Composer's Voice Concert [ Vox Novus - the new voice for contemporary music ]
A Wind Among the Reeds
February 22, 2004
UNDER St. Marks
94 Saint Marks Place
New York, New York 10002
A Wind Among the Reeds is a Composer's Voice Concert featuring the composer Sean Hickey. Composer's Voice is a venue to express the artistry and aesthetic of the composer's "voice".
Title Composers Performers
In the Playground of Colors Robert Voisey John McMurtery - flute
Left at the Fork in the Road Sean Hickey Stefan Hoskuldsson - flute,
David Ciucevich - clarinet,
and Alden Banta - Basssoon
Oiseau Miro James RomigJohn McMurtery - flute
Fluff Sean Hickey Stefan Hoskuldsson - flute
Glimpses Marco Oppedisano David Ciucevich - clarinet
Portage IV Sean HickeyDavid Ciucevich - clarinet
On such a Winter's Day Elaine FineJohn McMurtery - flute
Pair of Pants Sean HickeyStefan Hoskuldsson - flute and
David Ciucevich - clarinet
Bassoonist Alden Banta is a native of New Orleans and an active freelance bassoonist and teacher in the New York City area. He attended Louisiana State University and the Manhattan School of Music. While in his native Louisiana he frequently performed with the Louisiana Philharmonic, The Baton Rouge Symphony and played contra-bassoon in the Acadiana Symphony. During this time he also performed at music festivals nationwide including Aspen, Sewanee and the Ohio Light Opera. Mr. Banta has performed with the American Symphony, Absolute Ensemble, Westchester Symphony, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Circadia Wind Quintet and the Orchestra of the S.E.M Ensemble. He can also be found playing many Broadway shows including 42nd Street, Thoroughly Modern Millie and The Producers. He is currently on the woodwind faculty at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights.
Clarinetist David Ciucevich enjoys a varied, fulfilling life and career as a musician. He is currently principal clarinetist of the Fort Collins (CO) Symphony Orchestra and bass clarinetist with the Cheyenne (WY) Symphony. His principal teachers are Mark Nuccio and Bil Jackson. In addition to teaching clarinet, he holds a master's in musicology and writes program notes for orchestras. His interests include learning from the great musicians of the past, especially Furtwangler, Szell, Walter, Serkin, Backhaus, Rubinstein, Marcellus, Morini and others. Outside of music, he is passionate about baseball, reading, spirituality and Life.
Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson was born in Iceland in 1975, and began to play the flute at the age of eight studying with Bernard Wilkinson. After graduating from the Reykjavik Conservatory in 1995, having won numerous prizes and awards he entered the Royal Northern College of Music studying with Peter Lloyd. In 1997, he was a finalist in the Syrinx International Flute Competition in Rome, and has given many recitals and broadcasts in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, and USA as well as in Great Britain. He has appeared at major venues and festivals throughout these countries including the Berwald Concert Hall in Stockholm, Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, at the Merkin Hall, the Kaufman Culture Center, 92 Street Y and the Victor Borge Hall in New York City, and at the Purcell Room in London. Stefán has participated in numerous music festivals throughout the UK, Iceland and the United States including the Marymount Summit Music festival in New York where he performed with members of the Tokyo String Quartet. As an orchestral player Stefán has worked as principal flute with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the Scandinavian Symphony Orchestra Orkester Norden, the Divertimenti of London in the UK and most recently with the Westchester Philharmonic and One World Symphony in New York City. In 2001 Stefán won the prestigious Young Musician Award from the Icelandic arts committee, when he performed a concerto by Paul Pampichler written specially for Stefán for that occasion with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Stefán plays on a rare Louis Lot flute made in Paris over a hundred years ago, the equivalent of a Stradivarius.
Flutist John McMurtery performs as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra member throughout the United States and Europe. He appeared as soloist with The New Vienna Chamber Ensemble in 2000 as part of the Wien Modern concert series. In 1997 he toured Europe with the vocal ensemble Les Chanteuses, giving recitals in France, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Mr. McMurtery is currently a member of UpTown Flutes, which was recently awarded a Carnegie Hall debut recital by Artists International. As the assistant director of the Society for Chromatic Art, McMurtery is dedicated to commissioning and performing works by contemporary composers. McMurtery is the winner of the Central Washington University Orchestra Concerto Competition in 1996, and is the recipient of several first-place awards at the Greater Spokane Music and Allied Arts Festival. He also performed with Sonora Winds, an ensemble sponsored by Rutgers University for community outreach concerts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. McMurtery holds the principal flute chair of the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra and the Dicapo Opera Company, and performs with Symphony 21 and the Rutgers Summerfest Orchestra. Mr. McMurtery is currently a Doctoral Fellow at the Juilliard School, under the guidance of Julius Baker.
Elaine Fine comes from Boston but has lived in Charleston, Illinois since 1985. She began musical life as a violinist, but received a Bachelor of Music Degree in flute performance from The Juilliard School of Music. She studied recorder in Vienna, baroque flute in Boston, and composition at Eastern Illinois University with Peter Hesterman. For twelve years she served as the classical music director for WEIU-FM, and is currently a member of the LeVeck String Quartet. She is on the reviewing staff of the American Record Guide, and has written articles for The Maud Powell Signature, The Instrumentalist and Classical Music:Third Ear--The Essential Listening Companion. She writes mostly chamber music and chamber music with voice, but she has also written an opera based on “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen, a few works for orchestra, and a song cycle on poems by Lorca.
Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1970, Sean Hickey’s earliest music education began at age 12 with an electric guitar, a Peavey amp, and a stack of Van Halen records, the early ones of course. He studied jazz guitar at Oakland University, later graduating with a degree in composition and theory from Wayne State University. His primary instructors were James Hartway and James Lentini. Since moving to New York, Sean has pursued further studies with Justin Dello Joio and Gloria Coates. He has composed for a variety of media including stage and film. 2003 has been a busy year thus far with performances of his piano music at New York’s Weill Hall in addition to the first concert dedicated entirely to his chamber and solo music, at CAMI Hall. He is presently fulfilling commissions for New York’s One World Symphony, the Adesso Choral Society in Connecticut, and the Spain-based piano/accordion duo An-Tifon. His principal instruments are guitar and piano. Sean has composed upon commission Runes and Alphabets for Philadelphia-based ensemble Ars Futura and is a recipient of a 2003 ASCAP award and was named a semi-finalist in the Auros 2001-2002 Composition Competition, also winning second prize in the 1990 State Awards (composition) in the former Yugoslavia. The past year has seen performances in New York, Washington DC, Portugal, Ireland and Turkey. He is an ASCAP member. Several of his recording and concert reviews may be found in the pages of the New Music Connoisseur, 21st Century Music, Modern Dance and numerous other publications. He is also a principal contributor to the forthcoming MusicHound Guide to Classical Music. He has also contributed liner notes to dozens of classical recordings and travel and adventure articles for a variety of publications.
Marco Oppedisano was born in Brooklyn, New York. A composer and guitarist, he has studied classical guitar with with Michael Cedric Smith. He holds a B.A in Music Composition from the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, an M.A in Music Composition from the Queens College Aaron Copland School of Music and has studied composition with Noah Creshevsky, Charles Dodge, Tania Leon, Thea Musgrave and Henry Weinberg. From 1999-2003, as a guest of the Brooklyn College/ CUNY Electro-Acoustic Composers yearly compact disc, Oppedisano has also conducted the premieres of his a cappella vocal works; The Emperor of Ice Cream (1998) and The Creation (2002). In May 2002, his multitrack electric guitar work, Frozen Tears was heard in an electro-acoustic music festival at Bilgi University in Istanbul, Turkey. Oppedisano has had other electronic works heard around the world. In 1996 he received a grant from Meet the Composer, Inc. for his work Three Short Pieces for flute, clarinet, trombone and electric guitar (1995). His works are registered with ASCAP.
James Romig has been performing and composing music since age five. His compositions have been performed throughout the United States and Europe in recitals, music festivals, and as accompaniment to dance. In the tradition of his musical mentors, Charles Wuorinen and Milton Babbitt, Romig's music celebrates dramatic balance, exuberant virtuosity, and rigorous formal integrity. Among his commissioned works are compositions for the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Percussive Arts Society, and new-music ensembles such as Suono Mobile, Helix!, and the New Vienna Chamber Ensemble. In recent seasons, his music has been included on concerts by the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra (James Dixon, conductor), the Ensemble Musicattuale (Bologna, Italy), the Eastman Contemporary Percussion Ensemble (Rochester, New York), Duo Contour (Freiburg, Germany), and Holy Trinity Choirs (New York City). Recent festival performances include the 50th Annual Fulbright Music Gala (Berlin, Germany), the UTSA Festival of New Music (San Antonio, Texas), and Wien Modern (Vienna, Austria.) Romig’s works are available from Parallax Music Press, Penn Oak Press (Philadelphia), and the American Music Center (New York City). Romig holds a Ph.D. in music theory and composition from Rutgers University, and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music from the University of Iowa. A dedicated educator, he gives frequent lectures and masterclasses, including recent talks at Westminster Choir College Conservatory, the Interlochen Arts Academy, and The Juilliard School. Romig has taught at Rutgers University, Bucknell University, the University of Iowa, Pittsburg State University, and is currently on the faculty at Western Illinois University. He also serves as music director and principal conductor of The Society for Chromatic Art, a contemporary-music ensemble based in New York City.
Robert Voisey has studied composition at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the College of Tel Hai in the Upper Galilee, Israel and the City University of New York at Brooklyn College. His teachers have included Noah Creshevsky, George Brunner, Aiten Schteinberg, and Oded Zehavi. Voisey has enjoyed debuts of his music all around the United States and abroad, including performances broadcasted on “Kol Muscia” (the voice of music) Israeli National Radio, “Foldover” in Oberlin Ohio, and his recent album "Dark Desert" on the "Kalvos and Damian" radio show. Recently he has had debuts: Base, a movement of hourglass has been performed in UNIVERSITATEA NATIONALA DE MUZICA BUCURESTI, Bucharest, Romania, the U.S. premier of Tears of Dew at the Artburst festival in Birmingham, Alabama, Music in Motion at the Gemeindehaus der Zionskirche in Worpswede, Germany and in Buenos Aires Argentina with La Scalar de San Telmo. Voisey receives many debuts and performances of his work in New York City and the greater metropolitan area some of these include: Candlesticks: tombstones for the living, run rabbit run, tainted tree, Persistence of Melancholy, taint, In the Playground of Colors, Foolish Fantasies, and Stark. Also included is a New York debut of his piece Lullaby at the “Music in the Raw”concert at the AugustArts festival. Voisey is the Artistic Director of the “Composer Voice” concert series, featuring and exposing an emerging composers and their compositional “voice” in a themed exposition dedicated specifically to promote their music. Voisey is also the Artistic Direct or of the “60x60” project, an annual event of worldwide concerts that highlights 60 composers who have composed works 60 seconds or less in an hour-long continuous concert. In conjunction with being the Vice-President of the Living Music Foundation and founder of Vox Novus, Voisey continues his mission to promote contemporary music.

Program Notes:

Left at the Fork in the Road, a for a trio of winds, opens with a sextuplet motive that springboards the piece for further development. It quickly gives way to an accompaniment over which a flute intones a logical melody. The instruments enter a denser thicket of changing meters and complex rhythms, pushing ahead to a showy, tah-dah, sort of ending. The work was partially inspired by the assimilation of Latin rhythms in the works by several composers, notably those of the Argentine Alberto Ginastera. The title came early in the piece’s composition, and any political inference that can be made is not entirely off the mark.

Fluff, for solo flute, was written for Stefan Hoskuldsson in the final days of 2003 for a premiere at this afternoon’s concert. The brief piece begins with a dotted rhythm and wide intervallic leaps that demonstrate the dexterity of the instrument in all registers. These dotted rhythms are developed in a slower, more meditative section; tempo then increases and the flute finds itself in a swiftly moving 7/16 meter leading to an exuberant conclusion.

Portage IV is part of a series of compositions for soloists or for small groups, and represents the composer’s fascination with composing for solo melody instruments. It does not, however, concern itself with timbral exploration nor attempts to mine the technical possibilities of the clarinet. Rather, its focus is on the development of a small, rhythmic cell, the upward jump of a ninth, and the vague implications of harmony, which ebb and flow throughout the piece. Clarinetist David Ciucevich has this to say: "By the twentieth century, the clarinet was well-established as a solo instrument beloved of composers, particularly in orchestral music, chamber music and opera. The century saw the expansion and development of clarinet literature into the area of unaccompanied works for the instrument. It is obvious that Portage IV is in this tradition of great contemporary works for solo clarinet. The listener familiar with such masterpieces as the Stravinsky Three Pieces, Messiaen's Abyss of the Birds and other works will undoubtedly hear reminiscences of their styles. The clarinet is, in some ways, the best instrument for solo contemporary music due to its extreme flexibility in range, dynamics, color and pitch. Mr. Hickey's piece uses all these aspects in a heartfelt way which communicates to audiences. In its predominantly exuberant mood balanced by moments of reflection, it reminds me of another masterwork for clarinet, the Concerto of Aaron Copland. Its extroverted, happy, even blissful qualities somehow have a "New York" feel to them.”

For solo flute and clarinet, Pair of Pants, is in three short movements. The first establishes a contrasting triplet and dotted rhythmic pattern in each instrument, resulting in a somewhat whimsical dialogue. The slow, enigmatic second movement keeps to a steady 7/8 and gradually develops a single-note motive, framed by semitones on either side. The energetic final movement features lively filigree from the flute, paired with a stubborn, accented ostinato pattern in the clarinet, somewhat reminiscent of figures in an earlier-composed trio. A fugal central section expands before reaching a quick and confident coda. The work is well-suited to this afternoon’s performers and it is dedicated to Stefan Hoskuldsson and David Ciucevich. Today marks its premiere.

The mission of Vox Novus is to promote contemporary composers and their music via concert performances, recordings, publishing, and publicity on the Internet.

Vox Novus believes strongly in the intrinsic value of contemporary music, recognizing it as a force in the advancement of culture and art. We help keep it alive through the promotion and dissemination of the music of contemporary composers. Our goal is to broaden the channels of new music between composer and public, providing greater exposure to new music.

New music has always been stigmatized, yet all musical masterpieces at one time were considered new music. Vox Novus understands that without the creation of challenging, contemporary music there will be no future masterpieces to reflect our time. Exciting new works of art are coming forth constantly, and must be heard in order for the cycle of creativity to be complete. Vox Novus gets the music heard: in concerts, over the radio, on CD’s, and on the Internet.

While throughout the ages artists have struggled to create their art, one may argue that artists have never been more precarious than they are now. Today’s economic climate is competitive, and emerging composers inevitably act as their own writer, producer, publicist, agent, and sometimes performer. This is a daunting array of tasks, one that unfortunately crushes the attempts of many composers who are simply not adjusted to the present environment.

Vox Novus empowers the composer to promote, expand, and advance their career. Perceiving that the most important corollary to a completed work is a performance, Vox Novus generates concerts. In these concerts we develop audiences that include yet extend beyond the bounds of the musical community, broadening the audience base by familiarizing it with certain works in repeat performances, while continuously integrating new composers into the repertoire.

Vox Novus helps to fill the many roles required to promote and produce contemporary music while simultaneously teaching composers how to do it themselves. We accomplish this by providing the composer with a web page, putting on Composer’s Voice concerts, and encouraging composers to create and foster audiences. Vox Novus publicizes concerts with e-mail announcements, postings on the web, mailings, flyers and word of mouth communication.

At our Composer’s Voice concerts, we encourage communication and feedback through formatted discussion between composer and audience, and also through commentary cards. This provides the composer with important insight into their work and gives the audience a feeling of power and a relation to contemporary music.

Vox Novus takes a creative approach to the problem of joining the audience and composer of electronic music. This is the 60x60 project, an annual concert event featuring 60 seconds of electronic music by 60 different composers, creating a CD as the material and product of the concert. In this way composers gain a maximum degree of exposure while audiences enjoy a highly interesting and palatable product. The project was inaugurated in 2003. In the future Vox Novus aims to incorporate visual artists, thereby making this a multi-media event and broadening the audience base by cross-pollinating with other artistic mediums.

The Website is another important vehicle in the promotion of contemporary music. Since 2000, our website had provided over 100 composers and musicians with a place on the web, a vital tool of survival in the modern day. This allows composers and musicians to post their bios, list of works including bandwidth for listening and down-loading, availability, publish scores, and advertise their up-coming Vox Novus concerts.

With our website attracting over 300 visitors a day, our Composer’s Voice concerts running throughout the concert seasons, and our annual electronic concert, 60x60, gaining increasing momentum, we at Vox Novus work hard to promote contemporary music. Our heart lies in the music.
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