Author Archive

Italian flutist Andrea Ceccomori will perform my Fragmentary Rondo for unaccompanied solo flute at the University of Kentucky New Music Festival in the Singletary Center for the Arts – Recital Hall on Friday, November 14, at 7:30 PM. This concert is free and open to the public. This concert will also feature works by: Berio, Scelsi, Maderna, Ceccomori, Hollos, Rudow, Alon, Dorff, Coluccino, and Campogrande.

Andrea Ceccomori earned a degree in flute performance at the Morlacchi Music Conservatory in Perugia, Italy. He has appeared at national and international festivals such as Spazio Musica, Cagliari, Italy; Nuova Consonanza and Musica Verticale, Rome, Italy; and Biennale of Contemporary Music, Zagreb, Croatia. Other appearances include Darmstadt; Paris; Stockholm; Prague; Sophia; the Logos Foundation, Gent, Belgium; the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland; Concert for Peace, Vatican City; as well as tours of Germany, Spain, Africa and Brazil. In the United States Mr. Ceccomori has appeared as guest performer at universities in New York, Connecticut, Florida, Colorado, Georgia, and Mississippi. In addition to performing classical music, Mr. Ceccomori is a great supporter of contemporary music.

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The Latvian young women’s choir, Sapnis (Dream), will include my SSAA a cappella Beatus Vir on their concert of Latvian sacred music at St. Peter’s Church in Riga on November 11 at 7PM. This will be the first performance of the work in Latvia. Other composers on the program are Ingmars Zemzaris, Ilze Arne, Zigmars Liepiņs, Jāņis LÅ«sÄ“ns, and Rihards Dubra.

Since its founding in 1993, Sapnis has become one of the top choirs in Latvia, having received numerous national and international awards. Led by founding conductor Iveta RÄ«smane and artistic director Baiba Danovska, Sapnis regularly performs in churches throughout Latvia and Europe (Germany, France, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Italy and other countries). Devoted primarily to Latvian and foreign sacred music, their repertoire also includes Latvian and world folk music and classics. Additionally, Sapnis has established close working relationships with local contemporary composers, premiering works by Selga Mence, Georgs PelÄ“cis, Romualds Jermaks, Ilze Arne, Ansis Sauka, and Alvils Altmanis among others. Since 2003 “Sapnis” has participated in choir festivals and has performed concerts in Germany, France, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Italy and other countries.

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Pianist Ana Cervantes will reprise her recent Mexico City GENERACIONES program that includes my Prelude: Homage to Chopin at the Museo Gene Byron in Guanajuato, Mexico on Sunday November 2 at 1 PM.

Also on the program are works by C.P.E. Bach, American Laurie Altman, William Byrd, Englishman Stephen McNeff, Chopin, Rodolfo Halffter, Russian-Italian Olga Gorelli, Brahms and Mexican Arturo Marquez

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Music Review: Percussion Ensemble Quartets

By Peter Jacobi – Reviewer, Herald Times, Bloomington Indiana
October 23, 2008

Always amazing to watch while attending a concert by the IU Percussion Ensemble is the dexterity that its members exhibit, the dexterity along with the command they have over a vast array of instruments.

These young men and women seem to handle with equal aplomb all the various drums, the mallet-struck keyboard instruments, the bells and whistles, the gongs and cymbals and multitudinous other noise makers. When they take to the stage, not only are one’s ears overwhelmed by torrents of sound, but the eyes have acts of virtuosity to marvel.

Monday evening in Recital Hall, director John Tafoya divided his talented charges into foursomes. All of the five pieces on the program were scored for quartets. That allowed an attendee to focus even more carefully on individual contributions and merits. It’s easier to see what four players are doing at once than a battalion of engaged musicians.

Tafoya himself provided one item, a lush arrangement for marimbas and such of the second movement from Ravel’s F Major String Quartet. Since the composer sought in the original version of that movement to suggest the sound of a gamelan orchestra, Tafoya had a head start. His development of the music’s atmospheric lyricism was true to essence, and the players treated the piece with technical dazzle and respect to temperament.

Since the Ravel was written in 1903, it is accurate to say the entire program was devoted to 20th century music. But not only time separated his work from the others treated, those dating to the 1980s and ’90s. There was stylistic distance. One heard, for instance, “Laundromatica Diabolica” (“The Devil’s Laundromat”), composed in 1999 by a young man, Chappell Kingsland, studying in the Jacobs School, who was present to receive audience accolades. Kingsland employed drum sets and mallet instruments in such a manner that one almost believed, even though scores were visible and used, that the music was improvisational, like in an extemporized jazz session, way far different from the Ravel.

Charles Griffin’s 1998 “Persistence of Past Chemistries” opened the concert, a composition of teasing rhythms for mallet keyboards intermingling jazz with the repetitive nature of minimalism. Again, as throughout the hour, the four musicians, unidentified, accomplished wondrous feats of coordination and sound production. Those mallets moved so fast they almost disappeared before one’s eyes.

An Australian composer, Nigel Westlake, used a Paul Klee painting as inspiration for his 1984 “Omphala Centric Lecture,” a more jarring yet also intriguing piece developed in fragmented tonal bursts. The concert came to a close with David Hollinden’s “The Whole Toy Laid Down,” premiered in 1994, a work that required of its four musicians an almost terrifying intensity of performance in terms of pace and rhythmic complexity. The requirements were nimbly and vigorously met.

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The Indiana University Percussion Ensemble (John Tafoya, Director; Kevin Bobo, Co-Director) will perform my The Persistence of Past Chemistries,” written entirely for wood instruments, on October 20 at 7PM in the Indiana University Recital Hall.

The repertoire for this concert will all be works for percussion quartet and will also include: Omphalo Centric Lecture by Nigel Westlake; The Whole Toy Laid Down by David Hollinden; and Chappell Kingsland’s Laundromatica Diabolica.

The purpose of the IU Percussion Ensemble is to cultivate sensitive chamber music skills and to investigate and employ the appropriate performance techniques on all percussion instruments. The ensemble performs a balance of historically relevant repertoire and contemporary works for small, non-conducted ensembles as well as large compositions.

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Pianist Ana Cervantes will perform my Prelude: Homage to Chopin in her program GENERACIONES on Sunday 12 October in the Sala Ponce in the Bellas Artes Palace in Mexico City, as part of a Piano Series presented by the National Coordination of Music and Opera.

According to Ana’s Press Release: “The idea is that –just like us– music has its great-aunts, its great-great-grandparents, in short, its forebears. That the music which today is being written –just like us– doesn’t come from nowhere. With that idea I hope to draw some lines of connection as interesting as they will be enjoyable.” The program will consist of the following musical groupings:

• CPE Bach (1714-1788) – Sonata “Prusiana” # en do mayor and Laurie Altman (USA, 1946) – Fuga y solilóquio
• William Byrd (England, 1543-1623) – Pavana “Delight” and Stephen McNeff (UK, 1953) – Pavana (a la manera antigua) para doña Susanita
• Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) – Nocturno Opus 9 #1; Rodolfo Halffter (Spain/Mexico, 1899-1987) – Nocturno: Homenaje a Arturo Rubinstein; and Charles Griffin (USA, 1968) – Preludio: Homenaje a Chopin
• Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) – 3 Intermezzi, opus 118 and Arturo Márquez (México, 1950) Días de mar y río

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During the three-day concert series Czech-American Music Bridges, pianist Hugh Sung will perform my Vernacular Dances, as part of a concert lecture entitled “Visual Recital: New Technologies for Performers and Teachers,” on September 30 at 7PM, at the Wallenstein Palace in Prague.

Hugh will demonstrate new techniques for using technology to enhance music pedagogy and performance. Key technologies featured will include the Tablet PC for reading, storing, and annotating music scores, as well as hands-free page turning devices; mobile recording solutions for audio editing and pedagogy; techniques for integrating video in teaching situations; and the Visual Recital which explores techniques for combining responsive imagery and animation within live music performance settings.

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Lithuanian saxophonist ArvÄ«ds Kazlausks will join the Sinfonietta Riga String Quartet (Aleksejs Bahirs – Violin I; Agnese Kanniņa-Liepiņa – Violin II; Liene Kļava – Viola; and Kārlis Klotiņš – Cello) at 6pm on September 15th at Talsu Tautas Nams (The National House of Talsi) for a concert that will include my for the straight way was lost (in a version for alto saxophone and viola) as well as works by Mozart, Wolfgang Bottenberg and ArvÄ«ds Malcis.

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The Longford Brown Piano Duo will give the London premiere of the full suite of my pieces for piano four-hands From the Faraway Nearby, inspired by paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe on September 11 at 7:30 PM as part of the Chelsea Schubert Festival. (Holy Trinity Sloane Square, London SW1X 9BZ; Tickets: £15 (£12 concessions) available in advance: 020 2230 7270)

The concert program will also include Schubert’s Grand Duo Sonata in C, D 812 and selections from Schmitt’s Feuillets de Voyage, Op 26

Earlier this year, the duo competed in the semi-finals of the Dranoff International Two-Piano Competition in Miami. They wrote in their publicity for this concert at the Chelsea Schubert Festival, “This concert will include the London premiere performance of a fantastic set of pieces by the American composer Charles B. Griffin (now resident in Latvia), From the Faraway Nearby: Homage to Georgia O’Keeffe. We love this music – it’s hypnotic, provocative and audacious and we are looking forward to welcoming the composer to this concert.” I leave for London tomorrow!

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Joanna Sleight and Rufus Frowde will include my The Sciences Sing A Lullaby, one from the set of songs called Shifting Coastlines at the Chequer Mead Community Arts Centre in London at 1:30 on August 12.

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