World Premiere, December, 2008
Concerto for Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, Synthesizer, Drum Set and Orchestra
Composer Ryan Gallagher (b. 1984)
Kevin Gallagher, guitar, Alex Walker, bass, Jim Johnston, synthesizer, Joe Schoroszewski, drum set
World Premiere, December, 2007
Composer John Kennedy (b. 1959)
Richard King, horn
World Premiere May 2008
Concerto for Trumpet, Turntables and Orchestra
Composer Paul Leary (b. 1974)
Joe Miller, trumpet, Dee Jay Doc, turntables
World Premiere December 2009
West African Concerto
Kakraba Lobi (1939-2007), Valerie Naranjo
I. Fer Barre Kona Jeno orchestrated by Andrew Beall (b. 1980)
II. Joro orchestrated by Paul Leary (b. 1974)
Valerie Dee Naranjo, marimba and gyil
This CD represents the work and artistry of hundreds of musicians. It represents years of passion driven, motivated and dedicated students of music, composers, guests artists, volunteers and community members who all have one belief in common: the mission of the Contemporary Youth Orchestra.
The works on this disc were chosen because of their complexities, unique orchestrations, relationships with the composers and soloists and the innovative nature of the works – as well as the representation of different seasons of this extraordinary orchestra.
CYO was started with a simple desire – to provide exceptional music education to young musicians with a focus on contemporary orchestral literature; and to provide the musicians with the opportunity to meet and work directly with composers – the life behind the notes on the page.
The process of studying a world premiere is poignant; without a recording to rely on for interpretive ideas or security, a musician must rely on their own instincts to help bring the music to life. Through this process, they own their art.
This type of study provides motivation, original thought and aids in developing knowledge of self.
Thank you to each of the composers and soloists for sharing your artistry with CYO.
It is with great pride that I offer you a look inside the Contemporary Youth Orchestra through live recordings of four world premiere concertos.
From the podium of the Contemporary Youth Orchestra, the future is brilliant!
Contemporary Youth Orchestra
The Contemporary Youth Orchestra provides a setting for artistic creativity through the study and performance of contemporary orchestral literature.
CYO seeks to develop visionary, independent thinkers and leaders through music and allied arts education, while enabling musicians, students, and audiences to expand their awareness and imagination.
CYO is in residence at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio.
About the composers
RYAN GALLAGHER is in his second year of graduate studies at Cornell University, where his teachers include Steven Stucky and Roberto Sierra. He received his Bachelor’s of Music degree from The Juilliard School in 2007, where he studied with Christopher Rouse. A native of Wooster, Ohio, he studied composition with his father, Jack Gallagher of The College of Wooster. Other teachers include Samuel Adler, Richard Cornell, and Stephen Jaffe.
Awards include a First Music commission from the New York Youth Symphony in 2008, four ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composers Awards (2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007), winner of the 2007 Arthur Friedman Prize for outstanding orchestral composition at Juilliard, winner of the 2006 New York Federation of Music Club’s Brian Israel Prize, winner of the 2003 Natalie and Murray S. Katz
Young Composers Competition, and Second Prize in the 2003 Hartt School of Music Young Composer Awards.
Performances of his music include those by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, The Juilliard Orchestra, eighth blackbird, New Juilliard Ensemble, Society for New Music, Metropolis Ensemble, Collage New Music Ensemble, the Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland, and the Nevsky String Quartet. This past summer he attended the Composers Conference at Wellesley College and recently completed a work for the Cornell University Wind Ensemble with Derek Roddy as drum set soloist. Ryan is an alumnus of the Contemporary Youth Orchestra – he served as principal trumpet from 2000 – 2003.
Composer and conductor JOHN KENNEDY is the Artistic Associate of Spoleto Festival USA, where he directs the Music in Time contemporary music series as well as leads the Festival Orchestra in many performances of traditional repertoire. He is also Artistic Director of Santa Fe New Music, and has guest conducted with many organizations including the Lincoln Center Festival and New York City Ballet. In 2007, he conducted the American Premiere of Pascal Dusapin’s opera Faustus at Spoleto USA. Kennedy’s works have been commissioned and performed throughout the world and at
festivals including the Kanagawa Arts Festival, Paris’ Nouvelle Scenes and London’s Bridgewater Festival. He has been commissioned by the Santa Fe Opera (Trinity, 2007), Sarasota Opera (The Language of Birds, 2004), Bay Area Pianists, the Walt Whitman Project, Santa Fe Stages, and many others. Numerous choreographers have worked with Mr. Kennedy’s music, including Albert Evans of New York City Ballet in a solo ballet for Peter Boal, and Mr. Boal in a work for Pacific Northwest Ballet. Recorded works include Chant (Monroe Street), One Body (First Edition/SFNM), and Someday (MSR Classics). To learn more, please visit www.johnkennedymusic.com
In Ghana, kAKRABI LOBI is considered to be a musical legend by virtue of being one of the only living virtuosi to have gained international acclaim as a concert soloist. As a youth he traveled south from his upper-west birthplace Saaru to the capital city of Accra, where he gave broadcasts for radio Ghana. He taught and advised in the Institute of African Studies, at the University of Ghana from 1962 until his passing in 2007, and guest lectured and performed throughout the world. Percussionists and ethnomusicologists from around the world have studied Kakraba’s particular approach to composing and improvising. He recorded four CDs with Valerie Naranjo and Barry Olsen.
Avery Fisher Hall became home for the world premiere of ANDREW BEALL’s second major orchestral work: Affirmation, concerto for solo percussion and orchestra. The Concert Band arrangement can be seen on tour with the D.C. Navy Band in March 2010. Mr. Beall’s first orchestral work, Testament: Symphony for Marimba and Orchestra, is considered to be the first marimba symphony ever composed, and his Song of ‘Almah for marimba/soprano/strings was recently premiered by the Erato Chamber Orchestra of Chicago. Mr. Beall has worked with the Broadway productions of The Lion King, Les Miserables, In The Heights and orchestras such as the Columbus Symphony, American Symphony, Illinois Symphony, and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas. Mr. Beall’s debut studio CD, Deliverance, was released on BMP Records. www.andrewbeall.com
PAUL LEARY, a Southern California native, attended the University of Michigan for his Bachelors Degree in composition and the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he received his Masters of Composition. He also attended the summer program, La Scola Catorum in Paris, France under the direction of Phillip Lasser. During his studies at CIM, Paul taught music theory for non-majors at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). His work, Horn Sonata was premiered by Richard King, principal horn of the Cleveland Orchestra in the spring of 2003.
His piece I have a Past Life Memory of the War that Blew the Fifth Planet into the Asteroid Belt for sax quartet and electronics was chosen as a finalist at the 2007 International Computer Music Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, and is the winner of the Look and Listen composition competition in New York City. He was one of the orchestrators for many of the Rock the Orchestra shows for CYO, including Classical Nash, Jon Anderson, Mike Garson. Pat Benatar, Donnie Iris, GrandMixer DXT and Styx. Paul is currently completing his Doctorate at Duke University in North Carolina.
About the Guest Artists
ELECTRIC KOMPANY (www.electrickompany.com) was founded in 2006 by guitarist, Kevin Gallagher. EK is a rock band dedicated to commissioning contemporary music, thereby giving modern composers the chance to express their compositional ideas through the rock quartet medium. The group has appeared at the New York Guitar Festival, the Tribeca Music Festival, The Whitney Museum, and the New Rock Complexity festivals (1 and 2), the Chamber Music Now series, the Look and Listen Festival as well as residencies in Holland. EK has commissioned new works for rock quartet by Jacob Ter Veldhuis, David Laganella, Marc Mellits, Nick Didkovsky, Lisa Coons, and Kristen Hevner, among others. Recently, EK premiered “Human Dog” by Nick Didkovsky for Rock Quartet and String Quartet. This performance with CYO marks their first premiere with a full orchestra.
Kevin R. Gallagher (Electric Guitar) began playing rock guitar in his formative years but his musical appetite quickly led him to study jazz and ultimately, classical guitar. His renowned gift for the classical guitar won him numerous scholarships and awards while studying with Benjamin Verdery at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and at the Julliard School under the tutelage of Sharon Isbin. He was the first-prize winner in the 1993 Guitar Foundation of America, the 1994 American String Teachers Association, and the 1993 Artists International Competition.
Mr. Gallagher also earned the distinct honor of being the only American classical guitarist ever to win first prize in the prestigious Francisco Tárrega Guitar Competition in Spain (1997).
Alex Walker (Electric Bass) divides his time between performing on the classical guitar and bass, and composing music for television. After receiving his MM from the Hartt School, Mr. Walker returned to NYC to perform solo and teach at the Lagond Music School in which he leads middle and high school ensembles working within the jazz, funk and Latin idioms. He also writes music for several Saturday morning cartoons that appear on FOX including GI Joe, among others. Mr. Walker recently was the guest soloist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra performing a suite of music from the Final Fantasy video game series. In addition to his hefty schedule, Alex also finds the time to lead his own trio, Do Shadows Savage, which is an exploration into modern indigenous music with a punk rock sensibility. Mr. Walker has performed in a multitude of settings in New York, Hartford, Baltimore, Washington D.C., London, Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Budapest, Brussels, and Stuttgardt.
James Johnston (Keyboard) is an American pianist whose abilities range from fresh interpretations of the classic literature to new music, improvisation, and jazz. With degrees from the Juilliard School and Yale University, Mr. Johnston is active both as a solo performer and chamber musician. Highlights of Mr. Johnston’s new music activities include recent New York performances of Elliot Carter’s Double Concerto and John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music, solo performances of Nancarrow’s Canons for Ursula, John Adams’ China Gates, and Thomas Ades’ Darknesse Visible, and chamber collaborations with David Rakowski, Martin Bresnick, and the Minimum Security Composers Collective. Mr. Johnston’s chamber music activities include concerts with the Proteus ensemble and Fireworks. Upcoming concerts include a portrait of Frank Zappa’s music at the Miller Theater at Columbia University. Mr. Johnston recently completed his Doctoral Studies at the Manhattan School of Music. He currently lives in New York.
Joe Choroszewski (Drum Set): Joe is a New York professional drummer who is most actively involved in the musical theater scene. On Broadway he has subbed on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, Spamalot, Avenue Q, and Legally Blonde. And Off-Broadway he has subbed for shows like Altar Boyz and Don't Quit Your Night Job. Also, he was the drummer for the 2006 national tour of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. When not playing shows, Joe also backs up a variety of acts in New York clubs from hard rock to jazz cabarets to prestigious benefit events. A few years ago, Joe was the show drummer on board several cruise ships for both Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines. He is a proud graduate of the University of North Texas College of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance
RICHARD KING began serving as principal horn of The Cleveland Orchestra in 1997, having joined the ensemble in 1988 as Associate Principal at the age of 20. Mr. King has been featured numerous times as soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra and has also appeared as soloist with the Tokyo Symphony and New Zealand's Auckland Philharmonia.
A native of Long Island, New York, Richard began playing the horn at the age of nine. He briefly attended New York's Juilliard School of Music and subsequently earned a diploma from Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music. His primary horn teacher was former Cleveland Orchestra principal Myron Bloom. While at Curtis, he spent summers at the Tanglewood, Spoleto, and Schleswig-Holstein music festivals.
An active chamber musician and recitalist, Mr. King performs has performed as a member of the Center City Brass Quintet since 1985. Their five recordings on the Chandos label have been met with wide critical acclaim. He can be heard regularly at the Music in the Vineyards (California) and Bay Chamber Concerts (Maine) festivals and has recently released an album of Schubert Lieder transcribed for horn and piano on Albany Records.
Richard King is on the faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Kent/Blossom Music Professional training program. He previously served on the faculty of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and Carnegie Mellon University.
This performance marks his second premiere with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra. The first in 1999 was “From Your Shadows Eye”, a concerto for horn and cello, which he performed with his wife, cellist Julie King. These two musicians have been long time supporters of CYO and many CYO musicians have been recognized and benefitted from the horn section’s Richard King Chair.
Richard King plays a Conn 8D french horn and is a clinician for the Conn-Selmer musical instrument company. Richard lives in Cleveland Heights with his wife Julie and their children, Charlie and Amelia.
VALERIE NARANJO has been the Percussionist on the NBC television Show "Saturday Night Live" Band for over fourteen years. She is a descendent of the Ute Native American Nation and hails from Colorado, where she credits her mother, Pauline for suggesting she study drumming at an early age. Known for her pioneering efforts in West African keyboard percussion, Valerie was coached by Maestro Kakraba Lobi, has been featured with him on CNN, and has toured and recorded four CDs with him and multi instrumentalist Barry Olsen. Only after a few days of being in Ghana during her first journey the Council of Elders and Lawra Chief Naa Karbo determined that from that time forward, the centuries-long ban on women gyil players be lifted so that Valerie could participate in their annual Kobine Festival of Traditional Performing Arts. Valerie was honored with a First Place Award at the Kobine Festival in 1996, which further opened the door for other women to play gyil in Ghana. Valerie has performed with such artists as Tori Amos, Airto Moriera, Glen Velez, David Byrne, Zakir Hussein, Milton Cardona, The Philip Glass Ensemble, The Paul Winter Consort, and Broadway's "The Lion King", for which she wrote the African percussion arrangements. For the past 23 years Valerie has, with Barry Olsen, co-led "Mandara" a quintet of instrumentalists from diverse ethnic and musical backgrounds. She was one of six recipients of the 2007 New York State Rockefeller Arts Grant. Ron Grunhut's film "Knock on Wood" documenting Valerie's activity in Ghana is currently part of the Nashville and Dsmond Lee Africa Wolrd Documentary film festivals. Valerie has performed on six continents, including nine African countries, and in such diverse situations and locations as New York's Lincoln Center, City Center, and Carnegie Hall; The Kennedy Center; London's Royal Festival Hall; Perth, Australia's Opera House; at The Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt; The Grahamstown and Arts Alive Festivals (South Africa); The Kaisuka Festival (Japan); The Vancouver Jazz Festival; and Scotland's Edinburgh Festival.
Concerto for Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, Synthesizer, Drum Set and Orchestra
I completed my Concerto for Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, Synthesizer, Drum Set, and Orchestra in Ithaca, New York during the month of September in 2008. It was commissioned by Liza Grossman and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra.
For the past few years I have been fascinated by the idea of composing music in my usual vocabulary for instruments traditionally used in rock music. While the idea is not new, I believe that there is still a great deal yet to explore within this musical combination. It is important to note that the interest for me is not in composing rock music, but rather composing concert music for instruments often played in rock bands, and incorporating into my own music the virtuoso techniques for these instruments that have been created by rock musicians.
When Liza Grossman asked me to write a concerto for the Contemporary Youth Orchestra and gave me the opportunity to suggest ideas for soloists, I was reminded of a meeting I had with guitarist Kevin Gallagher during the summer of 2007. Kevin mentioned that he had started a group called Electric Kompany made up of instruments found in a conventional rock band, but one that solely performed music written for it by contemporary composers. The possibility of writing a piece for that sort of ensemble intrigued me, especially the prospect of placing it within an orchestral texture, and the invitation from Liza seemed to be the perfect opportunity to explore this idea. Fortunately, all parties involved were excited by the idea, and I set to work on the piece during the summer of 2008.
The concerto is cast in five movements. The first, third, and fifth movements set forth the main musical material, while the second and fourth movements act as short interludes. I have tried to display Electric Kompany in different manners, where they are frequently given the main musical material as a group, but are sometimes displayed as individual soloists, occasionally accompany the orchestra, and finally, at moments of climax, join the orchestra in unison.
The piece lasts approximately seventeen minutes and is dedicated to Liza Grossman, Electric Kompany, and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra.
~ Ryan Gallagher, 2008
Horn Concerto – John Kennedy
If the idiom of a concerto is today somewhat anachronistic, the opportunity it provides for dialogue between soloist and orchestra is not. There is much to talk about – about today’s world, about attentiveness and response, about music – and so this concerto is conceived as a dialogue between a wizened instrument sounding warning and hope, and the vision and energy of young people for whom this is composed.
In casting the horn as sage, I have used some of its most iconic elements – calls, intervals and rhythmic motives – as fuel for dialogues of tension, despair, joy, and hope. The horn has its own kind of virtuosity, and I am less interested in showcasing its athleticism as in giving vehicle for its ability to sing, to soar above the orchestra, and to round out and burnish the sound of the orchestra as a unified single instrument.
John Kennedy, 2007
West African Concertos
Fer Barre Kona Jeno (do not play favorites) demonstrates the oft practice of using music to teach important life lessons. Kakraba adapted this piece in the 19980s, and recorded it and premiered it in trio with Valerie and Barry at the Percussive Arts Society International Festival in 1999.
Joro is Kakraba Lobi's adaptation of the traditional style Bilkpala. This was one of his signature pieces. Joro is a rhythmic style in West African music. It is being performed on the authentic instrument, the GYIL.
The performances of Fer Barre Kona Jeno and Joro mark the world premiere of not only these traditional pieces with an orchestra, but also a genre premiere. .~Valerie Naranjo, 2009
The 14 barred gyil is the national instrument and tradition of the Dagara and Lobi people of West Africa, who believe that the vibration of its wood resonates with the water in the bodies of human beings and animals, able to change the condition of life; and especially helpful to heal mental, physical, and emotional malady. The gyil's technique is unique among African marimbas (balophone, madjimba, etc) - a single musician sings, plays bass, comps chords, and improvises simultaneously, setting an example of right hand/left hand/vocal meta-dependence and creating a dazzling conversation among several musical elements. The gyil's format of playing established the concept of improvising used in jazz.