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SAN FRANCISCO COMPOSERS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Presents "Fellow Travelers" at Old First Concerts
Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 8 pm

Old First Presbyterian Church
1751 Sacramento Street/Van Ness, San Francisco, CA 94109


PROGRAM

 

Davide Verotta was born in a boring Italian town close to Milano and moved to the very much more exciting San Francisco in his late twenties. He studied piano at the Milano Conservatory and piano and composition at the San Francisco Conservatory and State University (MA in composition), and at the University of California at Davis (PhD). He is an active solo and ensemble piano recitalist, and he is actively involved in the new music performance and composition scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recent compositions include works for orchestra, chamber opera, dance, piano solo, and different chamber ensembles. For more information please visit his web site at http://www.davideverotta.com.

Davide Verotta

Invitation    notes
   

Philip Freihofner -- oboist, synthesist & composer, has been a member of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra since the fall of 2004. He has an A.B. in Music from the University of California in Berkeley, and works variously as a contract programmer, oboe performer, coach & "reed doctor," composer & sound designer, and as a retail clerk on Saturdays at Forrests Music in Berkeley. His diverse musical background includes classwork at the SF Conservatory of Music (Prep Dept), Blue Bear School of Music and the Ali Akbar College of Music, and appearances on a recording each by The Residents & negativland, performance with the groups "Flak" and J Poet's rock band "Young Adults," and scoring (artistic, commercial and experimental) for video, A/V, drama and dance. Credits include title music for the UC Berkeley "The Distinguished Teaching Awards" and the theme music for Harry Kreisler's "Conversations with History" series (over 400 episodes produced). He wrote and served as Music Director for Cheryl Koehler/Zig Zag Theatre's full-length dance theater production: "The Fish and the Fire" (performed at Julia Morgan Center in 1993, and the Cowell Theater in 1994) as well as three UC Berkeley Drama Department productions (with directors George House & Lorne Buckmann). The New Music group EARPLAY workshopped a sketch that has been further developed into a work-in-progress setting of the short story "Carmilla" by Sheridan Le Fanu (performed at SFCCO's December 2008 concert). His "Quartet #1 for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn & Bassoon" has been performed by the UC Santa Cruz Music Department faculty, and excerpts of his silent film score for "Der Golem" were recently released on CD by the double reed consort: "WiZARDS!". Most recent work includes electro-acoustic compositions, including "It's only the Wind" premiered at SFCCO Fall 2009 concert at Chapel-of-the-Chimes, "The Obelisk" performed by Steve Adams (SFCCO June 2009) and "What Are You Going to Dream Tonight?" (SFCCO Feb 2009). He also self-publishes and sells sheet music arrangements and original compositions for chamber music ensembles, with an emphasis on double reed quartets, and invented a tool to assist with oboe reed making, the "Blend-Guide Mandrel," currently being marketed by Forrests Music. As an oboist, in addition to working with SFCCO, he has recently performed with Bay Area Chamber Harmonies, and for Bay Area composers Harry Bernstein, Mark Alburger, Jan Pusina, and in Lisa Schola Prosek's Chamber Opera "Trap Door."

Philip Freihofner

Filled with Moonlight     notes

David Sprung was born in Jersey City, New Jersey and grew up in New York City where he attended Stuyvesant High School and Queens College from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors in Music. After military service during the Korean War, he attended Princeton University, receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree in Music Composition. His composition teachers included Vittorio Rieti, Luigi Dallapiccola, Roger Sessions and Milton Babbitt. Boris Schwarz and Seymour Lipkin were his teachers in conducting. Mr. Sprung's career has been divided between education, performance and composition. He has been a professor on the faculties of Wichita State University, Sonoma State University and is Professor Emeritus of Music at California State University, East Bay. He is a well-known French horn performer, having played principal horn with a number of major and regional symphony orchestras, opera companies and festivals. Highlights have been his 35 year tenure as co-principal horn with the San Francisco Opera orchestra and as principal horn with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Wichita Symphony, San Francisco Ballet orchestra, the Chautauqua Symphony and Opera and the Midsummer Mozart Festival. Mr. Sprung was music director and conductor of the Flagler Symphonic Society, Sonoma State Philharmonic and has appeared as guest conductor of the Wichita Community Theatre, Napa Symphony, CSUEB orchestra, and others.Davide Verotta studied piano in Milano (Italy) with Isabella Zielonka Crivelli, Ernesto Esposito, and Giacinto Salvetti. and in San Francisco with Renee Witon, Peggy Salkind, Robert Helps, Julian White; composition at SFSU with Josh Levine, at UC Davis with Kurt Rode, and, this coming year, Laurie San Martin. He performs regularly in the Bay area as a piano soloist, and for the last three years has played with the San Francisco Composers' Chamber Orchestra. He teaches piano in his home studio and at the Community Music Center in San Francisco.

David Sprung

Haiku for Tenor, Wind Quintet, and Piano     notes

Michael Desnoyers, Tenor

intermission

 

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.

Lisa Scola Prosek

The Lariat     notes

I. El Vaquero
II. Las Otno Ayam

Desirae Harp, Soprano

Eduard Prosek

The Curse      notes

Eduard Prosek, Voice and Guitar

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.

Mark Alburger

Double Piano Concerto ("Fellow Travellers"), Op. 204 (2012) notes

I. Allegro troppo   

Eytan and Gabriel Schillinger-Hyman, Piano

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PERFORMERS
 

Flute
Bruce Salvisberg

Oboe
Philip Freihofner
Peter Lemberg

Clarinet
Michael Kimbell
Rachel Condry

Bassoon (ContraBassoon**)
Michael Cooke
Michael Garvey
Lori Garvey**


Trumpet
Eduard Prosek

Horn
Brian Holmes

Harp
Samantha Garvey

Piano/Keyboards
Davide Verotta
Miles Graber

Percussion
Victor Flaviani


Violin I
Monika Gruber

Violin II
Harry Bernstein

Viola
Nansamba Ssensalo

Cello
Ariella Hyman

Bass
John Beeman

 

 

Double Piano Concerto ("Fellow Travellers"), Op. 204, was written for and is dedicated to Eytan and Gabriel Schillinger-Hyman in thanks for their wonderful work with the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra over several years. The piece is mapped over Francis Poulenc's Double Piano Concerto, taking in interlopers from Japanese, Hispanic, minimalist, and rock-n-roll traditions. The first movement features a Dorian pentatonic scale (D E F A B).

Filled with Moonlight was written in fulfillment of a commission for a new duet for oboe and piano by the ensemble Dolci. Oboist Ted Rust and pianist Viva Knight premiered the work in Berkeley, December, 2012, and have performed it several times since, including at the 2013 International Double Reed Festival. The music takes inspiration from the novel Blackberries in the Dream House, a romance set in 1850's Japan, by San Francisco poet Diane Frank. In designing the musical world of this piece, my sources included elements of Japanese music and esthetic theory (in particular, I was intrigued by the valuing of a quality of "astringency" as can be heard in sharply clashing note-clusters), of Poulenc's fabulous chamber works for winds and piano, and of the Koto work of Jazz pianist McCoy Tyner (check out his Valley of the Sun if you have a chance!).

Invitation is a short piece for piano, that is the introduction of a large work for piano, percussion, strings,and voice, Il Ponte -- which will be presented in the Bay Area in the Spring of 2014. As the title indicates the piece represents an invitation to the player and the audience, a luring to enter a different place, leaving behind for a while normal everyday realities.

The Curse is the second track on Prosek's newest EP, Willow Tree, released September, 2013.

We're all born innocent, it's how you lose it,
that keeps me interested in you
and you speak so softly I don't catch a thing but,
when you take a breath, the angels sing.

So I'll take it as it comes, win or lose I'd
rather nothing at all, then to choose
between the one I love, or my instincts
so I'll keep my mouth shut, and keep listening.

She's a blessing but, just like any curse she's
so beautiful it, makes it so much worse.
She's a blessing but, just like anything you
never have enough, and when you do it's all too much

Excerpts from The Lariat, a new opera by Scola Prosek, based on Jaime De Angulo's 1927 novella, with a poetic libretto in Esselen by Louise Miranda Ramirez, Tribal Chair of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation, sung by Desirae Harp. The work will premiere in 2014, at the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York, and in 2015 with the San Francisco International Arts Festival. The piece is made possible by a grant from Theatre Bay Area.

Bear, you have taken my love Koltala name yukla nish kolo!
I cannot live without him, Eni anpapiake cha'a anhuyake huniki!
Creator, take me too. Las Otno Ayam yukla nicha.

Composed in 2013 and being performed for the first time, the texts for Haiku come from the collection Japanese Haiku (1956, Peter Pauper Press). In a prefatory note, translator Peter Beilenson notes: “There are only seventeen syllables in the haiku; the first and third lines contain five, the second seven. There is almost always in it the name of the season, or a key word giving the season by inference ….. But there is also, in a good haiku, more than a statement of feeling or a picture of nature: there is an implied identity between two seemingly different things.” The mood of the music is intended to reflect these ideas, although with elaborations using text repetitions and complementary thematic material. For the entire set, there is a high degree of musical integration; motives and other musical gestures recur throughout, as a means of providing stylistic unity.

I
In these dark waters
drawn up from
my frozen well….
Glittering of spring
Ringai

II
Standing still at dusk
listen… in far
distances
The song of froglings!
Buson

III
I dreamed of battles
and was slain…
oh savage samurai!
Insatiable fleas!
Kikaku

IV
Arise from sleep, old cat,
and with great yawns
and stretchings…
Amble out for love
Issa

V
Darting dragon-fly…
pull off its shiny
wings and look…
Bright red pepper-pod
Kikaku

VI
[Reply: follows V without pause]
Bright red pepper-pod…
it needs but shiny
wings and look…
Darting dragon-fly!
Basho

VII
A white swan swimming…
parting with her
unmoved breast
Cherry-petaled pond
Roka

VIII
Roaring winter storm
rushing to its
utter end…
Ever-sounding sea
Gonsui

IX
Ah! I intended
never never
to grow old…
Listen: new year's bell!
Jokun

Mark Alburger 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.


Lisa Scola Prosek Lisa Scola Prosek is the General Manager of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra and was raised in Rome, Italy, and began studying piano at the age of 4. After moving to the United States at the age of 11, Lisa graduated from Princeton University, where she studied with Edward Cone and Milton Babbitt, and privately with Lukas Foss in New York. During this time, Lisa developed a great love for the voice, and studied singing with Margherita Kalil of the Met. After Princeton, Lisa returned to Italy, where she attended the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini, and studied with composer Gaetano Giani-Luporini. To date, Scola Prosek has composed two oratorios, and 5 operas, in Italian and English, including Satyricon, reviewed by the San Francisco Observer as a "Tour de Force" and featured on KRON TV; and Leonardo's Notebooks, in Italian, both of which premiered to capacity audiences, and were featured on NPR's West Coast Live. The Contemporary Classical Music Weekly writes: "This composer's work is steeped in the Mediterranean world of gestures, writ both big and small. Her vocal writing references bel canto and the madrigal, and the instrumental writing, with its shadowy inner voices, has character and point. Intricate and highly expressive music." Sequenza 21. Lisa Scola Prosek is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including from the Argosy Foundation, for Belfagor, and from the LEF Foundation, Meet The Composer, The Hewlett Foundation, the Argosy Contemporary Music Fund, and the American Composers Forum for her opera Trap Door.


John Kendall Bailey 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.


Desirae Harp (Ashi Akxi, The Esselen Girl) is a descendant of the Mishewal Wappo Tribe and Dine Nation and is a multi-talented singer and songwriter. Her songs include themes that focus on decolonization of mind, body and spirit. She sings with numerous groups including Audiopharmacy and is a community activist and mentor for urban youth programs throughout the bay area. She is also a co-founder of the Mishewal Wappo Language Revitalization Project. She is currently attending San Francisco State University.

Edward Prosek is a 22-year-old Californian native now residing in Brighton, UK. His debut EP California (2012) gained him a strong online following, with its title track receiving over 40,000 YouTube views. Following this initial interest, Prosek's cover of Paul Simon's Homeward Bound was chosen as the soundtrack to a major TV advertisement for Cathedral City last year in the UK taking Prosek to a national audience. His latest release, Willow Tree, showcases his impressive abilities as composer and arranger. A full UK tour and album are set for release in 2014.