NEW MUSIC NORTH-first recording
Aris Carastathis: Halcyons for oboe, cello and piano*
John Bilotta: Entr’acte for clarinet
I. Lamento e Cavatina
Piotr Grella-Mozejko: Numen for flute and piano*
Dinos Constantinides: Transformations for oboe and piano**
I. Castles in the Air
III. Tender Conversation
IV. On the Playground
Darlene Chepil Reid: Music of Primes Transformed for clarinet, viola, cello and piano**
Harold Wevers: from Six Etudes for bassoon
Etude No. 5 (Northern Lights)
Etude No. 6 (Siciliano)
Patrick Horn: from Scherzo and Burlesque for clarinet and viola
Sylvia Rickard: Rarescale for alto flute and piano*
* Derek Oger, piano
** Joy Fahrenbruck, piano
Mark Nisenholt, cover art and other CD artwork
New Music North was founded in 2001 with a mission to promote contemporary concert music by Canadian and international composers in Northwestern Ontario. It is the first organization of its kind in the region and, with individual, corporate and government support, brings new concert music closer to the general public. New Music North is a non-profit, incorporated organization with dedicated volunteers at the heart of its operation. This is the organization’s first recording project. Recorded over three days in Thunder Bay in May 2007, this CD reflects on the music that has been presented over the years by New Music North.
Aris Carastathis is an Associate Professor of Theory and Composition and Director of the New Music Ensemble at Lakehead University. He is an Associate Composer and Voting Member of the Canadian Music Centre. He holds a DMA degree from Louisiana State University where he studied with Dinos Constantinides. Carastathis has received several commissions including those from the Canadian Music Centre, Norman Burgess Memorial Fund, Music Canada 2000 Festival Inc., Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Lakehead University Centre for Northern Studies, Louisiana Sinfonietta, and Acadia Trio. His works have been performed in Austria, Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Kazakhstan, Poland, Serbia and U.S.A, including performances at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Composed especially for Lisa Lalev, Ivan Lalev and Jan Grimes, Halcyons was completed in February 2000. Titled after the mythical birds, halcyons, this composition depicts a temporary state of relative tranquility against a background of tension. The warm melodic cello lines blend with the brighter tones of the oboe and the articulated sounds of the piano creating a mixture of uncertainty, apprehension and genial contentment. Halcyons was premiered at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York on June 12, 2000.
John G. Bilotta was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, but has spent most his life in the San Francisco Bay Area where he studied composition, theory, and orchestration with Frederick Saunders. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, he also studied at the San Francisco Music & Arts Institute for five years. John's works have been performed and recorded by international soloists, ensembles, and orchestras such as Rarescale, the Kiev Philharmonic, Earplay, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, the Bakersfield Symphony, the Talea Ensemble, VocalWorks, the Avenue Winds, Chamber Mix, and the Oakland Civic Orchestra. His Concerto for Wind Quartet and Orchestra was released on CD by the Kiev Philharmonic as part of the series Masterworks of the New Era. Other recent recordings include Shadow Tree on Capstone Records as well Gen’ei no Mai and Fire in Spring on the Beauport Classical label. John’s comic opera Quantum Mechanic won the 2007 Opera-in-a-Month Challenge and was premiered by Vocal Works. John has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Society of Composers, Inc. for the past five years. He also serves as Music Director of the San Francisco Chamber Wind Festival and co-directs the Festival of Contemporary Music.
A clarinet solo in two movements, Entr'acte (2003) is a virtuoso piece challenging the player's expressive skills even more than her technical skills. The manuscript is inscribed with James Agee’s words "Permit me voyage, Love, into your hands" and is dedicated to Yasumasa Shigenaga.
Described by the German press as demonstrating "uncompromising honesty" (Neue Zeitschrift für Musik), praised for its unorthodox aesthetics (Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung), called "brawny, high-contrast... full of rich counterpoint and compelling textural changes" (The New York Times), "strikingly individual" (The Toronto Star), and "wonderful-sounding" (The Buffalo News), Piotr Grella-Mozejko's music has been presented so far in twenty-two countries in centres such as Antwerp, Athens, Berlin, Dublin, Geneva, London, Los Angeles, Lausanne, Mexico City, Montréal, New York, Ottawa, Paris, Prague, St. Petersburg, Seoul, Toronto, Vienna, Warsaw and Zürich, to name just a few. The composer holds a M.Mus degree in Composition as well as a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, both degrees from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, where he studied with, among others, Alfred Fisher, Henry Klumpenhouwer (music) and Edward Blodgett, Edward Mozejko, Jonathan Hart (comparative literature). He also holds an M.A. degree in Political Sciences, received from the University of Silesia, Poland. Currently, Piotr is the Artistic Director of the Edmonton Composers’ Concert
In ancient Rome the term Numen denoted the spirit (a supernatural life force) which inhabits all things material and all processes of nature. It is also a universal creative force: genius. “ In my composition Numen (1998), I set out to evoke - the verb evoke here indicating an expressive metaphor for rather than a sonic equivalent of - my own, personal awe of Nature and Her Creators.”
The music of Dinos Constantinides has been performed throughout the world. He is the recipient of many grants, commissions and awards, including first prize in the Brooklyn College International Chamber Opera Competition, the First Midwest Chamber Opera Conference, and the Delius Composition Contest. He also received the American New Music Consortium Distinguished Service Award, the Glen Award of l'Ensemble of New York, several Meet the Composer grants, numerous ASCAP Standard Awards, and he was honored with a Distinguished Teacher White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. Constantinides resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and he is Boyd Professor of Composition at Louisiana State University and director of the Louisiana Sinfonietta.
Transformations (1993) is based upon personal experiences and associations of the composer. The entire composition is a constant transformation of a single motive that the composer remembers from his youth when he did some works as a violinist for the Greek Cinema. Divided into four parts, the work portrays four scenes of simple everyday happenings. Transformations is published by Conners Publications.
Darlene Chepil Reid is a life-long resident of Thunder Bay. She is a graduate of McMaster University (BSc Chemistry, 1981), Lakehead University (HBMus, 2003) and the University of Western Ontario (MMus Composition, 2005). She came to composition later in her life after pursuing careers as a chemist, mother, childbirth educator, women’s health care advocate and piano teacher. She has studied with many Canadian composers including Aris Carastathis, Peter Paul Koprowski and David Myska. Darlene is currently enrolled in DMus in composition at the University of Alberta and studying with Allan Gordon Bell. Among other awards and scholarships she has received to study composition, she is a Killam Scholar and SSHRC CGS recipient. In 2007, Darlene was chosen to work with Gary Kulesha and John McCabe at the Young Composers Program at the National Arts Centre. Her compositions have been performed throughout Canada and the US and broadcast on CBC Radio. She is an active promoter of living composers and concert producer of contemporary music in Ontario through New Music North. Darlene is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre.
Music of Primes Transformed (2007) is a complex mesh of multiple layers of counterpoint created by the musical rendering of a set of prime numbers decreasing in magnitude beginning with the prime number 85513 and ending with prime number 3. The dissonance and resolution of the created gestures provide a constant movement from tension to relaxation.
In late October of 1975, Harold Wevers and his new wife Beverly arrived in Thunder Bay. All their possessions were packed into a battered Volvo, including Gitle, a purebred Belgian Airhead. They decided to stay for a year or two at most. Now, over thirty years have passed. Four children have grown up here. Today, Thunder Bay remains the Wevers’ home, with many friends, wine and beer making, family raising, and of course Harold’s music. His compositions are archived at the Lakehead University Library, Ohio State University, and the Canadian Music Centre. It is in Thunder Bay the vast majority of his work has been written, where the solitude and splendid isolation of the north has been the inspiration of his creativity.
Six Etudes for solo bassoon were written in 1979. The work is written to be played in three pairs; the first a descriptive movement, and the second, a dance form. Number 5 is named Northern Lights, and the bassoon tries to mimic the effortless flow of the night sky's undulating waves of light. Number 6, Siciliano plays with the rhythm of that dance form while peacefully concluding the six etudes.
Erling Patrick Horn studied composition with Paul Cooper at Rice University and orchestration and electronic music at Northwestern University. His Duo for violin and viola was a winner of the People's Choice competition and performed by Da Camera of Houston. He was a finalist in the ASCAP young composer competition in 1995. His Tango for string quartet was featured in the May/June 2002 issue of Strings magazine. Black Tango for piano quartet was broadcast on WFMT Chicago by the Orion Ensemble in May 2006. In 2007, Patrick received a commission from the Thunder Bay Symphony orchestra for Tango for a Great Lake, which has been performed on many occasions. Patrick's compositions are available at Performers Music in Chicago and the Remenyi House of Music in Toronto and at www.erlingpatrickhorn.com.
Burlesque (2000) for clarinet and viola is the second movement of a larger work entitled Scherzo and Burlesque. Patrick wrote this piece to perform with his wife, E-Chen Hsu. This Burlesque is fast and raucous featuring rhythmic repetition and melodic dissonance. The writing is highly virtuosic.
Born in Toronto, Sylvia Rickard made her home in Vancouver for 28 years. Piano and theory gave way to a University of British Columbia Bachelor of Arts degree in French, German and Russian. In the 70's Rickard studied composition and theory privately with Jean Coulthard. During that time, Rickard was a frequent winner of the Okanagan Composers' Festival. From 1976 to 1979, she was exposed to many compositional styles and techniques at the summer schools of Shawnigan Lake, B.C. and the Banff Centre. Known especially for her vocal chamber music, Rickard was, at the invitation of Taras and Gaelyne Gabora, the first resident composer of the Oberlin in Casalmaggiore International Festival (Italy) in the summer of 1999. Her output includes solo instrumental, chamber music, opera, radio play, cabaret songs and symphonic music.
Rarescale was written for Carla Rees, of London, England. She wanted a piece for bass flute and piano. The alto flute works best for this piece, both with piano or harp accompaniment in the 2006 version. Rarescale is published by The Avondale Press.
Penelope Clarke has been Principal Flute with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra since 1978. She studied with Louis Moyse and Robert Aitken and was a member of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra and various other orchestras in the Toronto area. In 1994-95, Penelope was a guest instructor of flute at the University of Western Ontario and performed with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hamilton Opera. Penelope Clarke has offered flute master classes, recitals and seminars at the University of Manitoba, the Manitoba Conservatory and the University of Winnipeg. In 1996, she was featured guest instructor at the Winnipeg Flute Fest. Ms. Clarke is a Sessional Lecturer of flute and theory at Lakehead University.
Joy Fahrenbruck is originally from Ohio where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowling Green University. In Thunder Bay, she has taught piano extensively both privately and as a Sessional Lecturer in the Department of Music at Lakehead University. Joy has appeared in numerous chamber concerts, including the LUMINA/Cornwall Concert Series and the Old Fort William Summer Concert Series. She frequently performs with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra both as percussionist and keyboard player.
Colleen Gibson is Principal Oboe with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and a Sessional Lecturer at Lakehead University where she has taught oboe, woodwind literature, woodwind techniques and ensemble classes. Colleen began playing the oboe in high school and studied with Harry Sargous in Toronto. She continued her musical studies at the University of Western Ontario where she graduated with the Alumni Gold Medal. She has also studied at the Juilliard School in New York and the Philadelphia College for the Performing Arts with Robert Bloom. For a number of years she was the Marketing Manager for the TBSO and in 1993 won an award from the Thunder Bay Regional Arts Council for her music education work. Colleen enjoys the challenge of playing new compositions for the oboe and finds the experience of interpreting the work of a living composer both exciting and rewarding.
Erling Patrick Horn studied viola with Csaba Erdelyi at Rice University and with Peter Slowik at Northwestern University. He also studied with Karen Tuttle for three summers at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Patrick currently performs with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and with the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon. In addition he performs chamber music in Thunder Bay with New Music North and Consortium Aurora Borealis. Patrick's viola was made by Mark Womack.
E-Chen Hsu was born in Taiwan and grew up in Southern Ontario. She received her Honours Bachelor of Music degree in clarinet performance from the University of Western Ontario and completed a Master of Music degree with Russell Dagon at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. E-Chen is an active chamber musician performing in ensembles for the Kitchener - Waterloo Chamber Music Society, with New Music North and Consortium Aurora Borealis in Thunder Bay. E-Chen joined the Thunder Bay Symphony in 1999 where she currently plays clarinet and bass clarinet. She is also a member of the Des Moines Metro Opera Orchestra in Iowa. She has also played with Winnipeg Symphony and the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon. Ms. Hsu currently teaches clarinet at Lakehead University. E-Chen makes her home in Thunder Bay with her husband composer/violist Erling Patrick Horn and son Kalen.
Colin Matthews studied at Dalhousie University with William Valleau, at McGill University with Helen Gagne and has received chamber music coaching from Marcel St. Cyr. Colin has been a member and on staff of the National Youth Orchestra, acting Principal Cellist of the Kingston Symphony, Assistant Principal with the Laval Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. He has been a chamber musician and soloist in Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. He has performed as an invited guest for the main series of the Scotia Festival of Music. Currently he is the cellist for the Gatto Dolce Duo, a new and vibrant Bass, Cello duo out of Halifax Nova Scotia. Colin is also the cello soloist for the critically acclaimed hit musical play The Satchmo Suite.
Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Derek Oger maintains a private teaching studio in his home town, and divides his time between performing, and teaching. His primary teachers have included Heather Morrison, Peter Longworth, and Helmut Brauss. He works regularly with vocalists, and performs in both chamber and solo recitals. Derek has appeared in all of Thunder Bay’s chamber music series, and is accompanist and business manager to the Rafiki Youth Choir, which is a joint venture he shares with his wife Laurel, who conducts the choir. In addition to traveling across Canada as a festival adjudicator and examiner for Conservatory Canada, Derek also serves as a workshop clinician and theory examiner for the Conservatory. He actively serves on several boards of various arts organizations.
Harold Wevers, was born in the United States and emigrated to Canada at an early age. He started playing the bassoon in high school and later he studied with Loren Glickman in New York for a number of years. He also studied piano with Clifford Pool and composition with Samuel Dolin. He graduated with an English and Philosophy degree from the University of Toronto and pursued studies in composition at the University of Western Ontario and McGill University. He has been principal bassoonist of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra since 1975.