Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
April 23 & 24, 2013
Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo, NY

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra JCOI Readings, a part of our  EarShot program, will be led by BPO Associate Conductor Matthew Kraemer. The mentor composers for the readings are James Newton (UCLA), Anthony Davis  (University of California, San Diego), and Nicole Mitchell (University of California, Irvine). The readings will include a run-through of the composers’ pieces on April 24 at 10 am, followed by a Professional Development Workshop, both of which are free and open to the public.

BPO’s featured composers will be Gregg August,  Anita BrownJoel Harrison,Ole Mathisen, and David Wilson. Gregg August is influenced by Cuban and Brazilian music,and will incorporate in his new orchestral piece the rhythmic techniques used in Cuban rumba. Anita Brown’s Disarming The Tempest strives to illuminate the plight of combat veterans suffering from PTSD. Wilson’s new work, Springs of a Desperate Heart, draws on several musical and cultural influences of his life path, bringing together elements of Macedonian folk music and American jazz in the context of the symphony orchestra. Guitarist, composer, arranger, vocalist, and songwriter Joel Harrison has written a piece entitled The Other River. Ole Mathisen brings a tone poem called Mind’s Eye Inverted to the BPO JCOI Readings.

Gregg August: Una Rumba Sinfonica

Gregg August

One of the most sought-after bassists and “musician’s musician” on the New York scene, what sets bassist Gregg August apart is his musical language which spans the jazz, Latin, classical and avant-garde worlds. August spent two years at SUNY Albany as a percussion major, where he began to study bass. He transferred to The Eastman School of Music and earned a bachelor’s degree, and then promptly made the move to New York City to study with legendary bass teacher Homer Mensch at The Juilliard School. Soon after receiving his Master’s, August won the Principal bass position with La Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona. After two years in Spain he moved to Paris to check out the jazz scene but soon found himself hungry to return to New York. Gregg became extremely inspired by Latin music which led him to Cuba and Brazil and soon becoming a student of master Latin bassist, Andy Gonzalez, then touring with Ray Barretto’s New World Spirit, and further collaborations with Dave Douglas and Dafnis Prieto . August formed his own sextet in 2003, holds the Principal Bass Chair of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and also performs regularly with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, in the trailblazing program, OneBeat. August was a recipient of a Jerome Foundation/Jazz Gallery commission for a large ensemble.

Una Rumba Sinfonica incorporates the rhythmic techniques used in Cuban rumba, utilizing its language to move the orchestra into a fresh direction and beyond its normal boundaries. As a musician who plays both classical and Cuban music, I feel I have a unique understanding and experience to bring these two very distinct musical worlds together.

Anita Brown: Disarming the Tempest

Anita Brown

A native of both northeasten Massachusetts and Metropolitan New York, Anita Brown attended The Pingree School in South Hamilton, MA and later graduated from Andover High School, Andover, MA. Although the family moved to Long Island September 1977, she maintained strong ties with the New England area. Anita was a private student of the legendary jazz artist, Lennie Tristano. Ms. Brown attended SUNY Old Westbury graduating in Music Education while also studying photography and African dance and choreography via the Katherine Dunham technique through the school’s exemplary dance program. As a transfer student she began a third year of school in 1980 at University of New Hampshire in Durham where she was Music Education Major with a piano/vocal concentration she studied classical piano and voice; Anita graduated from UNH in 1982. Anita also studied orchestration with Dr. Mark DeVoto and instrumental conducting with Stanley D. Hettinger. Through a number of independent studies Anita’s undergraduate transcripts from UNH reflect eight semesters worth of study in both instrumental and choral conducting and score study.

“The sketches for Disarming The Tempest began on September 8, 2012. Its intent and message are consistent with a relatively new personal inspiration to illuminate the plight of returning combat veterans suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This personal calling is a by-product of my original research and time spent writing and producing my large-scale work, Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra, commemorating and depicting the American experience of our national tragedy on 9/11, which incorporates The United States Marine Corps SIlent Drill Platoon
from Washington DC, representing all first responders in the scope of the piece
and for which I am proud to have received a Legislative Proclamation.

The piece is in AB form. The A section and its development represent a window into the tempest within the returning combat veteran dealing with PTSD, while the contrasting B section speaks to every warrior’s goal of Disarming The Tempest brought on by combat, and regaining inner peace.”

Joel Harrison: The Other River

Joel Harrison

Guitarist, composer, arranger, vocalist, songwriter –
Joel Harrison deftly juggles all of these roles while venturing across stylistic divides. He is at home in jazz clubs and concert halls – and the occasional dive bar across town. Harrison sees no reason to sort his music into jazz, classical, or any such divisions. “Ultimately you’re just trying to arrive at great music,” he says. “Sometimes the best methodology is to leave people to their own devices and sometimes it’s best to write everything down. Usually I fall somewhere in between.”

Harrison was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2010, is a two-time winner of the Jazz Composer’s Alliance Composition Competition, and has received support from Chamber Music America, Meet the Composer, New Music USA, the Flagler Cary Trust, NYSCA, and the Jerome Foundation. He has released 14 cds since 1995 as a leader.

Sometimes when I lay down to go to sleep, safe in my home, next to the person I love, I hear an alarmingly present voice calling from inside me saying, “i want to go home.”
Dear listener, what does this mean? It does not mean I am unhappy, or alone or lost. Rather, it may mean that worlds within worlds exist inside us, and there are many homes therein. Music is a life raft that I travel upon through these worlds. The Other River, as best I can tell it never stops moving. This is Part one. To be continued.

Ole Mathisen: The Mind’s Eye

Ole MathisenOle Mathisen is a saxophonist, composer and teacher, with a strong background in jazz. He holds a Masters Degree from Manhattan School of Music where he studied arranging with Maria Schneider and a Bachelor Degree from Berklee College of Music. Mathisen is currently a member of the jazz faculty at Columbia University, where he teaches saxophone and directs ensembles. Mathisen has received numerous awards, including The Composers Grant from Komponistenes Vederlags Fond of Norway, Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works Grant, ASCAP Plus Awards in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009, a DANY Arts Grant from the Danish Government, a Tono Work Stipend from the Norwegian Composers Rights Organization, an Artist Educational Stipend from the Norwegian Government, a Faculty Association Award and Phil Woods Incentive Award from Berklee College of Music. Mathisen has worked on more than 100 CD releases, composed several movie, television scores and commercials.

The tone Poem Mind’s Eye Inverted, borrows from the jazz musicians experience and explores the outward communication of ideas that are instinctual, visceral and intuitive, through lyrical musical
gestures. An abstract dialogue between the woodwinds, brass and strings in the middle section of the piece alludes to the improvisational interaction that happens in a jazz setting. Parts of the composition employs what I call tone fields, which are subsets of available tonal pitches that varies in each octave.

Dave Wilson: Springs of a Desperate Heart

Dave WilsonDave Wilson is a Los Angeles-based composer, musician, and ethnomusicologist. After receiving a degree in saxophone from Indiana University in 2002, he lived in Macedonia for several years, working in the non-profit sector and collaborating with local folk and jazz musicians. In 2010 at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (in conjunction with United Friends of the Children), he debuted Light Connected, a piece for clarinet, alto flute, cello, bass, cajon, dancer, and spoken word poet that he conceptualized and co-composed. His collaborators have included Curt Smith (Tears for Fears), Dave Stewart (Eurhythmics), Engelbert Humperdinck, composer Mateo Messina (Juno, Thank You for Smoking), producer Charlton Pettus, and French gypsy jazz artist Jessica Fichot. His performance work has taken him to the stages of the Chicago World Music Festival, the Lotus Festival, the Guadalajara International Book Fair, the London Palladium, the Sydney Opera House, and the Araneta Colisseum, where Ali and Frazier met at the “Thrilla in Manila.” In addition to his work as a composer-musician, Dave is working towards a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at UCLA. His work there focuses on music in Macedonia, and on how traditional and popular music reflect, articulate, and construct national identity, politics, class, and ethnic tensions in the context of a postmodern, post-socialist society.

Wilson’s new work, Springs of a Desperate Heart, draws on several musical and cultural influences of his life path, bringing together elements of Macedonian folk music and American jazz in the context of the symphony  orchestra. “The piece is a tribute to the life and music of Billie Holiday through the lens of Macedonian folk music and legend surrounding “Biljana’s Springs.” These springs feed Macedonia’s mystical Lake Ohrid, the deepest lake in Europe, and are inextricably linked with their namesake Blijana, a beautiful heroine of Macedonian song and story. Through musical elements that often embody the pain and struggle of life in the Balkans, a new perspective on Holiday is offered, shedding light on the ways music can be imbued with new meanings and interpretations to provide for multi-dimensional understandings of musical artists, works, genres, and cultures.” 

The Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute is made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Continuing Innovation Program, with additional funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fromm Music Foundation and The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.