First-Come, First-Served Concert8 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, February 22-25, 1996, House of Soundz, 951 Williamson, Madison. Organized by Kirk Miller.
Support staff for this concert: Michael Wiegmann, sound/recording engineer; Michael Gutknecht, video engineer; Arthur Durkee/Black Dragon Productions, poster/publicity design; David Drexler, program typesetting.
Special thanks to the following for their help in presenting this concert: WYOU cable access television, Ward-Brodt Music, Thomas Powell, Michael Basford.
Promotional assistance provided by WORT, 89.9 FM, listener-sponsored community radio. WORT's diverse programming includes over 40 hours of new music, jazz, and classical programming every week.
Read Jess Anderson's review of this concert.
Notes on the Music and ComposersDavid Drexler received his Bachelor of Music in Composition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990, where he studied with Joel Naumann, Stephen Dembski, Les Thimmig, and Joan Wildman. He has since been commissioned to write new works by MadWAC, the Oakwood Chamber Players, and other Madison area groups. David serves as co-director of the Madison Chapter of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers and plays trumpet with the group Jazz Straight Ahead.
Snowflakes is a short piece inspired by the symmetry and the ephemeral nature of Wisconsin's most popular form of precipitation. The patterns in the music aren't always perfectly symmetrical, like a good snowflake should be, but no two are alike, and they all melt before you can get a really good look at them.
Perspectives, another short work, looks at its material from two different points of view. At the beginning, a canon between the flute and the clarinet is presented against a percussive background of short piano notes and plucked strings. After a solo violin interlude, the canon is repeated (in reverse) with a pedal-point ostinato added to its surroundings. The slow-moving, mechanical canon is also put into perspective by the more active, expressive violin solo.
Vicky Tzoumerka-Knoedler was born and raised in Athens, Greece, where she started her musical training at a young age, studying piano under Ms. Mina Bonni, one of the most prominent piano instructors of that time. As a teenager, her studies included voice, ballet, folk music, and dance. After a twenty-five year hiatus with no formal involvement in the arts, a period that included a move to the United States in 1972, she resumed the study of the piano with Dr. Ellsworth Snyder in 1984. Later in 1986 she resumed her voice study with both Ms. Joan Kepecs and Ms. Genevieve Gersbach as well as beginning the study of music composition with Dr. Karlos Moser.
Since 1977, she has been active as a dancer, choreographer and singer in the United States. She founded and continues to direct the Mesoghios Dance Troupe, a folk dance troupe performing authentic dances from Greece, Turkey, and areas of the Middle East and Asia Minor. Her musical compositions (all produced since 1986) include solo piano works, chamber pieces, and art songs, and have been performed in Athens, Greece, at Lawrence University, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and at the First Unitarian Society in Madison. In 1989 Ms. Tzoumerka-Knoedler was a recipient of a Dane County Cultural Affairs Grant.
November 1993 and May 1993 are tunes from the circle Dances for All Seasons. The circle has twelve tunes, one for each month of the year. November 1993 is a 9/4 traditional Greek, soul style of music and dance as well. Dances for All Seasons was performed twice at the First Unitarian Society in Madison.
Let's Dance, a short, light-hearted piece for clarinet and piano, was composed in winter of 1987. A little bit like soul music at the beginning, it finishes in a 9/8 rhythm. It was premiered in 1987 at the UW Dance Department's Lathrop Hall.
Arthur Durkee is a composer and multi-instrumentalist performer, with many years of experience in classical music, jazz, experimental music, Javanese gamelan, and multimedia performance art. He plays Chapman Stick Touchboard(TM), 5-string bass guitar, and sawblades with local bands Dangerous Odds, the Barbaric Yawps, and QPT. He also plays vintage analog synthesizers in an experimental/industrial band, Exception Error DØØØ. Arthur has composed for, performed in, and produced concerts of music, dance, and multimedia art in Ann Arbor, Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Lubbock, TX. His recent solo recordings, The Western Lands (1994) and Chamber Music (1995), have received positive responses. He is currently producing and recording several experimental music projects, including Put the Guitar on the Table and an ambient dub CD, as well as his fourth book of poetry, Sutras: Spiritual Exercises. An accomplished poet, photographer, and graphic designer/illustrator, Arthur has won national, regional, and local awards for his musical compositions, photography, and poetry. He practices Ki Aikido, Reiki, and Pranic healing.
"Eight-Directions Kata is a quartet for violin, clarinet, cello, and piano, and was inspired by my experiences studying martial arts, Zen Buddhism, and Japanese aesthetics. A kata is a fixed form of movements used in several martial arts to practice skill, fluidity, and concentration; at its highest levels, a kata becomes a spiritual practice. The work is built in eight short movements which together sketch the steps of a spiritual journey, from innocence through the dark night of the soul, arriving at a place of peace. The musical language is compressed and intense, except for Kata of Separation, which uses aleatoric techniques to evoke a kind of expansive alienation. Eight-Directions Kata was extremely challenging for me to compose. Perhaps because of its compressed scale, I was forced to levels of often debilitating concentration during the time of its writing. In many ways, the process reminded me of having to learn a brand new, complex, and demanding kata. Art imitates life again."
Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, Ryan Conners is currently an Electrical Engineering major in his fourth year at the UW-Madison. He has received several engineering scholarships for academic excellence, and as a sophomore was elected president of Eta Kappa Nu, an Electrical Engineering Honor Society. In his alter-ego of musician, Ryan has performed Gershwin's Piano Concerto (first movement) with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, was runner-up in the Music Fix's 1994 Composition Competition, and took third place in the 1995 "Ear & Now" Contest. Ryan is currently the Secretary/Treasurer of the Madison Chapter of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers.
Written in 1995, Ryan's Sonata for Violin and Piano is cast in four movements. The first movement opens with a majestic dialogue between the piano and violin. This introductory material gives way to a rapid 6/8 theme in D minor. This is followed by a slower theme in 4/4, marked "Romantically." The development section introduces some new material, then develops the two themes in various ways. The second movement, in C, features two themes, one in 12/8, the other in 4/4. These themes freely alternate and develop throughout the movement. The third movement, in D minor, allows the violin to do most of the work. A brief reference to the first movement is included, as is a short violin cadenza. Through a segue we arrive at the fourth movement, a rapid showpiece. The work concludes in D minor.
Born in 1966 in Queens, NY, William Rhoads is currently studying for his B.M. in Music Composition and B.A. in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his composition teachers include Stephen Dembski, Joseph Koykkar, and Joel Naumann. In addition, he has studied with composers John Corigliano, George Rochberg, John Harbison, Olly Wilson, and George Crumb. Presently, he is active as a board member of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers, Co-director of the Madison Chapter of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers, Founder/Director of the "Ear & Now" concert series, and Co-founder/director of the "99-cent Concert Series" in Madison. His works have been performed in various cities throughout the U.S., including Madison, Milwaukee, Cedar Rapids, Seattle, Miami, and Fayetteville, AR, by such groups as Present Music of Milwaukee, the University of Arkansas Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Florida International University faculty, and the New World Symphony chamber music society. Recent projects include a commission for contrabassist Hans Sturm and the faculty at Ball State University and a piano trio for upcoming CD release by the Kapell trio of Milwaukee. His works are published by Sikesdi Press.
"When the Present Music Society approached me with the opportunity to write variations on a well-known television theme (don't worry, you'll get it) a number of interesting questions arose in my mind. Would such an activity compromise my artistic integrity? Would I regret embarking on such a project in the future? Would I irretrievably lose the respect of my colleagues? After some thought I realized the very fact that these questions arose was intriguing enough to spark my interest. In fact, the more I entertained the thought the more irresistible the prospect became. The piece, Isolated Incidents, is the result of my isolating different fragments of this theme and exploring the musical possibilities inherent in these smaller segments. However, make no mistake, the work is neither a means to elevate the status of the original (I believe this distinction is arbitrary and ultimately harmful from the get-go) nor an attempt to feature these materials in a more serious light. Composing this piece was a blast, pure and simple--a study in whimsical transformations and playful presentations on a shared cultural experience."
Kirk Miller is currently pursuing his bachelor's degree in composition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under Stephen Dembski and Joel Naumann. He has worked a great deal in extended-technique vocal forms and is currently submerging himself into the broad field of computer music production and recording. He is working on a computer/dance piece based on texts from Claude Lanzmann's film Shoah to be performed later this year at Cornish College in Seattle. Kirk has been active as a concert organizer for the Madison Chapter of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers and is currently serving on its board of directors.
About Dialects, Kirk writes, "Ideally, in a piece involving improvisatory elements, I would aim to give the players the greatest possible creative freedom. But as the greatest freedoms are often attained through adhering to (at least somewhat) defined parameters, I have included guidelines, a script, in order to both expand improvisatory parameters and to suggest a musical language/space in which to improvise. Dialects used in the piece proper include a chorale, a tango, a rock line, a swing section, and "uncle farmer" music, to name a few, and are presented in continual transformation, laid end to end, and occurring simultaneously. These dialects return, abbreviated and slightly altered, in a "scripted"/aleatoric/improvised section, where the players are encouraged to use the written material (isolated dialects) as suggestive springboards for their own musical language, their own dialects."
In a time when most performers and artists tend to duplicate themselves in both repertoire and style, Hanah Jon Taylor emerges as one of the most unpredictable creative musicians on the scene. He has received the critical acclaim of audiences and media at home and abroad. His unique and lyrical persona on flute, saxophone, and wind synthesizer has warranted him as a true master of improvisation.
Hanah Jon Taylor holds a masters degree in Music Therapy from Southern Illinois University, where he studied with the woodwindist David Riddles, composer Alan Oldfield, and designer R. Buckminster Fuller. While still a student, the young flutist performed with Richie Havens, Nina Simone, and the Katherine Dunham Dance Company. Upon completing his studies Mr. Taylor made his debut in Europe playing with drummer Sonny Murray and pianist Antonello Salis. During the early part of his European experience, Hanah also studied with saxophonists Steve Lacy and Pharoah Sanders. In the past decade, Hanah Jon Taylor has toured throughout Europe, Scandinavia, North and South America as leader and side man. In 1986, he led the first avant-garde ensemble ever to perform in Cuba.
Hanah Jon Taylor is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Most recently, he was the conductor/director for the University of Chicago Jazz Ensemble and is the founder of Musonics, an aclinical approach to music therapy.
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