2012 Midwest Composers Symposium

A consortium of composers from the 
Universities of Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and 
Cincinnati Conservatory of Music

Hosted by the University of Iowa
Center for New Music
David Gompper, director

Friday, November 2, 2012 at 19.30
Iowa Memorial Union, Ballroom (map

|| download program ||


Three Rilke Poems, for choir (2010)
        I. Herbst (1902)
       II. Lösch mir die Augen aus (1899)
   David BIEDENBENDER (UM) (b. 1984)
  UI Kantorei
James Judd, tenor soloist
Timothy Stalter, conductor
 Qurama for chamber ensemble (2012)    Turkar GASIMZADA (CCM) (b. 1983)
  CNM Ensemble
Bert Van Herck, conductor
 Cave Paintings for chamber ensemble (2011)    Chris RENK (IU) (b. 1983)
  CNM Ensemble
David Gompper, conductor
— Intermission —
 Pale Blue on Deep (2011)    Aaron PERRINE (UI) (b. 1979)
  UI Symphonic Band
Mark Heidel, conductor
 Rapture, for orchestra (2011)    Patrick HARLIN (UM) (b. 1984)
  UI Symphony Orchestra
William LaRue Jones, conductor

Please join us for a reception in the North Room, which can be found on the first floor in the far northeast corner of the IMU



 University of Iowa Ensemble Rosters

 UI Symphony Orchestra
William LaRue Jones, director

Danielle Wrobleski* & Becky Neal, flute
Kiki Bryant*, piccolo
Amanda Eldred* & Anna Pollema, oboe
Michelle Chou*, english horn
Marjorie Shearer* & Tony Mai, clarinet
Jeff Bosacki*, bass clarinet
Fabio Benites*, Stephanie Patterson & Lieza Hansen, bassoon
Racher Leeper*, contrabassoon
Drew Phillips*, Nick Waymire, James Naigus & Megan Starrett, horn
Meagan Conley*, Dee Bierschenk & Laura Saylor, trumpet
Jessica Ducharme Butler*, Andrew Birschbach & Shelby Kifer, trombone
Jayna Andersen*, tuba
Aaron Ziegler*, timpani
Andy Thierauf, Tyler Swick, Peter Naughton & Casey Mattes, percussion
Christine Tithecott, piano
Chun-Ming Chen, UI orchestra manager
Hyeyoun Jang, head librarian
Ben Nadel, wind librarian
David Tedford, string librarian

 UI Symphony Band
Richard Mark Heidel, conductor

Madeline Trombly, piccolo
Becky Neal*, Emily Duncan, Madeline Trombly, Clarice Miller & Megan Bailey, flute
Elliot Czaplewski* & Crystal Gillaspy, oboe
Rachel Leeper*, Joshua Draves-Kellerman & Lieza Hansen, bassoon
Lauren DiGiorgio, contrabassoon
Lisa Wissenberg+, Thiago Ancelmo+, Steven Riley, Tony Mai,
Courtney Sorensen, Erin Abele & Olivia Petersen, clarinet
Jeff Bosacki, bass clarinet
Hantao Li*, soprano saxophone
Jess Voigt, alto saxophone
Elena Pedersen, tenor saxophone
Andrew Allen, baritone saxophone
Chris Thompson*, Eric Bush, Dee Bierschenk, Michelle Goldberg & Jessica Palmer, trumpet
Drew Phillips*, Nick Waymire+, Megan Starrett & Tania Satter, horn
Andrew Birschbach*, Kyle Pape, Justin Gingerich & Nathan Pettorini, trombone
Kevin Kessler*, euphonium
Jayna Andersen* & Blaine Cunningham, tuba
Brian Boron, Devon Curry, Ernest Jennings, Peter Naughton & Caly Crouch, percussion
Andrew Veit*, timpani
William Xie, piano
*Principal Player

University of Iowa Kantorei
Timothy Stalter, director

Soprano Alto Tenor Bass
Celia Brockway
Allison Crain
Sarah Fisk
Jessica Pray
Carolyn-Anne Templeton
Sarah Zeitlow
Sara Blessing
Kate MacRae
Lisa Neher
Emily Spencer
Marie Von Behren
Audrey Yoder
John C. Hughes
James Judd
Michael Lau
John P. Rakes
Mark Reagan
Jacob Stanbro
Paul Drace
Brian Dykes
Steven Jepson
Sean Lynch
Nicholas Miguel
Matt Neuberger
Michael Penick

 Center for New Music
David Gompper, director

Cheri Knight, flute
Elliot Czaplewski, oboe
Marjorie Shearer, bass clarinet
Laura Saylor, trumpet
Andrew Thierauf, percussion
Bryan Houts, piano
Andrew Uhe & Therese Slatter, violin
Manuel Tabora, viola
Tom Maples, violoncello
Patricia Silva, double bass
Bert Van Herck, conductor

Cheri Knight, flute
Elliot Czaplewski, oboe
Marjorie Shearer, clarinet
Stephanie Patterson, bassoon
Drew Phillips, horn
Laura Saylor, trumpet
Jessica D. Butler, trombone
Shelby Kifer, bass trombone
Andrew Thierauf and Aaron Ziegler, percussion
Alex Ponomarchuk, piano
Pam Weest-Carrasco, harp
Andrew Uhe & Haley Leach, violin
Manuel Tabora, viola
Eunkyung Son, violoncello
Michael White, double bass
David Gompper, conductor

Program Notes


Three Rilke Poems, for choir

The poem Herbst (Autumn) was written for Jerry Blackstone and the University of Michigan Chamber Choir.

Herbst (1902)

Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit,
Als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten;
sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.

Und in den Nächten fällt die schwere Erde
aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkeit.

Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt.
Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen.

Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen
Unendlich sanft in seinen Händen halt.

The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
as if orchards were withering high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning "no."

And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all the other stars in the loneliness.

We're all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It's in them all.

And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.
Lösch mir die Augen aus (1899)

Lösch mir die Augen aus: ich kann dich sehn,
wirf mir die Ohren zu: ich kann dich hoeren,
und ohne Füße kann ich zu dir gehn,
und ohne Mund noch kann ich dich beschwören.

Brich mir die Arme ab, ich fasse dich
mit meinem Herzen wie mit einer Hand,
halt mir das Herz zu, und mein Hirn wird schlagen,
und wirfst du in mein Hirn den Brand,
so werd ich dich auf meinem Blute tragen.
Extinguish Thou My Eyes

Extinguish Thou my eyes: I still can see Thee,
deprive my ears of sound: I still can hear Thee,
and without feet I still can come to Thee,
and without voice I still can call to Thee.

Sever my arms from me, I still will hold Thee
with all my heart as with a single hand,
arrest my heart, my brain will keep on beating,
and Should Thy fire at last my brain consume,
the flowing of my blood will carry Thee.


David Biedenbender is currently a doctoral student in music composition at the University of Michigan and has been fortunate to have many incredibly supportive and encouraging mentors for which is he very grateful. His first musical collaborations were in rock and jazz bands as an electric bassist and in jazz and wind bands as a bass trombonist and euphonium player. His present interests include working with everyone from classically trained musicians to improvisers, fixed electronics to live brain data.



Qurama for chamber ensemble

Qurama is an ancient handicraft of Azerbaijan, a kind of patchwork made of cloth scraps of various sizes and colors. The etymology of the word 'qurama' also contains a meaning closer to 'construction' in English.

Ideas of working with different shapes and colors, adding multiple layers on top of each other or subtracting, separating them, exploring different time concepts and listening experiences are important to the compositional processes of this piece.

This piece is dedicated to Lale khanim and Mezahir bey Avshars, Turkey-based painters and sculptors from Azerbaijan, friends of my family.


Turkar Gasimzada, a composer from Azerbaijan, currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received his MM degree in composition from Manhattan School of Music, New York, and is now a DMA student in composition at University of Cincinnati, Conservatory of Music. Gasimzada was a finalist at the III ALEA International Composition Competition, Boston University, Boston, USA (2012); a winner of the International Composition Competition "Unique Forms of Continuity in Space", Italian Institute of Culture, Melbourne, Australia (2010); winner of the Jordan Berk Memorial Prize, Manhattan School of Music, New York, USA (2010); winner of the 5th "Crystal Kamerton" Union of Composers of Russia, The Moscow State Conservatory, Moscow, Russia (2006).

Chris RENK

Cave Paintings for chamber ensemble

Tens of thousands of years before the written word or the invention of agriculture, anatomically modern humans began painting deep within the caves of southern France and northern Spain.

Almost entirely depictions of ice age animals, these powerful and mysterious images are both elegant and abstract, remarkably sophisticated and deeply expressive. Though we may never know the full story behind these paintings, they are a testament to the creativity of the human spirit and of our innate desire for artistic expression.

My goal with "Cave Paintings" is to evoke the beauty, drama and mystery of these ancient images, to imagine the mythology and spirituality of their creators, and to honor the incredible sense of wonder and awe that these paintings continue to inspire in me.


Chris Renk grew up in Iowa City where he demonstrated a love for music at an early age. As a teenager, he studied clarinet with world-renowned pedagogue and scholar Himie Voxman and was active in orchestra, chorus, band and jazz band. In 2005, Chris graduated with distinction from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN with a Bachelor's of Music degree in Music Education. At St. Olaf, he studied composition with professors Justin Merritt, Timothy Mahr, and Peter Hamlin, as well as conducting with Anton Armstrong and Steven Amundson. In 2009, Chris received his Masters of Music in Composition from Indiana University where he has studied with professors Claude Baker, Don Freund, David Dzubay, P.Q. Phan, and Aaron Travers. Chris is currently pursuing a Doctor of Music degree in Composition at Indiana University.


Pale Blue on Deep

I arrived at the title while sitting on the shore of Lake Superior. Though I've visited this lake countless times, I'm always mesmerized by its power and serene beauty. You don't just see this Great Lake; it's a feeling you experience with all of your senses.

While there are certainly melodic and harmonic motifs used throughout the work, the larger unifying themes present are a bit more abstract. One main theme is the idea of colors blurring into each other. This was inspired by the place on the horizon where the water appears to blend right into the sky. Moments of tension and release can be attributed to a number of things such as waves crashing to the shore or the imagery of what might lie beneath the water's surface. Above all, I believe the most prevalent theme of the piece is its pensive, introspective feeling, which is exactly the same feeling that comes over me upon each visit to Lake Superior.

Pale Blue on Deep was named an "honorable mention" in the 2011 CBDNA Young Band Composition Contest.


Aaron Perrine has received degrees from the University of Minnesota, Morris, the University of Minnesota, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in composition from The University of Iowa, studying with David Gompper. April, one of his compositions for band, was a finalist in the first Frank Ticheli Composition Contest, a JW Pepper "Editors' Choice" and was a featured composition in Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Recently, his composition Bridge Suite was performed at the 2012 NASA Biennial Conference and his composition Primal, for saxophone quartet, was performed at the 2012 World Saxophone Congress XVI. For more information, see www.aaronperrine.com.


Patrick HARLIN

Rapture, for orchestra

A few years back I read a book about super cave exploration, in particular an expedition that descended the Mt. Everest of caves, the deepest point in the deepest cave on earth. Towards this endeavor climbers spent weeks at a time underground often in complete darkness, and deafening sound (due to extreme wind or underground waterfalls). These cave expeditions are as deadly as the most extreme mountaineering summits. What I found most intriguing about the book was an experience all ultra cavers have at some point in their career, a phenomenon known as "The Rapture." After weeks underground absent of the normal circadian rhythms of life climbers experience a near crippling onset of emotion. This experience is described as exponentially worse than a panic attack, a near religious experience.

While this piece is neither about religion or super caving, what I did want to capture was the blueprint which I think is a fundamentally human experience, the onset of extreme emotion without a clear catalyst. As in extreme emotional states, elements in this piece are magnified and echo throughout.


Originally from Seattle, Patrick Harlin has composed and played piano since age seven. Patrick is currently completing his DMA at the University of Michigan where he studies with Evan Chambers. Former teachers include Michael Daugherty, Bright Sheng and Roger Briggs. Recent performances (2012) include Shadow Dancer for Alarm Will Sound, and Marea Alta for La Orquestra Metropolitan de Cordoba, in Argentina. Recent awards and residencies include a Lightworks best original soundtrack, CAP Grant from New Music USA, and a residency at the MIZZOU New Music Summer Festival. For more information and recordings, visit www.patrickharlin.com.