YouTube Myspace

SAN FRANCISCO COMPOSERS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Presents "COMPOSERS PLAYGROUND" Concert at Old First Church
Friday, December 2nd, 2005 at 8 pm

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

Listen to the complete concert.
PROGRAM
 

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

Three Ways to Cook a Fish     Program Notes
I. Haute Cuisine
- Interlude -
II. Casual
- Interlude -
III. Crisis Management

Ruby Fulton is a native of Northwest Iowa, she has studied composition at Boston University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Peabody Institute. Her music has been played in Boston, San Francisco, Cincinnati and London. Primary mentors include Elinor Armer, Dan Becker, Charles Fussell, Tom Benjamin and Chris Theofanidis.

Ruby Fulton

Ignis Fatuus     Program 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

Blues in Bb: Theme and Variations       Program Notes

David Graves has been writing a variety of musical works since the 1970s, including jazz, pop, electronic and neoclassical pieces for film, theater, studio recordings and orchestra. He has studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and City College of San Francisco. In 2003 and 2005 David was a resident composer with the Djerassi Resident Artist Program where he was awarded the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fellowship. He was also a resident composer with the Berkeley Symphony for two consecutive seasons and wrote six pieces that were performed as a part of their Under Construction series. His large-scale ambient works have been installed in a redwood canyon (tree/sigh), The LAB (Deciduous), and the renowned San Francisco AudioBus (Human Street Textures). For many years, he has been the Coordinator for the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra and has had pieces performed annually by that ensemble as well as the Irregular Resolutions composer collective. In the late 2000s he released albums with the prog-rock group ScienceNV, recorded a collection of pop vocal tunes, received grants from the American Composers Forum and Meet the Composer, was sound designer for Miss Julie at the Aurora Theater, and developed a collection of short video dreams (Living in the Village of My Dreams). More recently, he was sound designer for Mary Stuart at Shotgun Theater, performed as AmbientBlack at various venues, created soundscapes for the featurette Alien Worlds at the California Academy of Sciences, and installed Fog and Expectations in the backyard garden of Urban Bazaar.

David Graves

My Neighbors Down the Hall    Program Notes
I. The Slacker
II. The Widow
III. An Angry Young Man
IV. The Poet
V. Gossip

intermission

 

Beeri Moalem is a violist, violinist, composer, teacher, writer. In addition to SFCCO, he plays with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Monterey Symphony, and Fresno Symphony. He teaches orchestra at Terman School in Palo Alto, and is a critic for the San Francisco Classical Voice. His other interests include mountain biking, travel, green technology, and computer games.

Beeri Moalem

Dances of Death      Program Notes

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.

Michael Cooke

Open Ended     Program Notes

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.

Erling Wold

Brightness     Program Notes

I.
II.
III.

Rachel Condry, clarinet/bass clarinet
Micah Epps, voice

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.

PERFORMERS
 

Flute (Alto Flute**)
Bruce Salvisberg
Harry Bernstein**

Oboe
Phil Freihofner

Clarinet (Bass Clarinet**)
Rachel Condry**

Bassoon
Michael Cooke

Trumpet
David Bithell

Guitar
Erling Wold

Piano
Alexis Alrich
Lisa Scola Prosek
Erling Wold

Violin I
Monika Gruber

Violin II
Hande Erdem

Viola
Beeri Moalem

Cello
Scott Krijnen

Bass
John Beeman

 

Micah Epps earned his Bachelor of Music Degree at the University of Arizona. His experience ranges from opera to classical and sacred choral music. He has performed as soloist in such groups as the San Mateo Masterworks Chorale (European Tour soloist), San Francisco Symphony Chorus; and was Mozart Requiem soloist in Hermosillo, Mexico. His operatic roles include U.S. premieres with local composers such as David Conte in Firebird Motel and Erling Wold in Sub Pontio Pilato. In addition, he has created the roles of Eumolpus in Lisa Scola Prosek's opera Satyricon and Creon in Mark Alburger's Antigone.

Three Ways to Cook a Fish is a suite of three dances originally written for oboe and "electronic gamelan." The "Three Ways" are not so much about particular recipes, but about modern approaches to cooking. Much in this work must be credited to the collaboration with dancer/choreographer Cheryl Koehler, and her dancers Marguerite Fishman and Ann DiFruscia. This piece makes use of 6-note (not quite pentatonic) scales, sonorous cluster chords to evoke bell-like effects, various "extended" oboe techniques (e.g., overblowing and multiphonics) and rhythmic ostinatos of various cultural derivations. Two interludes were added to give the pianist relief from ostinato duties.

Ignis Fatuus was written in Baltimore this fall. It is a six-minute buildup of sound on one piano, featuring patterns that pile up as the piece progresses, nearly spinning out of control. Ignis Fatuus is the name for a natural electric phenomenon, spectral lights that appear in the night in sporadic places across the U.S. The literal translation is "foolish fire" and this is what I had in mind as I worked on the piece. Thanks to Alexis, Lisa and Erling for bringing it to life.

Blues in B Flat attempts to expand the standard 12-bar blues form into new territory. As in the traditional blues, each 12-measure stanza is a variation of the original. Blues in B Flat... ventures beyond the usual modal melodies and harmonies as each variation becomes an exploration of selected contemporary compositional styles. The piece becomes successively more dissonant as is travels from tame chromaticism, through serialism and finally to minimalism. Throughout the composition, the original blues progression is still heard. The intended result is whimsical, sometimes challenging and a non-conventional blend of styles.

A year ago I was searching for a concept for a new piece of chamber music. Although I knew I wanted to include a bass clarinet and alto flute, I wasn’t sure what else I would use ­ via instrumentation or themes ­ to pull it all together for a interesting “story.” While riding home on Muni one afternoon, fretting about where to find my new inspiration, I suddenly looked around and saw the remarkable collection of individuals on the bus. I realized that ideas were all around me, in the form of people I saw periodically in my neighborhood. A sextet was transformed into themes, including a skateboarder that appears in the first and final movements. The final movement overlays all the themes to create a “gossip.” Most of this music was written while at the Djerassi Resident Artist Program (Woodside, California) in January 2005.

Dances of Death is a Septet for violin, viola, cello, piano, flute, clarinet, and bassoon was composed in 2003. The piece is divided into five short, continuous sections. The first part is a cool and relaxed dance, the second is a sad waltz, the third is a vehement statement of anger, the fourth is an enervated fugue, and the fifth brings back a sweetened version of the first relaxed dance. Throughout the piece an impulsive motive occasionally chimes in, and eventually takes over the last section. The emotions portrayed by the respective sections-- those of denial, grief, anger, torment, and gradual acceptance-- illustrate the universal human experience of dealing with the death of loved ones. Music is one of the best and most powerful consoling comforts that we have in dire situations, and these Dances of Death try to approach the issue in a casual yet meaningful, and surprisingly even to me the composer, an ultimately positive and humorous light.

Open Ended is a very versatile work that will be composed before your eyes. This work has no set instrumentation and can be played by any number of performers. It also has no set length; the piece could last 5 minutes or 24 hours. Based on Rova’s Radar techniques, Open Ended is less of a composition and more of a color or tool palette. It is an ever-growing collection of rules and games for the performers that are triggered by hand signals by the conductor/composer. The conductor/composer then composes the piece live using these hand signals to guide the performers. Open Ended has been performed several times but every time it is a world première and unique performance that can never be repeated.

Brightness is dedicated to my friend Mona Baroudi who reminded me that I could sometimes write music without a text. However, I couldn't resist using Dan Bellm's lovely and moving poem about the death of his father in the last section. My own father died a few years ago, and I'd like this piece to be a small memorial to him, but it also contains a kernel of my emotions for my own son. Thanks also to Rachel Condry, who motivated me to write this piece initially and who has featured role, and to Micah Epps for singing it so beautifully.

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.


Michael CookeMichael Cooke is the Promotion & Fundraising Director of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra and a composer of jazz and classical music. This two-time Emmy 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. 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. www.michaelkcooke.com