Posts Tagged “Concert Announcement”

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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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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foto11.jpgThe Boston-based and Riga-based women’s vocal ensembles Tapestry and Putni will come together for a concert evening featuring Baltic and Celtic music traditions, including the premiere of my Duan Amhairghine (Song of Amergin), a setting of a 12th century poem in old Irish Gaelic for violin, cello, percussion and the combined forces of Putni and Tapestry. The piece was commissioned for this concert by the VKKF (State Culture Capital Fund) of Latvia. The concert will take place on Friday, June 13 at 7PM at St. John’s Church in Riga, Latvia.
Other composers on the program include Robert Kyr and James Falzone. Guest performers include Shira Kammen (violin, USA), Ivars Bezprozvanovs (cello, Latvia)
and myself on percussion, playing the native Latvian shamanabunga for my piece and the doumbek on James Falzone’s Beri’ah.

The Boston-based TAPESTRY and the Latvian ensemble PUTNI are renowned not only for their vocal splendor, but also for their ambitious programming of traditional and contemporary works. The groups will sing separately and together in specially arranged selections, including new works composed by Latvian and American composers.

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The Manhattan Choral Ensemble, directed by Tom Cunningham, will premiere my Lux Aeterna as part of a concert featuring Sergei Rachmaninoff’s masterpiece, All-Night Vigil (more commonly known as his Vespers), at Holy Trinity Church (213 West 82nd St.) in New York City on June 6 and 7. Both concerts will take place at 8PM. Ticket are $15, $12 (students and seniors) and can be purchased via Paypal at the MCE website by clicking here. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

The psalm texts of Vespers, one of the crowning achievements in Russian sacred music, are sung in the ancient Church Slavonic to music rooted in the traditional Znamenny chants of the Russian Orthodox Church, but infused with the transcendent romanticism of Rachmaninoff. This well-loved work features the famous Bogoroditse Devo and the hymn Rachmaninoff wished to have sung at his funeral, Nine otpushchayeshi. My Lux Aeterna, which uses portions of a Znammeny Communion Chant, was commissioned by MCE as part of their ongoing New Music for New York commissioning project, and was written specifically to complement this Vespers program. You can read more about how the piece developed here.

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rrm.jpgPianist Ana Cervantes will close the 19th edition of the Raritan River Festival, USA on Saturday 31 May at 7:30PM in the Clinton Presbyterian Church in Clinton, NJ.

Joining her will be Mexican poet Lirio Garduño and New Jersey poet David Herrstrom, for a recital of music of Rumor de Páramo / Murmurs from the Wasteland. Rumor de Páramo is the international commissioning project, homage to landmark Mexican writer and photographer Juan Rulfo (1917-1986) in which Cervantes asked composers – from México, Spain, the USA, Great Britain and Brazil- for a solo piano piece inspired in Rulfo’s work. The result, over 3 years and 2 CDs, says Cervantes, is “a splendid body of 23 new works for the piano.” On the 31st, Garduño and Herrstrom will join the eloquent spoken word with the music it inspired, reading excerpts from Rulfo’s writing.

The concert will include my contribution to the project, Murmuring in Comala, as well as works by Federico Ibarra (México, 1946); Anne LeBaron (EUA, 1953); Arturo Márquez (México, 1950); Ramón Montes de Oca (México, 1953-2006); and Horacio Uribe (México, 1970).

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The string quartet members of the Griffin Ensemble will perform my Set fire to have light at the Jazepa Cathedral in Liepāja, Latvia, on May 31 at 4PM as part of a program that will also include works by Haydn and Brahms. The quartet members, all musicians in the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, are Baiba Lasmane and Ginta Alžāne, Violins; Tatjana Borovika, Viola; and Dina Puķite, cello.

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The Cantala Women’s Choir of the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music will perform my The Moon of the Floating World, an a cappella setting for women’s voices in eight parts of a haiku by Ihara Saikaku (1642-1693). Conducted by Phillip A. Swan, the choir will perform in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin on May 30 at 8PM.

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westchesterphil2.jpgMy Concerto for Chamber Orchestra will be given its World Premiere performance by the Westchester Chamber Orchestra, Barry Charles Hoffman, founder and Artistic Director, on Saturday, May 3 at 8 PM. The Premiere will be given at Christopher J. Murphy Auditorium in the Murphy Science Building, corner of Summit and North Avenues, on the campus of Iona College in New Rochelle, New York.

The concert will also include the “Composers of the Future” showcase of children’s compositions from WCO’s collaboration with New Rochelle’s Songcatchers after-school program. In addition, the Orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in C Major, op. 21. This concert series is sponsored in part by the Iona College Council on the Arts through the generosity of JoAnn and Joseph M. Murphy and the Baron Lambert Fund.

Tickets for the May 3 concert are $35 for general admission, $30 for seniors (65+) and $15 for students. For more information or tickets, call (914) 654-4WCO (4926), or e-mail

The Westchester Chamber Orchestra is a fully professional orchestra, quickly becoming known in and outside of Westchester County for its first rate and inspiring performances, world class soloists, innovative programming and its World Premieres of meaningful new works it has commissioned. Now beginning its seventh season at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, the WCO was founded in 1984 by its Artistic Director, Barry Charles Hoffman. For many years the WCO gave its concerts at various sites throughout Westchester County and in 1994 began its association with Iona College.

Composer Charles Griffin and Conductor Barry Hoffman Discuss the New Concerto for Chamber Orchestra:

Barry HoffmanWhat makes this a Concerto for Orchestra?

Charles Griffin – When you first approached me about the piece, it was your suggestion that I write a Concerto for Chamber Orchestra. Because the request was not for a solo concerto (traditional association with the term “Concerto” is a Romantic one, evoking soloistic virtuosity and the kind of potential for drama that arises from pitting the soloist against the full orchestra), I was forced to consider other, arguably atypical models. I say arguably, because composers’ conception of the Concerto as a form has in fact gradually evolved over the centuries to allow for something much looser in the 21st Century anyway. Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra of 1943, for example, treats the Orchestra itself as the virtuoso instrument, with each section of instruments featured in a soloistic or virtuosic way. The Concerto as a form originates in the Baroque Era, and at that time, composers more often than not conceived of drama in the Concerto not so much by pitting a soloist against the rest of the orchestra, but rather by contrasting smaller groups of instruments against each other.

In the end, I decided on a blend of Baroque and 20th/21st Century conceptions. There are passages that are virtuosic for the orchestra as an instrument a la Bartok, but I also tried to treat orchestral color as a component of this, striving to create a wide variety of colors over the course of the piece. Every individual wind and brass player, and also the timpanist each gets at least one solo at some point. Individual string players are also given solos, and the various sections of strings have prominent solos or duos. One more note on the solos and the question of virtuosity: I think it’s important to point out that musical virtuosity is expressed by performers not exclusively by the ability to master extraordinarily difficult passages, but rather to bring their full musicality to bear on any passage, whether it’s simple or not.

B.H.Why did you choose the baroque dance suite form?

C.G. – I was on a Bach kick last year. I was listening, reading about and playing through lots of Bach. For me, as with many composers, Bach is a life-long mentor and sustainer, one of the ones to go back to for subconscious composition lessons from time to time. I started every day for about 6 months by playing through some Chorales. During this period I became interested in Bach’s Suites, and the idea of artistic and intellectual commerce flowing throughout Europe at that time. The Baroque Dance Suite by the time of Bach became a semi-standardized multi-movement work whose non-variable core included the Allemand (a stately German dance in 4/4 time), the Courante (a lively French or Italian dance in 3/4), the Sarabande (a slow Spanish dance in 3/4), and the Gigue (a lively English dance in 6/8). There are many variable additions to the Suite, including Overtures, Minuets, Gavottes, etc. While in the traditional suite, all the pieces are related by key, they are not related thematically.

Since one of my major composerly preoccupations is with non-Western and folk musics, it struck me that the international nature of the Baroque Suite might make an interesting vehicle for the creation of a suite of pieces that explore elements of world and folk musics.

B.H.In your program notes, you talk about composing the piece, “with a contemporary eye toward the meaning of internationalism today.” Do you feel you accomplished this? If so, how?

C.G. – The original plan was to write a five movement suite, beginning with an Overture. As I was writing, I realized that the piece was getting long. After I’d completed four movements of the planned five, I realized I’d already had approximately 26 minutes of music. You stopped me (for now) from writing a fifth movement, which will eventually be located in the spot between the current 2nd and 3rd movments.

Movement I – Trance Overture. After a muscular opening featuring a big role for the timpani and aggressive writing for the brass and strings, it quickly moves to a hypnotic expansion of the opening ideas that employs (in the winds and strings) some of the rhythmic interlocking characteristic of Indonesian and Balinese music for Gamelan. Download a perusal copy of Movement I here.

Movement II – Pavane. The Pavane, along with the Tombeau, is a French relative of the Allemande, which was typically the first proper movement of the Suite. An Allemande is typically in 2/4 or 4/4, unsyncopated, and builds from smaller fragments into a larger work. Here, I took a 13th Century anonymous Hymn tune called Novus Miles Sequitur, most likely of British origin and similarly build the piece from smaller fragments or phrases. This is the most traditional sounding movement in the piece, with a harmonic and color palate that is a blending of English and French classical styles. Download a perusal copy of Movement II here.

Movement III – Not yet written, but this is where the Courante would occur in the Baroque Dance Suite. I will eventually write something here based on Eastern European traditions.

Movement IV – Tierra de luz, Cielo de Tierra. This is where the Sarabande, a dance of Spanish origin, would occur in the Suite. I based this movement on the Siguiriya, one of the Flamenco dance forms. A ritornello based on flamenco guitar styles occurs three times in the movement, contrasted by solo sections and flights toward non-flamenco tonalities, though the Andalusian scale dominates the piece at various transpositions. Download a perusal copy of Movement IV (identified as Mvt III in the score) here.

Movement V – Weaving Olden Dances. This is where the Gigue would occur in the Suite. This movement is a blend of Irish traditional music and its American stepchild in Appalachia. Download a perusal copy of Movement V (identified as Mvt IV in the score) here.

Do I feel I accomplished this? Well, it’s an experiment. The Overture movement cannot stand on its own, but the others all can, I believe, which was a secondary or possibly tertiary goal for me. I’ll let others judge how they hang together in sequence. That being said, and to be quite honest, the piece won’t be fully complete for me until that remaining movement is written and placed together with the others. I think the missing movement will help to deepen the sense of stylistic contrast that already exists from movement to movement.

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