Solar Rays for Piano, Violin and ‘Cello originally was conceived as a Jazz song, but later re-imagined as a classical Piano Trio with the violin part taking the role of the singer. The title “Solar Rays” came from an idea that I had when I was writing the song of two people in love, lying down in a vast green field, looking up at the sun in the clear sky, feeling the heat and seeing the clear light of the sun, which reinforced the love that they had for each other. I had begun to write words for the song, and when you hear in the first phrase in the violin playing the downward fourth of G and D, imagine singing those notes with the word “sunshine.” The piano has a dual role. The left hand is used primarily to play the bass line, emulating a double-bass in a Jazz band. The right hand plays a chordal accompaniment. The work retains the structure of a Jazz song, where after the theme is heard, you hear solos from each instrument one after the other, followed by the return of the violin “singer” to the stage with a variation of the song theme, and then a short coda to bring the work to a resounding finale. In addition to showcasing each instrument, the solos give the listener some sonic variety, as opposed to having all the instruments playing in a uniform texture all the time, as in many piano trios. Each solo has a personality. The violin is expressionistic and virtuosic, the ‘cello is passionate and pleading, the piano is monumental. Even though all the notes of the solos are written-out, they have an improvisational feel to them. I hope that you like Solar Rays. - AA
Song of Normality explores the potentiality of utilizing the flute as a companion and extension of the human voice. Through the pitch fluctuations of air noises amplified by the flute, the various syllables that articulate musical notes, and the most primitive form of human singing/shouting… The work becomes a song with unconventional elements.
Gersh(win or lose) is a playful banter between alto saxophone and bassoon that uses and warps the archetypal clarinet and brass lines from Rhapsody in Blue. The piece starts with the bassoon attempting to play the starting glissando from Rhapsody and being consistently interrupted by the alto saxophone, who wants to play its own lines from the work. This concept is held throughout the piece (a conflict of interest), but is sometimes put aside to allow the players to jam a little bit.
Written in the fall of 2014, Yellow was originally written for two violas, and premiered in the spring of 2015 as part of Boston Conservatory's viola project. This piece tells the story of the relationship between two people, and the schism that separates them. The color yellow is often associated with betrayal, and betrayal is the main thematic element that drives this piece. The cellos begin as a pair in harmony, but quickly dissolve into tension as they become dissonant and further apart. Soon, only one is left playing, repeating the beginning motive alone, as if calling for its partner to return.
Alas, departynge ys ground of woo.
Othyr songe can y not synge.
But why part y my lady fro,
Syth loue was caus of oure metynge?
The bitter teris of hire wepyng
Myn hert hath pershid so mortaly
That to the deth hit wil me brynge,
But yf y se hire hastily.
Alas, departynge ys ground of woo was written for Mark Haygood for the occasion of his departure from Boston. It takes as its source material an eponymous song from the Bodleian Library's MS Ashmole 191; here, the original counterpoint has been layered upon itself again and again, only to reduce a sense of history. Expression has been decanted hastily, leaving something more like a percussive shadow – a landscape of variegated departing or active blankness.
Zhi, to weave or to interlace, especially to form a design. The result is often a united and coherent texture, yet one that varies depending on the viewing angle, as in the view through a kaleidoscope. In these movements, relatively simple motifs played on the violin and the piano weave in and out of one another. Harmony and counterpoint are intricately intertwined to create complex inflections.
The Russian composer, Alexander Scriabin, wrote two pairs of piano sonatas in which a sonata depicting an evil landscape is balanced by a sonata of goodness and benevolence. In the same manner, I have written a pair of works for unaccompanied strings which strike a similar balance. The work, Invocation, for unaccompanied violin, is a sister piece to the work for unaccompanied cello, Nefarious. As the title suggests, Nefarious, composed in 2006, is a sinister piece in which melodies with a demonic lure intermingle with nightmarish noise. Invocation, then, was composed in 2009 as a prayer for absolution from the sins of the earlier work. It is constructed of small fragments which are compressed over time, creating a sense of urgency: a desperate cry for help from above.
Composed in 2015, Talking To Myselves was composed for Dennis Shafer using samples of microtonal improvisations Jeremie Jones recorded of Dennis in a 2014 visit and collaboration. Jones organized these samples in a pattern that allows space for a conversation. This piece is an interaction between the performer (soprano saxophonist) and the recording, and requires either live projected video feed of that he faces or he simply faces a mirror while performing.
A native of Chicago, Aaron Alter's musical background was a product of the rich musical life that he found growing up in the Windy City. While in high school, Aaron played in a variety of Rock and Jazz bands, culminating in a regular engagement as the pianist with saxophonist Fred Anderson. Also while in high school, he studied piano with Bob Ravenscroft, Alan Swain and Helen Engler. Aaron received his Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University, where he studied piano with Frances Larimer and Gui Mombaerts, and composition with Lynden DeYoung and David Noon. He received his Master of Fine Arts Degree from Princeton University, where he studied with Milton Babbitt and James K. Randall. Aaron’s new music, which he refers as his “New Beginning,” is an exploration of a new style and energy that defies categorization. His new works display influences that span the range of Medieval European music all the way to Jazz and Rock. Aaron’s new music received its first premiere in 2015 with the performance of “Homage to Josquin” (a 2016 Honorable Mention from the American Prize in the Chamber Music Composition category) for two flutes, piano, electric bass and drum set at the Santa Fe Flute Immersion in Santa Fe, New Mexico. More premieres, commissions and recordings followed, confirming that Aaron’s “New Beginning” was being well received by performers and audiences. Aaron also serves the City of Carlsbad (California) as the Chair of the Carlsbad Arts Commission.
Born in China, Tianyi Wang is an award-winning composer, conductor, and pianist, whose music vocabulary is diverse and much inspired by subjects beyond music. Tianyi’s repertoire spans over solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, electronic, as well as film scoring, his works have been performed both nationally and internationally, including Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), CEME 2018 (Israel), Electroacoustic Barn Dance, 2017 MISE-EN New Music Festival, Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), Collage New Music Composer Colloquium, Audiograft Festival (Oxford, UK), Ashmolean Museum (Univ. of Oxford, UK), Ink&Coda, Et Lux Radio, SCI Regional and National Conferences. Mr. Wang is the winner of 2018 BMOP/NEC Composition Competition, 2017 Longy Orchestral Composition Competition, and a recipient of China National Arts Fund. His recent commissions include Alea III, Meitar Ensemble (Israel), Atlantic Music Festival, and Northeast Normal University (Changchun, China). A semifinalist of the Symphony Number One Call for Score 4, Tianyi has also won Gold Award at 2016 Sanya International Choral Festival (Sanya, China). Tianyi Wang’s music will be released by ABLAZE Records in 2018. Besides being a composer, Tianyi’s outstanding piano skill won him the 2012 William Jewell Artist Competition and led to his concerto debut with Liberty Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, Tianyi Wang collaborated with London Symphony Orchestra in a recording production at Abbey Road Studio, London. In 2015, he founded and directed Qinyin Chamber Ensemble, and led public performances throughout the city of Changchun, China. Tianyi’s research paper on Xibo music was featured at the 31st International Society for Music Education (ISME) World Conference in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Tianyi has studied at William Jewell College (B.S. Composition, Mathematics; Summa Cum Laude; Honor Graduate), Moscow Conservatory, Longy School of Music of Bard College (M.M. Composition; Merit Scholarship Recipient), and currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is continuing his music journey as a Graduate Diploma candidate at New England Conservatory.
Celebrated for her music's charm and wit, Celka Ojakangas (b. 1992) is an award-winning Los Angeles-based composer who is unafraid to compose music that is both accessible and "out of the box" through the incorporation of inventive musical elements. Her compositions have been performed and commissioned by many artists including USC Thornton’s Wind Ensemble and the PostHaste Reed Duo. Celka is the winner of USC’s 2017 New Music for Wind Ensemble Contest, the honorable mention recipient of IAWM's 2018 Alex Shapiro prize, a semi-finalist for the American Prize's 2018 search for new music for wind band and a finalist for the Morton Gould Young Composer’s Award in the years 2016-2018. Celka is presently pursuing her doctorate at the University of Southern California, where she also works as a teaching assistant, studying under Professor Ted Hearne. Aside from composition, Celka is also an accomplished violist and can be found regularly playing for her peers, participating in workshops and festivals as both a composer and performer, and also participating in cross-genre groups that perform jazz and pop music.
Martin Kenealy (b. 1987) is a Boston based cellist and composer of instrumental music. His music has been described as lyrical, sensitive, and harmonically rich. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Composition from The Boston Conservatory, and his primary studies were taken under Jan Swafford, Marti Epstein, Andy Vores, and John Murphree. Additionally, he has studied under his former cello teacher and mentor, Paula Boyle.
Clifton Ingram is a Boston-based composer and performer (Rested Field, guitar/electronics). His music aims to approach and retreat from itself along the fault lines of the musical and extra-musical — hidden objects, delicate obstinance, self-devouring ornamentation (self-replication/mutation), hastily decanted surfaces — the expression of an unreliable narrator. He has written music for pianist Andy Costello, pianist/composer Marti Epstein, clarinetist Chuck Furlong, cellist Steve Marotto, vocalist Joshua Scheid, percussionist Matt Sharrock, Castle of our Skins, Equilibrium Ensemble, Joint Venture Percussion Duo, Ludovico Ensemble, Music of Reality, Rested Field, and Transient Canvas. He holds a MM in Composition from The Boston Conservatory, where he studied under the tutelage of Jan Swafford and Andy Vores. His music has been released by Experimental Sound Studio (OSCILLATIONS 2016 Mixtape | Chicago IL) and Dismissive Records (Four Instrumentals, 2015 | Denver CO).
Born in Banqiao, Taiwan, Chiayu Hsu is an assistant professor of composition at UW-Eau Claire. She was the winner of Lakond prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble composition contest, grand prize from Symphony Number One, Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composer’s Awards, 2016 and 2013 IAWM Search for New Music, Copland House Award, Lynn University international call for scores, the 2010 Sorel Organization recording grant, music+culture 2009 International Competition for Composers, the Sorel Organization’s 2nd International Composition Competition, the 7th USA International Harp Composition Competition, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer’s Awards, the Maxfield Parrish Composition Contest, the Renée B. Fisher Foundation Composer Awards among others. Her work has been performed by the London Sinfonietta, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Nashville Symphony, the Toledo Symphony, the American Composers Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, the Lynn Philharmonia Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, Ciompi Quartet, and Prism Quartet. She has received her Ph.D. at Duke University, Master of Music at Yale University School of Music, and Bachelor of Music at the Curtis Institute of Music. Website
Lonnie Hevia holds a DMA in composition from The Peabody Conservatory where he studied with Christopher Theofanidis, Nicholas Maw, and Michael Hersch. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition from Florida State University where he studied with John Boda and Ladislav Kubik. At Peabody, Lonnie earned a second master’s degree in music theory pedagogy, and he has held teaching positions at Peabody, Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, and Florida State University. He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Stetson University.
For more than 35 years, Eric Mandat has been at the forefront of clarinet extended performance techniques exploration, particularly multiphonics, microtones, and timbral modulations. He tours regularly as a concert soloist, premiering and performing his works throughout the world. He is also a member of the Chicago Symphony's MusicNOW ensemble and of Tone Road Ramblers, an eclectic improvising ensemble. He has received multiple Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowships for Composition. In 1999 he was honored with the Southern Illinois University Outstanding Scholar Award, the university’s highest honor for research/creative work. His ongoing personal artistic mission is to continue exploring the myriad sonic possibilities of the clarinet, both in an acoustic context and with interactive technologies. His mission as a performing artist is to invite listeners to explore the deep and delicate inner worlds of self through their experiences of the micro galaxies of clarinet multiphonics and subtle timbral and pitch modulations in his compositions and improvisational commentaries. His work is largely inspired by the relationships between vast external universes and the micro worlds of subatomic interactions and processes. This dichotomous relationship serves as a context for the expression of my personal intimate feelings and experiences as he interacts with the world around himn. Speaking through his traditional acoustic instrument in so many non-traditional ways, he invites audiences to travel through similar uncharted territories within themselves.
Jeremie Jones (b.1977- ) Montreal-based composer, musician and sound designer. Studied music at Quebec’s music conservatory and Montreal University. As a musician, he played for the last 20 years and recorded on more than 15 albums with different artists. Nominated for Canadian Juno awards and Best experimental album of the year. Toured over 5oo shows in Canada, US, England, Ireland, Scotland, Poland, Slovakia, Hungria, France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Haiti and Central America. As a composer, his musical interests are aiming towards cutting edge new music composition techniques. He his also exploring the meeting point of acoustic and electronic music.