Composers’ Workshop I

Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 7:30p in the Concert Hall



Matthew MASON [BIO]

Tom Kelley, trombone
        Wounded explores the emotional responses to being wounded, physically or emotionally: the defensiveness, the anger, the weakening, and finally the inherent sadness. The material is drawn from gestures that have been fragmented and elongated to generate a deeper look into their construction, representing the ways one would examine a wound, as well as figuratively representing the individualism of one’s experience with being wounded: the emotive responses may sound similar, but they are unique to the one producing them and is impacted by the their degree of severity.




Ana Maria Locke, clarinet
        "…Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
for precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish’d sight...
                                    W. Shakespeare. Sonnet 30

In the year 1592, William Shakespeare experienced the horrors of a plague that caused London theaters to close, and forced him to go into isolation and a deep depression. During the celebration of the Chinese Lunar Year 2020 in China, a mysterious flu began to spread in Wuhan. A large number of people began suffering unutterably, and an equal number of people began passing away. After two months, the new virus had infected all confines of the world, followed by indescribable scenes of people dying by the thousands daily in the largest metropolises because of the Novel Coronavirus, whose devastating power prevents the victims from breathing. Today, the virus continues its threatening path, and we continue to experience massive shutdowns, quarantines, fear, and loss. The hospitals are collapsing with the load of mortally ill individuals. A ventilator mechanically helps by pumping oxygen into the body. The air flows through a tube that helps you breathe in and out. This clarinet piece was born out of a need to accompany and bring hope to those lonely patients in the emergency units who are isolated and forced to be away from their loved ones, as they struggle every moment just to breathe once more.


Delicate Figures,  I. intricate choreography 

Zachery MEIER [BIO]

Adrian Gomez Hernandez, cello
        Delicate Figures, for solo cello, is a three-movement work that explores movement in fragile and unstable sonorities and how gesture itself becomes thematic. The inspiration for the piece comes from my ongoing interest in light phenomena and how it engages with the world. This movement, intricate choreography, focuses on the Aureole, or Sun “Glory,” a series of colored light rings that surround the shadow of an image that appear when tiny water droplets from mist or clouds are present. A focus on hovering and resonance are utilized throughout the composition; searching for ways to exist around, adjacent, and outside of.



Wenxin LI [BIO]

Kenken Gorder, trumpet
The year 1399 in Persian calendar coincides the year 2020 C.E.


Frost on Magnolia Petals, for alto saxophone alone (2020) 

Gregory Rowland EVANS [BIO]

Dennis Kwok, alto saxophone
        In the front yard of the house where I grew up are two white magnolia trees which always seem to bloom too early. (G.R.E.)



Sivan Cohen ELIAS 

Will Yager, double bass
        Reset is a piece for solo double-bass that emulates a broken vinyl record. 
     The version played in this concert is a premiere of the work in progress. The full version is intended to be longer and will include live electronics. 


Steps (2020), for oboe solo 


LaBarrin Wallace, oboe


(disambiguation of miriam) 


Alexis Letourneau, flute
        In 2017 activists strung up wedding dresses between the palm trees along Beirut’s seafront protesting a law allowing a rapist to escape punishment if he married his victim.


Llull, for tuba 

Jean-Francois CHARLES

David Mercedes, tuba
        Llull is a virtuosic homage to philosopher Ramon Llull. Among other achievements, Llull drew one of the first heuristic maps, composed what he called worthless songs and poems, and has been accused of anticipatory plagiarism by the Oulipo writers. In this tuba solo, the performer weaves a complex web of expressions, techniques, and reminiscences that presents the tradition of tuba playing in a kind of retrograde inversion.

I wrote this composition for fantastic tuba player David Mercedes.


We Can Save Us 

Trinton PRATER [BIO]

Donghee Han, viola
        For Donghee, who wanted to play something hopeful. 


Music for solo clarinet 

Hongwei CAI [BIO]

Arianna Edvenson, clarinet
        Unrest (2020), for solo clarinet, is a reflection of the time we are currently experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We all undergo a series of life changes and uncertainty, which results in many negative emotions. I hope the restlessness that has haunted my mind resonates among many in the audience, because this piece describes you, me, and our entire society.


Wave, for solo oboe 

Jin Won KIM [BIO]

Lisa Lutgen, oboe
        Ascending and descending like a wave, sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly. Everything flows with waves.


Solo, for bassoon 


Luciana Hontila, violin
        I wrote Solo, for Bassoon while confined to my 130 square ft. studio apartment in Iowa City, starting in late April and completing it in mid-July of 2020. I spent most of that time torn between an anxiously dreaded and polyvalent need to produce, and a grudging resignation to an exhaustion-dictated stillness. In writing this piece, I sought to capture these two forces as they worked upon my mind and body. It is a choreography of motions with vacillating aims eliding with and frustrating each other-- underscored by, suffocated with, and ultimately collapsing into stillness.


Flaming Wing, for violin solo 

Angelica EMRICH

Luciana Hontila, violin
        I believe music can make you feel better; I hope you benifit from my contributions here.


soft wreckage 

William YAGER [BIO]

Paul Mizzi, flute
        soft wreckage is an attempt to balance two basic ideas: a prismatic view of limited pitch material, and the shifting relationship between two textural layers.


American Songbook no. 1: Zenaida macroura 


Shawn Seguin, bassoon
        This American Songbook aims to provide the following services: (1) to document a temporary sound with the use of interpretable symbols, (2) to teach a performer a birdsong, (3) to test the boundaries of  human ability and fidelity to the world around them, and (4) to fortify our environmental ethics with the aid of environmental aesthetics. To accomplish these tasks, American Songbook no. 1 offers seven movements of increasing fidelity to a particular source recording – in this case, one of a Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura).


Seung-mu, for solo violoncello 

Sanggeun CHOI [BIO]

Jihwon Na, cello
        “Seung-mu” is the traditional dance of Buddhist for nun. It was originally for a Buddhist ritual ceremony and increasingly developed to a solo dance by professional dancers. The dance has a distinct characteristic which is the mixture of flowing movements and stillness. A dancer wears long and white sleeves to express those movements with a breathtaking pause, creating a stirring soul. A tune of the violoncello describes elaboration in a dynamic moment on the singular uniqueness of the “Seung-mu”.