Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lawrence Dillon has produced an extensive body of work, characterized by a keen sensitivity to color, a mastery of form, and what the Louisville Courier-Journal has called a "compelling, innate soulfulness." Increasingly in demand, Dillon has received commissions in the past year from the Emerson String Quartet, the Ravinia Festival, the Cassatt String Quartet, the Mansfield Symphony, the Boise Philharmonic, the Salt Lake City Symphony, the Daedalus String Quartet, the University of Utah and the Idyllwild Symphony Orchestra. Although he lost 50% of his hearing in a childhood illness, he began composing as soon as he started piano lessons at the age of seven. In 1985, he became the youngest composer to earn a doctorate at The Juilliard School, and was shortly thereafter appointed to the Juilliard faculty. Dillon is now Composer in Residence at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he has served as Music Director of the Contemporary Ensemble, Assistant Dean of Performance, and Interim Dean of the School of Music. Watch a performance of his Bacchus Chaconne (1991) performed by violinist Danielle Belen and violist Juan Miguel Hernandez . . . one of this week's FEATURED NEW MUSIC VIDEOS.

Stephen Cohn's concert works have been performed and recorded by the world's finest orchestras and chamber music ensembles, including the Arditti String Quartet, the Kansas City Symphony, the Prague Philharmonic and the Chroma String Quartet. He has been Composer-in-Residence at The International Encounters of Catalonia in France and has been commissioned to compose new works which have been performed in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Brussels, Ceret, France, and Prague. He has received an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Music", and his scores have been part of many award winning productions and films featuring such stars as Lily Tomlin, Joanne Woodward, Kathleen Quinlan, Colleen Dewhurst, William Shatner, and Wallace Shawn. He has also received a Parents' Choice Gold Award for his CD release, "Two Together, An American Folk Music Suite". Watch and listen to Stephen Cohn talk about his life and his music in an interview with Inner World View . . . this week's COMPOSER PORTRAIT.

Greg Bartholomew's music has been performed across the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. His works have been preformed by the the Ars Brunensis Chorus, The Esoterics, the William & Mary Choir, the American University Chamber Singers, the Third Angle ensemble, the odeonquartet and the Alaska Brass of the United States Air Force Band of the Pacific. According to James R. Maclean, "Greg Bartholomew understands the nature of instruments . . . and manages to capture the complexity of the setting in a way that is fresh, portraying a sense of sorrow and a soaring sense of hope that is somehow fitting and certainly fulfilling." His 2008 work Conversation in Orange & Brown is a duet scored for either tuba & horn/tuba & euphonium/Two horns/or cello & double bass. It has been described as a "work exploring a range of colors and textures. The contrasting musical ideas are effective, and the use of solos, question and answer, and unified rhythms help to maintain interest for players and audiences alike." Listen to Greg Bartholomew's Conversation in Orange & Brown . . . one of our PYTHEAS EARFULS this week.

Hawaii (1966) is an epic saga based on James A. Michener's over 1,000-page novel of the same name. George Roy Hill's lavish 189-minute production stars Julie Andrews, Max Von Sydow, Richard Harris and Gene Hackman in a sweeping cinematic telling of Michener's sprawling, multi-generational adventure. Von Sydow plays Abner Hale, a Yale student who, on the day after receiving his diploma (in 1819), hears Hawaiian Keoki Kanakoa (Manu Tupau) speak to a group of fellow brothers who have been studying for their ministries at the University. Kanakoa makes a plea for the group to supply missionaries to bring Christianity to the islands and save the souls of his people. When Abner and his friend John Whipple (Hackman) later volunteer themselves for such service, Hale learns that he must first find a wife before he can be accepted into the program. The University's Reverend Thorn arranges for Abner to meet his sister's daughter. The 22-year-old girl, Jerusha Bromley (Andrews), is thusly courted and married in short order and Abner Hale, now accompanied by his new, young wife soon leaves Boston for the remote, mystical, almost mythical, land of Hawaii. To score his immense new production, Hill called on Elmer Bernstein, who had just scored his The World of Henry Orient, and who would go on to score the director's following next picture, Thoroughly Modern Millie, which would earn the composer an Academy Award. Bernstein's vast musical panorama for Hawaii, displays a near ecstatic degree of energy and enthusiasm. It's a jubilant and rapturous work which makes frequent visits to Bernstein's well of melodic invention. The score is, without question, one of the composer's most, magnificent opuses. Watch the opening of this historic saga, Hawaii . . . this week's FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES.

Explore, Listen and Enjoy!
Vinny Fuerst
Pytheas Center for Contemporary Music

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