Longy School of Music – 27 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
Emily Cooley - Lifted Jonathan Sokol - Le Salève Nick Diberardino - A Compo Sunrise Bryan Charles Jacobs - Do You Need, Do to Me, 18 Me, 18 Mean Elizabeth Lim - Tangled Threads Roger Zare - Fractal Miniatures
Emily Cooley is a composer of orchestral, chamber, and vocal music. A native of Milwaukee, WI, she graduated from Yale University in 2012, where she was awarded the Louis Sudler Prize for excellence in the creative arts. She is currently pursuing a Master's Degree at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, where she studies composition with Donald Crockett and Stephen Hartke. Past teachers include Kathryn Alexander, Michael Kingbeil, and John K. Boyle. She has received awards and recognition from the National Federation of Music Clubs, Tribeca New Music, PARMA Recordings, the MacDowell Club of Milwaukee, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Music Educators National Conference, ASCAP, and others. Emily's pieces, which often take inspiration from literary sources and the visual arts, have been performed internationally at concerts and festivals. She has written for numerous student and professional ensembles including the USC Thornton Symphony Orchestra, the Yale Symphony Orchestra, the JACK Quartet, the Fifth House Ensemble, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, the New York Opera Exchange, and others. She has been a fellow at the Norfolk New Music Workshop, the Tennessee Valley Music Festival, and the UNL Chamber Music Institute. Earlier this year, Emily was named a winner of the Fisher Composers Award, commissioning her to write a new piece for the 2014 Fisher Young Pianists Competition. She was also named the ASCAP Foundation Fellow for the 69th Annual Wellesley Composers Conference, where her piece "Lifted," for chamber orchestra, was premiered in August. When not composing, Emily is a teaching assistant in Aural Skills and Theory at the Thornton School of Music, and she is the publicity director for Kettle Corn New Music, a presenting organization based in New York.
This piece takes inspiration from two sources: the music of Renaissance composer Johannes Ockeghem, and the poetry of Rumi, the prolific and widely translated Persian poet from the 13th century. When struggling to begin this piece, I turned to a piece of music I trust for its beauty, its simplicity, and its oldness. The Kyrie from Ockeghem’s Missa Prolationum is, for me, a moment of simple, unencumbered beauty, the type of music that will always sound timeless. I reference that music at several points in this piece, as a reminder to myself that music can always be a source of comfort and of answers, even when the daily tasks of music-making are difficult. The opening of the piece is chaotic. Different voices struggle for attention, and it is unclear which voice is meant to stand out. Eventually this chaos subsides, though the ensemble achieves no real unity yet. In the middle of the piece, a song emerges. I wanted to work with very few words, so my text simply uses fragments from several Rumi poems, particularly those that seem to describe or reflect the creative process as I have experienced it: A full bucket Patience Cast your net Patience Up the dark way Lifted After the song ends, the chaotic statements from the opening try to take over again, this time with even more force. But in the spaces in between these raucous events, a distant music can be heard. The Kyrie plays softly in the background, largely undistorted, and the music ends peacefully.
Jonathan Sokol has been recognized with an Honorable Mention in the 32nd annual ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize (2012); has been named a recipient of an ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award (2010) and an ASCAPlus Award (2010-2012); has won the 2nd annual MAYO Composition Contest (2010); has received a Susan and Ford Schumann Scholarship for the Aspen Music Festival and School (2007); and is the winner of the 8th annual NEC/BMOP ConNECtion competition (2005).
His music has been performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and the Indiana University New Music Ensemble, and has had readings with members of the Cleveland Orchestra. He has received international performances in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, and Brazil, and commissions from Holographic, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, the Zzyzx Saxophone Quartet, and the Baldwin-Wallace University Men’s Chorus among others.
Sokol received his Doctor of Music degree at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of music, his Masters at New England Conservatory, and his Bachelors at Baldwin-Wallace College. Principal teachers include Claude Baker, Michael Gandolfi, P. Q. Phan, Sven-David Sandström, and Sydney Hodkinson at the Aspen Music Festival and School. He is currently adjunct faculty at Baldwin-Wallace University, and teaches composition, piano, and trombone through the Conservatory Outreach Department.
The striking imagery found in the poem Le Salève is all at once nostalgic, transient, emotional, and physical. Its journey is musical to say the least: the narrative focuses more on the subtler moments defined at the eponymous mountain, and a carefully paced development combines alternating sibilants and fluidity to reach a figurative and literal peak.
Le Salève was written by Jessica Rooney (used with permission by the author) and commissioned by Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble.
Nick Diberardino (b. 1989) | A Compo Sunrise (2011)
Nick DiBerardino (b. 1989) is a Rhodes Scholar reading for an M.Phil at the University of Oxford, where he is the chair and co-founder of the Oxford Laptop Orchestra. Nick’s music has received recognition from the Music Teachers’ National Association, the National Federation of Music Clubs, the New York Art Ensemble, the Definiens Project, and ASCAP, and it has allowed him to study with the New York Youth Symphony, the European American Musical Alliance, the Brevard Music Center, the Aspen Music Festival, and Yale’s Norfolk New Music Workshop. Nick concentrated in music composition at Princeton University, where he founded the Undergraduate Composers Collective, twice earned the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence, was elected early to Phi Beta Kappa, and received the Edward T. Cone Memorial Prize for excellence in music theory and composition. Consistent with his belief in the transformative power of music, Nick also founded and directed Back in Tune, an initiative designed to provide needy students in Bridgeport, Connecticut with musical instruction and to collect, refurbish, and distribute used instruments on their behalf. In his music, Nick strives to craft narratives that are complex and intricate but also beautiful and broadly accessible. He hopes to reach out to new audiences throughout his career, and he will always seek to spread his passion for music and to harness its powerful ability to draw communities together.
A Compo Sunrise attempts to depict some of the sounds, moods, and movements of Compo Beach in Westport, Connecticut.
The work is essentially in binary form, which is in part a reflection of its programmatic content. The opening sixty measures are a kind of ‘night music,’ not conceptually dissimilar to Bartok’s, whereas the second half of the piece, with its faster tempo, can be read as a kind of daybreak. In the slower section, my approach to soundscaping is rather transparent, with trombone breath sounds and violin col legno loosely depicting wind and creaking docks, respectively. I suppose the smoothly periodic nature of the material--especially as heard in the low fifths of the piano part--vaguely recalls the feeling of waves, as well.
The material introduced in the piano in m. 5, though, is the glue that holds this work together. This relatively simple motive undefined two downward fourths linked by a whole tone undefined is presented several times in a rather static way in the opening section. However, unlike the other motives in the piece, this figure transcends its original role; in fact, it generates nearly all the material of the second half of the piece.
Over the course of the work, the static materials of the opening rather dramatically give way to the developmental and lyrical materials at its end. It is my hope that in listening to this piece, you will find these transformations to be as beautiful and satisfying as I do undefined evocative, sweeping, and grand.
Bryan Charles Jacobs (b. 1979) | Do You Need, Do To Me, 18 Me, 18 Mean (2012)
Bryan Jacobs is a New York based composer and guitarist. His music has been performed by ensembles such as the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, The McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble, Wet Ink, International Contemporary Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, Ensemble Pamplemousse, and the pianist Xenia Pestova. He has had performances at Festival Ai-maako (Chile), La Muse en Festival (Paris, France), Festival Archipel (Geneva, Switzerland), Domain Forget (Québec), St. John’s Church (Limerick), as well as numerous other music festivals in Canada and the United States. His acoustic and electroacoustic compositions have earned him national and international awards and scholarships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Bourges International Electroacoustic Music and Sound Art competition, Centre for Computational Musicology and Computer Music, RTÉ Lyric FM and McGill University among others. He has participated in residencies at La Muse en Circuit in Paris and Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe, Germany. He has performed his own compositions for guitar and electronics at the Stone (NYC), Miller Theater (NYC), and the Wulf (LA). In addition to his artistic endeavors, Bryan is the co-founder of Qubit, a New York based concert producing organization that presents music involving technology.
Elizabeth Lim is a third year doctoral candidate at the Juilliard School, where she studied composition with Dr. Robert Beaser and Dr. Samuel Adler. She completed her undergraduate studies at Harvard University, where she graduated magna cum laude with highest honors. For her musical contributions at Harvard, she was awarded the 2008 Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts and was recognized as one of “Fifteen Most Promising Seniors in the Arts.” While at Juilliard, her orchestral work, “Paranoia,” was a winner of the annual composers’ competition and was premiered by Jeff Milarsky and the Juilliard Orchestra in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Concert Hall. More recently, Elizabeth’s orchestral piece, “The Remains of Truth,” was premiered by the Alabama All-State Orchestra during their annual music festival. The American Composers Orchestra also selected “Disharmony of the Spheres” for a reading by the Buffalo Philharmonic as part of the Earshot Composer Reading series, and the American Composers Forum and VocalEssence co-presented her choral work, “The Tempest,” during the 2012 Essentially Choral readings, directed by Philip Brunelle. Following the readings, Elizabeth received a commission to write for VocalEssence’s WITNESS Concert in February 2013.
Tangled Threads (2006) is my first attempt to compose for the entire HGNM ensemble, and experiments with the potential sonorities of the group's instrumentation. While writing this piece, trying to maintain some sort of balance between the individual lines and group texture and constructing an organized structure were undoubtedly the greatest challenges for me. As befitting its title, Tangled Threads begins with a strand of color, and as new themes and lines are introduced, things become more and more knotty.
Roger Zare (b. 1985) | Fractal Miniatures (2012)
Roger Zare has been praised for his “enviable grasp of orchestration” (New York Times) and for writing music with “formal clarity and an alluringly mercurial surface.” He was born in Sarasota, FL, and has written for a wide variety of ensembles, from solo instruments to full orchestra. His works have been performed across the United States by such ensembles as the American Composers Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Sarasota Orchestra, the Omaha Chamber Symphony, the Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, and the New York Youth Symphony. An award winning composer, Zare has received the ASCAP Nissim Prize, three BMI Student Composer Awards, an ASCAP Morton Gould award, a New York Youth Symphony First Music Commission, the 2008 American Composers Orchestra Underwood Commission, a 2010 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and many other local and regional honors. He has been composer in residence at the Salt Bay Chamber Music Festival, the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington and the SONAR new music ensemble. Zare holds a DMA (‘12) from the University of Michigan, where he has studied with Michael Daugherty, Paul Schoenfield, Bright Sheng, and Kristin Kuster. He holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory (MM ‘09) and the University of Southern California (BM ‘07), and his previous teachers include Christopher Theofanidis, Derek Bermel, David Smooke, Donald Crockett, Tamar Diesendruck, Fredrick Lesemann, and Morten Lauridsen.
The beauty and order of fractals never ceases to amaze me, from the simplicity of the Sierpinski Triangle to the incredible complexity within the Mandelbrot set. I am mesmerized by videos that zoom ad infinitum into one of these fractals, revealing the same shapes over and over, gradually transformed by subtle and complex processes. In Fractal Miniatures, I have strung eight short movements together that each reflect my impressions of various fractals, taking them as pieces of art. Elements of fractal geometry are alluded to, including symmetry and their additive nature, but all of the music flows organically without any mathematical processes guiding it. The eight movements are arranged in a somewhat symmetrical layout, with the fifth movement as the focal point. The outer movements, named after the famous Sierpinski Triangle, are rhythmic and unyielding, pounding away at incessant rhythms through massive swells and dips. The second movement, flowsnake, is a simple space-filling fractal. This movement concentrates on sinewy flowing lines that spiral around one another. The third and seventh movements both open the same way, with the cello and percussion fading in ethereally into a pointillistic texture. The third movement, Newton Fractal continues this idea in a somewhat fitful manner. The seventh, Nova Fractal features a muted trumpet solo over an amorphous soup of string trills. The fourth and sixth movements are named after the Dragon Curve, another space-filling curve. These two movements are abrupt and explosive, and are almost-exact mirror images of each other. The central movement of the set is named for arguably the most easily-recognized fractal, the Mandelbrot Set. Scored without percussion, the musical shape of this movement mimics the characteristic bulbous shape of the fractal. An underlying ostinato in 7/8 sets the foundation for soaring lines and expansive harmonies.