Item Details

Fall 2017 Undergraduate Composers Concert

Online; Online Video; Video
2018-01-05; 2017-12-03
The Undergraduate Composers New Music Concert Shawn Earle, clarinet, John Mayhood, piano, Kelly Sulick, flute Works by Leah Reid’s Undergraduate Composition Students 715 Luke Waddell flute & piano Excitation/Emission Erik Bergstrom clarinet & electronics Trio for Piano, Flute & Clarinet Don Carlson flute, clarinet & piano The Lazy Dreamer Kyle Lofland flute & piano Étude d’une salade de fruits Mattias Zuffoletti clarinet & piano Variations on the St. James Infirmary Blues Luc Cianfarani flute & electronics The Third Wave Aaqil Abdullah flute, clarinet & piano Conversations Nathaniel Hara flute & piano Chicago Luc Cianfarani flute, clarinet & piano Program Notes Luke Waddell, 715 The title of this piece refers to its main theme, which consists of intervals of a perfect fifth (which spans seven semitones), a semitone, and a perfect fourth (which spans five semitones). The work had no external idea that led to its writing. Rather, 715 is a working out of the main theme (which by intervallic diminution becomes the secondary theme in the middle section) both melodically and to a degree harmonically, as quartal and quintal chords abound. As the material transforms, the work moves through a variety of textures and moods. The piece is in ternary (ABA) form. The B section begins with a righthand piano solo and the reprise of the opening material is intended more as a resigned throwback than a return. Despite the chromatic complexity of the work, it is nevertheless tonal—it begins and ends recognizably in G, and nods to sonata form with the middle section beginning in D. I plan to expand this piece into the first movement of a three-movement flute sonata. Erik Bergstrom, Excitation/Emission Green fluorescent protein, or GFP, was originally isolated from bioluminescent jellyfish. When excited by blue light (395 nm), GFP emits green light (509 nm). Its isolation and the subsequent research on uses of GFP by Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie, and Roger Y. Tsien was the subject of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. GFP remains essential in biomedical research today, as it allows complex biochemical pathways to be illuminated and visualized. The clarinet score for Excitation/Emission is serialized from GFP structural data. Pitch, note lengths, dynamics, articulations, and ornamentation all reflect the many dimensions of protein structure that give GFP its identity. Pitch is sequenced from the identity of the amino acids that make up the backbone of the protein’s structure, known as the “primary structure”, while note length is determined by the number of carbon atoms in the side chains of each of these amino acids. Dynamics are a function of the acidity of basicity of the side chains. Articulations are determined by whether the side chain contains nitrogen, oxygen, or is an aromatic structure. Ornamentation is drawn from the natural folding motifs present in all proteins, known as the “secondary structure”. Helices are represented by trills; turns are represented by drawn line structures in the score; and bends are represented by pitch bends, glissandi, and falls. The electronic effects across the two sections were designed to reflect the concepts of excitation and emission, tension and relaxation, and the transformation of one form of energy to a different one. The electronics are sequenced and controlled in Ableton Live, and the effects were realized in Native Instruments Guitar Rig and Absynth, as well as Trash 2 by iZotope. Don Carlson, Trio for Piano, Flute & Clarinet Trio for Piano, Flute, and Clarinet was inspired by church modes— specifically the Locrian mode. The church modes are the earliest forms of the scale that we know today. Starting on “B” and playing up the next six “white” keys on the piano will form the Locrian mode. I also took inspiration from the first four notes of The Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa. It just happens that the first four notes are the “Dies Irae” from the Roman Catholic Mass. Additionally, I wanted to explore the low and high registers of the flute, clarinet, and piano. The piece was composed in a basic ternary form (ABA). This composition also follows the “Golden Ratio” which determined where the climatic point of the composition should be located. The piece is 4 minutes in length and the climax should occur at approximately 2’28”. The composition has five sections each with one-word descriptors: Sultry, Hypnotic, Evocative, Frenzied, and Spent. Kyle Lofland, The Lazy Dreamer The Lazy Dreamer is a composition for flute and piano that goes through the mindset of an individual who aspires to be the greatest she can possibly be, but lacks the will to achieve her goals. The lazy dreamer is pathetic and aware of her misery. She is excited when she dreams about the wonders her life will bring to her and finds peace in her fantasies. However, aware of her own nature, she knows she will not accomplish her goals. This draws her to anger. She resists at first but then slowly accepts this anger. Instead of changing, she is content with herself as she is and stays miserable. This piece started as a simple melody that is altered in different ways throughout the piece. Even though it is not always the basis for the main melody at every part of the work, it is the central theme. The piece is composed so that it starts and ends with the same feeling, matching the description above. Every section inbetween is meant to be the tonal expression of an emotion. Mattias Zuffoletti, Étude d’une salade de fruits Étude d’une salade de fruits (Study of a Fruit Salad) for clarinet and piano is a study in indeterminacy and atonal composition. The piece was written from randomly generated polychords, which were given fruit names, inverted and transposed to form variations (Grape #3, #2, #1, etc.), and then combined with other polychords to form chord progressions. The abstract melody and harmony are both written around these chords to create an atonal study. Luc Cianfarani, Variations on the St. James Infirmary Blues My inspiration for Variations on the St. James Infirmary Blues comes from a trip I took to New Orleans a few years ago. While there, I saw a city still dealing with the ramifications of Hurricane Katrina nearly ten years after the storm. This trip is also where I first heard the St. James Infirmary Blues, which was being played by a big band on the street. The tune was made a jazz standard after Louis Armstrong’s version was released in 1928. In my version for flute and fixed media, I tell the story of New Orleans poet Shelton Alexander, who was trapped in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. In Variations on the St. James Infirmary, I follow Alexander’s journey from not being able to leave the city before the storm, to seeking refuge in the Superdome only for conditions to deteriorate, to his eventual return home after the storm. In the piece, I grapple with Alexander’s feelings of panic, uncertainty, and survivor’s guilt. Aaqil Abdullah, The Third Wave The Third Wave, for flute, clarinet, and piano, is a single movement work in micro-macrocosmic form. This piece focuses on the exploration of timbre and register. It also is a study in functional harmony and modes. The element that brings The Third Wave together is the manipulation of sine waves. A sine wave, having no overtones, is a pure tone, though when stacked it can create new timbres. Each figure is a transformation of the sine wave shape— used to manipulate pitch. The performers interpret the graphical transformations of the sine wave as it moves across the registers. This new interpretation of each line is what makes up the “third wave.” Nathaniel Hara, Conversations As the name implies, the work is a conversation between the piano and flute, as well as a personal conversation. Conversations is primarily a whimsical and fun piece, but there is a serious aspect to the work. The piano and flute symbolize different musical styles. As the piano struggles to find harmony with the flute, it shows my own struggle understanding contemporary music. The piece is broken into eleven sections, alternating between conversation and trial. While some sections are more ambiguous than others as to whether it is a conversation or a trial, every conversation begins with a greeting and leads to a page turn and a new trial. A trial occurs when the piano and flute play together and try to establish harmony in their relationship. Since each instrument is changing, each trial is different. The piece experiments with a variety of musical styles, such as minimalism, serialism, and indeterminacy before reaching its climax. This is my first composition and I hope you enjoy the piece! Luc Cianfarani, Chicago Chicago, for flute, B-flat clarinet, and piano is based on Carl Sandburg’s poem also titled “Chicago”. Sandburg, a champion of American social realism in the early 20th century, attempted to depict Chicago as a complex and dynamic city. In my piece, I followed the form of the poem to create sounds that aligned with the different portrayals of Chicago that Sandburg created. Additionally, I made my piece unique to the city of Chicago by adding figures, such as a 12-bar blues section, that pays homage to the city’s history. Sandburg’s poem left me feeling optimistic about his Chicago, even though he outlined the city’s faults. This is a major theme in my piece as well. Despite the piece’s complexity and dissonance, a string of hope and optimism cut through the music. What is important about Chicago is not the city itself, but rather its residents’ faith in the city. Composer Biographies Aaqil Abdullah is a fourth-year music student at the University of Virginia. Erik Bergstrom is a fourth-year biochemistry and music student at the University of Virginia. Erik is also a tuba player in the Cavalier Marching Band and UVA’s Wind Ensemble. His primary compositional interests are the explorations of synthesized textures, particularly through modular synthesis systems, and the combination of his studies of chemistry and music. After graduating in May, Erik plans on continuing his biomedical research and composition studies. Don Carlson is a New Jersey native who holds a B.S. in Music Education from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He taught high school band in New Jersey for nine years before joining the United States Army and serving in the 392d Army Band for three years. He continues to serve in the Virginia National Guard as the commander of the 29th Infantry Division Band. He was the high school band and chorus teacher for Rockbridge County for three years. He has been a music arranger since 1994. He currently enjoys living with his wife in Charlottesville. Luc Cianfarani is a pianist and composer from Saratoga Springs, NY. Currently, he is a fourth-year student at the University of Virginia where he is majoring in music with a concentration in piano performance. Luc’s compositional interests lie in writing concert music and music for film. He is particularly inspired by the music of Frederic Rzewski, bebop, Afro-Cuban music, and Andrew Norman. Nathaniel Hara is a third-year music major. While he plays many instruments poorly, his focus is on percussion and singing. Kyle Lofland is a second-year student from Marietta, Georgia. He is studying music and economics. He has been a trumpet player for more than 8 years and is a member of the Cavalier Marching Band. Luke Waddell is a composer and pianist in his final year as a music and mechanical engineering major. During high school, Luke wrote two pieces that won prizes in the Virginia Music Teachers’ Association competition that were later performed by the McLean Symphony. For his first years of college, Waddell was busy pursuing engineering, but in the last year he has been able to focus on his musical activities and plans on attending graduate school for musical composition. Mattias Zuffoletti is 17-year-old pianist and bassist. He is dual enrolled at the University of Virginia Music Department, furthering his studies in music composition and performance, while still attending Renaissance High School as a senior. Mattias composes jazz and singer songwriter based compositions based in improvisations for the piano. Performer Biographies Canadian clarinetist Shawn Earle is Lecturer in Clarinet at the University of Virginia and is principal clarinetist of the Charlottesville Symphony. He performs regularly as a soloist and has been a chamber musician with the Albemarle Ensemble, Cascadia Reed Quintet, Vancouver Clarinet Trio, Trio Dolce, and guest artist with the Novo Ensemble. He also has performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Okanagan Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Vancouver Island Symphony, and Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra. Canadian pianist John Mayhood has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout North America, as well as in Germany and Austria. He has frequently appeared on CBC and SRC radio as well as on various NPR affiliates, and his performances have been televised in both the USA and Canada. In constant demand as a collaborator, John has appeared with musicians from the Montreal and Toronto Symphonies, the New York Philharmonic, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, among many others. Also a scholar, he has presented on subjects ranging from the philosophy of performance practice to neo-Riemannian theory at, among other places, the University of Chicago and the annual meeting of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie. Kelly Sulick currently teaches at the University of Virginia and serves as Principal Flute in the Charlottesville Symphony. Prior to her appointment, she served as Principal Flute with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and as Consortium Instructor of Flute at the University of Evansville for three years. She earned her Master of Music degree in Flute Performance from the University of Southern California; prior to her graduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan, where she graduated with highest honors and was named a James B. Angell Scholar for her academic achievements.
Luke Waddell
Erik Bergstrom
Don Carlson
Kyle Lofland
Mattias Zuffoletti
Luc Cianfarani
Aaqil Abdullah
Nathaniel Hara
Shawn Earle
John Mayhood
Kelly Sulick
University of Virginia Concert Recordings
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