Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Sunday, February 17, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Riverside Recital Hall (map)

The CNM Ensemble

Featuring guest composers:
Keith Hamel, University of British Columbia
Carson Cooman, Boston

|| download program ||


C'é la Luna Questa Sera? (1998/2006)
        for violin, cello, and piano
(b. 1962)
  Andrew Uhe, violin
Eunkyung Son, violoncello
Sasha Burdin, piano
Krishna's Flute (2004)
        for flute and interactive electronics
  Keith HAMEL
(b. 1956)
  Nicole Esposito*, flute  
Quartet for Piano and Strings (A Sea Liturgy) (2009)   Carson COOMAN
(b. 1982)
  Andrew Uhe, violin
Manuel Taboras, viola
Eunkyung Son, violoncello
Sasha Burdin, piano
  — Intermission —  
Requiem pour une Terre Perdue (2009)
        for chamber orchestra
(b. 1973)
Les Cloches (2012)   Keith HAMEL
  Center for New Music Ensemble
David Gompper*, conductor

CNM ensemble
Danielle Wrobleski, flute
Elliot Czaplewski, oboe
Marjorie Shearer, clarinet
Christine Bellomy, bass clarinet (Yayalar)
Stephanie Patterson, bassoon
Andrew Phillips, horn
Deborah Bierschenk, trumpet
Jessica Butler, trombone
Andrew Thierauf and Aaron Ziegler, percussion
Sasha Burdin, piano
Andrew Uhe and Colleen Ferguson, violins
Manuel Taboras, viola
Eunkyung Son, violoncello
Patricia Silva, double bass
  *=UI faculty
Many thanks are extended to Zach Zubow, Shane Hoose, Nima Hamidi,
Leo Iogansen, Will Huff and Dan Frantz for their work with the electronics tonight.


Program Notes


C'é la Luna Questa Sera? [Is There a Moon Tonight?]

was inspired by the moonlight reflected on the surface of Lake Como. After spending a lovely and productive month at the Bellagio Rockefeller Center in 1997, my memories of the evenings there revolve around standing out on the veranda and watching the moonlight dance off the water. Surrounded by the dramatic views of the Dolomite Mountains to the east, and the Alps to the north, the setting was magical, yet mysteriously enigmatic at night, as the purple hue of the Dolomites gave the surrounding visual frame a dark aura of ambiguity. The other side of the Dolomite Mountains was visible only when there was a full moon, and even then the color lent an almost ethereal ambience to the scene. The work was originally for violin, cello and percussion and was transcribed specifically for the Lincoln Trio, to which this version is dedicated.

The first composer to win the American Academy in Berlin Prize, Laura Elise Schwendinger, is a Professor at UW-Madison. Her music, described as "evok(ing)..serene mystery and infinite beauty" (Fanfare), "evince(ing) an acute sonic imagination and sure command of craft." (Chicago Tribune), "darkly attractive, artful and moving…" (New York Times) and "shrewd composing, the genuine article. Onto the 'season's best' list it goes." (Boston Globe) has been performed by leading artists of our day including Dawn Upshaw, Janine Jansine, Matt Haimovitz, the Arditti and Jack Quartets, Trinity Choir, the Franz Liszt chamber orchestra and the American Composers Orchestra, at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Théâtre du Châtelet, the Ojai, Aspen, Tangelwood and Ravinia music festivals, and Off-Broadway in the acclaimed Sounding Beckett project. Her honors include a those from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Fromm and Koussevitzky Foundations, the Radcliffe Institute, two from the American Academy of Arts of Arts and Letters (including a Leiberson Fellowship given to "mid-career composer of exceptional gifts"), the Harvard Musical Association, Chamber Music America, the MacDowell, Yaddo and Bogliasco Colonies and first-prize of the ALEA III Competition. Upcoming performances by the New Juilliard Players, Lincoln Trio, JACK Quartet and Matt Haimovitz's Ucello Ensemble. CDs of her work will be released on Centaur and Albany this coming year.


Krishna's Flute

is an interactive Computer Music composition in which the electronics are synchronized to the live performance using software run by a computer. This means that the flutist has flexibility in the timing and interpretation of the composition. The timing markers in the score (for each second) are provided as a general timing guideline, but the performer should not feel constrained by these markings. Performance times will range between 11 and 15 minutes depending on the tempi taken by the performer.

Les Cloches

As the title suggests, Les Cloches is all about bells. In preparation for this composition, I analyzed the harmonic content of church bells and extracted the rhythms created by tolling bells. These structures were used as the basis for the pitch and rhythmic material of the composition. During the performance, the sounds of particular instruments of the orchestra are sent to a computer, which processes these sounds by transforming their harmonic content and combining them with bells and fragments of Gregorian chant.

I have always had a fascination with bells, both for the richness of their timbres and for the spiritual significance they often hold for the listener. My hope is that this composition draws the listener inside the sonic structure of bells similar to the way a microscope is used to observe the internal structure of an object. In a sense, one hears the sounds of bells both macroscopically and microscopically.

Although I have been working in the area of Interactive Computer Music for many years, this is most ambitious composition I have undertaken in terms of the number of instruments being electronically processed and the complexity of the spectral treatment used. Les Cloches was commissioned by the Windsor Symphony and was premiered by the WSO under the direction of John Morris Russell in 2012.

Keith Hamel is a Professor in the School of Music, an Associate Researcher at the Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (ICICS), a Researcher at the Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre (MAGIC) and Director of the Computer Music Studio at the University of British Columbia. Hamel has been on the Faculty at UBC since 1987, and has been a Full Professor since 1997. He holds a B.Mus. from Queen's University (1981) and A.M. and Ph.D degrees from Harvard University (1984, 1985). He also studied Computer Music under the supervision of Barry Vercoe at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1981 and 1984.

Hamel has written both acoustic and electroacoustic music and has been awarded many prizes in both media. His works have been performed by many of the finest soloists and ensembles both in Canada and abroad. He has received commissions from IRCAM (Paris), the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver New Music Ensemble, the Elektra Women's Choir, musica intima, Hammerhead Consort, Standing Wave, Hard Rubber Orchestra, as well as from outstanding performers such as flutist Robert Cram, bassoonist Jesse Read, clarinetist Jean-Guy Boisvert, saxophonist Julia Nolan, and pianist Douglas Finch. Many of his recent compositions focus on interaction between live performers and computer-controlled electronics.

As a computer music researcher, Hamel is recognized as one of the foremost authorities on music notation software. He is author of the NoteWriter and NoteAbilityPro software programs which are used around the world for professional music engraving and publishing, and he has developed interactive environments for live performer and computer interaction. His research has been funded by the Canada Council, the SSHRC, a Killam Research Fellowship, and UBC Arts-IT.

Hamel is the former Vice-President of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM), a former President of the Canadian Music Centre, and a former board member of the Canadian League of Composers. His music is published by Editions Musicales Européennes of Paris and by Cypress Press of Vancouver, and several of his compositions are available on commercial recordings.


Quartet for Piano and Strings (A Sea Liturgy)

Quartet for Piano and Strings (A Sea Liturgy) (2009) was jointly commissioned for the Moscow Studio for New Music and the Arcturus Chamber Ensemble (Sarah Darling, artistic director). It is dedicated to the Arcturus Chamber Ensemble on its 10th anniversary. The work is cast in a single movement and is conceived as a "sea liturgy." It attempts to conjure up an imagined set of spiritual rituals (not connected to any specific religion)—a ceremony of transformation and renewal performed in the context of a sea landscape.

Though not broken into movements, the formal design of the work could be seen as follows:
Processional — (Ritornello) — Invocation — Offering — (Ritornello) — Baptism — Rebirth — Recessional

As with so many of my works, much of the initial musical planning took place in the context of the oceanscapes of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Those particular sea landscapes were foremost in my mind while writing. The listener may also discard the imagined liturgical apparatus and simply listen to the work as a series of seascapes. (For the purposes of narrative clarity, the above section descriptors will be used in the narrative below.)

The opening Processional begins with focused, austere intensity: the instruments unfold from a single pitch (E) into a more rich harmonic landscape. A Ritornello of pulsating string harmonics leads into Invocation, a warmly lyrical discourse. The Offering is a faster, jubilant development of the Invocation, where the prayerful melodies of the Invocation are transformed into a gift for the sea. A return of the Ritornello leads to the Baptism. In this section, heterophonic melodies unfold out of the new substrate pitch (D). In the transforming crucible of the water, these lines become more and more extended harmonically. The Rebirth is a dancing development of the Baptism; the harmonic extensions are pushed from dissonance into chords of pure joy. Emerging out of the afterglow of the Rebirth is the Recessional, in which the music of the Processional is revisited, now transformed by the ritual to center on the pitch D. The Recessional fades away peacefully, yet fervently.

Carson Cooman is an American composer and organist. He holds degrees in music from Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University and since 2006 has held the position of Composer in Residence at The Memorial Church, Harvard University. As an organ recitalist, Cooman specializes particularly in the performance of contemporary music. Over 130 new compositions by over 100 composers have been written for him by composers from around the world. He has given premiere performances of works by a number of the present era's most distinguished composers including Peter Maxwell Davies, Emma Lou Diemer, Michael Finnissy, Jennifer Higdon, Jo Kondo, Robert Moran, Colin Mawby, and Daniel Pinkham.

Cooman has recorded organ music for releases on ASV/Blackbox, JADE Records, and Zimbel Records. A Marvelous Love: New Music for Organ (Albany Records; May 2012) features works by Patricia Van Ness, Jim Dalton, Tim Rozema, Al Benner, Thomas Åberg, Harold Stover, and Peter Machajdik. His newest recording, Legends in the Garden: Organ Music by Thomas Åberg, was released in December 2012 on the Soundspells label.

As a composer, Cooman has created a catalog of works in many forms—ranging ranging from solo instrumental pieces to operas, and from orchestral works to hymn tunes. His work has been performed on all six inhabited continents and appears on over forty recordings, including seventeen complete CDs on the Naxos, Albany, Artek, Altarus, Gothic, MSR Classics, Raven, and Zimbel labels.


Requiem pour une Terre Perdue

How the city grows one layer upon another over the years has always fascinated me. With each new layer, a new spatial configuration comes into being, be it through transformation, metamorphosis or disintegration. One of the most precious moments in Istanbul for me is when I run into a medieval Byzantine monastery in the midst of a modern cityscape. Often these two cityscapes are disconnected from each other and they embody their own temporal reality.

This piece is a lament for the long lost Byzantium of Istanbul. Through a chant, the traces of this lost land appear in a musical layer but are simultaneously assimilated into the dominant homogenous texture.

Tolga Yayalar's music has been performed in the US, Europe and Latin America by ensembles such as Le Nouvel Ensemble Modern, Ensemble FA, Ying Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, The Callithumpian Consort, Chamber Players of the League/ISCM, Orchestre National de Lorraine, Adorno Ensemble, Yesaroun Duo, Samual Z. Solomon, Benjamin Schwartz, Seda Roeder and Garth Knox and at festivals such as New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, 2nd Mediterranean Contemporary Music Days, La Ciudad de las Ideas, 1st Annual symposium on Music in the 21st century at SFSU.

He is recipient of awards and honors such as Donald Aird Memorial prize, Adelbert Sprague composition prize, Blodgett String Quartet Composition prize, George Arthur Knight Prize, Millenium Chamber Players competition prize, and the League of Composers/ISCM composition award.

A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Tolga Yayalar played electric guitar in rock and jazz bands before taking up composition. Upon his encounter with the music of Webern, his first serious works incorporated serialism with jazz. Since then, texture and timbre have always been in the center of his music. To overcome the harmonic and sonic limitations of the tempered system, his music focuses on different systems of microtonality. While harmonic series constitute the harmonic focal point of his compositions, he also fuses parts of the eastern tuning systems with the Western tradition.

Tolga Yayalar holds degrees from Berklee College of Music and Istanbul Technical University and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2010. Tolga is currently on the faculty of composition at the Bilkent University in Anakra, Turkey.