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Presents "Legacy of the Invisible" at Old First Concerts
Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 8 pm

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



Sheli Nan is a Berkeley composer, musician, arts educator, and performer whose life’s work focuses on the creation, performance, distribution, and teaching of music. She has been professionally involved in the musical landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area for more than three decades. The Music Studio is an umbrella for her various musicals enterprises, including composition, performance, recording and teaching, privately and in school programs, as well as written publications. Sheli is the author of two books, many articles on music and has had 20 editions of music published and performed including her symphony, Signatures in Time and Place. Her latest large scale musical work is Saga: Portrait of a 21st Century Child, an opera for our time, with a libretto by the composer. She is a member of ASCAP and the consistent recipient of the Standard Awards Panel. She is also a member of the New York Composers Circle, The Western Early Keyboard Society, Early Music America, The San Francisco Early Music Society, The Society of Composers International, and the American Composers Forum.

Sheli Nan

La Tierra - Cancion de Amor    notes

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.

Jan Pusina

Fantasy for Harp and Orchestra  notes

Samantha Garvey, Harp

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 ( 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.

Michael Cooke

for n in reversed (range (1,4)):     notes    video



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 (, 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 ( and San Francisco Cabaret Opera / Goat Hall Productions (, Editor-Publisher of 21st-Century Music Journal ( and, 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 and is in the fifth year of an 11-year project recording his complete works for New Music Publications and Recordings.

Mark Alburger

Portraits of ___ (Some Multiple of Three) Women, Op. 231      notes

I. Teacher in Red Glasses
II. Arizona Diva
III. Eve
VI. Marlena
V. Jackie in the Southwest
VI. Tess
VII. "She" Who Must Be Obeyed

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

Davide Verotta

Quasi Concertante     notes

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.

John Beeman

Carla Brooke, Librettist

Ishi Emerges   notes    video

Scene 2  

Kirk Eichelberger, Professor Kroeber
Nikolas Nackley, T. Waterman
Wayne D. Wong, Reporter/Rancher
Michael Desnoyers, Reporter/Sheriff

speaker Click on the links to listen to the music. video Click on the links for video.
MSMediaPlayer Microsoft Media Player or for Mac: VLCMediaPlayer VLC Media Player.


Harry Bernstein (Piccolo)


Michael Kimbell
Eliza Masters

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

Tenor Sax
Michael Cooke

Michael Cox

Anna Newman
Jan Pusina

Scott Sterling

Samantha Garvey

Davide Verotta

Victor Flaviani
Anne Szabla
Davide Verotta

Violin I
Monika Gruber

Violin II
Kristen Kline

Nansamba Ssensalo
Kat Walsh

Ariella Hyman

John Beeman



Sheli began composing a series of compositions illustrating the intersection of architecture and music some years ago. This collection, Signatures in Time and Place, now includes four orchestral compositions. La Tierra - Cancion de Amor is a paean to our interaction with the earth and the beauty we create. All one has to do is cross the magnificent new span of our Bay Bridge in order to feel the grandeur of our creativity in sync with our earthly home. La Tierra recognizes our process from the visionaries who create the masterworks, to the artisans and workers who complete the vision.

Fantasy For Harp and Orchestra is written in a casual style utilizing unrelated triads and seventh, ninth and eleventh chords, more or less episodically. The word "fantasy" connotes freedom of thought and pleasure, but is not without surprises.

Ishi, Scene 2 - In 1911 Ishi, the last survivor of the Yahi tribe was found barely alive near a slaughterhouse in Orville, Ca. Voices announcing Ishi's pending arrival dramatically interweave between a full range of characters that include: Professor Kroeber, the first professor of Anthropology at the University of California in Berkeley, and his colleague, T. Waterman. News of Ishi's appearance quickly spreads. Reporters eagerly announce the discovery of the "aboriginal Indian." A local rancher in Orville discovers him "crouched in a corner," near starvation. Soon after, a dialogue ensues between the rancher and sheriff as they attempt to make sense of all this. The fateful timing of Ishi's discovery coincides with the opening of the first Museum of Anthropology in San Francisco. Kroeber and Waterman arrange Native American artifacts for public viewing marveling at the survival skills of the Indians from Ishi's tribe. At the end of the scene, Kroeber asks Waterman to go "get the Indian man." Waterman agrees "to escort the last one safely here." Ishi lived the remainder of his life at the museum, educating the public while developing close friendships. His gentle and insightful manner changed the lives of those who knew him.

Quasi Concertante is a work for orchestra that uses the individual instruments both as soloists and as component parts of the ensemble. As soloists the individual players acquire a prominent role, in the tradition of the Sinfonia Concertante of the baroque period, while as part of the ensemble they loose their individuality and are used as part of the orchestral canvas. The work is in two movements, each divided in two sub-sections, resulting in a sequence of Moderato, Più Lento, Allegro, followed, after a short interruption, by Scherzo, and Presto). It revolves around the intertwining and elaboration of three musical themes: the first is a somewhat sweet melody that is heard right at the beginning piece; the second a rather ominous motive that is heard prominently in the Più Lento, and the third an assertive statement that is first heard in the Moderato and also closes the piece. Emotionally Quasi Concertante is not a programmatic work, it describes instead an emotional mixture landscape composed of some beauty, some dismay, some playfulness and an element of inevitability that pervades the overall musical structure.

In the 1980's pattern music or minimalism and post-minimalism were popular styles while Michael was in school. John Adams’s Short Ride in a Fast Machine was a big hit among his peers. For Loop was originally intended to be a 'tip of the cap' to that time in my life. While writing this composition it started to sound a like a machine or a computer working. Probably a subconscious nod to my college composition professor Dr. Cindy McTee who wrote a composition called Circuits. After Michael completed the first draft he noticed a pattern that keep appearing, play 3 — reset 3, play 2 — reset 2, play 1 — reset 1. This pattern made him think of a simple for loop in computer programming. This is how he came up with the title for n in reversed(range(1,4)): play(n) pause(n) which is a for loop that would generate this pattern and really emphasize how the piece sounds like a computer working.

Portraits Of ____ (Some Multiple Of 3) Women, Op. 231 (2015, after paintings of Roland March, and found texts) is colored by Johannes Ockeghem's Missa "Ma Maistresse" (The "My Mistress" Mass), Dixieland Jazz, the Arizona Navajo Ribbon Dance, W.A. Mozart's Magic Flute, Igor Stravinsky's Flood and Prelude for Jazz Ensemble, Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite, James Sanderson's Hail to the Chief, Giuseppe Verdi's Falstaff, and Sub-Saharan African drumming, and Paul Hindemith's Murderer, Hope of Women -- all subject to cubist / expressionist / minimalist / post-modernist distortions.

I. Teacher in Red Glasses (after Wikipedia articles on Teacher and Glasses) Let me give you an education - / At the end of the visible spectrum... / Informal and ongoing, professional qualifications. / Frames with lenses worn before the eyes to correct the vision. / I have a lesson plan, a course of study.
II. Arizona Diva Arizona Arizona Diva . . . / (vocalise)
III. Eve (Robert Craft, after Genesis) Eve? / Who is there? / Aye, a friend.
IV. Marlena (after Wikipedia article on Marlena Dietrich) Magdalena, a German and American, an actress singer, and she remained quite popular throughout her long career with constant re-inventioning her image. She acted on the stage and in silent films in the twenties in Berlin to great acclaim. Her glamour and ex- otic looks made her among the highest paid of actresses of her time. She was naturalized American citizen in nine- teen thirty-nine. Throughout the war, she was a highest-profile frontline entertainer. She was a show woman -- ninth greatest female star of all time.
V. Jackie in the Southwest (after Wikipedia articles on Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Southwestern United States) Southwest a region defined in different ways, included in all / She is remembered for her contributions to / are New Mexico and Arizona. / arts and preserving of historic structures, her style and her / Fashion icon, for her ensembles, symbolic of her husband's / gracious ways / assassination.
VI. Tess (after John Springer's interview with Joan Crawford) To hell with it all! / Uh-uh! I just love people! / Well! / I thank you all! / How do you find the time? / You don't. You make time. / You were nervous! / What the hell... DO YOU THINK I AM?
VII. "She" Who Must Be Obeyed (after Roland March) Seated on her throne from which she rules is Henry Rider Haggard's "She" who must be obeyed / A mystery white queen. The mother Goddess although she's fair and just, she is ruthless, follows the letter of the law. I attired her as a scanty hippie. / I am as Mother Earth. I notice everything. I'll read you like an / Her breast is slightly exposed and her glance is side ways. / open book. / No fooling this babe. Scares the living jammies off me!!!!

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.

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.

Carla Brooke has collaborated with her husband John Beeman, as an author, librettist, and lyricist. Besides writing the libretto for his opera, The Answering Machine, Brooke also wrote the text for the choral Angel of Peace, performed at the Oregon Bach Festival. She co-authored Foam, a musical-dramatic work, and wrote the book and lyrics for the children's musical El Condor. As an author and poet, Carla has written Artfelt, a guide for helping children deal with grief, and recently, Hanai and I, a children's story. Her poetry and essays have been published by Insight Meditation Center in a collection called Passing It On.