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ISCM Beijing World Music Days Submissions

Anna Weesner
Scott Johnson
Arlene Zallman
Anthony Korf
Paul Lansky
Morris Rosenzweig

ISCM Beijing World Music Days Submissions

29 December 2017 /Announcements

Arlene Zallman Paul Lansky

Scott JohnsonAnthony Korf

Morris RosenzweigAnna Weesner

ISCM gives each ISCM section the opportunity to submit exactly 6 works by 6 composers as candidates for performance on ISCM World Music Days (WMD) festivals. ISCM stipulates that at least one work from a section’s 6 submissions will be seleted for performance. For WMD-Beijing, May 2018, Roger Shapiro Fund (ISCM Mid-Atlantic) enthusiastically recoginizes Arlene Zallman, Paul Lansky, Morris Rosenzweig, Scott Johnson, Anthony Korf, and Anna Weesner, putting forth a carefully selected work by each for consideration.

Selection Committee: Frank Brickle; William Anderson; Wayne Shirley

To determine what works would be submitted by RSF for ISCM WMD in Beijing, RSF employed a team of three, consisting of William Anderson (composer, guitarist, and RSF Artistic Director & Trustee) Wayne Shirley (musicologist and RSF Trustee) and Frank Brickle (composer). All three have attended WMD Festivals in the past. Frank Brickle was involved in the culling of WMD submissions for the US Section in the early 1980s, and in 2013; Anderson did so in the ’00s. Having attended ISCM WMD festivals in many countries, the three have developed a feel for what would be of value to the WMD. RSF has a ready pool of candidates in its growing list of US composers supported by RSF. Most, but not all of the composers who were selected by RSF for Beijing were already in our archive of composers who received RSF awards. None of the composers are young or emerging. They are all accomplished, having achieved a level of ability that we feel will speak well for the depth and range of compositional achievement in the US. The group painstakingly pieced together works that would strike the right balance of artistic strengths in hope of increasing the chances of selection.

Paul Lansky is one of the most prominent and accessible of modern American composers who write primarily for the medium of computer-generated sound. He has made advances in purely technical areas, especially those of Linear Prediction Coding, which he developed for his own first computer-generated pieces, and Cmix (in the 1990s), a set of programs which he has made freely available. In the areas of theory and analysis, Lansky has collaborated closely with George Perle, a former teacher of his, in developing the latter’s ideas of “twelve-tone tonality,” a way of combining serial techniques with pitch-centered motion. Lansky is a thoughtful and articulate writer and speaker, and has written extensively on his own music. The metaphor most often used by Lansky to describe his use of the computer is as an “aural microscope” (sometimes a “camera”), with which he “tries to make the ordinary seem extraordinary, the unmusical, musical. [I] try to find implicit music in the worldnoise around us.” Like photographs, “recordings of real-world sounds … create a nostalgic ache in that they almost capture events which are, in reality, gone forever,” and Lansky’s music can be extremely affecting.

Note: As If, for string trio and prerecorded tape, was commissioned by the Columbia- Princeton Electronic Music Center in 1981. Its four movements explore the resonance of real instruments and processed ones, Three of the movements contrast the live performers with synthetic violin and one movement adds processed saxophone. The eledtronic parts use linear-predictive coding of a recording of an original piece performed by the violinist Cyrus Stevens.

Morris Rosenzweig was born October 1, 1952 in New Orleans, where he grew up among the tailors, merchants, and strong-willed women of an extended family which has lived in southern Louisiana since the mid 1890s. His works have been widely presented throughout the United States and Europe as well as in Japan, Argentina, Mexico and Israel. Mr. Rosenzweig’s recordings include 6 CDs on Albany Records (Troy 907, Troy 710), Centaur (2103), New World/CRI (705), and New World/CRI (787). His honors include those from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bogliasco Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Koussevitzky, Argosy, and Fromm Foundations, Chamber Music America have commissioned several of his works, and he has received support from the Alice M. Ditson Fund. He serves as Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Utah, director of the Maurice Abravanel Visiting Composers Series, director of the Canyonlands Ensemble, and director of The Louis Moreau Institute for New Music Performance, New Orleans.

The League of Notions was commissioned by the League of Composers for its orchestra to premiere in spring 2015. The work, about 11 minutes long, is in one movement, more or less equally divided into 4 sections: Introduction/Fantasy, Scherzo, Clouds/Shadows, and Vivace. A League of Notions was written in Salt Lake, Sheridan, Montana, and New Orleans.

Arlene Zallman was a Professor of Composition at Wellesley College for over thirty years, and before that taught at Oberline College Conservatory of Music and Yale University. She was a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and the University of Pennsylvania. She studied composition with Vincent Persichetti and Georg Crumb. A recipient of a Fulbright grant in 1959, she was able to study intensely for two years with Luigi Dallapiccola in Florence, Italy. She received grants and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, Mellon Fundation, among others. She was a 2000/2001 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and a frequent fello at the MacDowell Colony. Her work is published by the Association for the Promotion of New Music and C.F. Peters.

Huc usque, me miseram from Vox Feminae, by Arlene Zallman

Anna Weesner’s music has received many notable performances, including those by the American Composers Orchestra, Counter)induction, Sequitur, Open End, Network for New Music, Orchestra 2001, the Cypress Quartet, the Cassatt Quartet, Metamorphosen, Ensemble X, Dawn Upshaw, Gilbert Kalish, Richard Goode, Judith Kellock, Scott Kluksdahl, Caroline Stinson and Melia Watras. Weesner was awarded a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2008 Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a 2003 Pew Fellowship. She has been in residence at the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Note: What Gathers, What Lingers was composed while I was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome during the spring of 2003; revisions were made in 2009. It was premiered in Rome by Veronica Kadlubkiewicz and Richard Trythall on May 26, 2003. The piece was helped along through conversations with my friend, composer/violinist Andy Waggoner. The piece dwells in a variety of places, moving, perhaps, through many different rooms of a single house. The world contains a multiplicity of musics, all of which surround and influence me, sometimes whether I know it or not. What happens, I wonder, when music that feels like a private memory of a classical piano sonata follows on the heels of something raucous and pounding? What happens when a thick and complex harmony finds itself as neighbor to a straightforward melody with a simple accompaniment? This piece occupies a sound-world in which many stylistic impulses gather, a world, I think, in which memory may be portrayed alongside the current moment. This piece has distinct sections, whose respective personalities are meant to stand in vivid, even stark, contrast. Played without pause, these sections occupy a single, overarching movement, gathering—I hope—connections and momentum, and leaving what lingers as they bounce off of each other and go. —AW

Anthony Korf (born 1951 New York City) has written extensively for orchestra as well as works in the chamber, vocal, and solo mediums. His honors include two citations from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship and commissions from the The Howard Hanson Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Koussevitsky Foundation, the San Francisco Symphony and The National Endowment for The Arts.. Korf trained at Manhattan School of Music, where he earned a Masters Degree in Performance in 1975. That was the year he formed Parnassus, which he led as conductor and artistic director for 27 years. In 1981 he co-founded Riverside Symphony, for which he presently serves as Artistic Director and Composer-in-Residence. His music can be heard on Bridge, CRI, New World and Summit records.

Combo is a three-movement chamber work lasting about 15 minutes. The title confirms it as a piece in which the composer’s affinity for jazz is fully at the surface, heard immediately at the outset through the familiar device of call and response, from the solo trumpet to the ensemble. While this opening interlude initially suggests the possibility of a lengthy development, the unexpected appearance of a lively ostinato-grounded passage in the final “response” confirms the first movement’s real function as an introduction. A blue-tinged descending line in variant forms characterizes the moody inner movement, but nowhere is the invocation of jazz more evident than in the finale, a concerto grosso delivered in the guise of a series of solos very much in the manner of that quintessentially American genre. Here, Korf’s ecumenical leanings are redoubled by the gestural evocation of numerous jazz sub genres, which, in their original form would be mutually inhospitable, but here, reconciled through the composer’s unique harmonic sound world.

Composer Scott Johnson has been a pioneering voice in the new relationship being forged between the classical tradition and the popular culture that surrounds it. A forerunner of today’s “postclassical” styles, he has played an influential role since the early 1980’s in the trend towards incorporating rock-derived instruments, electronics, and musical materials into traditionally scored compositions. His music has been presented worldwide, by performers including the Kronos Quartet, the Bang On A Can All-Stars, Alarm Will Sound, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the American Composers Orchestra; and in recordings on the Nonesuch and Tzadik labels. Awards include fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, and a Koussevitsky award. Johnson has published articles and essays on contemporary music, and lectured at leading conservatories and universities, including San Francisco and Peabody Conservatories, New York University, The Manhattan School of Music, and Yale University.

Note: The Illusion of Guidance (2002) Sometimes a piece will seem to write itself, and when this happens I’m always happy to alter my plans and obey orders. From its beginnings as a sketch for an electric guitar quartet, this piece led me off at unexpected angles without hesitation, and snapped quickly back into focus after numerous interruptions. Artists having this experience will often talk about feeling like a conduit or a vehicle; a passive delivery system for their work. That’s how this piece felt, and it set me wondering where that kind of feeling comes from. A superstitious interpretation might take the usual charming but child-like approach: a big strong Something is downloading data into my small (but apparently rather worthy!) self. But a person can be a repository without help from a ghostly Depositor. Even our most personal creations are dependent on an intricate substructure of learned and inherited patterns, and most of our attitudes are individualized copies of the shared ideas of our culture. Just as we are the temporary vessels of our DNA, so we are hosts for ideas. They travel between us like viruses, replicating themselves in the stream of individual minds that flows towards the future.

And so an artist, like anyone else, is quite literally a channel for accumulated knowledge, as well as the carrier of a unique and particular version of the world. Thus a feeling of being guided is not a metaphor, or evidence of otherworldliness: it’s actually quite accurate for a social primate to feel like a conduit. This worldly, naturalistic, and physical way of viewing creativity gives me a sense of mystery and pleasure that mysticism can’t provide. The music is arriving from a mental wildlife refuge that may be incompletely mapped, but is unquestionably real.

Slated for Submissiton for ISCM World Music Days in Tallin, Estonia, 2019—Jonathan Dawe & Matthew Greenbaum

The highly innovative and conjured world of composer Jonathan Dawe joins Baroque imagery with a modernist mix, cast with dynamic dramatic flair. Cited for his “quirky, fascinating modernist variations on earlier styles” (Time Out) his music involves the recasting of energies and sounds of the past into decisively new expressions, through compositional workings based upon fractal geometry. Recent pieces and productions have been described as “music of such vitality and drama” (New York Times) “a brake-squealing collision of influence” (Boston Globe) and ” bound to be provocative.” (Time Out) Described as “one of our most talented and distinctive – yet little-known – contemporary composers,” (Seen and Heard International) Dawe is the youngest composer to have been commissioned by James Levine and The Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Matthew Greenbaum (New York City, February 12, 1950) is an American composer. He studied privately with Stefan Wolpe, and with Mario Davidovsky at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He holds a Ph.D. in Composition from the City University of NY Graduate Center (1985), and has served as a professor of music composition at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance since 1998.Since 1999 Greenbaum has worked with computer animation to create hybrid works of visual music, as well as chamber music with a video component. Greenbaum has also written on Debussy, Schoenberg and Varèse in relation to Wolpe’s dialectical and “cubist” approach to musical structure. He is the curator of Amphibian, a new music and video series in the Hiart Gallery in New York.