lundi 8 février 2016

Michael Jon Fink - Sunless


Michael Jon Fink is a composer/performer who resides in the San Fernando Valley just north of Los Angeles. For the last thirty years he has served on the faculty of the Herb Albert School of Music at the California Institute of the Arts where he teaches Composition, Orchestration and Analysis.

He has composed concertos for soprano saxophone, bass clarinet, violin and cello as well as incidental music for two plays by W.B. Yeats and three by Wajdi Mouawad.

"A Folio of Large and Small Worlds Ending", a chamber concerto composed for world-renowned avant-garde cellist Frances Marie Uitti (who plays with two bows at the same time) was premiered at REDCAT in 2012.

He recently composed the score for Tareq Daoud’s short dramatic film La salle des maîtres, an Official Selection of the Film Festival Locarno.

His “Prelude to Alone” for clarinets, trombones and electric guitar appears on the new “Cold Blue Two”  CD Anthology (Cold Blue Music: CB0036 ).

M.J.F. has been a composer/improviser with experimental and new music groups that have included the Negative Band, Musica Veneris Nocturnus, Stillife and Ghost Duo; and currently plays electric guitar with Pickaxe (Noise), Gods of Rain (Experimental Metal), the Feedback Wave Riders (Free Improv) and Trio Through the Looking-Glass (Jazz-inflected).

His music appears on the Cold Blue, Contagion, C.R.I., Trance Port, Raptoria Caam and Wire Tapper labels.                        


(by the composer himself)

each new measure adds something significant to the story.
Composed especially for The Glass Homage Concert,
"Sunless" is a slow lyric prelude where
each new measure adds something significant to the story.

mardi 23 juin 2015

Jim Fox - smoke, hornblende, clay


Jim Fox is a Los Angeles-based composer whose usually quiet, slow, lyrical music has been described by critics as “austere” and “ethereal” (The Wire), “phenomenally beautiful” (Kyle Gann, Chamber Music), and “sensuous” (Fanfare). His music has appeared on the Cold Blue, innova, CRI, Advance, Grenadilla, Raptoria Caam, and Citadel labels.

smoke, hornblende, clay

(by the composer himself)

Smoke, hornblende, clay, composed for and dedicated to Nicolas Horvath, 
may suggest a variety of things during its very brief “life”: 
elemental matter and shapes, simple change/decay,
 a drift toward nothingness . . .

Jaan Rääts - Prelüüd Op.128


b. October 15, 1932, Tartu
Member of the Estonian Composer's Union since 1957

In the 1960s, a markedly anti-Romantic, active and playful style was brought into Estonian music by Jaan Rääts, a composer of neo-classicist orientation. His youthful and rhythmic Concerto for Chamber Orchestra from 1961 became a landmark achievement in Estonian new music.

Rääts studied piano at the Tartu Music High School and graduated in 1957 as a composition student of professors Mart Saar and Heino Eller from the Tallinn Conservatoire. 1955–1966 he worked as a recording engineer at the Estonian Radio, 1966–1970 as chief editor of music programs and 1970–1974 as chief director and music manager of the Estonian Television. From 1974 to 1993, he served as chairman of the Estonian Composers’ Union and was also a long-time member of high party and government bodies. 1968–1970 and again 1974–2003, Rääts has taught composition at the Estonian Academy of Music (professor since 1990). Among his many students there were Raimo Kangro, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Rauno Remme, Tõnu Kõrvits, Mihkel Kerem,  Avi Benjamin Nedzvetski, Kerri Kotta, Toomas Trass, Vsevolod Posdejev, Tõnis Kaumann and Timo Steiner.

Jaan Rääts is a composer with a fairly constant sound and style. The bulk of his work consists of instrumental music. From 1957–1993, Rääts completed ten symphonies. He has also written 24 concertos for orchestra and soloist(s) and two concertos for chamber orchestra, symphonic pieces and a lot of chamber music.

In general, Rääts avoids dramaturgical development and storytelling. Vigorous rhythmic pulse is the basic element of his music, in which the various stylistic fragments revolve as if in a drum mixer: Mozartian triads and modernist clusters, baroque and folk music motifs, linear polyphony and pop music rhythms. His terse form is the glue that holds together his kaleidoscopic style and balances its rapid contrasts with the symmetries of the overall scheme. Sometimes, lyrical and neo-Romantic figures will flit by in his works but they do not define the general character of the works. Rääts’ playful style generally emanates subtle humour or (self-)irony. On the background of the national romantic main trend of 1950s Estonian music, the rhythmic energy and crisp free tonal melodic of Rääts’ works seemed extraordinary.

The pulsating rhythm and angular melodies of Rääts’ first symphonies (No. 1 1957, No. 2 1958/1987, No. 3 1959) seemed revolutionary at first, but his energetic style was actually fairly well suited to conveying the spirit of Soviet life and work ethic. In the music of the late 1960s and early 1970s, namely, in Symphonies No. 6 (1967) and No. 7 (1972), the "snapshot technique" in Rääts’ music assumed feverish forms. His material became diverse – a mosaic-like texture filled with many fleeting stylistic references, quotations and motifs from different musical styles including folk music. In the 1980s, a more aphoristic, minimalist-influenced style gained ground.

Rääts’ playful style proved especially well suited to the concerto – he has written concertos for violin (1963, 1979, 1995) and piano (1968, 1971, 1983, 1989, 1992 – for 4 hands), as well as for piano duo (1986), cello (1966, 1997), guitar (1992) and various other instrumental duos – for trumpet and piano (1993), violin and guitar (1998) and two guitars (1999). Rääts’ orchestral works also include two concertos for chamber orchestra (1961, 1987) and shorter orchestra works, including Intrata for chamber orchestra (1997) and Five Sketches for Requiem ("Viis eskiisi reekviemile", 1997) as some of the most attractive ones.

Rääts’ chamber music is even more extensive. He has composed six string quartets and seven piano trios, piano quartets, sextets and works for other ensembles. His prolific work for the piano includes 10 sonatas and the cycles 24 Preludes (1968), 24 Preludes to Estonian Folk Melodies ("24 prelüüdi eesti rahvaviisidele", 1977), 24 Estonian Preludes ("24 eesti prelüüdi", 1989) and three miniature series entitled 24 Marginalia ("24 marginaali" – 1979 for piano, 1980 for electronics – the first electronic work to be put on LP in Estonia, and in 1982 for two pianos). Of Rääts’ few vocal works, the most notable are the oratorio Karl Marx (1964, Enn Vetemaa) for narrator, mixed choir and symphony orchestra, Small Oratorio ("Väike oratoorium", 1973, Enn Vetemaa) for male choir, organ and symphony orchestra and Magic Square ("Maagiline ruut", 1999) for chamber choir and chamber orchestra. Rääts has also written music for 14 Estonian films.

Rääts’ music has remained concerto-like and playful right up to the present day, irrespective of the genre. He says: "I don’t like rigid systems. I like absorbing musical material, filtering it, emotionally developing it as needed. Using it as a springboard for my imagination..."

Rääts’ rhythm-centred idiom, developed in the 1960s, was exerting an influence on Estonian music as a whole as late as in the end of the 1980s. Although he started as a composer during the era of (re)discovering modernism and avant-garde compositional techniques, his mosaic-like, playful personal style signified the advent of postmodernist thought in Estonian music.

More than 40 vinyl records and CD-s have been released by several companies including Melodija, Antes Edition, Finlandia Records, Capriccio Records, Kreuzberg Records and Eurodisc. By Antes Edition two personal collections (1995, 1996) have produced. Rääts’s works have been published by Sovetski Kompozitor, Muzõka, Estonian Music Foundation, Edition Peters, Sikorski Verlag, G. Schirmer Inc., Antes Edition, Edition 49, Eres Edition a.o.

Jaan Rääts has received the honorary titles of Estonian SSR Merited Art Worker (1965) and People’s Artist (1977). He has deserved the Prize of Soviet Estonia (1972), Literature and Art Award of the Estonian Soviet Communist Youth Organisation (1970) and Annual Music award of the ESSR (1974). In the Republic of Estonia he has been awarded the Estonian State Cultural Award (1995), the Annual Prize of Endowment for Music of Culture Endowment of Estonia (2002), the Annual Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (2007), The Lifetime Achievement Award of the Estonian National Culture Foundation (2011), The Lifetime Achievement Award of the Republic of Estonia (2011) and the third class order of the White Star.

Prelüüd Op. 128

Michael Davids Brent - Sacajawea


When American composers are described as “native” the definition is not usually as accurate as when applied to BRENT MICHAEL DAVIDS, an American Indian and enrolled citizen of the Mohican Nation. Davids’ composer career spans 39 years, including awards from ASCAP, NEA, Rockefeller Foundation, MTC, and Bush Foundation, among others. Commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra, his “Canyon Sunrise” commemorated the 25th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center and the 60th Anniversary of the NSO. Garrison Keillor asked Davids for an orchestra work, “Prayer & Celebration,” that premiered on “A Prairie Home Companion.” Davids was commissioned by Grammy Award-winning Chanticleer, for “Night Chant,” “Mohican Soup,” and “Un-Covered Wagon.” In 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts named Davids among the nation’s most celebrated choral composers in its project “American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius.” Davids “Black Hills Olowan” premiered with the Porcupine Singers and the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra on SD Pubic Television. In 2014, his new opera “Purchase of Manhattan” premiered in Manhattan to rave reviews. Davids holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Composition from Northern Illinois University (1981) and Arizona State University (1992) respectively, trained at Redford’s Sundance Institute, and apprenticed with film composer Stephen Warbeck (Shakespeare In Love). He has garnered the Distinguished Alumni Awards from both of the universities he attended, NIU (1996) and ASU (2004).


(by the composer himself)

For Nicolas Horvath

For the wonderfully ambitious pastiche “GlassWorlds” of celebrated
pianist Nicolas Horvath, I used the 2nd movement of “Piano Concerto
No. 2” by Philip Glass, as a jumping off place. The Glass concerto is
reflection on the Louis and Clark expedition, and movement two,
“Sacajawea,” features a flute melody with varying straight beats
As an American Indian composer, I felt I could bring a flute-like
melody together with an indigenous “heartbeat” pattern as a
compliment to the original, creating the miniature “GlassWorlds—
Sacajawea” (2015). For this minute-long work, the repetitive heartbeat
rhythm is counted as a quick five-count beat with stressed beats on
one and three: (1)-2-(3)-4-5, (1)-2-(3)-4-5, etc. The American Indian
flute melody is shaped in the familiar descending pattern of many
indigenous songs, and performed by the pianist whistling while he

Alvin Curran - The Glass Octave


Alvin Curran’s music career spans nearly 50 years as a composer/performer/teacher in the American experimentalist tradition – his work readily embraces all the contradictions.  Born in Providence RI in 1938 into a Yiddish speaking family of popular musicians, he studied piano from the age of five and learned trombone by himself, opening up to early formative experiences playing Jazz, dance music, Orchestral Choral and Band music.  He studied composition with Ron Nelson at Brown University (in the American symphonic style) and with Elliott Carter at Yale School of  Music earning an MMus. degree in 1963. Since 1964 has resided in Rome, Italy, taught briefly at the Accademia Nazionale d’Arte Drammatica, and was the Milhaud Professor of Composition at Mills College 1991-2006. His work is a kind of hand-book to music making in the late 20th Century, seen through his original pursuits of: live electronic Improvisation (founding member of MEV 1966);  solo performance (“Songs and Views from the Magnetic Garden” 1973, Endangered Species 2000); Radio Art (Crystal Pslams 1988, Erat Verbum 1990, TransDadaExpress-Extraordinary Renderings, 2006) large theatrical sound installations (the Twentieth Century 1996, Gardening with John 2005, and Maritime Rites 1978 (il Laghetto di Villa Borghese, Oh Brass on the Grass Alas 2006), NPR radio series 1984,   2007- Thames River, Tate Modern London) – his expansive composition with natural sound and acoustic and electronic instruments has lead to the creation of a form of new musical theater in large architechtural and natural spaces. His chamber music includes abundant music for solo piano (Inner Cities 1-14 – a  6 hour piano cycle 1992-2008) and numerous works for ensembles and small orchestras, and chorus,  many of which have been made in collaborations with choreographers, Trisha Brown, Joan Jonas, Margy Jenkins, Achim Freyer, Molissa Fenley, Nancy Karp,  Wanda Golonka, and Yoshiko Chuma.

The Glass Octave 

(by the composer himself) 

I have been writing pieces based on the octave for as long as I can remember; 
there is no other interval in anyones music history which so seductively approaches nothingness… 
as if a musical sandwich made of two pieces of bread only.   
It is the only interval (sound) which Elliott Carter advised his students 
– Yale, 1960 –  not to use in their compositions; in short “don’t bring octaves into this room..”  
A personal note of thanks to Philip for bringing such keen musical focus 
to the then, here-hear and now.

Akiko Yamane - Glittering Pattern


Born in Osaka in 1982.
Yamane, in her own words, “[tries] to create music using the concept of "visible sound" as a figurative art. The phenomenon of sound is in fact invisible, but as it is experienced as installation art, I strive to enable the listener to trace the outlines of sound movement and feel shapes, colors, textures and the space beside them in their own inner perception.”
Yamane studied composition at the Kyoto City University of Arts with Hinoharu Matsumoto from 2001-2007, and at Hochschule für Kuenste Bremen with Younghi Pagh-Paan from 2005-2006 as an exchange student. Yamane also studied composition with Motoharu Kawashima privately. She participated in a Composition Master Course in Akiyoshidai's Summer (2003), at the Composers Forum in Tokyo (2004), in the Takefu international music festival (2005, 2007 as an invited composer), and at Royaumont Voix Nouvelles in France (2006).
Yamane’s numerous awards and grants include the Meiji Yasuda quality of life scholarship (2004), the Kyoto Musical Association prize (2005), a finalist of the Takefu Composition Award (2005), the Togashi Prize of the 22nd JSCM Award for Composers (2005), 1st Prize of the Music Competition of Japan (2006), and the Akutagawa Prize (2010). 
Her works have been performed in Tokyo, New york City, Paris, Bremen and commissioned by the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Izumi Sinfonietta Osaka and many ensembles and players. She organizes experimental music events “eX.” with composer Motoharu Kawashima in Tokyo from 2007. She staged a sound installation “Dots Collection No.06” in Kyoto, 2011.

 Glittering Pattern

(by the composer herself) 

This piece is made up of glittering "continuums."  
To me, a musical continuum is a seemingly infinite and static strand of music that, 
upon close inspection, is actually glittering with activity. 
Such continuums are packed to the brim of a frame. 
In this piece, the framework is the temporal constraint of one minute, 
 and the continuums are free to form patterns within this frame.

The material of the continuums is derived from one passage of a Philip Glass piece. 
 I sampled a string of arpeggios from the passage, 
deconstructed it by statistically analyzing its motion, 
reconstructed it, and then ornamented the resulting material.

I sculpted this piece with a sense of joy and 
also with feelings of great respect and admiration toward Philip Glass.

Glittering Pattern was written for Nicolas' captivating project.

dimanche 26 octobre 2014

Alexey Shmurak - last peaceful hours


Alexey Shmurak

Composer, pianist, multi-instrumentalist, art-manager of different musical and multidisciplinary projects (Ukraine).
Born 1986, Saint Petersburg, Russia. 
Lives and works in Kiev, Ukraine.
Graduated from the Tchaikovsky National Academy of Music in Kiev in 2010.
Studied composition with Alla Zagaykevich and Yuri Ishenko. 
Piano lessons with Borys Arkhimovich. 
Also: masterclasses and lectures with Brian Ferneyhough, Georghis Aperghis, Gerhard Staebler, Vladimir Tarnopolski, Carola Bauckholt, Ivan Fedele, Yuval Shaked, EnnoPoppe, Liza Lim, Simon Steen-Andersen, Sergej Newski, Johannes Kreidler. Took part in reading sessions with Ensemble Recherche and the Arditti Quartet.  
Winner of several composition competitions, including
“Step to the left” (St.Petersburg 2009), 
“Convergence” (Switzerland 2011). 
Co-founder, art-manager, pianist and composer of Ensemble Nostri Temporis (since 2007). Coordinator of “COURSE” - Kiev international masterclasses for new music (since 2012) and Ukrainian Biennale for New Music (since 2013). Co-founder and coordinator of Kiev music festival “Gulfstream” (since 2012). Co-founder and piano/keyboard player of Kiev experimental music duo “Blook” (since 2013).
Participant in numerous festivals and projects in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany, including: 
“Another  Space”,
“Moscow Forum”, 
“Lost in Translation” (Moscow);  
“Time of Music: Fin de siècle” (Saint Petersburg);  
“Dialogues” (Minsk, Belarus);  
“Contrasts”, ”Jazz  bez” (Lviv);
“Gogolfest” (Kiev);  
“Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik” (Darmstadt);
“Ensemble Europa” (Cologne); 
“John Cage Musicircus” (Lublin);
“aXes. Triduum muzyki nowej”  (Krakow);
“Warsaw autumn” (Warsaw);
“Two days and two nights of new music” (Odessa).
As a participant in ENT (Ensemble Nostri Temporis) has organised events, including:
“Chopin:  Transcriptions  for  Our  Time” (2010, 2011); 
“Small  Tragedies” (2011),
“AudioVisual Project” (2011),  
“ZvukoIzolyatsia” (2011, 2012),
“Transit” (2011, 2012, 2013), 
“Das musikalisches Opfer dem Mahler“ (2011).

 last peaceful hours

(by the composer himself)

I defined my task as creation the feeling so far from Philip Glass music as possible. 
I guess that is what Philip would like from me if he was a costumer. 
The title could be explaned in many senses, the main one is the expectation of something (in the same time) exciting and dangerous. The general listeners' impression should be intangible, unrealistic, elusive, perishable, sometimes with breaks of logic and unresolved intentions. The reception should be the following the change of episodes of different ephemerality and differentiation.