Composer's Voice Concert [ Vox Novus - the new voice for contemporary music ]
Featuring Craig Hultgren
October 24, 2004
UNDER St. Marks
94 Saint Marks Place
New York, New York
Cellist Craig Hultgren is an activist for new music, the newly creative arts, and the avant-garde. Possessing a broad range of instrumental techniques from traditional to radical, he has commissioned over fifty new works for the cello.
Through his collaborations with living composers, he is changing the way people write for and listen to the instrument. Besides playing written compositions, Hultgren also performs his own spontaneous, free-style improvisations. He presents programs of new music throughout the country and abroad. His performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s Performance Today, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and European radio. The Birmingham News said of him, “Hultgren...pushes the limits of his instrument brilliantly by using extended techniques in fascinating ways.”
Title Composers Performers
Chained cello Craig HultgrenCraig Hultgren - cello
and electronic playback
hungerRobert VoiseyBeth Griffith - soprano
and electronic playback
Mirrors, Stones, and CottonCharles Norman MasonOren Fader- guitar
and electronic playback
drowningXnumbersDorothy HindmanCraig Hultgren - cello
and electronic playback
Note passing NoteMary Jane leach Beth Griffith - soprano
and electronic playback
FantasyMonroe GoldenCraig Hultgren - cello solo
By Still WatersDennis Bathory-KitszBeth Griffith - soprano
and electronic playback
The Artist and his model Charles Norman MasonCraig Hultgren - cello and electronic playback
Jubilate Noah CreshevskyBeth Griffith - soprano,
Craig Hultgren - cello
and electronic playback
Cellist Craig Hultgren is an activist for new music, the newly creative arts, and the avant-garde. Possessing a broad range of instrumental techniques from traditional to radical, he has commissioned over fifty new works for the cello. Through his collaborations with living composers, he is changing the way people write for and listen to the instrument. Besides playing written compositions, Hultgren also performs his own spontaneous, free-style improvisations. He presents programs of new music throughout the country and abroad. His performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s Performance Today, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and European radio. The Birmingham News said of him, “Hultgren...pushes the limits of his instrument brilliantly by using extended techniques in fascinating ways.”

Hultgren has solo CD recordings on Minnesota-based Innova Recordings and Contemplative Outreach Birmingham. His third solo recording, The Electro-Acoustic Cello Book, featuring new music for cello and electronics was released on Living Artist Recordings. In the last decade, the Alabama State Council on the Arts has awarded him two individual Artist Fellowships. He is a member of Thámyris, a contemporary chamber music ensemble in Atlanta, the Chagall Trio, a piano trio in Birmingham, and Luna Nova, the ensemble of the Associated Colleges of the South.

As a traditionally trained artist, Hultgren possesses music degrees in performance from the University of Iowa where he was graduated with distinction and honors and from Indiana University, the world’s largest school of music. He plays in the Alabama Symphony and has served as principal cellist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Panama. He teaches at Birmingham-Southern College, the University of Montevallo, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

Hultgren also works in the behalf of the arts as an organizer. He founded Birmingham Improv the annual festival of improvisatory arts. Currently, Hultgren is Secretary of the Birmingham Art Music Alliance, a composers organization. On the national level, he is a consultant for Living Music, an international organization of composers, and also participates on the steering committee of the New Directions Cello Association. He produces the Hultgren Solo Cello Works Biennial, a competition for living composers of solo cello works. Hultgren performs the finalists in Birmingham, Atlanta and Tuscaloosa. The audience votes to chose a winner in each venue.
Since her European debut in Mauricio Kagel’s solo theater piece Phonophonie in 1978, the demand for Beth Griffth as soloist has taken her to such important music festivals as the Warsaw Autumn, Cologne Triennale, Wien Modern, Numus Festival, RIAC, Donaueschingen Musiktage, Darmstadt Summer Courses,Wittener Tage fur Neue Kammermusik, ISCM and New Music America. In addition, her acclaimed performance of Morton Feldman’s Three Voices has been heard on numerous stages from Prague, Berlin, London, New York and in between. Recent invitations led her to Grahamstown, South Africa, Gent, s-Hertogenbosch, Cologne, Wiesbaden, Raleigh, North Carolina and here in New York with repertoire ranging from chamber works by Sorrell Hays, Dieter Schnebel, Wolfgang von Schweinitz, Manos Tsangaris, solo works by John Cage, Alvin Curran, Morton Feldman, Noah Creshevsky, John McGuire, Mattricio Kagel and Rodney Waschka.

“An extraordinary American soprano, Beth Griffith sang with a focus and presence (as she did everything) that held a listener at rapt attention. Griffith, a Texan, recently returned to the United States after a 20-year career in Germany. It is our good fortune” --Mark Swed Los Angeles Times

“A real highlight of the festival was the exceptional singer Beth Griffith... Her vocal artistry surpasses the conventional with an incredibly wide gamut of tonal and expressive articulation... All this seems to happen in a kind of mystical atmosphere brought about by the unique performance of Beth Griffith, as singer and as human being.” -Suzana Martinakova Literarny Tyzdennik Bratislava:
Oren Fader is active as a performer of classical guitar repertoire, both traditional and contemporary. Reviewing his solo New York recital, Guitar Review magazine stated: “His scholarship, technique, and intelligent musicianship are plainly evident and the beauty of his tone is consistently compelling.”

Mr. Fader is well known for his performance of contemporary music. In a performance of Mario Davidovsky’s Synchronisms #10 for guitar and electronic tape, The New York Times wrote: “Oren Fader gave the guitar part a polished, energetic performance that was precisely matched to the tape sounds”. And at a recent performance The New York Times called Mr. Fader’s playing “Electrifying”.

As a member of the Award-winning new music ensembles Cygnus, Fireworks, and Parnassus, he has premiered over 50 solo and chamber works with guitar, including compositions by Babbitt, Wuorinen, Machover, Biscardi, Currier, Naito, Pollock, and others. Mr. Fader received his undergraduate degree from SUNY Purchase and his Master of Music (Performance) degree from Florida State University. His major teachers include David Starobin and Bruce Holzman. Since 1994 Mr. Fader has been on the guitar faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, where he directs the Guitar Chamber Music program.
Dennis Báthory-Kitsz is a composer, author, editor, teacher, and technologist. He is engaged in the advancement of arts and technology from both a humanist and experimental perspective. Dennis Báthory-Kitsz was born in the year that Richard Strauss died, the LP was born, and Silly Putty was invented. It was an auspicious time. Oxymoronically self-taught, Dennis has composed music for vaudeville shows, orchestras, sound sculptures, soloists, tape & electronics, dancers, multimedia environments, and performance events. Though he presently writes technical articles for food money, he has directed the Dashuki Music Theatre and Il Gruppo Nuke Jitters, edits the Vermont Composers Consorting newsletter, and has composed for orchestras, chamber ensembles and soloists -- some of which have actually played his music.
Trained in composition by Nadia Boulanger in Paris and Luciano Berio at Juilliard, Noah Creshevsky is the former director of the Center for Computer Music and Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. His musical vocabulary consists largely of familiar bits of words, songs, and instrumental music that are edited but rarely subjected to electronic processing. The result is a music that obscures the boundaries of real and imaginary ensembles though the fusion of opposites: music and noise, comprehensible and incomprehensible vocal sources, human and superhuman vocal and instrumental capacities. "Imagine all the world's instruments, musicians and hemispheres lashed together into a giant mega-calliope, super-jukebox, or fantasmo-sampler. As called to action by a hyper-caffeinated virtuoso, it might sound something like these works by Noah Creshevsky." --Arved Ashby, Gramophone
Monroe Golden is a freelance composer from rural Alabama, current president of the Birmingham Art Music Alliance, and intermittent forest gardener. Past charges include the Birmingham Art Association, the Artburst performance series at the Unitarian Church of Birmingham, Birmingham Improv Festival, and the New Arts Stage at Birmingham's annual City Stages festival. He was recently awarded an Artist Fellowship by the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Most works explore alternate tuning systems and the implications of those systems for other musical structures. His CD, "A Still Subtler Spirit" (Living Artist Recordings), is available at and
Dorothy Hindman teaches at Birmingham-Southern College. She was the recipient of an Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship in 1998. Her recent commissions include a 2001-02 MTNA/AMTA commission, a cello concerto from the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra, a youth opera from Opera for Youth, and a full length opera from Alabama OperaWorks. Among her other awards and commissions are recognition in the Schirmer Young Americans Choral Competition, Sonic Circuits, the NACUSA Young Composers Competition, the Percussive Arts Society's International Solo Marimba Composition Competition and the Abraham Frost Composition Competition. She holds degrees with honors from Duke University and the University of Miami. Her teachers include Dennis Kam, Stephen Jaffe, Louis Andriessen, Thomas Oboe Lee, and John Van der Slice. She is a founding member of the Birmingham Art Music Alliance, a former editor of Living Music, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Society of Composers. Her music is recorded on the Living Artists Recordings. Most recently Hindman won the first prize of the International Society of Bassists Bass Composition competition.
Mary Jane Leach is a composer/performer from Vermont who has lived in New York since the mid-1970’s. Her work reveals a fascination with the physicality of sound, its acoustic properties and how they interact with space. In many of her works Leach creates an other-worldly sound environment using difference, combination, and interference tones; these are tones not actually sounded by the performers, but acoustic phenomena arising from Leach’s deft manipulation of intonation and timbral qualities. The result is striking music which has a powerful effect on listeners. Critics have commented on her ability to "offer a spiritual recharge without the banalities of the new mysticism" (Detroit Free Press), evoking "a visionary quest for inner peace" (Vice Versa Magazine), and "an irridescent lingering sense of suspended time." (Musicworks Magazine) Leach’s music has been performed throughout the world in a variety of settings, from the concert stage to experimental music forums, and in collaboration with dance and theatre artists. In recent years Leach has received considerable acclaim for her choral music, which is featured on two CD releases on the XI and New World labels. Drawing on inspirations as diverse as Monteverdi, Bruckner, and 14th century Ars Nova, these pieces "enliven a choral repertoire starved for good contemporary work." (Village Voice).
Charles Norman Mason’s compositions have received numerous awards including Premi Internacional de Composició Musical Ciutat de Tarragona Orchestra Music prize, first Prize in the Atlanta Clarinet Association Competition, National Endowment of the Arts Individual Composers Grant, two fellowship awards from Alabama State Council on the Arts, Delius Prize, BMI Award for Young Composers, and the International Bourges Electro-Acoustic Competition. He has filled commissions from the Dale Warland Singers, the New York Goliard Ensemble, Metropolitan Opera Soloist Mildred Allen, Steinway Artist William DeVan, bassist Robert Black, Onix Ensemble of Mexico, the Luna Nova Ensemble, the Fairbanks Symphony, and the Alabama Symphony. His works have been performed throughout the world including the Aspen Summer Music Festival, and new music festivals in Prague, Bucharest, Bulgaria, and Sao Paulo. Mason is founder of Living Artist Recordings, is the 2004 composer in residence with the Goliard Ensemble, and teaches composition at Birmingham-Southern College.
Robert Voisey is the Founder of Vox Novus and the Vice-President of Program at the Living Music Foundation. He is the Artistic Director of the "Composer's Voice" concert series at Vox Novus, featuring contemporary composers. He is also the Artistic Director 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 the past year Voisey has received airplay of his recent album "Dark Desert" broadcasted on the "Kalvos and Damian" radio show. He received debuts of his work hunger, Lullaby, and run rabbit run as a portrait of his work at the National University of Music in Bucharest, Romania, and his compositions stark and tainted tree were also featured in the play Dedalus, a stage production in New York City. His composition Base, a movement of hourglass was performed on "Foldover" radio show. He also received the debuts of his works Music in Motion in Worpswede, Germany. Craig Hultgren debuted Tears of Dew with Adam Bowles for its U.S. premier in Birmingham Alabama at the Artburst festival.

Program Notes:
Craig Hultgren’s amplified improvisations are unscored, intuitive works featuring nontraditional and “wrong” playing. For the Chained Cello Improvisation a chain is wrapped around the strings producing strongly distorted vibrations. The piece was originally created as a metaphorical comment on a colleague’s arrest while working as a volunteer at a concert.

“I can NOT believe hunger is just an electronic soon as I heard hunger, I knew I wanted it” - Margaret Lancaster. The vocal version of hunger was commissioned by Margaret Lancaster for a performance at the Three Two Festival in New York City.

Mirrors, Stones, and Cotton for guitar and tape was composed during a residency at the Hambidge Center and was realized in the Birmingham Southern Electronic Music Studio. The title is an attempt to use three words that have Alabama connotations while at the same time have connections to the nature of the piece. With an obvious connection to Alabama, Cotton refers to the music in that one of the things one takes into consideration when composing the work, the classical guitar is a very quiet instrument that tends to soften dissonant chords. Stones represent the soil found compared to the soil of the Midwest where Mason grew up, gaining a deep respect of Alabama farmers who have struggled more than those of the heartland. The sound of two rocks hitting each other appears frequently n the tape accompaniment. together. Mirrors refer to the music in that the tape part reflects the guitar part and vice versa. "Mirrors refers to Alabama in the following way. The perception of the south and of Alabama by those from other places is biased and often wrong This causes one to be very self-conscious. I have observed that most people from Alabama also are intensely aware of where they are from and are constantly being forced to look at themselves, to critique themselves; thus the use of the word mirrors." – Charles Norman Mason

drowningXnumbers was written during a residency at the Atlantic Center of the Arts for Hultgren. The piece exploits the effects made possible by amplification in combination with other virtuosic instrumental techniques. The work is the composer’s reaction to the large amount of aggressive contemporary music being composed today and reflects some of her own beliefs about beauty, emotion, and profundity in music. The title refers to a film by Peter Greenaway and serves as a grateful acknowledgment to composer Louis Andriessen.

Fantasy was written in 1994 for cellist Craig Hultgren. Like the composition's 19th century namesake, the formal structure is fanciful and the music, while notated, is meant to sound improvisational. The pitch structure is derived from microtonal tetrachords, as in classical Arabic and Persian music.

“The title, ? ????? ????? is in Russian, and translates ‘By Still Waters’. I have nothing to say beyond the music itself, except for one word: Beslan.” - Dennis Báthory-Kitsz

As in Mason’s other works involving tape and acoustic instruments the melding of the two disparate sound sources is an important aspect of the piece. In Mason’s earlier works there is a dichotomy between the sequenced performance material and the performance by the live musician. The Artist and His Model adds a third part which is a recording of a musician performing while being guided by a click track; thus is a compromise between the machine and the live performance. The work was written for and premiered by Craig Hultgren and has since been performed throughout the world. It is recorded on Innova Recordings, “Music of the Next Moment” and won first prize in the 1999 "Hutgren Biennial Cello Composition Competition."

Creshevsky's compositions such as Jubilate, explore the fragmentation and reconstruction of pre-existing music in combination with original synthetic and acoustic materials. He writes music in a self-defined language he calls "hyperrealism." Hyperrealism is an electroacoustic musical language constructed from sounds that are found in our shared environment ("realism"), handled in ways that are somehow exaggerated or excessive ("hyper").

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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