The Millennia Consort, California’s premiere "organ plus" ensemble, presents a unique concert experience with world-class musicians. We commission, perform and record exciting and appealing new music in addition to arrangements of music spanning the millennia. Millennia Consort presents the best of the new and the best of the old. Millennia Consort is comprised of Presidio Brass: Bill Owens and Ray Nowak, trumpet; Mike McCoy, French horn; Sean Reusch, trombone; and Scott Sutherland, tuba; with Alison J. Luedecke, organ and Beverly Reese Dorcy, percussion. Frank Glasson also performed on trumpet. www/millenniaconsort.com. The CD was recorded at St. James-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, La Jolla, California.
Originally from Los Angeles, Ray Nowak is a trumpet player and founding member of the Presidio Brass. He has performed with the Los Angeles and London Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Pacific and San Diego Symphonies. Recently he appeared on both the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the Ellen DeGeneres Show performing with Kanye West. Ray was Assistant Principal Trumpet of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife for 5 years in the Canary Islands, Spain. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from CSU Long Beach and a Masters Degree from UCLA.
Born and raised in White Plains, New York, trumpeter Bill Owens joined the Presidio Brass in September of 2006. While attending the Juilliard School in New York, he was an active soloist giving three solo recitals in both Paul and Morse recital halls in Lincoln Center as well as solo performances in Alice Tully Hall. Besides performing great music, Bill also arranges and interprets great music for his instrument and the Presidio Brass within varying chamber settings. Bill can be heard on The American Brass Quintet’s newest CD, “In Gabriel’s Day.”
Mike McCoy, a San Diego native, has been the horn player for the Presidio Brass since its inception. He has performed in the San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera, Opera Pacific, Pacific Symphony and played lead horn in Carnegie Hall under John Rutter. Mike studied at San Diego State University and Boston Conservatory of Music. He also played lead horn with the traveling Broadway shows Lion King and Tommy and is an active recording artist with notable credits including Mr.Jones, Kate & Leopold, and was lead horn on the Everquest game soundtrack.
Trombonist Sean Reusch, originally from Toms River, NJ, is a founding member of the Presidio Brass. He has performed with the San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Opera, Pacific Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, New West Symphony, Redlands Symphony, San Bernardino Symphony, and the Riverside Symphony. He is currently on faculty at UCSD, Palomar College, and Mira Costa College. Sean holds a Master of Music Degree from the Manhattan School of Music and is currently completing a doctorate from UCLA.
A native of Los Angeles, Scott Sutherland is the tuba player and the primary music arranger for the Presidio Brass. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from USC and a Master of Music degree from UCLA. As a soloist, Scott has been featured with the San Diego Symphony, Riverside County and Burbank Philharmonic Orchestras and has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Opera, and the New West and Long Beach Symphonies. He is currently on the faculty at Palomar College and the Idyllwild Arts Summer Music Festival.
Alison Luedecke, organist and founder of the Millennia Consort, hails from Galveston, Texas. She is active across the US as a solo concert organist and has played in Canada, Mexico and Germany. She has been heard numerous times on the nationally syndicated radio show Pipedreams. As an ensemble musician she has performed with the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Symphony Silicon Valley, and other chamber ensembles and symphonies. She is also organist with the highly acclaimed Millennia Too!, an intimate recital duo with oboist Susan Barrett. She earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music as a student of David Craighead.
Beverly Reese Dorcy, a Minnesota native, is an active freelance timpanist and percussionist in both the San Diego and San Francisco Bay areas, as well as performing with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho. She has performed with the San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, California Symphony and Marin Symphony. Prior to moving to California, Ms. Dorcy worked in the Seattle area as principal percussionist with the Bellevue Philharmonic and principal timpanist with the Tacoma Opera. Recording credits include ‘Kate and Leopold’ and several CDs with the Seattle Men's Chorus. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Percussion Performance.
The composer writes “Pictures at an Exhibition was written in 1874 by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky. Inspired by the works of his friend, painter and architect, Victor Hartmann, Mussorgsky musically encapsulated the experience he had at an exhibition of Hartmann’s work a year after the artist’s death. Each movement is the representation of a work of Hartmann’s, connected by a recurring Promenade that is a theme depicting the listener “walking” from picture to picture. Originally for solo piano and famously orchestrated in 1922 by Maurice Ravel, the arrangement featured here for brass quintet, organ, and percussion was written in 2006 for Millennia Consort. It features five of the ten original pictures with two of the Promenade episodes:
1. Promenade - the first statement of the “walking” theme
2. Samuel Goldberg and Schmuÿle - a double portrait of two Polish Jews
3. Limoges- Le Marché - gossiping French market-women
4. Catacombs- mysterious Roman tombs
5. Cum mortuis in lingua mortua - a spectral version of the Promenade
6. Baba-Yaga - the hut of mythical Russian witch, Baba-Yaga
7. Great Gate of Kiev - Hartmann’s design for the gate that was never built"
Amazing Grace arranged by John Kuzma . The composer writes “my Amazing Grace setting is based on the familiar bugle song "Taps." In the slow introduction where the tune (Taps) is obliquely quoted, I hoped that the listener would recall at random the lyrics of this great old hymn, which deal with themes of repentance and eternal life.” The music is available at www.denverbrass.org. John Kuzma’s compositions and arrangements have been played internationally. He is based in Denver, Colorado.
“Suite” was a joint commission by the AGO Region IX(San Diego) and Region II(Binghamton, NY)Convention committees and premiered at those conferences in 2001. The west coast premiere was performed by Millennia Consort. The east coast premiere was performed the following week at the opening service with Jonathan Biggers at the console. The piece had a two fold mandate from it's inception. It had to work equally well in the context of a service and a concert. Dr. Phillips cleverly managed this beyond all expectations. Craig Phillips is Music Associate at All Saints Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills, CA. He is well known as a composer and concert organist. He completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance at the Eastman School of Music as a student of Russell Saunders.
Karitas Habundant- Hildegard von Bongen (109801179), the 12th century German abbes, composer, mystic, poet, and visionary, lived to an uncommon 81 years of age before her death in 1179. She composed Karitas Habundant in Omnia (Charity abounds towards all) as a highly melismatic antiphon on the subject of Divine Love. This arrangement, written simply for organ and two solo horns preserves an introspective and reflective mood. (Here it is played by horn and trombone.) This setting is arranged by Phil Snedecor of the Washington Symphonic Brass. ©1999, PAS Music.
The composer writes ““Ceathair” (pronounced ‘Ka-hir’) is the Irish Celtic word for “four.” The suite is composed of four pieces based on old Celtic or Irish tunes without any particular connection to each other. Throughout the work, the composer attempts to treat the brass, the organ and the percussion as equals. Unpublished, this is available from the composer at www.hirten.com.
The march tune “Tiarna Mhaigh Eo” is thought to have been written by harper David Murphy (c.1670-1746) who, after having been banished from the court of Lord Mayo, wrote the piece to regain favor with his patron. The piece is set in a straightforward manner, as if to paint a picture of a procession entering from afar.
Dúlamán is a traditional courting song, which tells the story of a seaweed merchant (dúlamán is a type of seaweed) who wishes to marry the daughter of another seaweed merchant.
S’ Umbó Aerá is a summer carol, an ancient song-type in traditional Irish music. Such a ritual song would have been sung to accompany young maidens dancing in the round, such as to welcome the summer season. The translation of the text is: “Go to the west and to the east and find a husband for me. I walked in the wood at the sun’s rising. Behold my love, coming over the mountain.”
Ruaig an Mí-ádh is one of several names of the tune known more commonly as Banish Misfortune, a three-part double jig, which means the melody can be broken down into three parts, each part repeated. The tune is presented in a traditional format by the brass and then the organ before being subjected to more complex rhythmic treatment, introduced by the percussion.
A composer of a wide range of liturgical, sacred and secular works, John Karl Hirten's music is published by GIA, Augsburg, Morning Star, World Library, Trinitas and Concordia. The American Guild of Organists has commissioned music from him for regional conventions in San Diego and Salt Lake City. His music is well represented in Wonder, Love and Praise, the supplement to Hymnal 1982. A well-known performer in the San Francisco Bay area, he plays regular recitals at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. He is Director of Parish Music at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Belvedere, California.”
The composer writes “the “Call-Canon”, Dux: R. Vaughn Williams, Comes and arrangement: Jon Naples. In The Call-Canon, I wanted to have a single melody of simplicity and elegance. This gesture could then be played against itself and grow stronger as the piece progressed and develop into a gesture of overwhelming beauty and grace. As the title suggests, the piece is treated strictly as a canon. In a formal canon like this one, the leading part is called the DUX. This is the part that was written by Vaughn Williams. The parts that follow are called the COMES. These I composed as extensions to the DUX. The organ provides a background to the voices of the brass quintet. The piece is available from the composer at email@example.com.
Jon Naples’ award winning compositions have been featured on the programs of numerous Music and Arts Festivals in Southern California and New York City. His most recent commissions include works for Millennia Too! and the Devine School For Guitar in Cardiff, California. His arrangements and orchestrations have been performed on school performances with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra.”
Variations on "Auld Lang Syne" by John Karl Hirten
The composer writes “the poem "Auld Lang Syne" was first penned by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns, in 1788. The poem and it’s tune have become a classic expression of the ambiguity of humanity1s relationship with time.
The "Variations on Auld Lang Syne" for brass, organ and percussion was commissioned by Alison Luedecke and the Millennia Consort for a performance on December 31, 1999, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in San Diego. Although tonal, the key center shifts for each variation, hopefully creating something of a roller-coaster ride, with all it's expectation, tension, release and exaltation.
The theme is first presented in a dance meter, and doesn't appear in its familiar 4/4time constraint until the very end of the piece. The first eight variations are contiguous, with equal play between the organ and brass throughout. At times the theme is hidden (as in the second variation) or inverted (as in variation 8). Other times, it is plainly heard. During variation 6, a building set of ostinato motifs intended to imitate (almost annoyingly) the workings of a clock, the theme of the Westminster Chimes makes its first of several appearances.
After a scary interlude for full organ, utilizing the Westminster theme gone haywire, the brass returns to the main theme in a fugal episode. However, this is not a traditional fugue, because the answers are never tonal (as in, there are no right answers!) which results in a continual key shift through the circle of fifths, interrupted occasionally by the organ trying to set things right. After a quick chaotic reference to the second variation everything collapses with the sounding of a gong. The trombone player is the first to find his way back to the theme, and everyone joins in to end the piece on a triumphant note.”