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>Madison Chamber Music Concert, May 1998
Madison Chamber Music

Madison Chamber Music Concert

7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 16, 1998, First Unitarian Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison. Organized by Vicky Tzoumerka-Knoedler.


Three Abstract Preludes
     In Silence
     Interrupted Dreams
     Inner Spaces
Joel Naumann
Avedis Manoogian, piano
Agapi I & III Vicky Tzoumerka-Knoedler
Avedis Manoogian, piano
Three Blues (premiere)
     Girls' Blues
     Cold, Cold Blues
     DeeDee's Blues
Vicky Tzoumerka-Knoedler
Johanna Baldwin, piano
David Drexler, trumpet
Agapi IV & V Vicky Tzoumerka-Knoedler
Johanna Baldwin, piano
Devil's Lake David Drexler
Michael Dewey, clarinet
Steve Kadlecek, violin
Daniel Pereira, 'cello
Johanna Baldwin, piano
Dawn Weithe, conductor
Capriccio (premiere) Joel Naumann
Diedre Buckley and Nils Bultmann, violas
Wendy's Rag (premiere) Joel Naumann
Johanna Baldwin, piano
Bit of Surprise Vicky Tzoumerka-Knoedler
Dawn Weithe, flute
Daniel Pereira, 'cello
Tim Gruber, marimbol
Le Chapeau Diedre Buckley
Diedre Buckley, viola
Song for Jim Diedre Buckley
Diedre Buckley, viola
Tim Gruber, percussion
     A Winter's Tale
Arthur Durkee
Diedre Buckley, viola
Tim Gruber, percussion
Epiphany (premiere) Vicky Tzoumerka-Knoedler
Nils Bultmann and Diedre Buckley, violas
Daniel Pereira, 'cello
David Drexler, trumpet
Tim Gruber, congas
Green is for Hope Vicky Tzoumerka-Knoedler
Michael Dewey, clarinet
Steve Kadlecek, violin
Diedre Buckley, viola
Daniel Pereira, 'cello
Good People Vicky Tzoumerka-Knoedler
Diedre Buckley and Nils Bultmann, violas
Daniel Pereira, 'cello
Tim Gruber, tambourine

Notes on the Music and Composers

Joel Naumann has been a member of the composition faculty at the UW-Madison School of Music since 1980. His normal teaching includes the two Freshman and Sophomore Composition classes that he initiated and developed, private advanced undergraduate and graduate composition lessons, and advanced graduate Composition Seminars in "Sound Sculpture" and "Compositional Systems." He founded the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers, Inc. in 1984.

Three Abstract Preludes for solo piano was composed for ellsworth snyder. The first piece, "In Silence," was written in 1993 and premiered by ellsworth on a Live from the Elvejhem broadcast. The second piece, "Interrupted Dreams," with its heightened activity, was written last in 1996, specifically to separate the first and third pieces, both of which explore the "ellsworthian" slowness and intimacy that he likes so much. The final piece, "Inner Spaces," actually started out as a demonstration piece I wrote for my Freshman Composition class at the UW-Madison. It uses 4th-chord harmony but in a distinctly triadic way (yes, that is possible). All three of the preludes can be heard as wanderings of the mind and spirit during quiet and reflective moments.

Capriccio for two violas in dedicated to the two performers who will premiere it today. It is a virtuoso work that is played from score so the players may switch parts at will. The seven minute or so piece is notated in proportional notation, without meters, with each score system designed to take approximately 15 seconds to perform. The work is cast a a series of mostly short gestures, many of them quite violent, that respond to one another, contradict one another, and at times even ignore one another. All of the gestures use both of the players throughout.

Wendy's Rag was written as a birthday gift for Wendy Sterne of Cross Plains. She and her husband Ken are my best friends in the world--and I even tune their piano for them once in a great while! Wendy got more than she bargained for--this rag is a terror to play. It is cast in the usual "AA-BB-A-CC-DD" form of the normal piano rag, but with an additional (and optional) eight-bar bridge passage between sections "CC" and "DD." It it the first "tonal" piece with functional triadic harmony that I have written since my student days, and I loaded it up with some interesting (to me) extensions of the more traditional harmonic language that one might expect in a piano rag, especially in the eight-bar bridge passage. This rag is intended to be what I would call a "rocking chair" rag--not played fast, but rather at the slower, more traditional, "laid back" tempo that piano rags originally used. As is usual with piano rags, the performer is free to embellish the written music in the repeated sections, adding whatever frills that might be thought appropriate to the piece and to the style.

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.

Agapi was composed in Athens, Greece in April 1988. Agapi means "Love," and reflects various emotions around Love: Love for my country, Love for a life companion, Love for a special friend, and Love for Love.

The Good People (1997) is variations on two Russian songs, "Nights of Moscow" and "Kalinka." It is dedicated to Nils Bultmann, he is dear and gentle. I like him.

Green is for Hope (1997) is dedicated to Diedre Buckley. She is an excellent musician, and my good friend.

Blues (1998). Girls' Blues, for all the girls who have the Blues. Cold, Cold Blues, it was very cold that day!! Deedee's Blues. Deedee is my youngest cat, and she also gets the Blues.

Bit of Surprise (1997). Composed for Daniel Pereira. Reworked in 1998 for Daniel and Dawn Weithe, because he loves her very much.

Epiphany (1998). Dedicated to my nephew George. He left us, January 6, on Epiphany Day. Now he is free.

David Drexler received the 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. His music has been performed by Synchronia in St. Louis, by Sound--the Alarm! in Austin Texas, and at the May in Miami Festival at Florida International University, as well as in Madison and around Wisconsin, including broadcasts on Wisconsin Public Radio and WORT. He has fulfilled commissions from the Oakwood Chamber Players, the Madison Chapter of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers, and others. David serves on the board of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers and WAC's Madison Chapter. This July he will attend the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia's Digital Soundscapes Computer Music Workshop on Csound, with the assistance of a travel fund grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board.

The Standard Atlas and Gazeteer of the World (published in 1890) describes "the weird beauty of Devil's Lake," which lies between three 500-foot bluffs just south of Baraboo, Wisconsin. "Here, in a tremendous gorge . . . hemmed in on all sides by frowning rocks, of prodigious size, piled up in every conceivable form, nestles one of the loveliest sheets of water in the whole world."

The piece, in one movement divided into three sections, is a slow-motion meditation on the "weird beauty" of the place. The first section gradually piles up large chords in the piano, while the other instruments imitate some of the many birdsongs heard around the lake. The second section gets a little more lively (perhaps reflecting some of the human tourist activity) but is interrupted several times by the string instruments chirping like a chorus of frogs. The final section features a slow clarinet melody inspired by the graceful upward spirals of turkey vultures soaring above the water. Devil's Lake was commissioned by Chamber Music St. Croix.

Chapeau was composed after Ms. Buckley performed at the memorial service for Dagny Nelson, the mother of one of her viola students. Dagny Nelson was a vibrant, sophisticated woman who frequently wore hats, scarves or other interesting headresses. This piece, for solo viola, was written for her. The middle section of the piece is improvised by the performer.

Song for Jim is a bright, cheery piece written one snowy January morning in Madison when Ms. Buckley's thoughts turned to Jim, a musician and teacher who was married to Ms. Buckley's father's brother's wife's sister. Jim knew Ms. Buckley when she was a very small child, and he was the first person to notice and take seriously her strong interest in music. Song for Jim is featured on the Madison Music Collective album, Gathering.

Composer/performer, poet, and digital artist Arthur Durkee draws on a varied and unusual background for his music. After spending a significant portion of his childhood in India, he completed a degree in composition at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and as a composer, spent a year in Indonesia as a Fulbright scholar studying Central Javanese court gamelan and Sundanese modern gamelan styles. Before moving to Minneapolis last summer, Durkee lived and worked for a decade in the Madison area, where he still returns regularly for musical performances and recording sessions. He plays Chapman Stick, 5-string bass guitar, and sawblade xylophones (which he built) with Dangerous Odds, the Barbaric Yawps, and QPT in Madison, and the Stellar Ensemble in Minneapolis. He also plays vintage analog synthesizers in an experimental/industrial band, Exception Error DØØØ.

Durkee has composed and produced concerts of music, dance, and multimedia performance art in Ann Arbor, Madison, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Lubbock, TX. His recordings, The Western Lands (1997) and Chamber Music (1995), have received positive reviews. Recent chamber works performed include: Eight-Directions Kata (1996) for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano; riverrun (1995) for solo flutist; Minimal Dub Quartet (Walk the Good Red Road) (1994) for piano quartet; Five Winter Dream Haiku (1993) for mezzo-soprano and piano.

For seven years, Durkee produced and hosted a weekly experimental music program on WORT-FM Madison. New Horizons featured new music, experimental text-sound poetry, soundscapes, live performances, and cutting-edge compositions and constructions for radio broadcast.

Djogèd, three dances for viola with percussion, draws on the composer's extensive experience in world music. The first movement, "Båwå," is based on Javanese gamelan. (The word "gamelan" can refer to the ensemble of bronze instruments that make up the gamelan orchestra, the genre of music played by the orchestra, and the social aesthetic of collective music-making that the performers engage in while playing.) The solo viola plays in altered tuning for this movement. The opening drone section is evocative of the vocal solos often used to open a gamelan suite, while the following rhythmic section suggests more purely instrumental music. "A Winter's Tale" was written after a sunset walk on a frozen lake during a blizzard. The final movement, "Karnatak," was directly inspired by South Indian instrumental music, complete with drone and percussion accompaniment.

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Last updated 8 June 1998. Contact information.