Composers Workshop II

Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 7:30p in the Concert Hall



Mono//Logic I

Matthew MASON

Ghadeer Abaido, piano

   Mono//Logic - single mindedness - a focus to the point of obsession. This piece exists in several states with each of them being liturgical, like movements in the ordinary of the mass. Consider this the invocation.

Wilderness, for soprano and piano

Sanggeun CHOI

Siyeon Kim, soprano
Sanggeun Choi, piano

   The “Wilderness” is a poem written by a Korean poet, Lee Yook-sa. He expressed a sacred character of the wilderness in his poem, considering “Wilderness” an inaccessible place where any invaders must not step over to the boundary of it. A text of the poem was organized with a time sequence, showing an enthusiastic attitude for his desire for national liberation in the 1940s.

[Text Translated in English]
At the dawn of the beginning
When the sky was pushing through the void gaping,
Could there have been a cockcrow heard, after all
Even when the mountains,
longing for the ocean, rushed
None could have dared to do this field
Ages and ages,
After the constant tides of light, darkness, and seasons
The massive river has finally opened the path
Now it is a snowy winter
Where the only fragrance is that of mae-hwa blossom
Here again, I shall sow the seeds of the meager songs
For there will return a hero
on a white horse after the aeon,
On this wilderness, I shall let the voice cry wild

Portraits, for solo trombone


Kolbe Schnoebelen, trombone

   This piece is my first significant original composition. As I started taking composition lessons, I was urged to write an original composition for an unfamiliar instrument. This piece depicts several themes that are interrupted by drastically different characters.

Mariposa, for baritone saxophone and piano


Maxwell Borah, baritone saxophone
Brennan Plummer, piano

     When I was very, very young, I read a book about butterflies. It was full of all sorts of little factoids and talking about why and how butterflies were so amazing, but the only thing I really remember from that book was when it talked about how Viceroy butterflies use Müllerian mimicry by looking like Monarch butterflies. Monarch butterflies are poisonous, so birds don't eat things that look like them, thus protecting Viceroy butterflies from predators. The confusion gives birds "trust issues." How are they supposed to tell which ones aren't poisonous? I connected this concept to my own and others' negative experiences with human beings. How are we supposed to know which humans aren't "poisonous?" An unbroken chain of getting poisoned by these "Monarchs'' can leave one bitter, frustrated, hateful. That is what this piece reflects upon. Well, that, and some people's fear of butterflies. While I see a fairy in disguise, someone else sees a twitchy, disgusting creature…

To you and you and you and you, for solo piano

Christine BURKE

Christine Burke, piano

     A few years ago I was experimenting with some piano preparations when I found a sound that I liked very much. It was one that I felt I could sit with for a long time: hypnotic, multi-layered, static but with a quality of instability that made it seem alive. Knowing that I wanted to make a piece with the sound, the issues then became - when to move (if at all), why to move, and how? In most of my work I avoid making these decisions directly, relying instead on other methods to generate the form and length of a piece (e.g. giving a performer a task to accomplish, or letting immediate environmental events determine when certain sounds are allowed to be played).
     In To you and you and you and you, I’ve decided on two major guidelines to follow: first, to stay within the sound until I no longer feel comfortable doing so, and then to account for each person in the hall with a strike on the keyboard. The length of the piece (and its respective sections) will ultimately depend on my own feelings of comfort while performing, as well as the number of people attending the concert.


Dung Chen, for tubax

Wenxin LI

Yo Yo Su, tubax

     This piece is inspired by the Tibetan instrument Dung Chen – a very long and deep horn that produces a powerful bass sound. In this piece, trills, vibratos, and overtone gliss are frequently used to present these complex sounds. Imagine you are listening to it inside the huge snow mountains. This piece is written for saxophonist Yo Yo Su.

Mono//Logic II

Matthew MASON

Mark Rheaume, trombone



Junhong Zhou, violin

Guide Spectra


M. Denney, electronics

     Schumann Resonances are a set of extremely low frequency resonant peaks in the Earth’s electromagnetic field, caused by the atmosphere’s capacity to act as a waveguide. These resonances are excited by a number of atmospheric phenomena, most notably lightning, and their behavior is used to study global weather patterns and climate change. In Guide Spectra, I have designed a simple synthesizer based on these resonances and their harmonics, as well as a set of filters that process radio waves through these resonances.

L'écho des armaillis, for alphorn and live electronics

Jean-François CHARLES

Katy Ambrose, alphorn

   The armailli, a Swiss cattleman, spends the summer on the alp with a herd of cows. The milk produced in these mountains gives cheese a unique taste. In some places, cows are trained to recognize their own ranz-des-vaches, i.e. the specific alphorn call of their cattleman. When the armailli plays the alphorn, rock faces and fir trees answer with echoes of different characters. This composition features ancestral melodies whose echoes you can still hear when you hike in the Swiss and French alps.