Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! . . . and Happy Listening!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Alfred Schnittke  Concerto for Piano and Strings (1979)  . . . it's one of our NEW MUSIC VIDEOS for the week.

Laurie Spiegel  East River Dawn (1976) . . . one of our PYTHEAS EARFULS for the week.

Missy Mazzoli  Volume (2006) . . . it's this week BANG, CLANG and BEAT - New Music for Percussion.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Joel Hoffman's works draw from such diverse sources as Eastern European folk musics and bebop, and are pervaded by a sense of lyricism and rhythmic vitality. Born in Canada, Hoffman received degrees from the University of Wales and the Juilliard School. He is a member of a distinguished musical family that includes brothers Gary (cellist), and Toby (conductor), sister Deborah (harpist). Honors include a major prize from the American Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters, two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bearns Prize of Columbia University, a BMI Award, ASCAP awards since 1977, and three American Music Center grants. His works have been performed by many ensembles such as the Chicago Symphony Brass, the BBC Orchestra of Wales, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, eighth blackbird, the Cleveland Quartet, the Shanghai Quartet, and acclaimed soloists such as Cho-Liang Lin, David Krakauer and Brian Ganz. Hoffman served as composer-in-residence with the National Chamber Orchestra of Washington, DC (1993-94) and held the position of New Music Advisor for the Buffalo Philharmonic (1991-92). He has been a resident composer at the Rockefeller, Camargo and Hindemith Foundations, the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. Currently, he is Professor of Composition at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music. Watch a performance of  Joel Hoffman's Music in Yellow and Green (2012) played by members of the Hoff Barthelson Contemporary Music Festival . . . it's one of our NEW MUSIC VIDEOS for the week.

Vincent Ho is widely recognized as one of the most exciting composers of his generation. His works have been hailed for their profound expressiveness and textural beauty that has audiences talking about with great enthusiasm. Born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1975, Vincent Ho began his musical training through the Royal Conservatory of Music. He received his Associate Diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) in 1993, his Bachelor of Music from the University of Calgary in 1998, his Master of Music degree from the University of Toronto in 2000, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California (2005). His mentors have included Allan Bell, David Eagle, Christos Hatzis, Walter Buczynski, and Stephen Hartke. His many awards have included Harvard University’s Fromm Music Commission, The Canada Council for the Arts’ “Robert Fleming Prize,” ASCAP’s “Morton Gould Young Composer Award,” four SOCAN Young Composers Awards, and CBC Radio’s Audience Choice Award (2009 Young Composers’ Competition). Listen to an interview with Vincent HoÉvolution (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) . . . it's our COMPOSER PORTRAIT for the week.

When World War II ended, William Schuman was positioned, at age thirty-five, as one of America’s most important composers and arts leaders. Not only had he won the very first Pulitzer Prize for music in 1943, for A Free Song: Secular Cantata No. 2, but he took on his new responsibilities as president of the Juilliard School of Music at the beginning of the 1945-46 academic year. His music had been performed by prominent American orchestras, especially the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) under Serge Koussevitzky, and he had already composed five symphonies (the first two of which were withdrawn), including the expertly crafted Third Symphony and the animated Fifth Symphony for strings alone. Thus, at this time Schuman was in the prime of his compositional life. A new concerto for violin and orchestra would most likely embody the energy, musical creativity, and expert orchestration that were becoming the hallmarks of a Schuman composition. Schuman was approached by the well-known violinist Samuel Dushkin in 1946 to compose a violin concerto that Dushkin hoped he would be able to premiere with Koussevitzky and the BSO. Dushkin had a very distinguished record of first performances of violin works, including Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, the Duo concertant, and Suite italienne . . . [read more in this article: "The William Schuman Violin Concerto: Genesis of a 20th Century Masterpiece" by Joseph Polisi]. And listen to a performance of Schuman Violin Concerto (1959) played by Philippe Quint (violin) and the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, José Serebrier conducting . . . one of our PYTHEAS EARFULS for the week.

Composer Annie Gosfield is an active performer and improviser. She is inspired by the sound and use of machines, destroyed pianos, warped records and detuned radios. She explores the use of non-musical sound. She also incorporates the use of out of tune violins that are not played right. Her notation consists of traditional notation, improvisation and other techniques that break the boundaries between what is known as music and noise. Her pieces range from large scale, chamber music, electronic music, video projects and music for dance. She has played with many different muscians such as Joan Jeanrenaud, John Zorn, David Moss, and Sim Cain. Her music has been used for choreography by several dance companies across the world. Gosfield created a six minute film about an imaginary orchestra (of machines playing instruments) called Shoot The Player Piano (1999)  . . . it's this week's FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES.

György Kurtág  Five Pieces from Signs, Games, and Messages (1989-    )  . . . it's one of our NEW MUSIC VIDEOS for the week.

Elizaveta Sanicheva  Five Senses (2009) . . . one of our PYTHEAS EARFULS for the week.

The Fog of War (2003) - Music by Philip Glass - Film by Errol Morris  . . . it's this week PYTHEAS SIGHTING.

When Words Are Not Enough (Timya, Everything2) . . . it's this week's FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES.