Concert I - bracing voices
nina c. young
New York-based composer Nina C. Young (b.1984) writes music characterized by an acute sensitivity to tone color, manifested in aural images of vibrant, arresting immediacy. Her experience in the electronic music studio informs her acoustic work, which takes as its given not melody and harmony, but sound itself, continuously metamorphosing from one state to another.
Young's music has garnered international acclaim through performances by the American Composers Orchestra, Inscape Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Orkest de ereprijs, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, Divertimento Ensemble, Either/Or, Ensemble de Musique Interactive, the JACK Quartet, mise-en, Scharoun, Sixtrum, and Yarn/Wire. Winner of the 2015-16 Rome Prize in Musical Composition, Young has received a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Award, Aspen Music Festival's Jacob Druckman Prize, and honors from BMI, The International Alliance for Women in Music, and ASCAP/SEAMUS. Her orchestral work Remnants received the Audience Choice Award at the ACO's 2013 Underwood New Music Readings. Young has held fellowship residencies at the Aspen Music Festival, The Atlantic Music Festival, the Bennington Chamber Music Conference, the Nouvel Ensemble Modern's 2014 FORUM, and the Tanglewood Music Center.
Recent commissions include a bassoon pocket concerto for Brad Balliett and the Metropolis Ensemble, Agnosco Veteris for Robert Spano and the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, When Eyes Meet for wild Up with support of the American Composers Forum’s National Composition Competition, EarPlay - a viola concerto for Jocelin Pan and Ensemble Échappé, as well as new works for the American Brass Quintet, cellist Anssi Karttunen, and pianist Marilyn Nonken.
Young’s interests are now headed in the direction of collaborative, multidisciplinary works. While in Rome, Young worked with choreographer Miro Magloire and the New Chamber Ballet to develop a site-specific piece, Temenos, around the intersection of movement, architecture, and sound at the Tempietto Del Bramante. This fall Young will head to the Aldeburgh Music Center to participate in the Britten-Pears New Music New Media Program where she will work with Irvine Arditti and IRCAM to develop a piece around unique spatialization and sound diffusion techniques. In May 2017 the ACO will premiere Out of whose womb came the ice (commissioned by the Jerome Foundation) - a work for baritone, orchestra, electronics, and generative video commenting on the ill-fated Ernest Shackleton Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-17. Young is collaborating with vocalist Andrew Munn and Sugar Vendil, with the Nouveau Classical Project, on an evening-length multimedia cantata Making Tellus: Sketches of a Cosmogram for the Anthropocene - a work for violates, mixed chamber ensemble, sustainable fashion, and interactive media that addresses the current socio-political conversation surrounding human intervention and the Earth’s rapidly changing geology.
Young is completing her DMA at Columbia University with Fred Lerdahl, George Lewis, Georg Friedrich Haas, and Brad Garton. She is an active participant at the Columbia Computer Music Center where she teaches electronic music. In 2011 she earned a Master's degree in music composition from McGill University, studying with Sean Ferguson. While in Montreal she worked as a research assistant at the Centre for Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT) and as a studio and teaching assistant at the McGill Digital Composition Studios. Nina completed her undergraduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) receiving degrees in ocean engineering and music (studying with Keeril Makan), in addition to holding a research assistantship at the MIT Media Lab under the direction of Tod Machover.
In addition to concert music, Ms. Young composes music for theatre, dance, and film. She also works as a concert organizer and promoter of new music; Nina currently serves as Co-Artistic Director of NY-based new music sinfonietta Ensemble Échappé.
Arthur Berger has been an influential composer, critic and teacher for more than half a century. Born in 1912 in New York City, he received his musical education at New York and Harvard Universities, pursuing further studies in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and at the Sorbonne. By his early twenties he was accepted into the circle of avant-garde New York composers and became a member of the Young Composers Group that revolved around Aaron Copland as its mentor. In his capacity as critic, Berger became one of the chief spokesmen of American music for that period.
Although Berger has made notable contributions to the orchestral repertory, he has devoted the major share of his compositional activities to chamber and solo piano music. Virgil Thomson called his Quartet in C Major for Winds "one of the most satisfactory pieces for winds in the whole modern repertory," and his String Quartet received a New York Music Critics Circle Citation in 1962. Among his orchestral works are Serenade Concertante, written for the CBS Orchestra; Polyphony, a Louisville Orchestra commission; and Ideas of Order, commissioned by Dimitri Mitropoulos for the New York Philharmonic--a work that received a full page story in Time magazine following its premiere.
Among Berger's numerous published critical and analytical articles, his seminal study "Problems of Pitch Organization in Stravinsky" applied the expression "octatonic" to the 8-note scale that has since become conventionally known by that term. At a time when Stravinsky's so-called neoclassicism was under attack, Berger wrote extensively and cogently in its defense. He was one of the first to write about Charles Ives and the first to write a book on the music of Aaron Copland. This study, which had occupied him since the early 1930's, was published by the Oxford University Press at a time (1953) when there was no precedent for books on American composers dealing as he did with their musical technique. In August 1990, "Aaron Copland" was reprinted by Da Capo Press.
When Berger received an award from the Council of Learned Societies in 1933, it turned out to be but the first in a long series of honors bestowed on him by prestigious organizations over the years: Guggenheim, Fromm, Coolidge, Naumburg and Fulbright Foundations; the NEA, League of Composers, Massachusetts Council on the Arts & Humanities to name a few. He is a Fellow of both the American Academy & Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Berger started his college teaching career in 1939 at Mills College where the following year Darius Milhaud joined the Faculty. (It was he who persuaded Pierre Monteux, conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, to ask Berger to write a woodwind quartet for first-desk men of that orchestra.) In 1943 Berger became a music critic for the New York Sun and in 1946 accepted Virgil Thomson's invitation to join the New York Herald Tribune. After a decade as a full-time daily music reviewer in New York City, he resumed teaching in 1953 at Brandeis University during the formation of its graduate music program. Following his retirement from Brandeis in 1980 as the Irving Fine Professor of Music Emeritus, Berger taught at New England Conservatory of Music until 1999. Coinciding with his 90th birthday in 2002 the University of California Press published Berger’s memoir, "Reflections Of An American Composer," which won a 2003 ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award.
Mr. Berger died in Boston on October 7, 2003. Mr. Berger's Archives are located at the N.Y. Public Library for Performing Arts in Lincoln Center
Composer Andrew Rindfleisch (b.1963) has enjoyed a career in music that has also included professional activity as a conductor, pianist, vocalist, improviser, record producer, radio show host, educator, and concert organizer. As a composer, he has produced dozens of works for the concert hall, including solo, chamber, vocal, orchestral, brass, and wind music, as well as an unusually large catalog of choral music. His committed interest in other forms of music-making have also led him to the composition and performance of jazz and related forms of improvisation.
Mr. Rindfleisch is the recipient of the Rome Prize, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Aaron Copland Award, and the Koussevitzky Foundation Fellowship from the Library of Congress. Over forty other prizes and awards have followed honoring his music. He has participated in dozens of renowned music festivals and has received residency fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation (Italy), the Czech-American Institute in Prague, the Charles Ives Center for American Music, the June in Buffalo Contemporary Music Festival, the MacDowell Colony, and the Pierre Boulez Conductor’s Workshop at Carnegie Hall. He holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (Bachelor of Music), the New England Conservatory of Music (Master of Music), and Harvard University (PhD).
As a conductor and producer, Mr. Rindfleisch’s commitment to contemporary music culture has brought into performance and recording over 500 works by living composers over the past 20 years. He has founded several contemporary music ensembles and currently heads the Cleveland Contemporary Players Artist in Residency Series at Cleveland State University, and the Vertigo Ensemble at the Utah Arts Festival in Salt Lake City. He has made guest conducting appearances throughout the United States and abroad with many diverse musical organizations; from opera and musical theatre, to orchestral, jazz, improvisational, and contemporary avant-garde ensembles.
Hayg Boyadjian, Grammy Nominee composer, was born in 1938 in Paris, France. At an early age he immigrated with his family to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he started his musical studies at the Liszt Conservatory. In 1958 he immigrated to the USA, and presently lives in Lexington, Massachusetts. In the USA he continued his musical studies as a special student first at the New England Conservatory and later at Brandeis University. Among his teachers were Beatriz Balzi (student of Alberto Ginastera, with whom Boyadjian had several consulting meetings), Seymour Shifrin, Alvin Lucier, and Edward Cohen.
He has composed a large number of works from chamber to symphonic. Many of his compositions have been performed throughout the world: USA, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Korea, Russia, France, Holland, England, Spain, Armenia and others.
A number of his scores are available through the American Music Center, New York and on the internet through Sibelius Music. Some of his chamber and symphonic compositions are recorded on the following CD labels: Living Music; Society of Composers Recordings; North/South Consonance Recordings; and Opus One Recordings.
He is a member of the Composers' Union of Armenia, ASCAP, Society of Composers, the MacDowell Colony, and others. His name is found in the Who's Who in American Music, the International Who's Who in Music.
He is a Grammy Nominee for the recording of his Piano Sonata No.3, and has received awards from ASCAP, Meet the Composer, the Lexington Arts Council-MA, the New England Foundation-Meet the Composer, the Fiftieth Anniversary Commission Project-American Music Center, and others. A number of his writings on music and a number of his poems have been published in various publications.
William Kraft (b. 1923, Chicago) has had a long and active career as composer, conductor, timpanist/percussionist and teacher. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he served for 11 years (1991 -2002) as Chairman of the Composition Department and Corwin Professor of Music Composition. From 1981-85, Mr. Kraft was the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Composer-in-Residence, for the first year under Philharmonic auspices, and the subsequent three years through the Meet the Composer program. During his residency, he was appointed by executive director Ernest Fleischmann to serve as the founding director of the orchestra’s performing arm for contemporary music, the Philharmonic New Music Group. Mr. Kraft had previously been a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 26 years; eight years as percussionist, and 18 as Principal Timpanist. For three seasons, he was also assistant conductor of the orchestra, and thereafter, frequent guest conductor.
Mr. Kraft was awarded two Anton Seidl Fellowships at Columbia University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in 1951, and a master’s degree in composition. His principal instructors were Jack Beeson, Seth Bingham, Henry Brant, Henry Cowell, Erich Hertzmann, Paul Henry Lang, Otto Luening, and Vladimir Ussachevsky. He received his training in percussion from Morris Goldenberg and in timpani from Saul Goodman, and studied conducting with Rudolph Thomas and Fritz Zweig.
During his early years in Los Angeles, he organized and directed the Los Angeles Percussion Ensemble, a group which played a vital part in premieres and recordings of works by such renowned composers as Ginastera, Harrison, Krenek, Stravinsky, and Varese. Kraft served as Stravinsky’s timpanist and percussionist in charge of all percussion activities for the composer’s Los Angeles performances and recordings. As a percussion soloist, he performed in the American premieres of Stockhausen’s Zyklus and Boulez’ Le Marteau sans Maitre, in addition to recording Histoire du soldat under Stravinsky’s direction.
Mr. Kraft has received numerous awards and commissions, including two Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards (first prize in 1990 for Veils and Variations for Horn and Orchestra, and second prize in 1984 for Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra); two Guggenheim Fellowships; two Ford Foundation commissions; fellowships from the Huntington Hartford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Music Award; the Norlin/MacDowell Fellowship; the Club 100 Distinguished Artist of Los Angeles Award, the ASCAP Award; the NACUSA Award; the Eva Judd O’Meara Award; first place in the Contemporary Record Society competition; commissions from the Library of Congress, U.S. Air Force Band, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Voices of Change, the Schoenberg Institute, consortium of Speculum Mucicae/San Francisco Contemporary Music Players/ Contemporary Music Forum, The Boston Pops Orchestra, consortium of Pacific Symphony/Spokane Symphony/Tucson Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others. His works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago and Philadelphia Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and other major American orchestras as well as in Europe, Japan, Korea, China, Australia, Israel, and the U.S.S.R. Mr. Kraft’s Contextures: Riots – Decade ’60 (1967) has been choreographed and performed by both the Scottish National Ballet and the Minnesota Dance Company. In 1986, United Air Lines commissioned a work expressly to accompany a lumetric sculpture by Michael Hayden titled Sky’s the Limit for their pedestrian passageway at Chicago-O’Hare International Airport. In November 1990, Mr. Kraft was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Percussive Arts Society.
Compact Discs completely devoted to Mr. Kraft’s music can be found on Harmonia Mundi, CRI, Cambria, Albany, Crystal and Nonesuch labels. Other works can be found on GM, Crystal, London Decca and Neuma. Recent works include Brazen, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Quintessence and Concerto for Four Percussion Soloists for Symphonic Wind Ensemble, premiered and recorded by the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, Frank Battisti, conducting.
Recent activities include: performances of Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra by the Dresden (Germany) Philharmonic Orchestra in Tokyo, Japan, also by the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony; Red Azalea, an opera commissioned by the Modern Music Theater Troupe (London) was premiered in February 2002 at the University of California, Santa Barbara; the Concerto for English Horn and Orchestra, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, was premiered on January 16, 2003, with soloist Carolyn Hove and Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting. In 2005 Mr. Kraft was the Music Alive composer in residence with the San Diego Youth Symphony Orchestra. He has fulfilled residencies at the Chopin Conservatory in Warsaw, Poland, the University of Indiana (Bloomington), University of Southern Oregon (Ashland) and University of Montana (Missoula & Bozeman). Recently completed recording projects are with the Czech Philharmonic, New England Conservatory and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. His Second Timpani Concerto, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony, was premiered in June 2005 with soloist David Herbert, Michael Tilson Thomas conducting.
Excerpts from his opera, Red Azalea, were performed by the New York City Opera on May 6, 2006 during their VOX Festival. The world premier of the revised version of the Timpani Concerto No. 2 took place on April 20 & 21, 2007 by the Hong Kong Philharmonic, with soloist James Boznos, Zhang Xian, conductor. This was followed by the European premier December 4th 2008, Benoit Cambreling soloist, Gabriela Churma conducting.
Beginning February 24, 2007, The Southwest Chamber Music Society embarked on a project to perform and record 14 of the 15 ENCOUNTERS pieces. The success of this project is reflected in the comments of Mark Swed, chief music critic for the Los Angeles Times, Richard Ginell, critic for the American Record Guide and Jim Svejda, program host for the classical music station KUSC. Swed; “These works serve for Kraft the way the string quartet did for Beethoven or Shostakovitch, as a kind of autobiography in chamber music”; Ginell: “An epic body of work comparable to the Berio’s Sequenzas”; Svejda: “No one with the slightest interest in the music of out time can afford to be without this cornerstone of American chamber music.”
On October 24th, 2009, Mr. Kraft was given The Forte Award for distinguished achievement in advancing modern music in Los Angeles.