2015 Program Notes & Composer Bios – Concert #3: Eastman Broadband Ensemble

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Eastman Broadband Ensemble:
Deidre Huckabay, flute
Sammy Lesnick, clarinet
Hanna Hurwitz, violin
Mariel Roberts, violoncello
Daniel Pesca, piano
Dieter Hennings, guitar


Candelabra IV (2015) – Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon (1962)
for alto flute and guitar

This work was written for Duo Damiana, in 2015. It is part of a series of works united by the same compositional principle and original material. Each successive work is an expanded transcription of the previous one, as the musical ideas undergo a gradual “evolution” (be it as slight variations or more detailed development) in response to the new environment of a different instrumental combination. All the works in the series were conceived as memorials to members of my father’s family, Jews who fled Vienna in 1938 to Tlaquepaque, a small village near Guadalajara, México. Despite this radical cultural transplantation, the family flourished. Hence the analogy to this particular cactus, which grows and flowers even in inhospitable surroundings and so named for its resemblance to the candelabra. After I finished Candelabra III, over a decade ago, I considered the cycle closed, as I had composed one work for each of my grandparents, and one for my father. However, there was, for a brief time, another member in the family: my father’s younger brother Peter, who died while still an infant, in Vienna. Until recently, his ephemeral life had just been for me a little footnote in my paternal family’s history, but I now believe that it was his untimely death which triggered my grandmother’s schizophrenia. This tragedy cast a long shadow in the life of my father, who lost not only his brother, but in many ways his mother too. Candelabra IV was written as a tribute to little Peter. I find it fitting that his piece is scored for alto flute and guitar, two beautiful but fragile instruments, which often struggle to be heard.

Zohn-MuldoonMexican-born composer Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon joined the Eastman faculty in 2002. He received his undergraduate degree in guitar and composition from the University of California at San Diego, and both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in composition from the University of Pennsylvania. He studied with George Crumb, Jay Reise, Franco Donatoni, Keith Humble, and Jean Charles François. Prior to joining Eastman, Zohn-Muldoon held positions at the School of Music, University of Guanajuato, Mexico (1993-95), and the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati (1997-2002). Zohn-Muldoon’s honors include being named 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his work Comala, the 2011 Lillian Fairchild Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Tanglewood Music Center (Omar del Carlo Foundation), Camargo Foundation, Fondazione William Walton, Endowment for Culture and the Arts of Mexico, and the Embassy of Austria in México (Mozart Medal). He has been invited as guest composer, lecturer, and adjudicator by prominent cultural institutions in the U.S. and Latin America, including the University of Chicago, Cornell University, the Ministry of Culture of Colombia, and the Composers Conference, among others. In 2012 he was a Trotter Visiting Professor at the University of Oregon, in Eugene. His works have been performed by groups such as as eighth blackbird, Riverside Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Neue Ensemble Hannover, and San Francisco Contemporary Players. Performances have taken place at ISCM World Music Days, National Public Radio’s “St. Paul Sunday,” Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gaudeamus International Music Week, Academy of Arts in Munich, Festival Internacional Cervantino, and Foro Internacional de Musica Nueva, among others. His recent work has included collaborations with artists from other disciplines. Encounters, with illustrations by celebrated Mexican cartoonist José Ignacio Solórzano (Jis), was composed for a concert series leading to the FIFA World Cup of 2006, thanks to a commission from Globusklänge and Initiative Neue Musik Berlin. Silueta como Sirena, written thanks to a commission from the Fromm Foundation, is based on songs by distinguished songwriter Alfredo Sánchez. It was premiered by the Riverside Symphony, the Tarab Cello Ensemble, and Alfredo Sánchez in 2007. Pluck. Pound. Peel., for soprano and an unusual ensemble of plucked instruments, strings, and percussion, was written on texts by poet Raúl Aceves, for the Syracuse Society for New Music, in 2010.


Failure Studies (2015)* – Brian Heim (1993)
for solo violin and laptop

IMG_1886-1024x1024Brian Heim is a composer, programmer, and live electronics performer whose work concerns the intersections of art, technology, and philosophy. He holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied with Dan Welcher and Yevgeniy Sharlat, and is a second year master’s student at the Yale School of Music, where he has studied with Aaron Jay Kernis, Chris Theofanidis, and Hannah Lash. Brian’s music has been performed by members of JACK Quartet, Wet Ink Ensemble, UT-Austin New Music Ensemble, and Zeitgeist. His music was recently heard at New Music on the Point (Lake Dunmore, VT) and the Walden Creative Musicians Retreat (Dublin, NH). Upcoming projects include an orchestral work for the Yale Philharmonia; a trio for piano, percussion, and trombone; and a piece for four-channel live electronics with lights. In 2015, Brian received both a Morton Gould Young Composers Award and the Leo Kaplan Award from the ASCAP Foundation. brianlheim.com


Fantasy on a Theme by Charlie Chaplin (2015) – Jonathan Graybill (1983)
for violin and piano

The piece is based on a theme from Chaplin’s film Limelight (1952). The theme is often referred to as “Terry’s theme” after a character in the film. This same theme became the melody for Eternally from the following year sang by Jimmy Young. I began the work in 2014, as a tribute to Chaplin for his 100th anniversary of the debut of his tramp character, which first appeared in “Kid Auto Racing in Venice, CA” in 1914. “Limelight” is a biological film, set in London 1914 – his birth town – and explores the idea of the old artist struggling with the changing times and passing the torch to the next generation of artists. The work begins by using intervals and fragments from the opening motive of Chaplin’s theme. As these small fragments and motives of the theme are explored in an array of manners, the original melody is gradually re-assembled. A fully fledged appearance of the tune is stated in the piano toward the last half of the work.

Graybill_3In recent years, Jonathan Graybill’s music has been gaining recognition due to several high profile performances and commissions. Recently, Nightscape, for string orchestra, was premièred by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra with subsequent performances by the Knox/Galesburg Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Butler Symphony. This same work will be released on CD with the Brno Philharmonic this winter. Recent ensembles and organizations that have featured his music include: Kronos Quartet, Oberlin Contemporary Ensemble, Eastman Musica Nova, ImageMovementSound Festival, SCI Conferences, Eastman Chorale, Eastman Wind Ensemble, Indiana University Concert Band, pLAy Ensemble, New York Miniaturist Ensemble, the Hammer and Nail Project, the Meridian Arts Ensemble and the 2009 Mid-West Composers Symposium. He was featured as a guest composer at the 28th New Music and Art Festival at Bowling Green State University. Graybill has taught music theory and aural skills at Ball State University and the University of Maryland at College Park. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, and the University of Maryland.


Cinco Bagatelas Opacas y Translúcidas (2010) – Jorge Villavicencio Grossmann (1973)
for violin and piano

Cinco Bagatelas Opacas y Translucidas was originally written for bass clarinet, violin and piano as a commission by the Festival Internacional de Chihuahua (Mexico) for the Amsterdam-based Trio ToGo. The piece comprises five short miniatures presenting contrasting moods and textures. The titles of the five bagatelles are as follows: Esaltato, Gioviale, Lirico e mesto, Scorrevole, and Statico. The last bagatelle is inspired by “Scott in the Sky,” a poem by Nathan Wasserman, which, in the last line of the first stanza reads: “I walked, blue and rectangular, among the icebergs in the sky.”

Las Cinco Bagatelas Opacas y Translúcidas fueron escritas originalmente para clarinete bajo, violín y piano a raíz de un encargo del Festival Internacional de Chihuahua (México) para el Trío ToGo de Ámsterdam. La pieza se compone de cinco miniaturas cortas de caracteres y texturas contrastantes. Los títulos de las cinco bagatelas son los siguientes: Esaltato, Gioviale, Lirico e mesto, Scorrevole y Statico. La última bagatela está inspirada en “Scott en el Cielo”, un poema de Nathan Wasserman, en cuya ultima línea de la primera estrofa dice: “Caminé, azul y rectangular, entre los icebergs en el cielo.”

jvgrossmannJorge Villavicencio Grossmann‘s music has been performed throughout the United States, Latin America and Europe by ensembles such as the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, National Symphony Orchestra of Argentina, Peruvian National Symphony, Orquesta Filamónica de Bogotá, Orquesta Juvenil Teresa Carreño of Venezuela, New England Philharmonic, Aspen Sinfonia, Kiev Camerata, Orquesta de la Universidad del Norte (Paraguay), Boston Musica Viva, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Pierrot Lunaire Ensemble Wien, Da Capo Chamber Players, Seattle Chamber Players, Jack Quartet and Amernet Quartet. His works find inspiration in a wide range of subjects, from medieval music to Latin American modern art. His awards include a Fromm Music Foundation Commission, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship, the Aaron Copland Award, Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation, Vitae-Associação de Apoio à Cultura (Brazil) and the Nevada Arts Council; the Jacob Druckman Award from the Aspen Music Festival, Copland House Borromeo String Quartet Award, first prize in the New England Philharmonic Call for Scores, and grants from the American Music Center, St. Botolph Club Foundation, New York State Council for the Arts, and Meet the Composer.  His residencies include the Bogliasco Study Center (Italy), Copland House, MacDowell Colony, and Atlantic Center for the Arts. He has been commissioned by organizations such as the Society for New Music, American Liszt Society, Nevada Music Teachers Association, ALEA III and the Henderson Symphony Orchestra. In 2008 he was featured as composer-in-residence at SLAM, Seattle Latin American Music Festival. He has appeared as guest composer in the Festival Latonoamericano de Musica (Caracas, Venezuela) Festival Internacional de Chihuahua (Mexico), Festival Internacional de Música Clásica Contemporánea (Lima, Peru), New Music Symposium at Colorado College and International Society of Contemporary Music festival, in Miami. In addition, his works have been performed at contemporary music festivals in Asunción (Paraguay), Monterrey (Mexico), Musical Premieres of the Season (Ukraine), Proyecto Puentes (Spain) and Archipel Music Festival (Switzerland), along with festivals and conferences in the U.S. He has participated as a fellow in the Composers Conference at Wellesley College, June in Buffalo, Aspen Music Festival and Domaine Forget. Having studied violin and composition in his native Lima and subsequently in São Paulo, Brazil, Jorge Villavicencio Grossmann moved to the U.S. in 1998. He holds a B.M. in violin performance from Faculdade Santa Marcelina (Brazil), a M.M. from Florida International University and a D.M.A. in composition from Boston University. He has studied composition with Paulo Maron, Orlando García, Fredrick Kaufman, John Harbison and Lukas Foss. Before his appointment at Ithaca College, he served on the faculty of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was also director of NEXTET, UNLV’s new music ensemble, and founder and co-director of N.E.O.N., Nevada Encounters of New Music festival. He is currently director of áltaVoz, a Latin American composers collective. For further information, please visit his website: www.shadowofthevoices.com.


Krill (2015) – Gregorio Jiménez (1960)
for cello and electronics

Work for violoncello and electronics based on the crustacean that sustains the oceanic life as it bases of the trophic chain.

jimenezGregorio Jiménez is a composer from Valencia (Spain). He was the founder of the Electroacoustic Music Laboratory from the Valencian Music Conservatory (LEA) and has been its director since 1996. He is a professor of electroacoustic composition and music technology in this centre. He was president of Spain’s Electroacoustic Music Association, as well as the CIME secretary. His works have been presented at various events in Spain, including the following: Granada International Festival; Alicante International Music Festival; Ensems (Valencia); JIEM (Music IT and Electronics Conferences – Madrid); Nits d’Aielo (Valencia); Meeting Point (AMEE); Spanish National Radio (Ars Sonora),etc. In other countries: Futura Festival (Crest-France); the 1st Symposium on Computer Music (Corfu, Greece); Electroacoustic Spring in La Habana (Cuba); University of Campinhas (Brazil); Next Wave Festival (Australia) and Noise Festival (Mexico City); Synthèse de Bourges Festival (France); NWEAMO Festival (San Diego, USA); Cervantes Institute (Paris); Audio Art Festival (Krakow, Poland); Sound Visions (Morelia, Mexico), etc. He has been comissioned from the Valencian Institute for Music, the Spain Ministry of Culture, the Electroacoustic Music Institute in Bourges, and was a guest composer at EMS in Stockholm. He was elected by the SGAE to represent Spain in the Spring Festival in La Habana 2000, and has composed music for other media such as theatre, television and dance. Particularly noteworthy is the series “Vent de Mar” broadcast by RTVV-Channel 9.


Trio Variations (2010) – Carlos Sánchez-Gutiérrez (1964)
for flute, clarinet and piano

Twenty variations for flute, clarinet and piano

The ideas the Swiss artist Paul Klee expressed concerning the structure of art have fascinated me for a long time. Klee, himself a part-time musician, compiled many of the technical features of his work in a number of volumes of inspiring pedagogic value. Like several other composers, I have always felt attracted to what Klee could have called “twittering machines”: the unpredictable mechanisms whose systematic—yet imperfect—behavior is not unlike the “processes” we often find in musical structures. I love to observe clockworks with missing or erratic parts; or a spider who laboriously tries to climb a wall, or one of those precarious robots built by Rodney Brooks, whose “function” is not to fulfill a task but, simply, to “exist”. They are all twittering machines whose image, interestingly enough, often ignites my musical imagination. My “twittering machines”, as expressed in this set, are an uninterrupted chain of short variations: tangible, yet always imperfect, musical “mechanisms”.

Desde hace tiempo comparto con muchos otros compositores contemporáneos mi fascinación por las ideas expuestas en torno a la estructura del arte por el pintor suizo Paul Klee. Klee, quien fue tambien músico (tocó el violín de manera semi-profesional), se preocupó por definir de manera racional—incluso pedagógica—los aspectos técnico-estructurales de su trabajo como artista plástico. Los apuntes, esquemas y descripciones del fenómeno creativo y su relación con la naturaleza recopilados por Klee para sus lecciones en la Academia Bauhaus son una fuente permanente de conocimiento e inspiración. En lo personal, y entre muchas otras cosas, siempre me han llamado especialmente la atención la poética expresión de Klee: “dibujar es como sacar a pasear a una línea”, así como lo que el artista pudo haber llamado “twittering machines”, o “máquinas gorjeantes”: aquellos mecanismos impredecibles, cuyo comportamiento sistemático pero imperfecto refleja los “sistemas” que encontramos en la música de todos los tiempos y todas las culturas. Una especie de máquina de relojería a la que le falta un engrane, una araña que trata de escalar una pared, o un precario robot como aquellos que construye Rodney Brooks, y cuya función no es cumplir una tarea sino, simplemente, “existir”. La obra es, pues, una cadena ininterrumpida de pequeñas variaciones (¿perspectivas?) construidas a partir de mecanismos tangibles pero imperfectos, obstinados y taquicárdicos y que, juntos, sacan a una línea musical de paseo.

carlos-colorComposer Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez was born in 1964, grew up in Mexico, and now lives in the New York Tundra, where he is Professor and Chair of Composition at the Eastman School of Music. He studied with Jacob Druckman and Martin Bresnick at Yale, Steven Mackey at Princeton, and with Henri Dutilleux at Tanglewood. He has received many of the standard awards in the field (e.g. Barlow, Guggenheim, Fulbright, Koussevitzky, Fromm, American Academy of Arts and Letters). Carlos co-directs the Eastman BroadBand Ensemble. He likes machines with hiccups and spiders with missing legs, looks at Paul Klee’s Notebooks everyday, hasn’t grown much since he reached adulthood at age 14, and tries to use the same set of ears to listen to Bach, Radiohead, or Ligeti.