Central Florida Composers Forum invites you to a concert that’s sure to be electrifying! Join us for “Ghost in the Machine” on November 10 at 5:30pm at the White House (2000 South Summerlin Avenue, Orlando).
All compositions on the concert contain an electronic element, ranging from interactive computer patches, to surround sound, to recorded ambient noises. The concert will feature several premieres, including Charles Griffin’s Enfold Us Beneath Open Wings, John Alvarez’s Fermions and Gauge Bosons, and a new work by Thomas Owen. Other featured composers are Thad Anderson, Keith Lay, and Timothy Stulman. The concert will also feature the talents of vocalist Michelle Amato and Julie Bateman, saxophonist Timothy Rosenberg, and percussionist Nick Stange.
The concert is part of the Accidental Music Festival, and is free and open to the public; however, you can purchase a ticket to reserve a seat for $10, or a festival pass for $70. As is the White House tradition, audience members are encouraged to bring a beverage or snack to enjoy before or after the concert.
Come hear a mixture of new music that runs the gamut from Big-band style jazz, contemporary art song, soaring solo piano music to a cutting edge electroacoustic post-minimal exploration of new science.
The Central Florida Composers Forum will premiere two new works on its April 29 concert at the White House in Orlando: local arts luminary and musical director of La Nouba (Cirque du Soleil) Benoit Glazer‘s Suite Circassienne #6 for brass quintet and percussion quintet and Full Sail University’s Rebekah Todia‘s The Solitary for soprano and piano.
Also on the concert will be Rollins College professor of composition Daniel Crozier‘s Winter Aubade, for piano solo and Full Sail University’s Charles Griffin‘s Emergence, for flute quartet, prerecorded audio and video projection.
The composers will all be present and are joined by an impressive body of performers: Benoit Glazer & Mike Avila, trumpets; Kathy Thomas, horn; Jeff Thomas, trombone; Bob Carpenter, tuba; Jeff Moore, Matt Roberts, Wesley Strasser, Thad Anderson & Garth Steger, percussion; Julie Batman, Soprano; Heidi Louise Williams & Rebekah Todia, piano; Elsa Kate Nichols, Nicholas Buonanni, Adriane Hill, Anielka Silva, flutes; and you (Griffin’s piece includes the audience as performers).
The concert starts at 7PM. Admission is free, but it is the custom at the White House that attendees bring a beverage or snack to share before, during and after the concert. You are also highly encouraged to donate to the Central Florida Composers Forum via the Paypal Donate button in the right-hand column of this website.
Daniel Crozier – Winter Aubade
Piano solo (2009), ca. 11’30”
Benoit Glazer – Suite Circassienne #6
Brass Quintet and Percussion Quintet (2011), ca 30’
In 8 movements:
I. The Town Square, Before the Show
III. Flea Trapeze
IV. Le BarbierV. Circus Fanfarus
VI. Mara Tan Val
VII. Circa Circus
Charles Griffin – Emergence
Flute quartet, prerecorded audio and video projection (2010), ca. 28′
In 4 movements:
II. The Brain
III. Artificial Intelligence
Rebekah Todia – The Solitary
Soprano and piano (2012)
Text by Madison Julius Cawein (1865 – 1914)
Daniel Crozier – Winter Aubade
Winter Aubade was conceived with the special gifts of the pianist Heidi Louise Williams in mind. It was an absolute joy to return to writing music for my most favorite instrument with the confidence that virtually anything that the music demanded would be possible. Winter Aubade continues to explore some of the principal concerns expressed in the orchestral works that immediately preceded it, namely the narrative power inherent in music itself apart from any concrete literary references or explicit programmatic ideas. These orchestral works might be described as “fairy-tale” music in a general sense, and that designation suits Winter Aubade as well. Like those pieces this work tells a story, of a “fantastic” sort, in the context of a variety of widely contrasted emotional states; however, unlike them, which all rely on several well-delineated themes that interact over the course of the pieces, this work achieves its dramatic arc through the musical examination of a single complex of ideas stated in turn at the very outset. These appear in a wide variety of juxtapositions and transformations that fashion the drama, or “plot,” of the piece. “Aubade” means “morning music” or in this case, perhaps more appropriately, “dawn music.”
Benoit Glazer – Suite Circassienne #6
The Town Square, Before the Show – The first movement is instruction based, and is meant to put you at the scene, before the show at the big top in the town square. It includes the musicians warming up, tuning up, and then try to reproduce the bustling feeling of anticipation in the streets surrounding the tent in the minutes before the spectacle commences.
Jambette – Jambette is the second movement. It is my response to the parade of characters at the top of the show, when you get to see some of the outlandish costumes and make-up that bring you into a world of wonder and magic. Jambette (croc-en-jambe in France) is an expression that means to trip someone. I have opened the show at La Nouba playing the trumpet in a parade, and I wear a mask for it that restricts my peripheral vision, and ten times a week I have this vision that a mischievous kid will extend his leg and trip me while I am playing this treacherous melody filled with octave jumps.
My melody is built on sixths, and the movement starts with percussion, to have the theme bounced between the trumpets and the trombone. Short and sweet, just like the parade it is supposed to portray.
Flea Trapeze – This is the most difficult movement for the percussion section, which holds the theme for most of the movement. Brisk and choppy at times, it settles into a fast two step feel eventually. Originally written with Bob Becker (of Nexus fame) in mind. Since Mr. Becker has the reputation of being the best xylophone player in the world, the xylophone part, as well as the other tuned percussion parts, is most challenging indeed.
Le Barbier – My first effort in writing an Adagio, I tried to orchestrate the piece in a way that would make the tuba part so that every note he plays is important, and adds weight to the sound. After the first exposition, the bowed gongs come in one at a time, and once all in, the brass come back in to recap the theme, with this new element to it, lending it a disturbing, hopefully very unsettling effect.
Circus Fanfarus – A good old fanfare and march. Here I tried to see if I could modulate a semitone below (and then back up), without the audience noticing it. Can you spot the modulation? The foreign element is carried by the percussion, in their feature about half way through.
Mara Tan Val – Originally written in 1999 for a demo where I played all the instruments, it is orchestrated for a very different ensemble here. Here is a mix of rhythm from North Africa, a waltz and a tango (all at the same time). Yet, it feels quite natural and has a simple song form, with a vibes solo in the middle. It is in 5/4 time, and so could probably not be danced as a tango, but it has the flavor and the longing of a tango, somehow.
Circa Circus – My tip of the hat to Nino Rotta and his work with Fellini. A very ironic sounding song, originally done for that aforementioned 1999 demo as an accordion piece. You will hear it very soon in an upcoming Banks Helfrich movie in version that is close to the original orchestration. It is the funeral theme in this somewhat Fellini inspired “death centered romantic comedy feeling” movie about a woman and the seven people who die in the story. Jambette also figures in that movie…
Yaygosstov – As a trumpet player, I am naturally drawn to certain orchestral repertoire, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is part of that. The finale movement was an exercise in writing these long, tonal phrases that still contain harmonic movement, with rich orchestration and this particular voice leading that makes Pictures, as well as many works from Copeland, Holst, and others, so appealing. A call and response piece, where many people get to be the caller.
The title is a completely misspelled Québecois slang expression that came to mind because I wanted to honor the predecessor to our present high wire artist at work. You see, Valery almost never misses his salto on the wire, but his predecessor did so… quite often. And in most cases, he would land, well, let’s just say that siring children may be impossible for him now. Yet, he would stand up, turn around, and do it again, all with a grace and dignity that honored his classy costume, his proud Russian heritage, and his profession.
Watch for the ending, where I went a little outside of the normal French horn range (If anyone can do it, Kathy can), and where my youth participation in DCI drum corps creeps up at the finale.
“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” – Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, 1859
For the past 15 years, my reading of scientific literature has affected my worldview, brought me solace, and sparked my imagination. The job of science, as I see it, has always been twofold: to rationally peer behind the veil of reality and discover what is there, and also to imagine future possibilities. I find it fascinating how fantastical reality can actually be, and that so many connections exist amongst ourselves and with our world once we actually look.
The science of Emergence is the study of how complexity emerges from essentially simple component parts.
King Solomon urged us to look to the ants, “consider her ways and be wise; which having no guide, overseer or ruler, provides her meat in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest.” Scientists and businesses now use Ant Colony Optimization algorithms and other Swarm Intelligence methods for problem solving. Bees, birds, fish and locusts follow essentially three simple rules of movement in groups, and it turns out, humans follow the same rules when walking in a crowded urban environment. The first movement is a structured improvisation for the flute quartet where they use swarming rules to create their music.
The human brain, with its modular structure weaved together by roughly 30 billion neurons electrically firing chemicals across synapses in synchronous waves that produce measurable electronic current up to 12 Hz, is the ultimate example of complexity. Understanding our brains is yet another way of understanding our own evolution as a species: at the deepest level is the emotionless reptilian brain stem, controlling our metabolic system and incapable of anything we would call thought; then comes the limbic system, from which comes our primary emotions and which we share with most other mammals, enabling us to form powerful bonds with each other and with them; stacked on top are the two hemispheres of the neocortex, from which we get abstract and analytical thought, language, and of course, art. As Steven Johnson says in his book Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life, “ The more you learn about the brain, the more you understand how exquisitely crafted it is to record the unique contours of your own life in those unthinkably interconnected neurons and their firing patterns.”
For this movement I sampled a recording of a symphony by the Baroque composer William Boyce, which was used in an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) study of how the brain organizes segmented events. The flute quartet part is largely based on rhythms borrowed from gamelan music, where multiple players create a complex interlocking structure based on simpler rhythmic units.
Researchers into artificial intelligence are using the human brain as a model of learning. While estimates vary of exactly when a completely new form of life will be created by us, inorganic but self-aware, I have no doubt that it is inevitable. And that will naturally force us to question the nature of existence and sentience, and given enough time, might even become a new pathway for human evolution. You can decide for yourself the moral or ethical implications. For this movement, I sampled/quoted two orchestral pieces: Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question, in which the trumpet part asks “The Perennial Question of Existence,” and the Hymn section of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, “Veni Creator Spiritus.”
I decided to go a less serious route with the fourth movement, and create a piece that is somewhat spontaneously created by the flute quartet and the audience. I learned how to use Adobe After Effects to create an animated graphic score, where shapes or graphics of four colors, red, blue, green and yellow are each interpreted by a different flutist, and text or symbol cues are given to the audience to shout, sing or speak. After about a minute, an electronic score enters underneath, comprised mostly of prerecorded human speech and sounds.
Rebekah Todia – The Solitary
Upon the mossed rock by the spring
She sits, forgetful of her pail,
Lost in remote remembering
Of that which may no more avail.
Her thin, pale hair is dimly dressed
Above a brow lined deep with care,
The color of a leaf long pressed,
A faded leaf that once was fair.
You may not know her from the stone
So still she sits who does not stir,
Thinking of this one thing alone–
The love that never came to her.
The Solitary encompasses a women’s life whose love has never been discovered. Her unique perspective through self-reflection is expressed with pivotal moments, overwhelmed by contrasting feelings of rage and adoration. The Solitary integrates moods and emotions of considerable affection, agitation, and moments of despair. The Solitary is a dramatic art song that carries you off to the cloistered life of a women’s life that love has never found.
The Orlando Philharmonic, in partnership with Full Sail University will hold a concert gala fundraiser program entitled Symphony in HD at Full Sail Live, a state of the art venue in Winter Park, Florida. This performance represents an innovative intersection between classical music and technology.
SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2012 AT 6:00 PM
Full Sail Live at Full Sail University • 141 University Park Drive, Winter Park
Dirk Meyer Conducts • Brian Smithers, Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI) • Janette Zilioli, soprano • Michelle Mailhot, vocalist
Short works, extracted movements and other gems will fill the evening, including works by Stravinsky, Beethoven, Mozart, Duke Ellington, and Orlando’s own Stella Sung and Keith Lay.
Keith composed a new work, Four Dimensions, exclusively for this event (see below).
Program Notes by Keith Lay
Four Dimensions is an imaginary exploration of existence through music and image, co-created by Visual Artist, Nathan Selikoff and me. The work begins with the Zero Dimension and evolves into the First, Second, Third (our universe of height, width and depth) and finally grows into the Fourth spatial dimension that we can only try to imagine. It is a single movement work lasting under seven minutes.
“Four Dimensions” music is composed for orchestra, an electronic wind instrument called an EWI and electronic sounds. The EWI is treated in this work as a regular woodwind in the orchestra and has several important solos. The electronic music was composed to be a new section of the orchestra – playing a similar role as the winds, brass, strings and percussion do – by presenting new material, serving as an accompaniment, and adding timbral color. It employs both musical pitches and unpitched sounds that mix with the orchestra from many different directions: sometimes from behind you – or from the sides of the hall. Maestro Dirk Meyer will be performing the electronics part from the podium with a Nintendo Wii-mote in his left hand while he conducts. This performance technology was created by my Full Sail colleague, Marc Pinsky for tonight’s concert.
The EWI, performed here by another Full Sail colleague and saxophonist, Brian Smithers, plays exactly like a woodwind instrument. But instead of a reed resonating an air column like a clarinet, the EWI electronically senses fingering, breath and mouthpiece pressure which control the tone, loudness and color of what comes out of its loudspeaker.
The work opens with the “Zero Dimension”. To be or not to be. In fact, the zero dimension really isn’t technically a dimension at all because it is dimensionless. In mathematics, we treat this as as a point that has no size, in physics it is a singularity, in logic it is true or false, on or off. An opening fortissimo chord from the brass represents this declaration of existence. The chord is restated in the electronics, then the woodwinds and then the strings over which the EWI appears with the main theme:
The opening elements: the eight note theme, the opening chords, the polytonal harmonic palette, the idea of moving back and forth between instrument sections of the orchestra and electronic sounds provide much of the developmental content throughout the entire work.
Singularities connect to form lines for the “First Dimension”, represented by a loud, bit-crunchy, electronic sounds emphasizing the tritone in the harmonic palette. Only direction exists in this imaginary universe.
In the Second Dimension, the lines from the First Dimension pair up and briefly connect to form planes. This is a primarily orchestral section featuring rapid EWI passages. Intensity builds with an insistent triplet figure, reaching a climax which breaks into the “Third Dimension”.
The “Third Dimension” provides rhythmic relief with a soaring EWI solo over sustained, beautiful orchestral harmonies. We finally arrive at a quiet, stable point with the piano – repeating a closely voiced extended chord in D minor.
A loud interruption destroys this solace as a hole is torn in our dimensional fabric and we fall into the final “Fourth Dimension”. The 3rd dimension is visible within the 4th just as we in the 3rd dimension can see the 2nd. Here, the opening musical material from each dimension recapitulates and climbs to the final statement. At the close, the EWI and strings take the main theme, the woodwinds repeat the triplet figure from the Second Dimension, and large brass chords build to the final climax, ending with a loud, shaped noise.
Collide Festival features an evening of contemporary percussion works by CF2 composers, January 28 at UCF
On January 28, 2012 at 8:00 p.m, the Furman University Percussion Ensemble (Omar Carmenates, Director), UCF Percussion Ensemble (Thad Anderson, Director) and KnightWinds Ensemble (Dr. Nora Lee Garcia-Valazquez, Director) will come together to perform an array of works by Central Florida Composers.
Robert Raines – A Quickening (Concerto for Flutes and Percussion)
Christopher Marshall – Birds of a Feather
Thad Anderson – Lines: Withheld (percussion quartet for tuned metals)
Charles Griffin – The Persistence of Past Chemistries (percussion quartet: marimba,xylophone, log drums, cajon, caxxixxi, claves)
Charles Griffin – Twisting Magnetic Spins (percussion quartet: vibraphone, timpani, brake drums, gongs, cymbals, etc.)
Two UCF student composers works will be presented.
The program in detail:
Robert Raines: A quickening – Concerto for Flutes and Percussion
(1 piccolo, 6 flutes, 2 alto flutes, 2 bass flutes, (Optional: contra bass flute, sub-contra bass flute) assorted percussion, glockenspiel, crotales, and marimba); Dedicated to Eva Amsler, this piece was made possible by a Grant from the Brannen-Cooper Fund for New Music.
Composer’s notes: This piece illustrates my continued interest in exploring the sonic landscape created by a group of instruments from the same family, an effect heightened by the purity of tone produced by the family of flutes. I have expanded this palette by adding the warmth of the marimba and vivid percussion colors. Extremes of range, tone, texture, and tempo are explored: dense vertical clusters juxtaposed with more horizontal, kaleidoscopic/contrapuntal passages. I have strived to give each member of the ensemble its own voice and a chance to stand alone, while in other sections all of the players are meant to meld into one macro-instrument.
Those technical points aside, I strove to illustrate my personal feelings about the act of creation – music, literature, dance, the visual arts, all I believe share a common creative electricity. I have long been inspired by the following words from Martha Graham, and I kept this quote near while composing this piece. The title is inspired by her words:
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy… a quickening… that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium but will be lost.
It’s not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. Whether you choose to take an art class, keep a journal, record your dreams, dance your story, or live each day from your own creative source, above all else, keep the channel open.–Martha Graham
Christopher Marshall: Birds Of A Feather
One of the discoveries I have made since moving to the United States is the poetry of Emily Dickinson. I encountered some of her poems by chance on the internet and found a great many of them stimulated an immediate musical response in me. So far I have set nine for choir and used those settings as the basis for suites of miniatures for various instrumental combinations. And there are so many more Dickinson poems I would like to use in this way.
The four avian themed miniatures that comprise Birds Of A Feather were taken from the longer wind ensemble work ‘An Emily Dickinson Suite’ and recomposed for the current ensemble with a dedication to Nora Lee García-Velásquez, George Weremchuk and Thad Anderson.
- To Hear An Oriole Sing – The poet asks why birds sing. Do they consider their song beautiful or is it only beautiful to us? And what part does God play in all this?
- I’m Nobody – No direct reference to a bird, though the two gossipy ‘nobodies’ could certainly be described as ‘birds of a feather’.
- If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking – Our existence is validated only by our acts of kindness to others.
- Hope Is The Thing With Feathers – I love this poem with its picture of hope as a resilient little bird that keeps singing no matter what life throws at it.
Thad Anderson: Withheld, a piece from my series called Lines, is a percussion quartet for tuned metals. My original intention was to have it performed with tuned pipes, but it could also be performed with an assortment of tuned metals (crotales, glock, vibraphone, chimes, celeste, bell plates, muted gongs, etc…). It was composed with the pipe pitches used for David Lang’s second movement of The So-Called Laws of Nature in mind. The Lines pieces are based on a series of rhythmic “duration lines,” which are used to create both structure and polyrhythmic interest.
Charles Griffin: The Persistence of Past Chemistries
One of the ways that Professor Lynn Margulis of the University of Massachussets defines life in her book What is Life?, is as “patterns of chemical conservation in a universe tending toward heat loss and disintegration. . . . Death is part of life because even dying matter, once it reproduces, rescues complex chemical systems and budding dissipative structures from thermodynamic equilibrium. . . . Preserving the past, making a difference between past and present, life binds time, expanding complexity and creating new problems for itself.”I hit upon the title for this piece after I had already decided to restrict the sonic palette exclusively to instruments made of wood, a way to acknowledge this uniquely human reconstitution of organic matter. Not only do the instruments give the trees from which they came new life, but the musicians also bring new life to their instruments. Furthermore, my music tends to be the sum of sometimes disparate parts that take on new life through their integration; jazz, latino, and minimalist music all coexist in The Persistence of Past Chemistries.
Charles Griffin: Twisting Magnetic Spins was commissioned by the University of North Texas for Mark Ford, the director of percussion studies there. Ever since I wrote The Persistence of Past Chemistries for Ethos Percussion Group several years before, where I restricted the sonic palette to instruments primarily made from wood or organic materials, I wanted to write another piece with the same restriction, but this time with metals. The main solos are taken by the vibraphone and the timpani, but perhaps the bigger challenge for the ensemble is the necessity for the accompanying metallophones to play very softly part of the time. After the premiere, this piece was featured by ASU’s percussion ensemble (J.B. Smith, director) at the 2006 PASIC conference in Austin, Texas as part of the New Ensemble Literature session.
On Saturday, January 14, 2012, at 8:00 PM, the Orlando Philharmonic (Christopher Wilkins, conductor, with guest pianist William Wolfram) will present a concert program at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, that includes CF2 member Dan Crozier‘s Capriccio.
Also on the program will be:
Weber’s Der Freischütz Overture, Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis; and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1.
American pianist William Wolfram was a silver medalist at both the William Kapell and the Naumburg International Piano Competitions, and a bronze medalist at the prestigious Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. A versatile recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician, he has won the respect of musicians and critics across the country and abroad. Wolfram has several recordings on the Naxos label, has played recitals in cities throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe, and has performed with dozens of the finest orchestras in the world.
Daniel Crozier (b. 1965) – Capriccio
The orchestral piece, Capriccio, is very much in keeping with my recent compositional exploration of the narrative, story-telling power of music. It was a strong interest in opera that led my purely instrumental music in this direction. The music of the great operatic literature, it seems, reaches well beyond the function of simply enhancing a drama on stage. Our perception is that this music somehow “becomes” the story that it tells, effectively taking it over, and expressing what happens on the stage in its own terms with a heightened sense of dramatic sweep and a good deal of emotional specificity. It is the music that essentially controls our experience as we are drawn into the dramatic world of a fine opera.
While it may be a bit problematic to speak of abstract orchestral music in such terms, music that exists apart from any explicit program or extra-musical reference does, I believe, have the capacity to carry on an independent narrative of its own sort, expressed using its own particular kind of syntax. In this spirit, Capriccio strives to create what might be called virtual, rather than concrete, narrative. We might even refer to it, after Mendelssohn, as an “opera scene without words,” in this case a largely comic scene, whose personae appear as musical ideas. As in other forms of drama, interest comes as a result of the way these characters relate to one another in the context of an overall plot, the way they may be transformed by the sometimes intense nature of their interaction, and the larger intensity curve that emerges as part of the process. The piece is concerned with three principal thematic ideas, which, as its title implies, establish a virtuosic atmosphere of bustling, and sometimes dancing, good-humor, not without a little suspense along the way.
The scurrying, opening idea highlights the woodwinds in its first appearance. The second is a tension building perpetual motion that precipitates the first climax. The appearance of the third idea heralds the beginning of the piece’s central episode, or “trio” section. Here the mood relaxes in a kind of swung dance for the two bassoons that is periodically interrupted by rude, mocking clarinets. The dance and the mocking figures vie for position over the course of this section in a competition that eventually lands the music in a tutti. After the trio closes it is the second idea, the perpetual motion, which returns, now quiet and mysterious in the upper register of the orchestra. This idea builds very gradually, and is developed and expanded over a longer period of time and with more intensity and athleticism than it had been earlier. The climax that it had been able to achieve during its first appearance is dwarfed by one a good deal larger here, that now coincides with the fist idea’s triumphant return. After a coda that builds quickly to yet one more culmination, the two bassoons make a failed attempt to resume their dance, summarily cut off by a final, brief reference to the piece’s opening gesture.