2015 Program Notes & Composer Bios – Concert #6: Nomos Group

july-25Nomos Group:
Javier Berbis, flute
Madison Greenstone, clarinet
Chelo Giner, saxophone
Jenny Guerra, violin
Mayte García, violoncello
Jenny Lin, piano
Carles Salvador, percussion
Miquel Mateu, percussion
Carlos Amat, piano and conductor

La couleur de l’invisible (2013) – Rodrigo Bussad (1985)
for violin, cello and piano

In the feudal Japan, ma was the religious act of building a four-wall structure in order to create an empty space inside and wait, so kami(Japanese divine entity) could enter this empty space and fill it with a divine meaning. This silence which is generated in an empty room (space) and the action of waiting (time) generates an action, a silence that precedes something meaningful to be summoned, an active silence, this is ma.

rodz9 (1)Rodrigo Bussad (Sao Paulo, Brazil) is the winner of the 2014 American Prize in Composition category in the Student Chamber Music Division with the work Loin, commissioned by Ensemble Paramirabo (Montreal). Among his works are: Depois da Chuva, winner of the 2013 Frost Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and awarded with the second place at the 2014 American Prize in Orchestral Music Student Division, and Urizen, awarded by the same competition. He also worked in commissions by performers such as Eliot Gattegno, Céline Papion, Vincent Daoud, Allison Balcetis, Svet Stoyanov, Ermis Theodorakis, among others.


Prés (Primer Libro) – Stefano Gervasoni (1962)
I.Pré ludique – II.Pré lubrique – III.Pré public – IV.Prémisse – V.Précipice – VI.Prémices
for solo piano

Prés is a cycle of eighteen pieces, divided into six groups of three. Their main characteristics are brevity and simplicity (more or less apparent), making them belong to the category of pieces for children (in the twofold and ambiguous sense of being performable by non adult pianists or taking their inspiration from the world of childhood). Eighteen small préludes, so small as to merit the name prés, that is “meadows” in French. Thence the underlying theme of the cycle, portrayed in six different ways, three pieces for each one: the apparent carefree atmosphere of a meadow where children play and the premonition of something bad that is about to happen and that the innocent gaze of a child is able to perceive beforehand, with all the sense of foreboding that an adult cannot or doesn’t want to comprehend.

Stefano-GervasoniBorn in Bergamo in 1962, Stefano Gervasoni began studying composition in 1980 on the advice of Luigi Nono: this encounter, as well as others with Brian Ferneyhough, Peter Eötvös and Helmut Lachenmann, turned out to be decisive for his career. After attending the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, Stefano Gervasoni went on to study with  György Ligeti in Hungary in 1990, and then, in 1992, he attended the Course in Composition and in Computer Music organised by Ircam in Paris. His first three years in France laid the foundations for an international career that eventually led him to be “lodged” at Villa Medici in 1995-1996. With commissions from such prestigious institutions as the WDR, the SWR, the Orchestra Nazionale della RAI, the Festival d’Automne in Paris, Radio France, IRCAM, the Casa da Musica in Porto, the Festival Archipel in Geneva, the Divertimento Ensemble in Milan, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Ensemble Modern, the Ensemble Contrechamps in Geneva, the Maerzmusik festival in Berlin, the Ars Musica Bruxelles, the Festival Musica in Strasbourg, the French Ministry of Culture, Milan Teatro alla Scala and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Stefano Gervasoni has established himself as one of the most important Italian composers of his generation. His catalogue – which includes chamber and vocal music, concertos, works for orchestra, for ensemble and an opera (Limbus-Limbo), commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the Percussions de Strasbourg (2012) – was first published by Ricordi, from 1987, and then, from 2000, by Suvini Zerboni. A monographic CD entitled Antiterra, which features the pieces An, Animato, Antiterra,  Least Bee, Godspell, andEpicadenza, was recently released in France by Aeon and bears witness to «a sonic world of great wealth, subtlety, refinement, expressive but also organic, that immediately captures one’s attention» (Philippe Albèra). Other monographic recordings include the Harmonia Mundi CD in the series Musique Française d’Aujourd’hui (Ensemble Contrechamps), the Stradivarius CD by Divertimento Ensemble and the CD Dir-in dir released in Germany by Winter und Winter. Winner of numerous prizes, including the recent Premio della Critica Musicale “Franco Abbiati” (2010), his work has allowed him to be a grant-holder at the Fondation des Treilles in Paris (1994) and at the DAAD in Berlin (2006) and composer in residence at the Domaine de Kerguéhennec during the period 2008-2010. He has also been invited to teach at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, on the courses organised by the Fondazione Royaumont (Paris), at Toho University in Tokyo, at the Festival International di Campos do Jordão in Brazil, at the Conservatory in Shanghai, at Columbia University (New York) and at Harvard University (Boston). He has been composer in residence at Lausanne Conservatoire (2005); he was visiting professor at ESMUC in Barcelona for 2012-13 academic year. Since 2006 Stefano Gervasoni has held a regular teaching post as professor of composition at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris. www.stefanogervasoni.net

Alarido: Atrapada en una noche sin fin (2014) – Pedro Gómez (1982)
for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano

Coldness, fear, darkness. Ruins, dust, destruction. Shots, tears, yellings. The war and its devastating effects contaminate everything in its path, making no distinctions between people, ethnics or frontiers. Within these chaotic environments, women have to withstand the death of their sons in their arms while they could do nothing to save their lives. These women suffer the results of the conflicts as silent and invisible victims in an over-informed world as the one today. “Alarido: atrapada en una noche sin fin” (“Yellings: Trapped in an endless night”) was conceived from the picture that was awarded with the World Press Photo prize in 2012, whose author is Samuel Aranda. This piece of music is included in the project called “VOCES para la mujer invisible”, a “M14 Creación Contemporánea” proposal to invite the audience to think about a lot of discrimination situations suffered by women all over the world.

pedro3 (1)Pedro Gómez was born in Calasparra (Murcia, Spain) in 1982. He has studied Composition at Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid with Professor Teresa Catalán. He has also received lessons from Alberto Posadas, Benet Casablancas, Ramón Lazkano, Agustí Charles, Zygmunt Krauze, Alessandro Solbiati, Chen Yi, Paul Patterson, José Luis Turina, Andrés Valero-Castells and Joan Ginjoan. In 1999, he was awarded with the 1st prize in “I Young Pianist Contests“ at Conservatorio Profesional de Música de Murcia, and, in 2012, his piano work “Ítaca” was awarded with the 2nd prize at “I FIDAH Contest for Young Composers”. In October 2013, he was involved in the “I Algorithmic Composition Meeting” that took place in Madrid and where composers as Gustavo Díaz-Jerez, Adolfo Núñez and Luis Robles (among others) gave some lectures. The music of Pedro Gómez has been premiered at Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid, Radziejowice (Poland), Museo Chillida (Pamplona), Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (Madrid) and recently in the City University of New York, where avant-garde flutist Julián Elvira played his piece “End of the certainties”, for Pronomos Flute and electronics. His current work is focused on the use of mathematical models and physical concepts to articulate new musical structures. In addition, he is working together with Julián Elvira in order to characterise the timbrical properties of the Pronomos Flute. Since 2005, Pedro Gómez is a Telecommunications Engineer by the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, living and working in Madrid.

Sobre uno mismo (2012) – José G. Martínez R. (1983)
for flute, clarinet, violoncello, piano and percussion

The piece is all about pain, pain for what you loose, pain for what is gone and for what will never be. The title comes from an excerpt of a poem by Mexican writer Octavio Paz. It was not used as a literal explanation but as way to set the mood into the compositional process.

 “…soy otro cuando soy, los actos míos
son más míos si son también de todos,
para que pueda ser he de ser otro,
salir de mí, buscarme entre los otros,
los otros que no son si yo no existo,
los otros que me dan plena existencia,
no soy, no hay yo, siempre somos nosotros…”
Octavio Paz – Piedra de Sol

 “…I am another when I am, my acts
are more mine if they belong to everyone,
for I may be, I have to be other,
abandon myself, search myself into the others,
the others that do not exist if I do not exist,
the others that give me full existence,
I am not, there is no me, it is always us…”
Octavio Paz – Sunstone

José Martínez - 2José Martínez – Composer and Percussionist
José’s music incorporates a wide range of influences from Colombian folk tunes to avant-garde Western art music, while borrowing from Latin music, heavy metal, and progressive rock. All these sounds find a place to interact in his music and create his personal sound palette. His body of works includes pieces for a variety of ensembles including orchestra, string quintet, saxophone quartet, pierrot ensembles, and solo and electronics.

Notable recent collaborations include works for the celebrated chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound at the Missouri International Composer Festival 2014 and the Spanish ensemble Taller Sonoro. Other important performances include the premiere of his saxophone quartet Uneven Portraits in the National Saxophone Association at Oklahoma and two upcoming performances in Europe: the premiere of his piece Oh, the Places I’ve Been for Bass Clarinet and electronics in the International Clarinet Association convention in Madrid and his piece They Tried To Bury Us, They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds for saxophone, marimba and electronics about the events recently occurred in Ferguson, MO to be premiered in the World Saxophone Congress in France. Other notable performance was the premiere of his string quintet Looking for the Clave by members of the St. Louis Orchestra.

Jose’s most recent achievement was his selection to participate in the program Next on Grand: National Composers Intensive organized by Los Angeles Philharmonic where the ensemble Wild Up work on his piece Illegal Cycles. There he attended master classes lessons Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, Sean Friar and Steve Mackey.

He graduated from National University of Colombia as both a percussionist and a composer, he is currently pursuing a MM in composition at the University of Missouri. To learn more about José and his works, visit his website www.josemartinezcomposer.com.

Factions (2014) – Vincent Euliano (1987)
for saxohone tenor and tape

Factions was commissioned by saxophonist Bradley Schilit in the fall of 2014. This work explores ways that fixed media can create a sense of extending the capabilities of the physical instrument. Designed in Logic, the sound sources consist of synthesizers and processed samples of acoustic saxophone.

vincentVincent Euliano is a composer currently living in Tampa, Florida. He holds a Master of Music in Composition from the University of South Florida where he was the recipient of several awards including the McGraw-Hill Research Award, the Composition and Electronic Music Merit Award, and the Research Merit Award. His original compositions have been recognized with international performances by Vox Novus (Rio de Janerio) and Valencia International Performance Academy (Spain), among others. In addition to teaching the USF Young Composers Program, Euliano also serves as Adjunct Faculty of music technology at Saint Petersburg College (SPC) and Music Teacher at the Community School of the Arts, Corbett Preparatory School of IDS.

Butterfly Ambassador (2015)* – Adriel Elijah Rondell Miles (1993)
for clarinet and percussion

Butterfly ambassador is a piece that I began in a moment of spontaneity after watching a Canadian news segment about a boy named Jonathan Pitre who suffers from a severe form of epidermolysis bullosa. Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a group of diseases that are a result of a defect in the attachment of the epidermis and the dermis. The skin rubbing against itself causes blisters and incredibly fragile skin, hence the moniker “butterfly children” to liken its fragility to that of a butterfly’s wings. Jonathan and others are recognized as ambassadors for a Canadian foundation called DEBRA; their aim is to spread awareness for people who live with EB, their lives, and their strength. I was moved by what I had seen, and I was compelled to write this piece, though not without the concern of appropriating an issue for my own artistic whims. Within the structure of the piece, there are many small fragmented sections juxtaposed to evoke the physiology of the disease. The melodic content is largely derived from what I like to call “dilations” of the octatonic scale. The octatonic scale features an alternating pattern of gaps (e.g. in semitones, 1212 etc.); I wondered what colors I could get from expanding the gaps by semitones (i.e. 2323, 3434, etc.). From here I would sometimes use the intervals themselves for freer melodic construction, and sometimes use the scalar gestures as is to reinforce the color of each. Broadly speaking, the programmatic and the compositional aspects are the fillips for the piece’s dramatic design.

selfportrait 3-24 (smaller)Adriel Miles is Jamaican-American composer born and raised in Vermont. He is a graduate of Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY and studied with Drs. Jorge Villavicencio Grossmann and Dana Wilson. He believes that the key to success as a musician is diversified learning—being knowledgeable in as many aspects of your trade as you can, never letting mediocrity justify itself, and striving for the most intense professionalism you can.

TAC by Moonlight (2012) – Andrew V. Ly (1985)
for piano and two percussionists

TAC (“Total Athletic Conditioning”) is a gym class held out on the track fields of the UC Berkeley campus. It is “designed to be an ultimate cross-training workout [that] combines movements from various sports, boot camp drills, martial arts and muscle conditioning to improve cardio and muscular endurance and agility.” The early-evening class time usually coincides with the final hours of daylight, but during the winter it begins and ends in complete darkness. The element of darkness adds a thrilling sense of danger to what is already a challenging workout: dozens of people, pushing themselves to their physical limits in the cold night air, all coordinated in motion and yet never in unison with each other, guided only by the poetic light of the moon. This contrast between physicality and poetry appealed to me, but it was not easy to translate into music. I decided on a generally rhythmic piece with two semi-improvisatory sections that focus on issues of coordination. In the first, the percussionists begin at different tempi and one gradually accelerates to match the other; while this is happening, the pianist plays repeating sixteenth-note phrases of mismatching lengths between the two hands. In the second, all three performers coordinate short bursts of activity that are unpredictably triggered while maintaining a steady ostinato at the same time. The “danger” of an unpredictable performance is admittedly less real than slipping or colliding with an unseen object in the dark, but I’m sure the musicians prefer it this way. After all, music, despite the athleticism it requires, is no sport.

imageAndrew V. Ly was born in Kent, WA and grew up in Seattle. He attended Yale College and graduated with distinction in 2007 with a BA in Music. From 2007-2008 he studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Shanghai Conservatory through the U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship and the Chinese government’s Chinese Cultural Scholarship. He completed his Master’s degree in composition at the Thornton School of Music at USC in 2010 and is currently a PhD candidate in music composition at UC Berkeley. His composition teachers include Stephen Hartke, Donald Crockett, Edmund Campion, Ken Ueno, and Franck Bedrossian. In addition to teaching Harmony and Music Theory at UC Berkeley, he serves on the faculty of the Crowden School and the John Adams Young Composers’ Program. For the 2015-16 academic year he will be in residence at the Universität der Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz as the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Austria.