The Center for New Music hosts

Iowa Composers Forum Winter Festival

Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 3:00p in the
Voxman Music Building Concert Hall



In the Dragon’s Mouth (2014), for horn and fixed media


Eric McIntyre, horn

Variations on a Theme by Bach, for solo piano


Nathanael Filippelli, piano

Then Thousand Things Moving, for solo clarinet


Mauricio da Silva, clarinet

The Shriek of Silence (2017)


Lisa Neher, mezzo-soprano
Nathanael Filippelli, piano

Rush of Air, for flute trio


  I. Summer Breeze
 II. Dust Devils
III. Cyclone
IV. Autumn Gust
Marissa Flemming, Maeve McGonigal and Gregory Bardwell, flutes

It couldn’t be done


Lisa Neher, mezzo-soprano
Gustavo do Carmo, piano



Nocturne in 4-3, for cello and piano

Warren GOOCH

Hui-Hsuan Su, violoncello
Nicha Pimthong, piano

like that time


Lisa Neher, mezzo-soprano
Gustavo do Carmo, piano

Psalm 90, for solo piano


Nicha Pimthong, piano

Ancestral Journeys, for solo piano


  I. Echoes O’er a French Village
 II. Majerka Rhapsody
Nicha Pimthong, piano

Lancelot and Guinevere, for piano trio


Yixue Zhang, violin
Hui-Hsuan Su, violoncello
Nicha Pimthong, piano

 Program Notes


Eric L. McIntyre

In the Dragon’s Mouth (2014)

In the Dragon’s Mouth is another of those compositions where I have the pleasure of doing a bunch of things that used to get me kicked out of junior high band class. Audio materials were recorded in Yellowstone National Park’s Mud Volcano thermal area where a massive, seething hot spring, called the Dragon’s Mouth, bellows unceasingly. When I arrived at midnight to record the springs, the whole area was buried in a thick fog, and I found myself wading into an other-worldly realm with the groans of the dragon’s mouth accompanied by coyotes crying in the distance.
Eric L. McIntyre: Professor of Music at Grinnell College; Music Director, Central Iowa Symphony; composer, conductor, hornist; part-time farmer, butcher, visual artist, performance artist.

Jason Fuemmeler

Variations on a Theme by Bach

The theme for Variations on a Theme by Bach comes from the introduction to the soprano aria heard in Cantata #21. My variations are inspired in part by the music of Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944), in particular the final movement of his Third Piano Sonata. Like the present work, that movement by Ullmann is also a set of variations (on a theme by Mozart) that incorporates a fugue near the end. In addition, some of the later variations of the present work attempt to incorporate some of Ullmann's musical language.
Jason Fuemmeler is a composer residing in Cedar Rapids, IA. He is active in music, performing as a baritone vocal soloist and as a member of Chorale Midwest. He has also acted as choral conductor for multiple ensembles. In 2016, his setting of Lewis Carroll¹s Jabberwocky was named a winner of the 2016 ICDA/ICF Choral Composition Competition.

Robert Martin

Then Thousand Things Moving

In Taoist thought, the number ten thousand stands for the multiplicity beyond measure that makes up the universe. Imagine all things that make up this multiplicity in motion--moving without plan or reason yet each complementing all the rest. What happens is neither expected nor unexpected. It happens and we supply our own meaning out of our own experience.
Composer, psychologist, and professor at Truman State University. Robert Martin thinks of himself as a composer of music, books, performances, syllabi, assignments, and, occasionally, lectures.  He has a life-long interest in the study of composition, creativity, learning, psychotherapy, constructivism, and systems science as well as experience in performing musical theater and straight plays. He studied composition with Herbert Brun and completed an interdisciplinary doctorate with Herbert Brun and cyberneticist Heinz von Foerster on the problem of how to listen to music.


The Shriek of Silence

The Shriek of Silence tells the story of the poet's journey and thought process of realizing what true silence encompasses.
Logan Larson is originally from Waukee, Iowa. He obtained his B.A. from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa in May of 2016. At Luther, he studied composition under Dr. Brooke Joyce. Logan is currently pursuing his Masters in Music Composition at the University of Kansas. In his compositional career, he has been fortunate to have pieces performed across the United States and Italy along with having pieces premiered by ensembles such as the Grammy-nominated string quintet, Sybarite5.

Denise Knaack

Rush of Air

Rush of Air was inspired by sitting next to Tracey Rush at an ICF event in which we heard numerous flute solos. After so many selections we joked about the obligatory flutter tonguing and key clicks and then brain stormed on the craziest thing you could do with a flute and still be musical.  And so Rush of Air was seeded and named in the back of my mind. It became a serious work only after one of my mentors laughed at my idea for the cyclone.  It is still a work in progress as I have not yet written the movement with key clicks.
Denise Knaack (1961) earned her BA with majors in Music Education and Speech Communications from Simpson College and a MS Ed from Buena Vista University. She taught music in public schools for 25 years. Her assignments over the years included High School English, K-12 vocal music and beginning band. She also coached speech for a number of years. Denise is also a church pianist, organist and choir director.
    Knaack has a long history with the Forum as a public school music teacher.  She had a strong commitment to including composition in the elementary general music curriculum. She began entering students in the ICF Student Composition Contest in 1994.  Since then her students have had numerous winners and top ten placements in the middle school and elementary division. In 2004 Knaack presented her elementary composition unit at the annual Forum festival.  Knaack retired from teaching in 2008.  From 2011- 2015 Knaack served as the coordinator for the ICF Student Composition Contest.

Zachary Randall

It couldn’t be done

It couldn’t be done is a piece for mezzo-soprano and piano using a poem by Edgar Guest. I chose the poem because it is motivational and I wanted to spend my time with words that see important. I used some special techniques that Lisa said she likes to use …. spoken dialogue, vocal glissando (used where the poet starts to do the things he thought he couldn’t do) and extremes of her range (imitating a man’s range on important phrases). The piano also uses glissandi and uses slap strings because it seemed cool. For the piano part, I was inspired by musical patterns from Dmitri Kabalevsky and Friederich Burgmuller, composers whose music I have studied.
Zach Randall is in grade six at Reed Custer Middle School in Braidwood, IL. He sings in the choir and plays clarinet in band, jazz band, and marching band. Zach is active in the math team, spelling bee, speech, and basketball. He likes swimming and riding his bike. Zach has played one National Guild piano audition and played in one PianoFest. His parents are Arlyn and James Randall. Zach studies piano and composition with Bonnie Johansen-Werner in Joliet.

Warren Gooch

Nocturne in 4-3, for cello and piano

Nocturne in 4-3, for cello and piano, takes, as its point of departure, certain elements of the Chopin nocturne. First, the composition is indeed atmospheric and evocative. Second, it features a long-breathed melodic line. Finally, it employs an undulating, repetitive accompaniment figure. After a brief introduction, the primary melodic material is heard first in the cello, and is then passed between the cello and piano. Various motives drawn from this melody are then developed before and during energetic and aggressive musical passages that alternate with reflective sections. The melody then returns late in the piece, followed by a coda. Each of Chopin’s twenty-one nocturnes is identified by a number and/or a key: “Nocturne in E-flat Major”, for example. While Nocturne in 4-3 is not tonally-based, it is indeed centric music, drawing upon a source tone row that makes heavy use of Set Class 4-3 (the 0134 tetrachord)—hence the second part of the title for this work. Intervalic patterns drawn from this tetrachord saturate the piece in both obvious and subtle ways.
Warren Gooch's music has been widely performed on four continents. His work has been recognized by the National Federation of Music Clubs, Minnesota Orchestra, American Choral Directors Association, Music Teachers National Association, Percussive Arts Society, International Trumpet Guild, College Music Society, Music Educators National Conference, and numerous other organizations. He has been the recipient of over thirty composition awards and paid commissions.  Approximately forty of his works are published by Southern, Dorn, Kjos, Alliance, Flammer, Ensemble, Plymouth, and other publishers.  Clockwork for orchestra is available on compact disk from PARMA recordings. Until his retirement in 2015, Gooch chaired the Theory-Composition Area at Truman State University. In 2012, he was named the Truman State University Educator of the Year and in 2013, he received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education from the State of Missouri. He is also actively involved in church music.

Aaron Israel Levin

like that time

like that time is a reflection on moments of tension/anger within an intimate relationship. Some moments are petty, while others reflect deeper problems. Likewise, the tone of this piece wavers between light and dark; however, I would say that, overall, this piece sits more comfortably in the darkness. like that time was written as part of the Iowa Composers Forum Commissioning Project. It was written for and is dedicated to Lisa Neher and Gustavo do Carmo.
Aaron Israel Levin (b. 1995) is a composer of concert music that is guided by the emotional dynamism of storytelling and drama. He draws from a variety of musical and non-musical influences to create compositions that are both personal and wide-ranging. Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Levin earned his BA in music from Grinnell College, where he studied composition with Eric McIntyre and John Rommereim. He is currently pursuing his M.M. in composition at the Yale School of Music where he studies with Hannah Lash.

Elaine Erickson

Psalm 90

Psalm 90 is based on the first two verses of Psalm 90:
      Lord, You have been our dwelling place
      In all generations.
      Before the mountains were brought forth,
      Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
      Even from everlasting to everlasting,
      You are God.

There are shifting tonalities in the piece. Dissonant atonal passages resolve to expressive tonal parts. Extreme registers on the piano often occur.
Elaine Erickson has a Master of Music degree in Music Composition from Drake University. She has won numerous awards and fellowships, including the Ford Foundation (when she composed music for the public schools of Broward County, Florida), the National League of American Pen Women (including the national Music Composition Awards) and the Pyle Commission Award from the Iowa Composers’ Forum. She studied composition at the University of Iowa and at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She has composed five operas, three of which were performed at Peabody. She taught Music Composition at Central College in Pella, Iowa, and taught piano in her home for many years. Several of her compositions have appeared on the MMC recording label. She is a published poet.

Bonnie Johansen-Werner

Ancestral Journeys, Echoes O'er a French Village

A few years ago I wandered the streets of a tiny French village ... only 300 people and no stores, just a small collection of houses, a few farms, an ancient church and a school. My sixth-great-grandfather walked these streets ... we walk past the house built by a distant great uncle, with his name and date ... Hans Peter Bieber 1717 ... carved above the front door.
    This village in Alsace-Lorraine, near the German border with a decidedly mixed French-German heritage, holds secrets. They hang in the air, unspoken, not even whispered, but sensed nonetheless. I feel voices calling to me from behind the houses, down by the river Isle, voices dancing on the sparkling water carrying their mysteries to eternity.
    In this charming French village with flowers hanging in window boxes, cattle grazing in the distance, a church isolated on the hillside and neat graves in the cemetery, we dine with a cousin who has a family tree that covers nine generations. The family chart spills off both ends of the dining table. Buried among the births and deaths the voices start to emerge .... a child who died by the river, falling from a tree landing on a sharp pole ... soldiers who fought under the enemy flag to save the lives of their mothers ... a village liberated twice from its enemies in one week.
    We perform a concert, we dine with the mayor and other town’s people (essentially all cousins) in a converted barn, and then we depart. But there is a reluctance to leave that I don’t understand. Except that the voices still call, spirits from the past pleading with me to listen to their stories and release them so they too can dance their way to eternity.

Ancestral Journeys, Majerka Rhapsody

The simple search to learn about my great-grandparents landed my husband and me in remote Slovakia, driving to Majerka, a town that has officially ceased to exist. Apprehension reigns. The church only holds worship once a year, in a remembrance service, and we will play the organ for it. Stories had reached us about the village burning in 1941 and a subsequent ethnic cleansing ... would I find anything that would tell me about my great-grandparents, who left in the 1880s?
    Our drive takes us through flood ravaged land, on a road sometimes paved, sometimes nearly gone. We pass destroyed bridges, wondering if we will indeed reach the town. At each obstacle fears rise, then subside and the journey resumes. We drive through more small mountain towns and then enter Majerka, the end of the road, passing houses of gypsies, who took Majerka after the Germans left.
    The church looms on the right. Plain, like a white elephant, it stands as a lone reminder of the way life once was. Maria, the pastor, disappears, searching for someone to let us in. Disappointment seeps into my bones. No steeple, just a simple cross on the peaked roof. No apparent family connections here ... all disappeared to unknown locations when “cleansed” after the war. And if the original church burned, what will be the connection with my great-grandparents? None? Did I lead us on a senseless trek?
    Finally, Maria reappears with a short, squat man in tow. Ervin escorts us into the church and I gasp. I turn to Maria, “Was all this built during the war?” “Oh, no,” she replies. “Only the roof of the church burned. Everything else here is original.” I stand in astounded silence and awe. Amidst peeling paint is a stunning altar, gold statues, and on the walls, in German script, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” We are filled with the awesome sense of history and God’s eternal presence.
Bonnie Johansen-Werner is a composer, performer, and teacher in Joliet, Illinois where she teaches in her private studio and is on the music faculties at Joliet Junior College and the University of St. Francis. She is organist at First United Methodist Church in Lockport, Illinois where she also directs and composes for the Worship Instrumental Ensemble. Her music has been performed throughout North America and Europe. She has performed her works in Germany, France, Slovakia, and Russia. She writes for both the concert hall and the church, with a commitment to composing music of a spiritual nature that reaches beyond the traditional boundaries of church life.

Randy Wells

Lancelot and Guinevere

Lancelot and Guinevere was written over the course of two weeks in the late Summer of 2016 with Tennyson’s poem of the same name and a few of my favorite paintings in mind. Like much of my favorite music, it is nothing more or less than a bunch of pretty tunes and pretty chords meant to evoke the feeling of being in love.
Randy Wells (b. 1992) began composing art music in 2012 after teaching himself keyboard and music theory during a winter of self-imposed exile. Since the Autumn of 2013, he has written 43 catalogued works. Randy’s music represents a continuation of the aesthetic philosophy of the Romantic era, and is characterized by emotional sensitivity and intensity, grandiose tendencies, and heavy influence of extra-musical ideas.  Among his influences, Randy counts Mahler, Scriabin, Berg, and Shostakovich. When not composing, he can generally be found wandering aimlessly, or at the library, gleefully devouring literature and scientific writings.