PRELUDES AND SERENADES — New Music for Piano 10.01.21



OCTOBER 1, 2021           7:00 PM and 8:30 PM





ChanJi Kim        Memoria #2  

(Dr. Grace)

Keith Lay           Joyful Play 

(Dr. Grace, Mr. Snyder)

Troy Gifford       Two Preludes

(Mr. Daniels)

Stan Cording      Serenade

(Dr. Grace)

Charlie Griffin     Phase Variations

(Mr. Daniels)

Jamie Wehr      Untitled Piano Tune

(Dr. Grace)

Erik Branch       Fuyuyamaji

(Mountain Path in Winter)

                          Valse Douce-Amère

                           Valzer della Maga

(Dr. Grace)

Alex Burtzos     Football in Marja

(Mr. Daniels)

ChanJi Kim (b. 1974, South Korea) composes for dance, chamber ensembles, orchestra, multimedia performances, and electroacoustic music. Her research and music areas of interest include collaboration between composer and choreographer, Korean folk music, and interactive electroacoustic composition. Her music has been performed by the Namaste Duo in Havana, Cuba, the Bartók Trio in Malaga, Spain, Anton Webern Quartet in Berlin, Germany, R20 in Wroclawski, Poland, the Nabla ensemble in Rome, Italy, Symphony Space in NYC, Orlando Contemporary Chamber Orchestra, and more. Dr. Kim studied music at E-Wha Women’s University in Korea, New York University, and University of Florida, and currently, she is Professor of Music at the Eastern Florida State College in Florida. More info at

Memoria #2, for piano solo is about my memories of living in New York City for three years. It was the first place I lived for a long period of time after I left my country. My first memory has always been of my Korean homeland, and NYC is my second homeland.  “Memoria” translates as “Memory” in Latin. The work implies the memory of the past and the remaining memories till now. This piece consists of two movements: Night Stroll and Busy, Dizzy, Noisy.

“Music connects our inner nature with outer nature where our true nature abides. ”

The New York Times hailed Keith Lay as ‘a composer to watch for,’ and Gramophone Magazine described his work as “unapologetically emotional”. His long teaching career at Full Sail University and leadership in the National Young Composers Challenge focused on supporting the next generation of composers.

Lay’s major works include “Earth Caoine (Earth Cry)” for clarinet and orchestra, recorded by Richard Stoltzman in 1996, “Children On The Playground,” violin concerto for strings (2000), “Four Dimensions for Orchestra, EWI, and Surround Electronics ” (2013) and “Green” for the 3d film/ live orchestra world tour “America’s Wonders” (2019-25).

Joyful Play is the four-hands adaptation of the opening movement of “Children On the Playground” for Solo Violin and Strings’. It portrays an eight-year-old alpha kid leading a mini-mob of friends. They conjure up something grand and vivid on a schoolyard or in a park somewhere, imaginations sparked and inspired into epic megalomaniacal glory so typical of kids. A short cadenza brings them back down to reality, and the fun continues. I felt the traditional sonata form suited this story nicely.

Stan Cording is an Orlando native and graduate of Rollins College. He writes music in a style called New Lyricism, focusing on the beauty and mood of the music rather than the materials or method used to make it. 

Historically, composers wrote music that could be embraced by all levels of musicianship. With perhaps the exception of choral music, new classical music is often not accessible to thousands of amateur music-makers. Serenade is a piece that tries to return to writing new classical music not only for professionals such as Dr. Grace, but also for the ambitious amateur. While perhaps reminiscent of a Mendelssohn Song Without Words or a Poulenc Impromptu, what emerges here is easily recognizable as a Cording creation and is dedicated to his wife, Julie.

Troy Gifford is an award-winning composer and guitarist whose music synthesizes elements of modern classical, Latin, jazz, and rock styles. His compositions have been performed on multiple continents, including at festivals and concerts in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. He has written music in a variety of settings, including pieces for guitar, voice, piano, orchestra, choir, band, film and theater.

Even though it isn’t my primary instrument, the piano is the instrument I most often use when composing.  However, I haven’t written often for it as a solo instrument.  Two Preludes was written as a foray back into the world of writing for the piano after a number of years between pieces.  The first prelude, Into Light, is a contemplative, lyrical piece using elements of neo-impressionism.  The second prelude, Darkness, provides a sharp contrast; it is a forceful piece of almost relentless aggression.

Charlie Griffin has enjoyed a thirty-plus-year career as a composer, writer, educator, and arts administrator. With his music played in over twenty countries, performers have chosen his work for presentation at conferences (PASIC, NFA, ACDA), festivals (Aspen, Spoleto), and notable venues like the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and the American Cathedral in Paris.  Other career highlights include performances by the St. Louis Symphony, the Orlando Philharmonic, and the Dale Warland Singers.

Active in the Orlando area, he is the founder and first president of the Central Florida Composers Forum, and has been a large budget panelist for United Arts of Central Florida, a radio show host on WPRK 91.5fm, and the music columnist for Artborne Magazine. 
He is also the author of the picture book Indy and Jenny:  the true story of a dog who fought the odds, inspired a city, and found his best friend.

Phase Variations is a five-movement set of variations for solo piano that uses as its theme Steve Reich’s classic and seminal 1967 minimalist masterpiece for two pianos, Piano Phase. This was Reich’s experiment with replicating a bug/feature of tape recorders whereby slight differences in the play speed mechanisms between two machines would incrementally create phasing between them over time. The germinal material of Reich’s Piano Phase is a stark twelve-note motive that, in the original, is played in unison rhythm by two pianists that are then asked to phase apart just like two tape recorders would do. This is “process” music at its finest. 

In Phase Variations, the Reich theme emerges by the end of the first variation. Each subsequent variation dresses the theme in different ways, as variations do, and ends with a process-derived variation of my own. The finale, which follows the fourth variation without break, is a toccata whose rhythmic patterning is based on the famous Fibonacci sequence. This is a growth pattern seen in nature based on a series in which each number is the sum of the previous two numbers.

Jamie Wehr was born in the small rural town of Celina, Ohio.  Because of my father attending different colleges in order to obtain his Ph.D., I grew up in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina and finally landed here in Maitland, Florida.  I started playing the trombone in 7th grade band and my career as a professional trombonist began at the age of 16, with me sneaking into the clubs and jazz bars.  I would later be called for recording sessions, symphony orchestras, touring shows and chamber ensembles.  My most memorable gigs for me personally I would say would be the Blue Wisp Band in Cincy, Ohio, Cuarteto de la Ascensión trombone quartet, Prima Toni trombone choir, and the Orlando Contemporary Chamber Orchestra.  The last three I founded and performed with as a member.  I would say my biggest musical influences as a composer are: Duke Ellington, Toshiko Akyoshi, and Don Ellis.  I am also deeply indebted to my two formal composition professors Dr. Burt Szabo and Dr. Scott Houston.

Untitled Piano Tune, yes, that is actually the name, is dedicated to my youngest son Adam.  My son Adam enjoys playing video games and, not to give a free promotion or anything like that, but one day he was playing a game and through the speakers came Debussy’s Golliwog’s Cakewalk.  It was crazy, the music of Debussy intertwined with the music of Dan Golding.  The game is a fun silly game that Adam enjoyed playing, and I enjoyed listening.  Even better, my son was being introduced to some fantastic piano music by Debussy.  My little tune is intended to be fun, lighthearted like the game and something of an homage to Claude Debussy.

Erik Branch is a native of New York City, and received a B.A. and M.A. in Music from Hunter College, where he studied composition with Myron Fink and Arthur Harris, piano with Peter Basquin and Marcia Eckert, and voice with Russell Oberlin. He lives near Orlando, Florida, where he is active as a pianist, music director, operatic tenor, and actor on stage and screen. His compositions have been performed in New York City, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Austin, and Orlando; Rio de Janeiro, Lisbon, Athens, and Bucharest; at Harvard University, the Crane School of Music, and at West Point, amongst other places.

These three short pieces were written for calls for miniature homages to a composer of the past. The first two were for Stephen Porter (“Re-Imagining Debussy, Re-Imagining Schubert”) and the the last was for Giuseppe Lupis (“Happy Birthday, Maestro Verdi.”)

Fuyuyamaji (Mountain Path in Winter ) draws its inspiration, as Debussy often did, from traditional Japanese visual art, in this case, Sesshu’s famous ink-painting, Winter Landscape. (Premiered at Harvard on March 1, 2013 by Mr. Porter.)

Valse Douce-Amère is intended to suggest the bittersweet, intimate, lyric quality of much of Schubert’s music, and like many of his pieces, it derives from a written-out improvisation. (Premiered at Symphony Space, New York on October 24, 2015 by Mr. Porter)

Valzer della Maga (“Waltz of the Sorceress”)

As an operatic tenor (and opera lover!), this call was irresistible. The “maga” is Ulrica, the fortuneteller of Ballo in Maschera, and my piece quotes and develops from her aria’s great closing phrase. (Premiered at Grand Valley State University, Michigan, on October 10. 2013 by Dr.  Lupis.)

Alex Burtzos is an American composer and conductor based in New York City and Orlando, FL. His music has been performed across four continents by some of the world’s foremost contemporary musicians and ensembles, including JACK Quartet, Yarn/Wire, loadbang, Contemporaneous, ETHEL, Jenny Lin, RighteousGIRLS, and many others. Alex is the founder and artistic director of ICEBERG New Music, a New York-based composers’ collective, and conductor of the hip-hop/classical chamber orchestra ShoutHouse.

Alex holds a DMA from Manhattan School of Music, where his primary teachers were Reiko Fueting and Mark Stambaugh. He is the Endowed Chair of Composition Studies at the University of Central Florida, where he teaches composition, orchestration, film scoring, video game scoring, and music technology. His music is published by Just a Theory Press, NewMusicShelf, and others.

Football in Marja

In three sections (performed attacca).

From 2009-11, the United States began a “troop surge” in Afghanistan, increasing the number of service members abroad in an effort to end what was already a costly and frustrating war. By the time the surge officially ended in 2011, over 140,000 service members occupied Afghanistan, and the bloodshed had increased proportionally. Yet there was still no end in sight. Marja — a small city in Southern Afghanistan — was one of the many hotspots of violence throughout these years.

Football in Marja attempts to imagine the troop surge and its consequences through the eyes of a child. “Football,” in this instance, refers (of course) to soccer. The piece is in turns frenetic, militaristic, and elegiac.

Will Daniels is an active pianist and teacher in Orlando, FL. He completed his Masters degree in piano performance at UCF and completed his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Theory and Composition at Florida State University. As a collaborative pianist, Will is frequently requested to perform with students and faculty at the University of Central Florida. As a teacher, Will has enjoyed teaching private piano lessons in Central Florida since 2015.

Rose Shlyam Grace, a Russian-born pianist, has concertized throughout the United States as a soloist and chamber music recitalist.  In recent years, Miss Grace has been a featured artist and guest presenter at several music conferences, including the International PAMA Symposiums in NYC, the National MTNA Conferences and the Florida Flute Association Conventions.  This coming summer, Rose Grace and Terrance Lane were featured as conference presenters at the International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences in Oxford, UK, and International Conference on new Directions in the Humanities in Madrid, Spain.  

Miss Grace serves as an Associate Professor of Piano at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.  She is the founder and director of the B-CU Music Outreach Program, featuring college music students in live presentations of classical music throughout the Volusia County Public Schools, for which the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs presented her with the Diversity and Inclusion Award in 2017.  In February 2021, Rose Grace and the B-CU Music Department were awarded a generous grant from the Pabst Steinmetz Foundation to launch a new holistic arts, health and wellness training program in the state of Florida.  This program is an extension of the Annual Music and Medicine Symposium, which Rose Grace and Diana Lee co-chair at Bethune-Cookman University for its students and the community at large.  In the summer of 2021, the holistic arts and wellness program was featured in a national podcast through the “Arts for the Health of It” organization. In July 2021, Miss Grace joined the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Statuary Fund delegation and recent B-CU music graduates to perform for the celebration and dedication program of the marble statue in Pietrasanta, Italy, which will be later installed in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. 

During the summers, Miss Grace has taught at the Interlochen Center for the Arts Music Festival in Michigan, the Castleman Quartet Program in Fredonia, New York, and most recently, at the Buffet-Crampon Clarinet Academy in Jacksonville, FL, and the Blue Lake Music Festival in Michigan.  Miss Grace served as a member of the 2018 MTNA National Conference Planning Committee, which was held at Walt Disney World in Florida.  She can be heard on several recording labels, with a recent CD release on Albany Records entitled, Vibrations of Hope: Music of the New Millennium.  She holds a DMA from the Eastman School of Music, an M.A. in Musicology from the University of Chicago, and a B.M from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Barry Snyder is an internationally acclaimed pianist and teacher, whose entry onto the international stage came after winning three major prizes at the 1966 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition: Silver Medal, Pan American Union Award and the Chamber Music Prize.

Since then, Snyder has toured the world performing concerti, presenting solo collaborative recitals, and leading master classes. Snyder has performed with conductors such as Robert Shaw, Leopold Stokowski, David Zinman, Sixten Ehrling and Arthur Fiedler. His has appeared with such orchestras as the Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Singapore Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Krakow Radio Symphony , Brno Radio Symphony, Japan Philharmonic, Toronto Chamber Orchestra, and the Aspen Summer festival Orchestra. A well-known collaborator, Snyder has appeared with artists such as Hermann Prey, Jan DeGaetani, Zvi Zeitlin, Ani Kavafian, Sylvia Rosenberg, Bonita Boyd, Steven Doane, and the Chilingirian and Cleveland Quartets. Many of these collaborations can be heard in Snyder’s substantial discography of over fifty-five recordings.

Held in high esteem by the professional community, Snyder is a widely sought-after teacher. Since 1970, Snyder was Professor of Piano at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and he is listed in the publication The Most Wanted Piano Teachers and has given master classes in the United States, Europe and Asia. As of 2018, Snyder became Professor Emeritus at Eastman and accepted an Adjunct Professor position at NYU.

As a juror, Snyder has chaired the jury for the World International Piano Competition in Cincinnati and was a member of the jury for the Glasgow Young Artists Competition.

Snyder is committed to performing 20th and 21st century repertoire, and has given world premieres of works by such composers as Sydney Hodkinson, Toshio Hosakawa and Augusta Read Thomas. Many compositions, such as those by Carter Pann and Verne Reynolds, have been written specifically for him.

Barry Snyder studied solo piano with renowned teachers Wilbur Hollman, Vladimir Sokoloff, and Cecile Genhart and studied chamber music with John Celentano and Brooks Smith.

Founded in 2011, the Central Florida Composers Forum is an organization of composers and new music practitioners dedicated to engaging the creative and larger community of Central Florida through the promotion of original and innovative music programming. Central Florida Composers Forum strives to be part of a larger cultural conversation where the musical, visual and other performing arts connect with audiences, foster vital collaborations, and produce multidisciplinary performances. Cultivating an audience for new music through education, workshops, and outreach programs that create memorable artistic experiences for youth and community members are also central to our mission.                

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The mission of the Timucua Arts Foundation is to inspire you through engaging experiences of the arts.

This we believe:

  • Art and music belong to everyone.
  • Art and music are the highest manifestation of our humanity.
  • Art and music should be enjoyed in the most intimate venue: the living room.
  • Every community is better when art and music are performed and nurtured within it.

Core values:

  • Community Service
  • Incluvisity
  • Excellence
  • Education
  • Sustainability

CFCF wishes to thank the following: Enrique Wiedemann for video and media/marketing services, Benoit Glazer, Élaine Corriveau and their family, Chris Belt, and the staff and volunteers of the Timucua Arts Foundation for opening their venue to us and for live-streaming the performance.