TransMagiNations Program Notes

February 12, 2006
Program Notes

Ivan Sokolov

Ivan Sokolov graduated from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory as pianist and composer and worked as assistant professor of composition there in 1984-94.

Mr. Sokolov has appeared in recitals and as a soloist with different orchestras in many European countries and in the USA. Being an extraordinary and inspired performer of baroque, classical and romantic music, Mr. Sokolov is one of the major Russian artists committed to the contemporary music world. His extensive contemporary music repertoire includes music by Prokofiev, Schönberg, Shostakovich, Hindemith, Bartók, Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Kagel, Crumb, Feldman, Cage, Boulez and other composers.

Mr. Sokolov is the most prominent and recognized performer of piano and chamber music by the Soviet and contemporary Russian composers. He premiered many works by S. Gubaidulina, V. Silvestrov, E. Denisov, N. Korndorf, A. Raskatov, V. Tarnopolski, F. Karayev, V. Ekimovsky, D. Smirnov, E. Firsova, A. Rabinovitch, and other composers.

In 1995 he made a CD-recording of all Galina Ustvolskaya’s piano works. His other projects include the recordings of compositions by the Russian-Canadian composer Nikolai Korndorf, a recording of the Russian-German Composers’ Quartet, of which he is a member, and many other recordings. He collaborated with such excellent musicians as the cellists Alexander Ivashkin and Natalia Gutman, pianists Marta Argerich and Alexei Lubimov, violinists Tatiana Grindenko and Kolya Blacher, conductors Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Andrey Boreiko as well as with many distinguished Russian and German orchestras.

Since 1979 Mr. Sokolov has performed as a soloist in all major cities of the former Soviet Union and Europe. Since 1986 he has regularly appeared in concerts and festivals for contemporary music, including the Alternativa Festival in Moscow (of which he is one of the founders), the Schleswig-Holstein festival, Almeida Festival London, the Luzerner Festwochen, the Copenhagen Culture festival, and others.

Sokolov made his debut in Seattle with the Seattle Chamber Players at the Icebreaker: Contemporary Russian Music Festival in February 2002, performing ten compositions in three days, and was re-engaged by the ensemble for another appearance in Seattle at the Shostakovich Uncovered festival with chamber music of Shostakovich and his followers, to many of whom Sokolov is a close friend and first and frequent performer of their compositions.

Mr. Sokolov’s own works include pieces for piano, violin, piano trio, orchestra, as well as a miniopera. They have been performed in Moscow and in many other Russian and European cities. In his music, Sokolov experiments with different types of musical expression, including cryptophonic encodings, graphic notational experiments, happenings as well as truly romantic stylistics.

Since 1995 Sokolov has divided his time between Cologne (Germany) and Moscow and has toured all over the world. www.obst-music.com/artists/sokolov.htm


Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Chamber Players deftly mine Russian works
By R.M. CAMPBELL
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER MUSIC CRITIC

Shostakovich was represented by 13 of his piano preludes (Op. 34): tiny ideas, wildly different from one another, fully expressed. Sokolov, born and trained in Russia, played them with enormous speed, brio and variety. All sorts of bravos rightly followed him on and off the stage.

http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/reviews/liveevents/russian_music_discovery.html

Peter Grahame Woolf:

Ivan Sokolov as composer was another welcome discovery for me and I had not previously seen him perform live. I had selected his as the most recommendable recording in a comparative review of Ustvolskaya’s piano sonatas; he joined Ivashkin for a cello and piano recital which was dominated by Ustvolskaya’s Grand Duet (try to hear Rosptropovich’s recording of it) and during the day he turned out to be also an original composer with a very personal sense of humour. That was demonstrated in a music-theatre piece Rodina, which required violinist Daniel Hope to simulate a fatal collapse on stage, as Kagel famously did conducting his fiftieth birthday piece Finale, and in Sokolov’s thirteen acrobatic, and deceptively childlike, piano pieces – ‘very often their titles do not correspond with their meanings‘; Russians like to remain enigmatic.


Solnechnaya Sonata for Violin and Piano
 was written in August 2005. The first movement, a sonata form, Allegro moderato in E minor, is in a lyric-epic atmosphere and filled with impressions from the beauty of Russian nature. Working on it, I was listening to a lot of Russian music and Alexander Glazunov’sKarelian Legend in particular (op. 99, 1916), which might be a better piece than any of his symphonies. The second movement Andante is in a pastoral, contemplative mood close to that of the symphonic music by Vassily Kalinnikov. It brings reminiscences of a rest in the open air. In the middle section there appears an image of a certain wide river, smoothly bearing its waters. In the recapitulation you can hear bird singing. This bird singing is getting closer to us in the third movement, Scherzo, and we look at it as if through an ear microscope. The finale, Allegro vivace, is the dramaturgical center of the Sonata, in a rondo form. It has only one theme, but some images from the previous movements are reflected and reach their conclusions in this finale. After some quite lyrical development, the music gradually becomes brighter and ends with a coda which reminds of a burst of sunlight in E major. The entire piece is named by this coda — the Solnechnaya (Sunlight) Sonata.


I am really grateful to wonderful violinist Karen Bentley Pollick for her request to write this music and for agreeing to perform it.

–Ivan Sokolov

 

CHARLES NORMAN MASON

Charles Norman Mason has received many awards for his compositions. This year he was awarded the 2005 Rome Prize (Samuel Barber Rome Prize Fellowship) and as a result is living and composing in Rome until August, 2006. Other awards he has received include:  second prize  in the International Society of Bassists 2004, 1998 Premi Internacional de Composició Musical Ciutat de Tarragona Orchestra Music prize, a 1994 National Endowment of the Arts Individual Artist Award, 2002 First Prize in the Atlanta Clarinet Association Composition Competition, a 1998 Plymouth Music Orchestra Reading fellow, a  1995 Delius Prize, a  1996 Dale Warland Singers Commission Prize, 1989 honorable mention in the International Bourges Electro-Acoustic Composition Competition, and commissions from the Alabama Symphony Orchestra (2003), Dale Warland Singers (1996) , the Corona Guitar Kvartet (Denmark) (2004) Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, (1996), the Lithium Quartet (2002), West Wind (France) (2002), ONIX (Mexico) (2004), Luna Nova (2004), cellist Craig Hultgren (1993), the Music Teachers National Association (2000), Steinway Artist William DeVan (2000), bassist Robert Black (2004), violinist Karen Bentley Pollick, and the New York Golliard Ensemble (2003).

His music has been performed throughout the world. Recent performances include the FORO INTERNACIONAL DE MUSICA NUEVA in Mexico City (2005), Aspen Summer Music Festival (2003), Nuova Musica Consonante in Romania (2004), Spoleto Festival (SC) (1995), the Florida State New Music Festival (2003), and Merkin Hall (Washington Square Contemporary Music Ensemble) (2004). He was composer-in-residence with the Golliard Ensemble for 2004-2005.

Mason was a composer in residence at the International Centre for Composers in Visby, Sweden in 2005, a resident composer at the Hambidge Center (1994), the University of Alaska in Fairbanks (1996), the pianissimo New Music Festival in Bulgaria (2001), and was sponsored by the Seaside Institute as an “Escape To Create” composer-in-residence at Seaside, Florida (1995).

 His music is available on ten different compact disc recordings including a 2003 release of The Onix Ensemble from Mexico with flutist Alejandro Escuer on the Quindecim Recordings label. His music is published by Living Artist Publishing.

 Dr. Mason is professor of composition at Birmingham-Southern College and director of the Birmingham-Southern College Electroacoustic Music Studios. Birmingham-Southern offers a Bachelor of Music in Composition and a Master’s of Music in Composition. His website is http://panther.bsc.edu/~cmason.


Incantesimi: Ommagio a Scelsi e Berio 
for Violin and Piano (2005)

I composed this piece while a Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. I was extremely fortunate to be there in 2005 as there were two amazing events occurring simultaneously: a month-long Berio celebration and a four month Scelsi festival. I literally attended three concerts a week and still was not able to attend everything. I felt a strong influence from those two giants of Italian music and noticed that influence sneaking into my composition. Rather than attempt to block it out, I decided to embrace it as an homage to Berio and Scelsi. The piece itself also continues my work in the style of Hyper-Connectivisim. The term refers to the idea of disparate parts working together towards a common goal at such a frenetic pace that they reach the border just before chaos, but also the point at which great things can happen. For those who like to know the inner workings of a piece, I offer this: The motives, chords, pitch centers, and form all result from the following pitches: A Bb B C Eb E F#  which come from the following three names BErio (Bb E)  SCElSi (Eb C E Eb) MASon (F# A Eb) CHArlES (C B A E Eb). This does not mean these are the only pitches used in the piece, just that each section focuses on one of those pitches, the dominant notes in the original harmonies come from those pitches, etc. The careful listener may notice that there was a bit of tongue in cheek used in determining the pitches for the Scelsi and Berio sections (the Scelsi section focuses on the Berio pitches and vice-versa).

Trenchantor (a trenchant person, incisive, terse, and vigorous). This composition for solo piano was composed in 2005 and is another example of my Hyper-Connectivism pieces.

–Charles Norman Mason

 

Dorothy Hindman

Dr. Dorothy Hindman‘s (b. 1966) work is performed extensively in the U.S., and throughout Eastern and Western Europe. Critics have called her music ‘intense, gripping, and frenetic’, ‘sonorous and affirmative’ and ‘music of terrific romantic gesture’. Awards and recognition include 2005 Almquist Choral Composition Award, 2004 Nancy Van de Vate International Composition Prize for Opera, 2004 Winner of the International Society of Bassists Solo Composition Competition, a 2002 Alabama Music Teachers Association/MTNA Commission, the Atlanta Prize in the 2001 Hultgren Biennial Solo Cello Works Competition, an Alabama State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship, the NACUSA Young Composers Competition, the Abraham Frost Composition Competition, the ASCA/National Symphony Orchestra Commission Competition, the G. Schirmer Young Americans Choral Competition, and the Percussive Arts Society’s International Solo Marimba Composition Competition. Recent commissions include Lost in Translation for saxophonist Carey Valente, Drift for the Lithium Saxophone Quartet, Taut for the Corona Guitar Kvartet, Louise: The Story of a Magdalen, a full-length opera for Alabama Operaworks, and Time Management for bassist Robert Black. A native of Miami, Florida, Hindman has taught music theory and composition at Birmingham-Southern College since 1994. This year, she is residing in Rome, Italy, as a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome.

 http://panther.bsc.edu/~dhindman/


Centro
  for Violin and Piano (2005)

In Rome, history is present to a tangible degree; everywhere, one is bombarded by insistent whispers of past presences (or present pasts?), relentless reminders of one’s own mortality. Anyone who has stood at Piazza Barberini, or any of the numerous other piazzas in the Centro will understand. This is a multilayered temporal experience: ancient, medieval, renaissance, contemporary. The paradox of human time and life’s fleeting nature is juxtaposed against man’s monuments, built to exist forever. In this work, the avant-garde coexists with the post-modern; each is informed by the other, juxtaposed, treated to hyper-imitation and timbrally bent toward or away from the other until the influences overwhelm and subsume the individual identities within the work. With its abrupt shifts and constant recasting of the same material into different connotations, Centro also might suggest the inner, continuous centering of the self in relation to one’s surroundings, physical and metaphysical. Centro, the second piece in the Monumenti series, was written in December, 2005 at the American Academy in Rome for Karen Bentley Pollick and Ivan Sokolov. It exploits their prodigious talents.

–Dorothy Hindman

 

Jorge Sosa

Born in Mexico City in 1976, Jorge Sosa began his studies in composition and music theory at the Centro de Investigacion y Estudios de la Musica (C.I.E.M). Jorge received his Masters of Music in Composition from Mannes College of Music, and is studying for his Doctorate of Music at the prestigious conservatory at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Jorge’s works have been performed in Mexico, the United States and Europe. Jorge’s opera Loveless was recently premiered in New York City, and he premiered his sax quartet, Funeral March at the 4th Annual Ibero-American Festival, also in New York City. His orchestral work Prelude to the Cross was read by the Mannes

Orchestra, and his guitar trio Cajon, commissioned for the New York City Guitar Society, was premiered in 2004. His Concerto for Violin and String Orchestraenjoyed successful performances in Mexico City and Tlaxcala for an audience of more than 3,000 people over a three day period. Jorge has also written pieces for the stage and radio, including King Lear, performed in the Santa Catarina Theater in Mexico City. Most recently his Romance de la Luna was premiered in Barcelona by the Percussions of Barcelona and is also scheduled to be performed in NY at Mannes College of Music. In 2005 the orchestra of the National Polytechnic Institute commissioned the piece Metaforas Sobre la Relatividad which was premiered in Mexico City in December 2005.

 Please visit Jorge’s website, www.jorgesosa.com.


Capricho para violin solo
 is based on three contrasted “sound images”. It tries to place the listener in three different places and situations that have to do with the Mexican culture. The first movement is based on a traditional type of music called “Huapango”. This style is from an ancient origin and is still practiced today in the Sierra Huasteca in the little indigenous towns and in the cantinas. The piece does not try to copy the style but rather reflect the experience of being in the small, obscure cantina and through its dissonances place the listener in this peculiar setting.

The second movement is based on a religious image, a contrapuntal setting that seeks to place the listener in a church or cathedral where the vast spaces relate to the long lines that interact creating a peaceful mood that is broken by the interior struggle within oneself.

The third movement evokes the Fandango in Veracruz. The fandango is a popular party where traditional musicians from Mexico will jam and improvise with their guitar like instruments and with the dancers. The jam session will go on all night and through the constant repetition of the musical patterns the listeners enter a state of trance achieved by the communion of music and dance.

 The piece relies on these images as a source of inspiration but the overall result is an original musical style that is independent from the images and the folk material from where its inspiration is taken, distorting them as if the experience was seen through a broken glass. Capricho para Violin Solo was premiered at the Manhattan School of Music in 2002 and has enjoyed successful performances at the Hughes Gallery in Dublin as well as the Tlaxcala Cathedral and the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico. The Irish Times described the piece as “very passionate”, and the East Hampton Star called it “evocative of the atmosphere and culture of the Iberian Peninsula, even of the Mariachi music of Mexico”.

–Jorge Sosa

 

Patrick Stoyanovich

Pianist and composer Patrick Stoyanovich brings a rich musical experience to contemporary culture. Educated from age nine as a pianist and horn player, Mr. Stoyanovich was honored numerous times as outstanding soloist while still a teenager and began to perform as a professional pianist by age fourteen. His formal education began at The University of Michigan School of Music graduating with a Bachelor’s of Arts specializing in Piano Performance. He was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Jazz studying with noted New York City jazz pianist Richard Beirach. During this time, Mr. Stoyanovich also won the international competition: John W. Work III Prize for Composition. Mr. Stoyanovich continued his education at Yale University School of Music as a student of Jacob Druckman and was awarded the Irving Gilmore Fellowship for the Outstanding Composition Student and the John Day Jackson Prize for Chamber Music. He graduated from Yale with the graduate degree of Master’s of Composition with High Honors. For post-graduate work, Mr. Stoyanovich studied at Le Academie des Americaines Conservatoire de Musique in Fontainebleau, France on a composition scholarship. There, he had the honor of studying in a select composition seminar lead by noted American musician Leonard Bernstein. Mr. Stoyanovich’s composition teachers include three Pulitzer Prize winners: William Bolcom, Jacob Druckman and Leslie Basset as well as other noted American musicians such as Gunther Schuller. Early in his career, Mr. Stoyanovich was named Composer-in-Residence for the Champlain Valley Symphony Orchestra (NY) and served as adjunct professor of music at Burlington College in Vermont and The State University of New York: Plattsburgh. In the early 1990′s, his music was published by Margun Music (now G. Schirmer) when Gunther Schuller took note of Mr. Stoyanovich’s works. Currently his compositions are published by his own business, METRO CITY MUSIC.

The orchestral compositions of Stoyanovich have been performed by a number of orchestras including the Pacific Symphony Orchestra (CA), Florida Orchestra (FL), Spokane Symphony Orchestra (WA), Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra (CA), Northwest Chamber Orchestra (WA), Bremerton Symphony Association (WA), Champlain Valley Symphony Orchestra (NY), Helena Symphony Orchestra (MT) and Butte Symphony Association (MT). His chamber and solo works have been performed in Canterbury, England’s English Double Reed Society International Festival, on the Hungarian National Radio, at Carnegie Mellon University and on numerous recitals around the United States from New Haven, CT to Los Angeles, CA. He was honored with the prestigous Al Smith Composition Fellow by the State of Kentucky and worked closely with arts groups in that area including the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra and the Lexington Ballet Company. Due to his interest in young musicians, numerous youth and honor’s orchestras have performed and commissioned him including the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, Southern California Honors Orchestra and the Wisconsin State Honors Orchestra. Patrick is active as a performer frequently appearing in solo recitals and for arts organizations such as the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, the Northwest Piano Series and Steinway Recital Series at Sherman Clay in Seattle. He has appeared as jazz piano soloist at several jazz festivals including Detroit-Montreaux, Bright Moments (MA), Vermont Jazz and the Banff Jazz Festival in Canada. As a concert pianist, he has appeared as soloist with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Bremerton Symphony Association and with his own ensembles. As a jazz pianist, he continues to perform around the area as well as with noted performers such as former “Tonight Show” bassist Robert Hurst. As an educator, Mr. Stoyanovich served as adjunct professor of music theory, jazz history, keyboard harmony and jazz theory at California State University: Fullerton and at the University of California: Los Angeles, while also teaching privately for a number of years. Patrick lives on Bainbridge Island, WA with his wife, Elizabeth (who is a conductor and advocate of his works) and their two daughters: Antonia Barbara and Sophia Isabelle.

www.metrocitymusic.com


Molto Loco for Solo Violin 
was first composed in 1989, with the full orchestral version following in 1990 premiered in New York. The work is dedicated to Leonard Bernstein with whom I had the opportunity to work with at the composition seminar at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France. The work employs both rhythmic and harmonic processes that aid in generating the form and metrical changes in the piece. The larger overall form is quite simple however, and makes the blues evident in a few places. It is a very rhythmic composition, almost percussive in nature. The language is that of my own jazz improvisation, which I consider my compositional language as well.

–Patrick Stoyanovich