Thursday, June 18, 2015


Sunday, April 17, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

Riverside Recital Hall

The CNM Ensemble
Michael Norsworthy and the Maia Quartet

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Six Bagatelles for string quartet, op. 9 (1913)
        I. Mäßig
       II. Leicht bewegt
      III. Ziemlich fließend
       IV. Sehr langsam
        V. Äußerst langsam
       VI. Fließend
  Anton WEBERN (1883-1945)
  The Maia Quartet  
Traceur, for clarinet and piano * (2011)   David GOMPPER (b. 1954)
  Michael Norsworthy, clarinet
David Gompper, piano
Périodes (1974)   Gérard GRISEY (1946-1998)
  Rogerio Wolf, flute
Majorie Shearer, clarinet
Jessica Ducharme, trombone
Megan Karls, violin
Jessica Altfillisch, viola
Yoo-Jung Chang, violoncello
Jared Fowler, double bass
David Gompper, conductor
  — Intermission —  
Concerto da Camera II (1987)
        I. Con spirito, marcato
       II. Quarter = 56
      III. Stately, majestic
  Shulamit RAN (b. 1949)
  Michael Norsworthy, clarinet
David Gompper, piano
The Maia Quartet
…like a fantastic ague * (2011)   Luke DAHN (b. 1976)
  Rogerio Wolf, flute
Angela Lickiss, oboe
Marjorie Shearer, clarinet
Jacqueline Wilson, bassoon
Dave Nelson, trumpet
Dan Spencer, horn
Jessica DuCharme, trombone
Kate Wohlman, tuba
Meghan Aube and Christine Augspurger, percussion
Younjung Cha, piano
Emily Rolka, violin
Megan Karls, violin
Jessica Altfillisch, viola
Yoo-Jung Chang, violoncello
Jared Fowler, double bass
David Gompper, conductor
* = premiere    


Guest Performers

Michael Norsworthy's virtuosity, versatility and musicianship has garnered critical acclaim around the globe. As soloist with numerous orchestras around the USA and abroad, as a captivating recitalist and chamber music performer and as one of the most celebrated champions of the modern repertoire having premiered over 100 new works at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Vienna's Musikverein, Moscow's Tchaikovsky Hall, The Casals Festival and the Aspen Festival, Norsworthy has defied categorization, dazzling critics and audiences alike. He has recorded for Mode, Gasparo, Albany, New World, BMOP/sound, Nonesuch, Canteloupe and Cauchemar records. He is principal clarinet with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, on faculty at The Boston Conservatory, Artist in residence at Harvard University with HGNM and a performing artist for Buffet Crampon and Rico Reeds International. For more info, please visit Michael Norsworthy's website.

Guest String Quartet, The Maia Quartet

Tricia Park, violinist, is a recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and was selected as one of "Korea's World Leaders of Tomorrow" by the Korean Daily Central newspaper. Since appearing in her first orchestral engagement with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Park has performed with the English Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra of South Africa; the Montreal, Dallas, Cincinnati, Seattle, Honolulu, Nevada, and Lincoln Symphonies; and the Calgary, Buffalo, and Westchester and Naples Philharmonics. She has also given recitals throughout the United States, including a highly acclaimed performance at the Ravinia Rising Stars series. Recent season highlights include a recital debut at the Kennedy Center, appearances at the Lincoln Center Festival in Bright Sheng's The Silver River, and collaborations with composer Tan Dun, Cho-Liang Lin, Paul Neubauer, Timothy Eddy and Steven Tenenbom. Other recent highlights include performances with the Seattle Symphony under Gerard Schwarz, appearances with the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, her Korean debut performance with the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) Orchestra and a tour of New Mexico under the auspices of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Tricia Park received her Bachelor and Master of Music from the Juilliard School where she studied with Dorothy DeLay. Ms. Park is a recipient of the Starling-DeLay Teaching Fellowship at the Juilliard School.     

Petr Maceček, violinist, is a graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and has been the winner of several prizes including a special prize at the Henryk Wieniawski Competition in Poland. Mr. Maceček has been the concertmaster of the Slovak Chamber Orchestra and Suk Chamber Orchestra, and concertmaster and artistic leader of the Capella Istropolitana Chamber Orchestra and Prague Chamber Orchestra, the Czech Republic's most renowned conductor-less orchestra.

As a soloist, Mr. Maceček has performed in major concert halls throughout Europe, South America, the United States and Asia. He has recorded on the Naxos, Vox Classics, Koch Discover and BMG labels. In addition to his performing activities, Mr. Maceček has conducted master classes in a number of prestigious festivals including the Darlington Festival (UK) and the Pablo Casals Festival (France). Currently he is member of the Talich String Quartet.     

Elizabeth Oakes, violist, is a founding member of the Maia Quartet at the University of Iowa. As a member of the quartet, she has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Japan and has performed in venues including Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall and the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.

In 1997, Ms. Oakes co-founded with two other colleagues, the Foothills Chamber Music Festival in North Carolina and for nine years served both as one of its directors and regular performers. She has taught at numerous summer festivals, including Interlochen Arts Camp, the Great Wall International Music Academy and Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory Ms. Oakes did her undergraduate studies at Oberlin College, her Masters at the Cleveland Institute of Music and continued her studies as part of the Maia Quartet at the Peabody Institute and the Juilliard School.

Hannah Holman, violoncellist, has performed in England, playing with the English String Orchestra under Yehudi Menuhin and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Simon Rattle. An active chamber musician, she was a founding member of the Beaumont Piano Trio, which performed recitals around the United States and England. In her orchestral career, she has been assistant principal cellist of the Richmond Symphony, the American Sinfonietta and performed with the Grand Tetons Festival Orchestra. Hannah has just recently won a position as principal cellist of the Quad Cities Symphony, and performed the Dvorak Cello Concerto with them in 2009. She studied at the Eastman School of Music and Michigan State University, and obtained her MM at the New England Conservatory.


Program Notes


Six Bagatelles for string quartet, op. 9

These tiny, perfectly-proportioned masterpieces (lasting just over three minutes in all) are a milestone in Webern's career — and, indeed, in the history of Western music: here, for the first time, each single note becomes a complete entity, so that there is no one sound which can be removed from the texture without destroying the sense of the whole. In spite of the tempo fluctuations which can mark the ends of musical sentences, and of the irregular groupings (into two, three, four and five) within each beat, the underlying pulse of the music is clearly present as a fluttering inner urgency &mdash which occasionally rises to the surface in throbbing repetitions.

Anton Webern (3 December 1883 - 15 September 1945) was an Austrian composer and conductor. He was a member of the Second Viennese School. As a student and significant follower of Arnold Schoenberg, he became one of the best-known exponents of the twelve-tone technique; in addition, his innovations regarding schematic organization of pitch, rhythm and dynamics were formative in the musical technique later known as total serialism.


Traceur, for clarinet and piano

The title contains multiple meanings: "traces" of musical materials that were not used in a recent piano piece called Toccata that I composed in homage to William Albright; and a word that refers to a person involved in "freerunning" or Parkour, derived from Parisian slang "tracer" — "to move quickly". The "obstacle" course can be found at various levels, from a substructure of two hexachords "in rotation" to the piano and clarinet "in motion."

David Gompper has lived and worked professionally as a pianist, a conductor, and a composer in New York, San Diego, London, Nigeria, Michigan, Texas and Iowa. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London and, after teaching in Nigeria, received his doctorate at the University of Michigan. Since 1991 he has been Professor of Composition and Director of the Center for New Music at the University of Iowa. In 2002-2003 Gompper was in Russia as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching, performing and conducting at the Moscow Conservatory. In 2009 he received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City. His compositions are heard throughout the United States and Europe, including premiers at Carnegie Hall and London's Wigmore Hall.



Liminality in Grisey's music is evident in the interplay of musical forces that shape the structure of Périodes, a work for seven instruments that is conceived as a constant three-part cycle that is analogous to respiratory rhythm: inhalation, exhalation, and rest. While this cycle lends the overall form a certain regularity, it should be noted that there are only four complete occurrences of this tripartite respiratory "period" in the course of the nearly 15-minute work. Also, the periodic element in this music is sense of the regular cycle of inhalation (i.e., increasing tension), exhalation (i.e., decreasing tension), and rest (stasis) created through the nature of the interactions between instruments over the course of the piece, rather than a recurrence of similar musical gestures. Local textures and gestures in this music, which often do not create a sense of local periodicity, are related to the regularity of the formal design through the ways in which they support the sense of a slow respiration. In addition to being related to one another through the support they provide for the overall form of the work, the local textures and gestures in this music are harmonically/timbrally unified through the overall adherence of the pitch content to the overtones of a harmonic spectra built on a fundamental frequency (41.2 Hz, or E1 when translated into a musical pitch). -Christopher Gainey

Upon completing his studies at the Paris Conservatory in 1972, having studied with composers Olivier Messiaen and Henri Dutilleux, Gérard Grisey (1946-1998) won the coveted Prix de Rome and founded, with fellow composers Tristan Murail, Michaël Lévinas, Hugues Dufourt, and Roger Tessier, a contemporary music ensemble known as l'Itinéraire. This ensemble, and the composers associated with it, became the driving force behind the establishment of an attitude towards composition that has come to be known as spectral music.

Any vibration, according to the work of French mathematician and physicist Joseph Fourier, may be analyzed as the interaction of a number of individual sinusoidal frequencies. In music, this property is evident in the phenomenon of overtones or partials that combine in particular ways to create a sense of timbre. Groups of overtones and their relationships (specifically their relative frequencies and intensities) are known as spectra, and translating these spectra into musical sonorities provides composers with tools for the isolation and manipulation of timbre as the basis for the interaction of musical forces. Spectral composers use these "spectra" along with the refined capabilities of sonic analysis available through modern technology to construct compositional models that are founded on the innate properties of sound.

Due primarily to the use of spectra as compositional models, the term "spectral" has come to be the standard label associated with this music. However, most of its founders have abandoned this term as an overly reductive characterization of a broad aesthetic preoccupation with exploring how the innate properties of sound may be translated into musical processes. Grisey was often at the forefront of this opposition, proposing instead the term "liminal" as a more appropriate label for this attitude towards composition.

Liminality, in the sense of the threshold between two perceptual phenomena, can be seen on every level of a spectral composition. Through its mimetic nature, spectral music in general, and the music of Gerard Grisey in particular, explores the regions between the conception and perception of one-dimensional timbre and multi-dimensional harmony, exact frequency and approximate pitch, precise duration and rhythmic subdivision, and the gradual evolution of musical processes and the precise articulation of musical form.

In order to refine and develop his particular attitude towards composition, Grisey pursued studies in acoustics with Emile Leipp at the Paris VI University in 1974 and further training in acoustic research at IRCAM in 1980. In 1982, Grisey accepted a position at the University of California, Berkeley as a professor of music theory and composition. In 1986, he left Berkeley to teach composition at the Paris Conservatory, a post he held until his death on November 11th, 1998 at the age of 52. -Christopher Gainey

Shulamit RAN

Concerto da Camera IIis a work for six instruments which may be further grouped into three separate entitles — clarinet, string quartet and piano. In this combination, chosen by the work's commissioning organizations (the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in conjunction with Mount Holyoke College), lies the work's first challenge. While pairings of any two of these three "sound types" abound in the concert literature, the three together form a far less common soundscape. The main difficulty appears in the necessity to reconcile the potential of both the clarinet and the piano of acting in a soloistic capacity when pitted against the string quartet. Indeed, the three movements of the Concerto deal with this problem in various ways, with the balance of power between the six instruments' potential for unity and contrast, solo and ensemble playing, continually shifting and changing.

Yet another more delicate balance of power is at play here, namely, the relationship between the external, foreground level of the piece and a subtler background level. What, at first, appear like small, gentle melodic strands, mere echoes or residues of the main events, gradually assume an inner life of their own. Never actually taking over yet always there, a salient, if quiet, factor within the work's compositional fabric and evolving organicism.

Though each movement includes numerous tempo fluctuations, the overall thrust of the work clearly suggests a fast-slow-fast framework, with the last movement being a loosely structured, occasionally tempestuous Rondo. -Shulamit Ran

Shulamit Ran, a native of Israel, began setting Hebrew poetry to music at the age of seven. By nine she was studying composition and piano with some of Israel's most noted musicians, including composers Alexander Boskovich and Paul Ben-Haim, and within a few years she was having her works performed by professional musicians and orchestras. As the recipient of scholarships from both the Mannes College of Music in New York and the America Israel Cultural Foundation, Ran continued her composition studies in the United States with Norman Dello-Joio. In 1973 she joined the faculty of University of Chicago, where she is now the Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Music. She lists her late colleague and friend Ralph Shapey, with whom she also studied in 1977, as an important mentor.

In addition to receiving the Pulitzer Prize in 1991, Ran has been awarded most major honors given to composers in the U.S., including two fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, grants and commissions from the Koussevitzky Foundation at the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fromm Music Foundation, Chamber Music America, the American Academy and Institute for Arts and Letters, first prize in the Kennedy Center-Friedheim Awards competition for orchestral music, and many more.

Between 1990 and 1997 she was Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, having been appointed for that position by Maestro Daniel Barenboim as part of the Meet-The-Composer Orchestra Residencies Program. Between 1994 and 1997 she was also the fifth Brena and Lee Freeman Sr. Composer-in-Residence with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where her residency culminated in the performance of her first opera, "Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk)".

Ran served as Music Director of "Tempus Fugit", the International Biennial for Contemporary Music in Israel in 1996, 1998 and 2000. Since 2002 she is Artistic Director of Contempo (Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago). In 2010 she was the Howard Hanson Visiting Professor of Composition at Eastman School of Music. Shulamit Ran is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, where she is now serving a 3-year term as Vice President for Music, and of the American Academy of Arts and Science. The recipient of five honorary doctorates, her works are published by Theodore Presser Company and by the Israeli Music Institute and recorded on more than a dozen different labels.


…like a fantastic ague

The title of Ague comes from the last of the Holy Sonnets of John Donne ("Oh, to vex me") in which he bemoans the constant wavering of his religious fervor: "…My devout fits come and go away like a fantastic ague…" Such inconstancy is reflected in the moodiness of the piece as it ventures through various musical terrains. After a foreboding opening marked by an ominous melody in the bass instruments of the ensemble, a principal melodic theme anchored on the pitch B is forcefully voiced by the entire ensemble in two groups, one slightly delayed after the other. This B-centered melody, which is next elaborated on by the oboe over accompanimental string swells, is heard several times embedded within its various textures of the piece. Sections of slower pensive passages alternate with more hyperactive and extroverted ones often peppered with brass and percussive accents. Many sections are articulated by a 4-note arpeggio projected by the percussion corps and sustained by the strings, immediately followed by chord-cluster punctuations of various kinds. An extended version of this cadence closes the piece. Ague was written for the University of Iowa Center for New Music, David Gompper conducting.

The compositions of Luke Dahn are heard throughout the United States and abroad, with recent performances given by groups such as the Moscow Conservatory Studio for New Music, the NODUS Ensemble, the NEXTET Ensemble, Composers Inc., the University of Iowa Center for New Music and the violin/piano duo Wolfgang David and David Gompper. Venues have included Rachmaninoff Hall (Moscow), the Estonia Academy of Music (Tallinn), the Frankfurter KuenstlerKlub, Harvard University's Memorial Church, the Miami ISCM Festival Series and the N.E.O.N. (Nevada Encounters of New Music) Festival at which he was recently awarded the Max Di Julio Prize. His music has been described as being "superbly concise" (Fanfare Magazine) and "terrific...awfully good" (Sequenza21). Several of his works are available on the Albany record label, including his quintet entitled Penumbrae, which was recently named winner of the 2010 League of Composers/ISCM Competition. Dahn earned degrees from the University of Iowa, Western Michigan University, and Houston Baptist University. His primary teachers have included David Gompper, C. Curtis-Smith and Ann K. Gebuhr. He currently teaches music theory and composition at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. For further information, visit