Lisa Scola Prosek
Lisa Scola Prosek is a graduate of Princeton University in Music Composition. Her teachers include Edward Cone, Milton Babbitt, Lukas Foss, and Gaetano Giani Luporini. Scola Prosek is the recipient of numerous grants, commissions and awards, including The NY Center for Contemporary Opera "Atelier" Award for The Lariat. Scola Prosek has composed and produced eight operas with librettos in Italian and English. In 2012, Daughter of the Red Tzar, written for acclaimed tenor John Duykers, premiered in San Francisco to capacity audiences, and is currently on the outreach season with Long Beach Opera. Lisa serves as General Manager and Director of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra, since 2001. Other awards have been from Theatre Bay Area, the LEF Foundation, The Argosy Contemporary Music Fund, Meet the Composer, the Hewlett Foundation, the American Composers Forum, The San Francisco Arts Commission, The Center for Cultural Innovation, The California Arts Council, the NEA and the Zellerbach Foundation.
Jan Pusina's compositional career started in the 1960's while he was studying at U.C. Berkeley, with Four Songs on Zen Texts and Tape Composition #1. It continues today in the instrumental and electro-acoustic genres. His recent performances include Pink Wind, by the San Francisco Community Music Center Orchestra, and Furtive Assymptotes by the SFCCO. He has also recently produced a set of computer music pieces, available on request.
Alexis Alrich is presently living in Hong Kong but visits the Bay Area frequently. Her Marimba Concerto, which was presented by the SFCCO, will be played by the Plymouth Symphony in Plymouth, Michigan in 2009 with conductor Nan Washburn. Her piece Island of the Blue Dolphins was performed by the Santa Barbara Symphony on January 19, 2007. She attended an artists' colony in 2007, I-Park in Connecticut, where she wrote Fragile Forests II: Cambodia, next in the series after Fragile Forests I: California Oaks, which was premiered in December 2006 by the San Francisco Composers Orchestra. As one of the winners of a Continental Harmony grant from the American Composers Forum she has written a piece for chorus, orchestra and soloists for the state of Maine. Avenues, her first orchestra piece, was premiered by the Women's Philharmonic and has been played around the country. Her chamber compositions have been performed by members of the San Francisco ballet, opera and symphony orchestras and ensembles including Bay Brass, City Winds, the Ahlert and Schwab guitar and mandolin duo in Germany, the Ariel Ensemble, New Release Alliance and Earplay in San Francisco. Ms. Alrich is the director of the John Adams Young Composers program in Berkeley, California. This is an intensive training program for composers ages 9-18 in honor of and under the aegis of John Adams.
John Beeman studied with Peter Fricker and William Bergsma at the University of Washington where he received his Master's degree. His first opera, The Great American Dinner Table was produced on National Public Radio. Orchestral works have been performed by the Fremont-Newark Philharmonic, Santa Rosa Symphony, and the Peninsula Symphony. The composer's second opera, Law Offices, premiered in San Francisco in 1996 and was performed again in 1998 on the steps of the San Mateo County Courthouse. Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra was premiered in January 2001 by Paul Dresher, electric guitar. Mr. Beeman has attended the Ernest Bloch Composers' Symposium, the Bard Composer-Conductor program, the Oxford Summer Institutes, and the Oregon Bach Festival and has received awards through Meet the Composer, the American Music Center and ASCAP. Compositions have been performed by Ensemble Sorelle, the Mission Chamber Orchestra, the Ives Quartet, Fireworks Ensemble, the Oregon Repertory Singers and Schola Cantorum of San Francisco.
Dr. Erling Wold is a composer and man-about-town. He recently premiered two large works, his Missa Beati Notkeri Balbuli Sancti Galli Monachi in St Gallen, Switzerland, and his solo opera Mordake for tenor John Duykers as part of the San Francisco International Arts Festival. He is currently working on a personal autobiographical theater piece detailing his corruption and death with the help of James Bisso, which may never be finished, and just finished a more tractable violin sonata for the Denisova-Kornienko duo in Vienna. He is best known for his operas, including Sub Pontio Pilato, an historical fantasy on the death and remembrance of Pontius Pilate, a chamber opera based on William Burroughs' early autobiographical novel Queer, and his critically acclaimed work A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil, based on the Max Ernst collage novel.
Dr. Mark Alburger (b. 1957, Upper Darby, PA) is a multiple-award-winning ASCAP composer of postminimal, postpopular, and postcomedic sensibilities. His compositions are generally assembled or gridded over pieces ranging from ancient and world music, to postmodern art and vernacular sources -- 174 opus numbers (markalburgerworks.blogspot.com), including 16 concertos, 20 operas, 9 symphonies, and the four-hours-and-counting opera-oratorio work-in-progress, The Bible. He is Music Director of San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra (sfcco.org) and San Francisco Cabaret Opera / Goat Hall Productions (goathall.org), Editor-Publisher of 21st-Century Music Journal (21st-centurymusic.blogspot.com and 21st-centurymusic.com), Instructor in Music Literature and Theory at Diablo Valley and St. Mary's Colleges, and Music Critic for Commuter Times. He studied at Swarthmore College (B.A.) with Gerald Levinson and Joan Panetti, Dominican University (M.A., Composition) with Jules Langert, Claremont Graduate University (Ph.D., Musicology) with Roland Jackson, and privately with Terry Riley. Alburger writes daily at markalburger2009.blogspot.com and is in the fifth year of an 11-year project recording his complete works for New Music Publications and Recordings.
The multi-instrumentalist Michael Cooke is a composer of jazz and classical music. This two-time Emmy, ASCAPLUS Award and Louis Armstrong Jazz Award winner plays a variety of instruments: you can hear him on soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones, flute, soprano and bass clarinets, bassoon and percussion. A cum laude graduate with a music degree from the University of North Texas, he had many different areas of study; jazz, ethnomusicology, music history, theory and of course composition. In 1991 Michael began his professional orchestral career performing in many north Texas area symphonies. Michael has played in Europe, Mexico, and all over the United States. Cimarron Music Press began published many of Michael's compositions in 1994. After relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area, he has been exploring new paths in improvised and composed music, mixing a variety of styles and techniques that draw upon the creative energy of a multicultural experience, both in and out of America. In 1999, Michael started a jazz label called Black Hat Records (blackhatrecords.com) and is currently on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra. The San Francisco Beacon describes Michael's music as "flowing out color and tone with a feeling I haven't heard in quite a while. Michael plays with such dimension and flavor that it sets (his) sound apart from the rest." Uncompromising, fiery, complex, passionate, and cathartic is how the All Music Guide labeled Michael's playing on Searching by Cooke Quartet, Statements by Michael Cooke and The Is by CKW Trio. His latest release, An Indefinite Suspension of The Possible, is an unusual mixture of woodwinds, trombone, cello, koto and percussion, creating a distinct synergy in improvised music that has previously been untapped.
in part by the American Composers Forum
** Funded in part through Meet The Composers Creative Connections
Joe Pulichino, Executive Director John Renke, Music Director
Lisa Scola Prosek
CANTORUM SAN FRANCISCO (SCSF)
was founded in 1998 as the resident choir of the National Shrine of Saint
Francis of Assisi, where it provided a strong, living link to the centuries-old
choral tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. This twelve-voice, professional
ensemble is dedicated to the highest standards of performance of choral
literature from Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony through works
by contemporary composers, including a growing repertoire of commissioned
works. The choir two CDs, Pilgrimage and This Christmas
Night, have been critically acclaimed internationally, garnering
praise for a sound equal to the best of the mixed-voice choirs in Great
In 2005 SCSF was organized as an independent non-profit corporation, and now offers its treasured gift of music for liturgies, concerts, and private events, in addition to providing educational and community outreach programs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. SCSF is supported completely by the generosity of those who value this important contribution to the San Francisco Bay Area musical and liturgical life.
Lisa Scola Prosek's Libera Me For Chorus, Soloists and String Orchestra was commissioned by the American Composers Forum as a Community Engagement Grant. The purpose of the commission was to bring together two of San Francisco's musical ensembles, The Schola Cantorum San Francisco, and the San francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra, for a single concert of new music. Libera Me was written specifically for these two ensembles, with solos that showcase the singers of the Schola Cantorum.The text is from the Catholic Mass.
Libera Me Domine
de morte aeterna
in die illa tremenda:
Quando caeli movendi sunt et terra!
Asperges Me, Domine
Hysopo, et mundabor
Secundum Magnam Misericordiam:
From everlasting death,
deliver me, O Lord,
in that terrible day
when the heavens and earth will move.
Lord have Mercy
Christ have Mercy
Lord have Mercy
Bless me with your Holy Water, O Lord
and of the worldly sins
And help me overcome
with the great Mercy
of Your Love.
In 1982 I received a set of post cards with poetry by women poets. I started setting them to music, but only finished one, She Was Beautiful and Wicked by Nina Cassian, who is a Romanian refugee living in New York. The piece was premiered by the San Francisco Civic Chorale, of which I was then a member. When it was announced recently that the SFCCO would be colaborating with Scola Cantorum to do a choral concert, I selected one of the other poems from the set, I’m Terribly Soft, by Sarah Kirsch, which became the third number of tonight’s piece. For the middle number I created a text using random fragments from Writing Is an Aid to Memory by Lyn Hejinian, who teaches at U.C. Berkeley. These three poems are set in contrasting musical styles stridently romantic, intellectual but with feeling, and lushly romantic. - Jan Pusina
Canticle of the Sun by Alexis Alrich is based up the poem by St. Francis of Assisi in praise of the creator and creation. St. Francis was born in 1181, the son of a wealthy merchant, and after a riotous youth he underwent a conversion and renounced money and possessions. The sun, moon, fire, earth and even death are personified as “brother sun,” “sister moon,” “mother earth,” and so on, and described in colorful detail. I was attracted by this vibrant imagery and by the lyrical language which is partway between classical Latin and modern Italian.
of the Sun
mi signore, per frate vento,
of the Sun
All praise be
yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, And fair and stormy,
all the weather's moods,
Sempervirens was written in my studio overlooking Sam MacDonald Park in La Honda. The studio offers a panoramic view of a majestic forest of California redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens. Sempervirens literally means “always green.” The text was inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem,”Wild Geese.”
Sempervirens, ancient tree,
you don’t have to be heard.
You do not have to wonder if your song
will be heard in a hundred years, remembered,
You only have to let your long and sturdy branches
sway with the wind without resisting.
Tell me of your past and I will tell of mine.
Sempervirens, your life flows on, always living.
The dove and the white owl of the night
find shelter in your shadows,
over your mountains and your valleys,
soar the redtail and the eagle.
I wonder if human voices
will be singing high again?
No matter what I say, no matter what I do,
your beauty plants itself inside my memory;
soothes me in a pure, sweet voice.
Now and forever, my song remains whole
in your always living heart.
Missa Beati Notkeri Balbuli Sancti Galli Monachi was commissioned by the Cathedral in St Gallen Switzerland and will be premiered in its entirety in the Fall, but we are here performing a few excerpts. The full piece is a setting of the Ordinary of the Catholic Mass accompanied by two Psalms and a virtuosic organ postlude. The Cathedral is a baroque building built in the mid-eighteenth century on the site of the original and quite famous Abbey of St. Gall, a major center of scholarship and learning in the middle ages in Europe, which is still represented today by an incredibly beautiful library containing one of the most comprehensive collections of early medieval books. The Mass is named for Notker of St. Gall (familiarly known as Notker Balbulus, or Notker the Stammerer; c.840 - c.912), who was one of the first people to identify themselves as a composer in the Western World. His book Liber hymnorum is an early collection of Sequences, which he called "hymns," mnemonic poems for remembering the series of pitches sung during a melisma in plainchant, especially in the Alleluia. In addition, he was a writer, known for a martyrology and a metrical biography of Saint Gall. He was beatified in 1512.
Missa "Thé à deux" (1980) , Op. 21, for Voices and Orchestra, is a cantus firmus mass ordinary based on the Vincent Youmans' "Tea for Two." The opening Kyrie is a medieval organum in the spirit of Leonin, Perotin, and the anonymous two-part Ductia in The Historical Anthology of Music, Volume I. The scoring is open, and can be realized by an early music mixed "pick-up" ensemble or a modern chorus and orchestra of any size, or any admixture of the previous. Performers play from score or parts, as they are comfortable.
Music for Humans makes use of extended vocal sounds instead of the traditional chorus sing text. Based on ideas Michael has for a choral symphony, the chorus is asked to make sounds humans can make but choirs are rarely asked to. Clapping, snapping and clicking of the tongues are some of the extra sounds the chorus is asked to make. Since there is no text instead of the traditional Ooos and Aaahs, Michael has used the rich sounds of the Chinese Phonetic alphabet, Zhuyin Fuhao or BaPaMaFa. Not only are the sounds the choir makes in Music for Humans unusual, but so is the way the choir is used. Instead of being a soloist, they are used as just another set of instruments like they way he used 4 vocalist in his first symphony. As for the sound of work, one can hear hints of Witold Lutoslawski, Paul Hindemith, and Meredith Monk. Michael also makes use of techniques made famous by Giacinto Scelsi, where he improvises sections then transcribes them into notation for the orchestra to replay. Over all the work maybe a meditation of the human mind, with points of calm clarity, beauty and intense confusion that is how we humans live our lives everyday.
Dr. Mark Alburger is the Music Director, Conductor and founder of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra. Mark is an eclectic American composer of postminimal, postpopular, and postcomedic sensibilities. He is the Music Director of Goat Hall Productions / San Francisco Cabaret Opera, Editor-Publisher of 21st-Century Music Journal, an award-winning ASCAP composer of concert music published by New Music, Instructor in Music Theory and Literature at Diablo Valley College, Music Critic for Commuter Times, author, musicologist, oboist, pianist, and recording artist.
Dr. Alburger studied oboe with Dorothy Freeman, and played in student orchestras in association with George Crumb and Richard Wernick. He studied composition and musicology with Gerald Levinson, Joan Panetti, and James Freeman at Swarthmore College (B.A.), Karl Kohn at Pomona College, Jules Langert at Dominican College (M.A.), Tom Flaherty and Roland Jackson at Claremont Graduate School (Ph.D.), and Terry Riley.
Since 1987 he has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, initially producing a great deal of vocal music with assembled texts, including the opera Mice and Men (1992), the crisis-madrigal collection L.A. Stories (1993), the rap sheet For My Brother For My Brother (1997), and the hieratic Passion According to Saint Matthew (1997).
Since 1997, Dr. Alburger has gridded and troped compositions upon pre-existent compositions ranging from world music and medieval sources to contemporaries such as George Crumb and Philip Glass. To date, he has written 16 concerti, 7 masses and oratorios, 12 preludes and fugues, 20 operas, 6 song cycles, 9 symphonies -- a total of 130 opus numbers and more than 800 individual pieces. He is presently at work on Waiting for Godot and Diabolic Variations.
John Kendall Bailey is an Associate Conductor with the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra and is Principal Conductor and Chorus Master of the Trinity Lyric Opera, Music Director and Conductor of Voices of Musica Sacra, and Artistic Director of the San Francisco Song Festival. In 1994, Mr. Bailey founded the Berkeley Lyric Opera and served as its Music Director and Conductor until 2001. Since then he has been a guest conductor with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Oakland Youth Orchestra, and Oakland Ballet, and music director and conductor for productions with North Bay Opera, Mission City Opera, Goat Hall Productions, Solo Opera, the Crowden School and Dominican University. From 2002-2006 he was the Chorus Master of the Festival Opera of Walnut Creek. Mr. Bailey is also a composer, and his works have been performed and commissioned in the Bay Area and abroad.
Mr. Bailey also maintains a busy performance schedule as a bass-baritone, oboist, and pianist, and has performed with the San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Oakland East Bay, Berkeley, Redding, Napa, Sacramento, and Prometheus symphonies, American Bach Soloists, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Midsummer Mozart and West Marin music festivals, San Francisco Bach Choir, Coro Hispano de San Francisco, Pacific Mozart Ensemble, California Vocal Academy, San Francisco Concerto Orchestra, Masterworks Chorale of San Mateo, Baroque Arts Ensemble, San Francisco Korean Master Chorale, the Master Sinfonia, the Mark Morris and Merce Cunningham dance companies, Goat Hall Productions, Opera Piccola, the Berkeley, Golden Gate, and Oakland Lyric Opera companies, and many other groups. He has recorded for the Harmonia Mundi, Koch International, Pro Musica, Wildboar, Centaur, and Angelus Music labels.
Mr. Bailey has been a pre-performance lecturer for the Oakland East Bay Symphony and the San Francisco Opera, a critic for the San Francisco Classical Voice, a writer of real-time commentary for the Concert Companion, and has taught conducting at the University of California at Davis.