musical life has been fortunately and profoundly influenced by associations with some of the most remarkable musicians of our time. After an auspicious meeting over frozen Finlandia vodka chased by Guinness stout during Cage’s guest lectureship at UC, San Diego in 1980, he remained a friendly acquaintance of John Cage until the elder composer’s death in 1992. Also at UCSD he became friends with Toru Takemitsu, worked with the amazingly virtuosic [THE] – Edwin Harkins and Philip Larson, and established enduring and enriching friendships with his teachers Bernard Rands and Pauline Oliveros that are invaluable to him. At each juncture, there have been amazing composers, performers, and musical intellects — either teachers, colleagues, students, or others — far too numerous to name, who have made a deep and lasting impact on his artistic and personal life.
A California resident beginning in 1977, Steed Cowart currently lives in downtown Oakland near Lake Merritt. Since 1986, he has taught at Mills College where, along with Fred Frith, he co-directs the Contemporary Performance Ensemble, and is the Concert Coordinator for the Music Department Concert Series. He also worked at UC Santa Cruz where he taught musicianship studies, composition, conducted the faculty new music group Ensemble Nova, and was director of the new music festival April in Santa Cruz.
Cowart discovered an aptitude for conducting in his mid-teen years. Experienced almost exclusively with conducting new music, his conducting is informed by his compositional knowledge, and vice versa. With the SONOR ensemble at UCSD he was Bernard Rand’s assistant conductor. At UCSC he conducted Ensemble Nova and many performances of student compositions and student ensembles. He led the San Francisco-based Club Foot Orchestra in touring performances accompanying silent films, beginning with the premiere of The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari at the Mill Valley Film Festival in 1988. He has appeared as guest conductor with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and has conducted many ad hoc ensembles in performances of new music. Christian Wolff, Eliane Radigue, Pauline Oliveros, Lou Harrison, Luciano Berio, David Behrman, Luc Ferrari, James Tenney, Bernard Rands, Robert Erickson, John Bischoff, Wadada Leo Smith, Alvin Curran, José Maceda, David Rosenboom, Malcolm Goldstein, Bun-Ching Lam, Brenda Hutchinson, Amy Denio, Philip Collins, David Felder, George Barati, Robert Morris, Olivia Block, Terry Riley, Meredith Monk, and Roscoe Mitchell are but a few of the many composers whose music he has conducted or directed with the composer’s supervision.
PHILIP COLLINS co-founded New Music Works and has served as the organization’s Artistic Director and Conductor since 1982. Collins has guest-conducted numerous ensembles and has performed residencies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and at Vassar College on a Martha Farmer Fellowship. His orchestral and chamber works have been played throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has also composed and conducted for numerous theatre companies and colleges including, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Western Stage, Mount Madonna Players, UC Santa Cruz, and Cabrillo College.
As a lecturer, Collins has been hosted by numerous schools and conferences, including the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the American Composers Forum, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and in February 2007 he lectured in Wellington, New Zealand, for the ACL (Asian Composer League). Awards include: First Prize (Air), 1996 International Clarinet Society Composition Competition; First Prize (Sappho Songs), 1994 L’ARCIM Festival in Montreal; The Gail Rich Award; and Dramalogue Award for Best Musical Direction.
Collins studied composition with Edwin Dugger, Lou Harrison, and Henry Onderdonk. He studied conducting under Nicole Paiement at UC Santa Cruz; classical guitar with Stanley Beutens; and jazz guitar with Jerry Hahn. He holds a Bachelors in Music Composition from San Francisco State University and a Masters in Music (conducting) from University of California Santa Cruz.
JOHN CAGE, (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992), was born in Los Angeles, California and died in New York City on August 12, 1992. He studied liberal arts at Pomona College. Among his composition teachers were Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg. Cage was elected to the American National Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and received innumerable awards and honors both in the United States and in Europe. He was commissioned by a great many of the most important performing organizations throughout the world, and maintained a very active schedule.
It would be extremely difficult to calculate, let alone critically evaluate, the stimulating effect and ramifications that Cage’s work has had on 20th century music and art, for it is clear that the musical developments of our time cannot be understood without taking into account his music and ideas. His invention of the prepared piano and his work with percussion instruments led him to imagine and explore many unique and fascinating ways of structuring the temporal dimension of music. He is universally recognized as the initiator and leading figure in the field of indeterminate composition by means of chance operations. Arnold Schoenberg said of Cage that he was an “inventor of genius.”
LUCIANO BERIO (1925 – 2003), the Italian composer, was born in Oneglia into a musical family. His father and grandfather were organists and composers and he studied music with them both. Although he developed an interest in the piano, the idea of any possible career as a pianist was ended by an injury to his hand sustained during military service in the army, for which he had enrolled in 1944. From 1946 to 1951 he was a student at the Milan Conservatory where he studied counterpoint with Giulio Cesare Paribeni, composition with Giorgio Ghedini, and conducting with Antonino Votto and Carlo Maria Giulini. In addition he worked as an accompanist and subsequently as a conductor in several provincial opera houses. In 1950 he met and married the singer Cathy Berberian, whose vocal virtuosity was to inspire several of his early works.
In 1952 Berio was awarded a Koussevitzky Foundation Scholarship that enabled him to study serialism with Dallapiccola at Tanglewood. While in the USA he also attended the first American concert of electronic music, given in New York by Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky. Between 1953 and 1960 Berio worked for the Italian Broadcasting Corporation (RAI) in Milan. Here in 1955 he established an electronic music studio with Bruno Maderna, acting as its director until 1959. In addition he and Maderna also founded a journal, Incontri Musicali, and a series of concerts devoted to contemporary music, both of which Berio directed between 1956 and 1959.
During the early 1960s Berio developed a career that saw him living in both Italy and the United States. He taught at Mills College in Oakland, California; Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and the Juilliard School in New York City. These posts were combined with periods at the Dartington Summer School in England, and at Darmstadt in Germany. In 1972 he returned to Europe and worked with the French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez in establishing IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique/Musique) in Paris, where he was head of its electro-acoustic section until 1980.
During this period he also took an active interest in conducting, serving as artistic director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra (1975), the Accademia Filarmonica Romana (1975-1976), the Orchestra Regionale Toscana (1982), and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (1984). In 1987 he founded the Tempo Reale, a centre for live electronics in Florence, of which he was artistic director. Here he worked with musicians and computer experts in developing new forms and techniques of musical composition. In 1993-1994, he was Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard University, which was followed by a five-year appointment as Distinguished Composer-in-Residence at Harvard. In 1999 he took over as interim director of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, and was elected its President and Artistic Director in 2000. Berio was a pioneer in the use of electronics in composition and applied advances in digital processing to his creative explorations of the human voice, in combination with solo instruments and orchestra, drawing often from Folk and pop music.
MIKE MARSHALL, mandolin, is one of the world’s most accomplished and versatile acoustic musicians, a master of mandolin, guitar and violin whose playing is as imaginative and adventurous as it is technically thrilling. Able to swing gracefully from jazz to classical to bluegrass to Latin styles, he puts his stamp on everything he plays with an unusually potent blend intellect and emotion Â¨ a combination of musical skill and instinct rare in the world of American vernacular instrumentalists.
Now living in Oakland, California, Mike grew up in Central Florida, where throughout his teens he played and taught bluegrass mandolin, fiddle and guitar. In 1979, at the age of 19, he was invited to join the original David Grisman Quintet. Mike has since been at the forefront of the acoustic music scene, playing on hundreds of acoustic-music recordings both as lead artist and ensemble performer. His 1982 Cd, Gator Strut, is a classic example of a new generation of bluegrass virtuoso instrumentalists forging new directions in this vital musical style.
Throughout his career, Mike has performed and recorded with some of the top acoustic string instrumentalists in the world, including jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, fiddle virtuoso Mark O’Connor, five-string banjo phenom Bela Fleck, bassist and MacArthur Fellowship winner Edgar Meyer, and classical violinist Joshua Bell.
Mike and violinist Darol Anger formed a partnership in 1983, together they formed the band Montreux with pianist Barbara Higbie, bassist Michael Manring, and steel-drum virtuoso Andy Narell. The group released five recordings on the Windham Hill label and toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan from 1984 to 1990.
While continuing to be an active member of Montreux, in 1986 Mike founded a classical string quartet of mandolin family instruments — two mandolins, mandola and mandocello. The Modern Mandolin Quartet released four recordings for Windham Hill Records that redefined the mandolin in a classical-music setting. In 1995, the Quartet made its Carnegie Hall debut and, in 1996, received a “Meet The Composer” grant from the Lila Wallace Foundation.
Meanwhile, Mike had traveled to Brazil and begun his love affair with choro, an indigenous music that is to Brazil what bluegrass is to the U.S. He embarked on an in-depth study of the style that resulted in the CD “Brasil (Duets).” This recording showcases Mike at the top of his form as a mandolinist in duet settings, and features top instrumentalists such as Andy Narell, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, bassist Michael Manring, and keyboardist and flutist Jovino Santos Neto.
Mike has continued to push the boundaries of acoustic instrumental music. After tapping Fleck and Meyer for the “Brasil (Duets)Ã® roject, he collaborated with the two masters on a 1997 Sony Classical release titled “Uncommon Ritual.” The album charted on the Billboard Top Ten Classical Chart, where it remained for more than three months. The follwing year, the ensemble opened the Chamber Music Series 1998 season at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Mike worked with Meyer yet again on the 1999 “Short Trip Home,” another Sony Classical recording with Joshua Bell and fiddle-and-mandolin player Sam Bush.
Mike has two holiday recordings to his credit: In 1998, he released “Midnight Clear,” a solo guitar recording, and in 2000 he recorded “A Christmas Heritage” with banjo player Alison Brown, Darol Anger, mandolinist Tim O’Brien, Todd Phillips and pianist-composer Phil Aaberg. That band, called New Grange, also released an eponymous CD on Compass Records.
Today Mike can be heard on the Car Talk soundtrack recording every week on NPR along with Earl Scruggs, David Grisman and Tony Rice. In addition Mike composed and recorded the theme music for the San Francisco based radio program Forum heard daily on KQED radio.
Darol Anger remains an important collaborator for Mike. To date, they have released 6 albums as a duo on Compass and Windham Hill Records. Together they have also recorded under the moniker Psychograss with guitarist David Grier, banjo player Tony Trischka and bassist Todd Phillips.
Over the past several years, Mike has also been collaborating Chris Thile, of Nickel Creek. The two mandolinists began playing together at festivals, and their performing together eventually evolved into a duo, recording their first album in 2003. The cd, entitled Into the Cauldron, is a mandolin duet project performed entirely on mandolin and mandocello. Into the Cauldron was released on Sugar Hill records, and was listed in the top ten of Amazon.com’s favorite recordings for 2003.
As he does so engagingly in music, Mike also applies his adventurous aesthetic to his two principal hobbies: wine making and food. Already known as one of the best cooks in the music business, he has been trading guitar lessons for cooking lessons from Michael Peternell a chef at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse. “Cooking is quite a passion for me,Ã® he told Bluegrass Now in a 2003 interview. “When I moved from Florida to join David Grisman’s band here in California, it became very evident that I was too broke to afford the food I’d grown up on! So I’d call Mom: Hey, how do you make those roasted peppers? What’s the deal with the sauce?’ Now I make all my own pastas by hand-ravioli, gnocchi, all that stuff.Ã®
Back in the realm of music, Mike is currently working on further collaborations with Darol Anger, performs intermittently with Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile and has just released a CD project with pianist Jovino Santos Neto entitled Serenata featuring the music of Hermeto Pascoal Brazil’s most important musician/composers living today. The Cd has been released on MikeÏ€s own label called, appropriately, Adventure Music.
For more info, please visit: mikemarshall.net
LUDI HINRICHS, trombone and didgeridoo, has been assimilating sounds since he was two. A diverse musician, he works as a recording artist, educator, choir director, arranger, as well as leading his own jazz groups.
Recent collaborations include the performance duo, “Night Messengers” with Terry Riley, and a music/poetry venture with Beat poet Gary Snyder performed at the prestigious Tokyo Summer Festival, in a read of his classic, “Mountains and Rivers without End.” His quintet has played for numerous Music in the Mountains concerts in the past, premiering new works.
In 2007 Ludi was commissioned to write and perform the music for a one-hour NPR documentary, “Saving the Sierra” which is currently being aired over 158 radio stations.
Hinrichs’ most recent CD, “Kairos Kronos,” features meditations on piano, large gong, didjeridu, trombone and voice, and includes the tabla skills of Joe Fajen.
He works with his wife, Karen, on many projects, and celebrates the beauty and intelligence of nature as the ultimate teacher.
For more info, please visit: ludihinrichs.com
LUCIANO CHESSA, as a composer, pianist, and musical saw / Vietnamese dan bau soloists, has been active in Europe, the U.S., and Australia. Luciano Chessa received his Ph.D. in musicology from the University of California at Davis. Previously, at the Conservatory of Bologna, he earned a D.M.A. in piano and a M.A. in composition. His areas of research interest include 20th-century music, experimental music and late 14th-century music, and he has been interviewed at the CBS (KPIX/KBHK) television channel as an expert on Italian hip-hop and by the British BBC as Luigi Russolo’s foremost scholar. His scholarly writings can be found in MIT Press’ Leonardo and Musica e Storia, the Journal of the Levi Foundation, Venice. He is currently working on the first English monograph dedicated to Luigi Russolo, to be published by the University of California Press. Dr. Chessa is also active as a composer and performer. His scores (including a large work for orchestra and double children choir, and a piano and three turntables duo) are published by RAI TRADE, and many are produced with visual artist Terry Berlier. Since 1999 he has been musical program coordinator for the Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco, where he produces concerts of Italian contemporary music.
Furthermore, Chessa has been performing Futurist sound poetry for well over 10 years. His reading of Italian poetry to accompany a performance of the Grammy Award Nominated New Century Chamber Orchestra in San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre in 2000 was granted with excellent reviews in the San Francisco press.
His research on Italian Futurism, which he has presented and published internationally, has shown for the first time the occult relationship between Luigi Russolo’s intonarumori and Leonardo da Vinci’s musical machines. He is currently working on Luigi Russolo Futurista. Noise, Visual Arts, and the Occult the first monograph dedicated to Russolo and his Art of Noises, to be published by the University of California Press in Spring 2010.
Chessa has taught and lectured at St. John’s College of Oxford, Columbia University, Sydney’s and Melbourne’s Conservatories and Universities, the Conservatory of Music in Bologna, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, Stanford University, EMPAC (RPI), among others. He currently teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and collaborates with SF’s Italian Cultural Institute. His music is published by RAI TRADE, the Italian National Broadcast Channels’ music publishing company.
AKINDELE ‘AKIVA’ OLANREWAJU BANKOLE, a German-born Nigerian-American, was introduced to Music theory under the teaching of his uncle Ayo Bankole (1935 – 1976) in the 1970s in Lagos. The unfortunate death of his uncle in 1976 brought his musical learning to a stop. However, in his early 20s, he studied Music formally at Sacramento State University in California, under Professor Luis Clayson (Dramatic Tenor). As a Tenor himself, Bankole began formal singing with the Sacramento State University Opera Workshop where he had his Opera debut in the lead role of ‘Smiley’ in the Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, a story by Mark Twain. Bankole later joined Sacramento City Opera and thereafter, Opera San Jose. As a composer, Bankole writes his vocal lyrics in several languages, including Yoruba (his native language). He has written several arts songs; piano, vocal, choral, and orchestral works; and is currently working on an Opera Lola’s Wedding. In 2010, Bankole composed four new orchestral works, including ‘HaMakom’ a five-movement piece, dedicated to his mother Dr (Mrs.) Agnes Yetunde Bankole, who died on the 21st of December, 2009. As part of his compositional repertoire, Bankole combines his traditional Yoruba tribe tonal and rhythmic melodies with western classical genre, which he calls “Classical Fusion”.