EarShot San Diego Symphony New Music Readings

San Diego Symphony New Music Readings
Friday, April 20, 2012 at 10 am

The public will have the opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at the process of bringing brand new orchestral works to life, as music by the four selected composers is read by the San Diego Symphony under the baton of guest conductor, James Feddeck. The composers—Paul Frucht, David Garner, Adam Greene, and Chen-Hui Jen—were selected through a national call for scores, which included over 250 applications. Two of the composers have strong ties to San Diego: Greene is an alumnus, and Jen is a current graduate student at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). During the Readings these young composers will receive feedback from mentor composers Robert Beaser, Rand Steiger, and John Corigliano, the conductor, and SDS principal musicians.

In addition, EarShot and SDS will offer composers, students, or anyone interested in learning more about the business of being a composer, a series of free professional development workshops on Friday afternoon, April 20, immediately following the reading session. Workshop topics include music engraving and copying, copyright and legal issues, and fundraising and support organizations. Industry representatives from American Composers Orchestra and New Music USA will be on hand. The workshops are free.

The San Diego Symphony New Music Readings are a part of EarShot, a nationwide network of new music readings and composer-development programs. EarShot is the nation’s first ongoing systematic program for identifying emerging orchestral composers. The program provides composers professional-level working experience with orchestras from every region of the country and increases awareness of and access to their music throughout the industry. EarShot is a partnership among American Composers Orchestra, American Composers Forum, the League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA. To date more than three dozen composers have been selected for New Music Readings with orchestras including the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Pioneer Valley Symphony (MA), New York Youth Symphony, as well as the San Diego Symphony.

San Diego Symphony

In the over 100 years since its inception, the San Diego Symphony has become one of the leading orchestras in the United States, and the oldest in California. Through a rich mixture of innovative and educational programming designed to appeal to all ages and cultures, the Symphony makes music an integral part of the cultural and intellectual fabric of Southern California. The Symphony offers wide range of concert experiences and performs over 100 concerts each year, including the Jacobs Masterworks series with music director Jahja Ling, offering traditional classical repertoire and guest artists such as Horacio Gutierrez, Joshua Bell, Lang Lang and Gil Shaham; the Winter Pops series, featuring principal pops conductor Marvin Hamlisch; a Family Festival; a Summer Pops season at Embarcadero Marina Park South; and Symphony Exposed, a fascinating series of concerts that examine classical works from entertaining and thought-provoking angles. Historic Copley Symphony Hall, home of the San Diego Symphony, is regarded as one of the finest classical music venues on the West Coast. In 1983, San Diego Symphony’s then composer-in-residence, Bernard Rands, won the Pulitzer Prize, furthering the outstanding reputation of San Diego Symphony.

Paul Frucht: Penumbra

Born in 1989, Paul Frucht is in the first year of Master of Music degree in composition at the Juilliard School. Paul has been called, “naturally gifted,” and his music has been called “lively, inventive and ambitious.” In 2011 he graduated magna cum laude from New York University, with a Bachelor degree in composition and percussion performance. He has studied with Justin Dello Joio, Robert Beaser, and Richard Danielpour. Paul’s music has been performed at Merkin Concert Hall, and the Aspen Music Festival. He has been commissioned by harpist Gwenllian Lyr, flutist Daniel James, Node Contemporary Music, and PULSE New Music, a percussion ensemble he co-founded. While at NYU, his works were performed by the NYU Symphony Orchestra, the NYU Community Orchestra, the NYU Percussion Ensemble, and the NYU Marimba Ensemble. The San Diego Readings are Paul’s first hands-on experience with a professional orchestra.

The composer says, “A penumbra is a region of space in which part of the light source is obscured. Essentially, it is a shadow surrounded by light-one dark and hazy outline in the middle of complete clarity. In the summer of 2011, shortly before I began composing Penumbra, I was in a transitional period in my life. I found myself reflecting on memories quite often and became fascinated by the experience one endures when drawing upon a deep, meaningful memory, much like diving into one’s own shadow, removed from clarity. I was intrigued by the way one can simply get lost in it, almost like one is dreaming while still conscious and then suddenly snap back to reality. In my fascination with this feeling, I also found there is much to be gained. There is a reason we remember and a reason why we find ourselves lost in memories. We are trying to make light of something and as we reflect upon it. Memory is just as much a wonderful tool of the human brain as it is an emotional reflex. When the mind finally snaps back to reality, it is often with a greater understanding, completing the excursion into one’s own mind. It is this journey of diving into our own shadows, memories, and obscured parts of ourselves in order to return with a greater understanding that I am striving to evoke with this piece.”

David Garner: The Machine

Called “polished and professional” by the judges, David Kirkland Garner is a composer whose music often is inspired by or draws on folk traditions from North America and the British Isles. These interests extend into his research on banjo and fiddle styles of the American South and the traditional fiddling of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. His music has been performed by groups such as the Ciompi Quartet, the Locrian Chamber Players and the Vega Quartet. His work Lament for the imagined, written for the Kronos Quartet, premiered in 2011 in Glasgow, Scotland. David’s awards include first prize in the 2011 NACUSA Young Composers‘ Competition, an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, the William Klenz Prize, and the Sybarite 5 Composition Competition. Currently, David is a Ph.D. candidate at Duke University. He also studied at Rice University and the University of Michigan, and was a lecturer at Kennesaw State University. David lives in Durham, NC with his wife Bronwen and his dog Niko. More info at: www.davidkirklandgarner.com

The Machine is David’s first score to be taken up by a professional orchestra. The composer says, “The Machine was written in 2011 and takes its name from the title of a traditional Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle tune and social dance from the 18th century called “The Machine Without Horses.” This title immediately sparked my imagination and curiosity. What was the story behind this fiddle tune? What machine was the composer referring to? After a bit of research I could not find any definitive answers, only guesses. Living in a world with ever-advancing technology I was fascinated by the idea of being shocked by a non-horse-driven machine. I wanted to create a machine-like orchestral sound, powered by harp, piano and percussion, based on very simple musical material that spins out into an accumulation of sound and energy.”

Adam Greene: In Winter

Adam Greene’s composition teacher at UCSD, Chinary Ung, calls him, “one of the most outstanding composers of his generation.” Born in Chicago in 1970, Adam Greene took degrees in Music and Anthropology at Connecticut College, and earned a Master’s in Composition at the New England Conservatory of Music. After studies in Italy he moved to California, receiving a Ph.D. from UCSD. His music has been performed by SONOR, Ensemble Resonanz, the Formalist Quartet, and Speculum Musicae. He has participated in several festivals and residency programs, including UCROSS, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the International Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (Darmstadt), the Composers Conference at Wellesley, and the Long Beach Summer Arts program. Many of his works have emerged from an encounter with writings, such as those by Calvino, Beckett, Joyce, and Carroll. His awards include a commission grant from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard, as well as prizes from ASCAP, American Composers Forum, and NACUSA. More info at: www.adamgreene.net.

In Winter is Adam’s first orchestral piece to be played by a professional orchestra. In selecting the piece, judges called his music, “subtle and interesting, with very carefully rendered sounds, that stand out among many more bombastic scores.” The composer says, In Winter was composed in the winter of 2007. The initial ideas for the work emerged the year before while living in Minnesota. I was compelled to write the piece after encountering the following haiku written by Basho: Winter solitude – in a world of one color – the sound of wind. Basho’s haiku has an astonishing capacity to evoke a rich series of images and ideas through a remarkable economy of words. In Winter is a quiet piece, marked by slowly shifting bands of sound. The music is sparse: there are no themes or figurative gestures to speak of; rather harmonies are frozen, and significant emphasis is placed on reconfiguring the orchestral colors that comprise these harmonies in order to offer a dynamic (or prismatic) view of the materials. There are three basic ideas, each one allied with a line from the haiku, and like its textual source, the music is at once concentrated and evocative. The work does not intend to present a particular image or series of images, nor does it illustrate a program; however, in its recursive ruminations of the haiku emerges a physicality animated by spaces, textures, and sensations I associate with winter.”

Chen-Hui Jen: Yet the Dew Remains in Pale

Chen-Hui Jen is a composer “with very sophisticated style” who composes “subtle and detailed work,” according to the San Diego Symphony readings judges. She was born in 1981 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and began studying piano when four years old. She went on to graduate from the Music Department of the National Sun Yet-San University, later earning a Masters’ degree the Taipei National University of the Arts. Chen-Hui is an active member of the Asian Composers’ League National Committee and the International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM) Taiwan. She came to the U.S. in 2006, on a scholarship from Taiwanese Ministry of Education. She now studies with Professor Chinary Ung at the UCSD, where she is a Ph.D. candidate in Music Composition. With a deep interest in Chinese poetry, Chen-Hui’s music features an imaginative and spiritual poeticism. Her works have won prizes in the Kuan-Du Arts Festival Competition, the Literature and Fine Arts Composition Competition, the Formosa Composition Competition, and the Tsang-Houei Hsu International Competition. Her music has been performed in the 2006 ISCM World New Music Festival (Germany), the 2009 Acanthes Music Festival (France), and the ACL Music Festival (Taipei). The San Diego Symphony readings are Chen-Hui’s first reading by an American orchestra. More info at: www.myspace.com/hmcrecluse

Chen-Hui provides this note about her piece, “Yet the Dew Remains Pale” was completed in 2012. The title is inspired by a sentence in Shi Jing (The Book of Songs), literally, “white dew not yet dry.” The dew remains after darkness and iciness, and also reflects our inner tears in a universal sense. As the musical context, the work has five structural images in seven continuous sections. These structural images are: I. intoning and praying; II. as in a dream; III. the memory; IV. rising winds, tears as mountain rain; and V. loss, as time falls into dimness. Even though the work’s sound world is filled with colors, everything will ultimately fall into paleness, as in a thick overwhelming fog.”

James Feddeck, guest conductor

The 2011-12 season marks James Feddeck’s third season as assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra and as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. He was appointed to the conducting staff of The Cleveland Orchestra by Franz Welser-Möst in March 2009. Mr. Feddeck made his debut with The Cleveland Orchestra in August 2009. This past March, he led a performance of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni with The Cleveland Orchestra, stepping in for Welser-Möst, and in May he led performances with the Orchestra as part of a new collaboration with the Cleveland Museum of Art in the museum’s Italian Masterworks series.

Before coming to Cleveland, James Feddeck served as assistant conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2009, he served as assistant conductor at the Aspen Music Festival and School. He earlier completed three summers as an Aspen conducting fellow, studying with David Zinman and Murry Sidlin. He received the Aspen Conducting Prize in 2008 and was awarded the Robert J. Harth Conductor Prize in 2007. In addition, he was the unanimous winner of the Sixth Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition, and, at twenty-two, was its youngest participant. He recently received a Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S., a new prize for talented young American conductors.

Mr. Feddeck was admitted to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in four areas: piano, oboe, organ, and conducting. He studied conducting with Steven Smith, Timothy Weiss, and Bridget-Michaele Rei­schl. While at Oberlin, he was music director and conductor of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Following undergraduate and graduate degrees from Oberlin, he continued conducting studies at the University of Michigan, working with Kenneth Kiesler. In 2010, Mr. Feddeck was recognized by Oberlin as the first recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumni Award for professional achievement and contributions to society.

Recent and upcoming conducting engagements include appearances at the Aspen Music Festival and with the orchestras of Atlanta, Charlotte, Omaha, St. Louis, and Toledo, as well as the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra (for performances in the Ballet Across America Festival).

About EarShot

EarShot is the newly formed National Orchestral Composition Discovery Network that initiates partnerships with orchestras around the country; provides consulting, production, and administrative support for orchestras to undertake readings, residencies, performances, and composer-development programs; identifies promising orchestral composers, increasing awareness and access to their music; supports orchestras’ commitment to today’s composers and enhances national visibility for their new music programs.

EarShot is coordinated by American Composers Orchestra in collaboration with American Composers Forum, the League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA (formerly the American Music Center and Meet The Composer). It brings together the artistic, administrative, marketing, and production resources and experience of the nation’s leading organizations devoted to the support of new American orchestral music.

American Composers Forum

The American Composers Forum is committed to supporting composers and developing new markets for their music. Through granting, commissioning, and performance programs, the Forum provides composers at all stages of their careers with valuable resources for professional and artistic development. By linking communities with composers and performers, the Forum fosters a demand for new music, enriches communities, and helps develop the next generation of composers, musicians, and music patrons. For more information, go to www.composersforum.org.

League of American Orchestras

Founded in 1942, and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League of American Orchestras leads, encourages, and supports America’s orchestras while communicating to the public the value and importance of orchestras and the music they perform. The League’s vision is to be a transformative and unifying force for the orchestra field—a catalyst for understanding and innovation, a place for conversations that matter, and a champion for orchestras. More information can be found at www.americanorchestras.org.

New Music USA

On November 8, 2011 a merger was completed between two eminent champions of new music in the United States, the American Music Center and Meet The Composer. The result is an exciting new organization that will serve music-makers and their audiences in the twenty-first century. Its mission is to increase opportunities for composers, performers and audiences by fostering the creation, dissemination, and enjoyment of new American music, both nationally and internationally. New Music USA places special emphasis on broadening the public community for the music and musicians they serve. New Music USA will maintain all core programming of AMC and MTC. More information can be found at www.newmusicusa.org.

EarShot is made possible with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Booth Ferris Foundation, and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.