Enrico Riley, wax crayon on paper 2017
Death by Drowning
The title ‘Death by Drowning’ refers to a folk story
about the ‘wise men of Chelm’,
an imaginary shtetl inhabited by fools,
A ‘fish out of water’ represents the oppressed, who both figuratively, and, in the case of
could not breathe.
in which a fish is sentenced to be drowned
in the lake
as punishment for having slapped the Rabbi
who bought it for the Shabbat meal.
Described as “gripping” by both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, “poignant”, “richly evocative” (San Francisco Chronicle), “taut, and hauntingly beautiful” (NY Times), Jonathan Berger’s recent works deal with both consciousness and conscience. Berger’s “dissonant but supple” compositions are often inspired by science and the human condition, including the adaptation of satellite imaging data to turn the dispersal of an oil spill into music (Jiyeh), spatial representation of brain activations of a schizophrenic hallucination (Theotokia), and sonic expression of the chemical spectroscopy of cancer (Diameters). Thrice commissioned by The National Endowment for the Arts, Berger has also received major commissions from The Mellon and Rockefeller Foundations, Chamber Music America, and numerous chamber music societies and ensembles. A winner of the Rome Prize, Berger was composer-in-residence at Spoleto Festival USA, and is the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship. He has held research grants from DARPA, the Wallenberg Foundation and others. Berger is the Denning Family Provostial Professor in Music at Stanford University, where he teaches composition, music theory, and cognition at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). He was the founding co-director of the Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SICA, now the Stanford Arts Institute) and founding director of Yale University’s Center for Studies in Music Technology.
In Equal Measure
Just recently, Iceland became the first country to legalize equal pay between men and women.
Specifically, companies with over 25 people have to prove in writing that if their male and female employees are doing the same work, they are indeed getting paid the same.
This past October, thousands of Icelandic women left work at 2:38 p.m. and demonstrated outside parliament to protest the gender pay gap.
Women’s rights groups calculate that after that time each day, women are working for free.
As part of this protest, they performed the traditional Viking "Thunderclap" to communicate their strength.
This quartet viscerally explores the various situations women find themselves in every day in their plight to have their work considered in equal measure to the men around them.
With playing that is “fierce and lyrical” and works that are “other-worldly” (The Strad) and “evocative” (New York Times), Jessica Meyer is a versatile composer and violist whose passionate musicianship radiates accessibility, generosity, and emotional clarity. As a soloist and member of the award-winning and critically-acclaimed contemporary music collective counter)induction, Jessica has premiered pieces for solo viola internationally – expanding the repertoire for viola by championing new works while also composing her own. Of her recent appearance at The TANK Center for Sonic Arts, where she wrote a solo piece on site for this destination concert venue that boasts a 20-second reverb, Alex Ross of the New Yorker says, “Meyer’s fierce-edged playing activated the Tank’s awe-inspiring properties.” Meyer’s compositions explore the wide palette of emotionally expressive colors available to each instrument while using traditional and extended techniques inspired by her varied experiences as a contemporary and period instrumentalist. Recent premieres include performances by the Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, cellist Amanda Gookin for her Forward Music Project at National Sawdust, soprano Melissa Wimbish for her Carnegie Hall debut, and NOVUS NY of Trinity Wall Street under the direction of Julian Wachner. Upcoming commissions include works for the PubliQuartet, flutist/dancer Zara Lawler, flutist Allison Loggins-Hull for her “Diametrically Composed” project, and Sandbox Percussion with vocal duo Two Cities.
What the Trees Know
is an environmental call for the awareness of trees... their beauty, their strength, and their fragility.
"If you think the trees aren’t talking to you, go out and listen more carefully." EC
Deforestation can have a negative impact on the environment. The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species. Eighty percent of Earth's land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes. Deforestation also drives climate change.
An estimated 18 million acres.. of forest, which is roughly the size of the country of Panama, are lost each year...
Think of it:
their lives begin in fragile mystery, with the blind faith of pale tendrils reaching down into darkness, parting grains of soil and pushing through clay toward the water that they will raise up to build cell upon cell
a flowing column,
up to the breathing leaves.
every single individual tree harbors a whole secret world buzzing with life, every surface covered with uncountable beings, all collaborating in symbiotic creation. This is a wisdom beyond our comprehension. EC
Evan Chambers (b 1963, Alexandria, Louisiana) is currently Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan. His 2007 orchestral song cycle The Old Burying Ground was performed in Carnegie Hall in February 2008; a recording is is available on Dorian/Sono Luminous.
Chambers' compositions have been performed by the Cincinnati, Kansas City, Memphis, New Hampshire, and Albany Symphonies; has also appeared as a soloist in Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra. He won first prize in the Cincinnati Symphony Competition, and in 1998 was awarded the Walter Beeler Prize by Ithaca College. His work has been recognized by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Luigi Russolo Competition, Vienna Modern Masters, NACUSA, the American Composers Forum, and the Tampa Bay Composers Forum. He has been a resident of the MacDowell Colony, and been awarded individual artist grants from Meet the Composer, the Arts Foundation of Michigan and ArtServe Michigan. His composition teachers include William Albright, Leslie Bassett, Nicholas Thorne, and Marilyn Shrude, with studies in electronic music with George Wilson and Burton Beerman. Recordings have been released by Albany Records, the Foundation Russolo-Pratella, Cambria, Clarinet Classics, Equillibrium, and Centaur. His solo chamber music disk (Cold Water, Dry Stone) is available on Albany records.
confronts gun ownership
in the wake of recent violence in
"Something that gives the most common man the most uncommon of freedoms. When ordinary hands can possess such an extraordinary instrument, that symbolizes the full measure of human dignity and liberty."
-Charlton Heston, NRA convention 2000
Tommy Dougherty (b. 1990) is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is a composer of orchestral, chamber, and solo works. He received his Bachelor’s degrees in both composition and violin performance from The Eastman School of Music and his Master of Music degree in composition from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. In 2016, Tommy had two of his works premiered in Houston, Texas: Three Dances for Orchestra with Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and Egyptian Ratscrew Fantasy with Kinetic: The Conductlorless Ensemble. He spent the summer as a composition fellow at the Aspen Music Festival’s Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies, where the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble premiered his Celia’s Sudoku. Tommy is a recipient of two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards in the past two years.
Also an active violinist, Tommy has performed with ensembles including the San Diego Symphony, the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra in Los Angeles, California, and The Kinetic Conductorless Ensemble in Houston, Texas.
Currently residing in Los Angeles, California, Tommy is pursuing a DMA at USC’s Thornton School of Music, studying composition with Andrew Norman and Sean Friar.To hear Tommy’s music, go to: https://soundcloud.com/tommy-s-dougherty
Ember I Miss You
for four violins and spoken word
This work incorporates texts excerpted from love letters written by Eleanor Roosevelt, Oscar Wilde, and Margaret Mead, and a love poem by Gertrude Stein. Spoken by the four violinists, the words are incorporated as a part of the different musical textures of the piece, themselves reflective of the moods, rhythms, and formal implications of the phrases. All four relationships represented by the excerpted texts were, at the time, considered taboo: Each of the four relationships was between two people of the same gender.
The messages of love are universal.
Do you really think I would yes I would and I do love all you with all me.
Do you really think I could, yes I could
yes I would love all you with all me.
Do you really think I should yes I should
love all you with all me yes I should
yes I could yes I would.
Do you really think I do love all you
with all me yes I do love all you with all
me And bless my baby.
- Gertrude Stein (poem “To Alice B. Toklas”, date unknown)
Jordan Nelson (b. 1984) is a composer of instrumental, vocal, electronic, and electro-acoustic music. Jordan's compositions have been performed by NOW ensemble, HOCKET, USC Thornton Edge, Orchestra 2001, contemporaneous, the USC Thornton Symphony, Yale Schola Cantorum, the Hollywood Master Chorale, the Los Robles Master Chorale, WomenSing, and the USC Thornton Chamber Singers, among others. Jordan's recent projects have included music for soprano and string quartet (Tender Buttons), a commissioned work for the L.A. piano duo HOCKET (Slow The Light), a set of movements for solo piano (Four Interludes), a concerto for violin, four singers, and chamber ensemble (Source), and an album of electronic ambient music (Mornings). Upcoming projects include a song cycle for mezzo-soprano, french horn, and piano, and a new work for four violins and spoken word. Jordan teaches as part of the Music Theory and Ear Training faculty at the Colburn Conservatory in downtown Los Angeles. He previously taught at West Chester University, the USC Thornton School of Music, and Yale University. In 2016, Jordan Nelson graduated with his D.M.A. in Composition from the USC Thornton School of Music. Jordan's primary composition teachers have been Donald Crockett, Stephen Hartke, Frank Ticheli, Sean Friar, Andrew Norman, Morten Lauridsen, and Kathryn Alexander. Jordan earned his M.M. in Composition from the USC Thornton School of Music in 2009, and in 2006 he earned his B.A. in Music from Yale University. Originally from Swarthmore, PA, Jordan currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Mixtures II for four amplified violins
mysteriously rich and scrumptious dissimilar sounds
a space where the boundary between
togetherness and individualness,
and similarities and dissimilarity ebb-and flows.
similar colors freely and joyfully
Praised as ‘Oh, a name to remember’ (De Volkskrant, 2005) Seung-Won Oh* (1969), a native of South Korea, is rapidly establishing her name as a composer with an individual voice. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious fellowships and awards, and has received commissions from ensembles and festivals including the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), Transit Festival (BE), Alicante Contemporary Music Festival (SP) the festival of the Tanglewood Music Centre (US), Aspen Music Festival (US) and Ultima Festival (NO) among others.
Music critic Mirjam Zegers writes, "Oh connects East and West, vibrant motion and stillness, pure sound and ritual theatre, stratified structures and transparency.” Her music has been further described as being “...exciting... refined and sharply cut” (De Volkskrant), and the Cleveland Plain Dealers said, she “brought Asian sensitivity and meditation”. In her works for music theatre, a unique category within her output, Oh searches for non-western topics while striving to optimize the balance between western techniques and non-western concepts.
[Oh studied at Ewha Womans University (BA, MM), the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (doctoral program), Brandeis University (MFA, PhD) and The Royal Conservatoire in The Hague (MM).] Previously she taught at Brandeis University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Florida at Gainesville, and Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Seung-Won Oh is currently Assistant Professor Composition at DePaul University in Chicago, USA.
for violin quartet and electronics
a work about chaos and confusion
Born and raised in Paris, and currently living in Los Angeles, Daniel Wohl's music blends electronics with acoustic instrumentation to often "surprising and provocative effect" (NPR). Recently performances of his music have been held by the San Francisco Symphony (Soundbox series), the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (MusicNOW series), the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Hollywood Bowl), New York Youth Symphony (Carnegie Hall), the Bang on a Can All-Stars (Barbican), and has been performed at venues including the Broad Museum, MASS MoCA, the Holland Festival and MoMA Ps1. Earlier this year, Holographic, Daniel's sophomore album was released on New Amsterdam Records and was deemed "aggressive and gorgeous" (NPR) with an electroacoustic blend that was "expertly handled" (Pitchfork). Collaborations those with the American Symphony Orchestra, So Percussion, Julia Holter, Lucky Dragons, Laurel Halo, the Calder Quartet, Indianapolis Symphony, eighth blackbird, and Son Lux. As a curator he cofounded and co-curated Sound/Source, a one day electroacoustic festival held at MoMA Ps1 in 2014. He also recently joined forces with Kate Nordstrum (Liquid Music) and William Brittelle (New Amsterdam Records) to form Infinite Palette, a collective dedicated to presenting, commissioning and performing electroacoustic music. (more info at www.infinite-palette.com) He is a recipient of three ASCAP Young Composers awards, as well as grants from the Barlow Foundation, New Music USA, the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Jerome Foundation