October 8, 2003 at 8pm "Different
America's most admired and frequently performed composers, John Adams
was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1947. After graduating from
Harvard University in 1971, he moved to California, where he taught
and conducted at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for ten years.
His innovative concerts led to his appointment first as contemporary
music adviser to the San Francisco Symphony and then as the orchestra's
composer-in-residence between 1979 and 1985, the period in which his
reputation became established with the success of such works as Harmonium
work is scored for flute, clarinet, bassoon, pre-recorded tape, harp,
Bamboula for string orchestra was written in 1970, and is the first
of four works that contain the word “bamboula” in their
titles. Among other things “bamboula” was a creole dance;
and as the composer has written, he owes the title to the American composer/pianist
Louis Moreau Gottschalk (although he has pointed out that “no
other relation to Gottschalk is intended”). Wuorinen’s bamboulas
(the others being The Blue Bamboula (1980) for piano, Bamboula
Squared (1984) for orchestra and computer generated sound, and
Bamboula Beach (1987), an orchestral overture, can all be described
at extroverted and celebratory.
Charles Wuorinen has been composing since he was five and he has been a forceful presence on the American musical scene for more than four decades. In 1970, he became the youngest composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Time's Encomium.
In 1962 he co-founded The Group for Contemporary Music, one of America's most prestigious ensembles dedicated to performance of new chamber music. Wuorinen is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Wuorinen has written more than 200 compositions to date. His opera Haroun and the Sea of Stories based on a novel of Salman Rushdie with a libretto by the poet James Fenton premieres at the New York City Opera this Fall.
The work is scored for an orchestra of strings.
By Simon Z. Michaels & Howard Stokar
Weesner studied flute and composition at Yale and completed a DMA at Cornell University. Her teachers include Thomas Nyfenger, Jonathan Berger, Michael Friedmann, Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra Karel Husa, John Harbison, and George Tsontakis. She currently lives in Philadelphia, where she is Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
work, the composer writes:
Irving Fine, a contemporary of Copland, Stravinsky, Koussevitzky, and Bernstein, spent most of his professional career in the Boston area working on a small but impressive output while holding professorships at Harvard and later Brandeis Universities. Fine’s initial training was as a pianist, though eventually he studied composition and theory, in addition to conducting. Active up until his death—he conducted the premiere of his Symphony less than 2 weeks before he died—in 1962 of a heart attack, his later works are colored by twelve-tone technique, but the higher degree of dissonance never compromised his music’s textural clarity. Aaron Copland wrote that Fine’s music “wins us over through its keenly conceived sonorities and its fully realized expressive content,” praising it for “elegance, styles, finish, and convincing continuity,” its overarching lyricism summed up in Virgil Thomson’s description of its “unusual melodic grace.” Despite his interest in the twelve-tone system, lyricism permeated his post-1950 works, the Serious Song in particular. Serious Song was written on commission by the Louisville Philharmonic, and premiered in 1955. Fine described the work as “essentially an extended aria for string orchestra.”
Song is scored for an orchestra of strings.
Alan Hovhaness—whose output was over 400 works, including 60 symphonies—was drawn to music, as well as writing and painting, early in life. By his teens, he turned to composition exclusively. John Cage once called Hovhaness a “music tree who, as an orange or lemon tree produces fruit, produces music.” Hovhaness was a cosmopolitan, and his music reflected the places visited. A recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and a Rockefeller Grant, he traveled the world, including stops in South India, the Far East, and Japan to study indigenous music. Extensive Eastern influence is heard in nearly all of his output, as is the religious nature of his music, nurtured during a lifelong interest in meditation and mysticism. Religious overtones are heard in The Holy City, particularly in the trumpet, but this is one layer of the music. The work has been called one of Hovhaness’ most eerily beautiful scores, in part because of the extensive use of multiple subdivisions of the string parts. Conductor Arthur Lipkin commissioned the work in 1965 through the U.S. Committee to Further American Contemporary Music.
From his pioneering minimalist taped speech pieces to his and video artist Beryl Korot’s recent digital video opera Three Tales (2002), Steve Reich's path has embraced not only aspects of Western Classical music, but the structures, harmonies, and rhythms of non-Western and American vernacular music, particularly jazz.
Born in New York and raised there and in California, Mr. Reich graduated with honors in philosophy from Cornell University, and studied further at the Juilliard School and Mills College. Mr. Reich studied drumming in Ghana, the Balinese gamelan, and traditional forms of cantillation (chanting) of the Hebrew Scriptures.
In 1994 Steve Reich was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, to the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in 1995, and, in 1999, awarded Commandeur de l’ordre des Arts et Lettres. In 2000 he was awarded the Schuman Prize from Columbia University, the Montgomery Fellowship from Dartmouth College, the Regent’s Lectureship at the University of California at Berkeley, an honorary doctorate from the California Institute of the Arts and was named Composer of the Year by Musical America magazine.
About the work, the composer writes:
notes on the program by Simon Z. Michaels