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Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra

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Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra was conceived in February of 2013, and conceptually it is my attempt to fuse personal expressions of jazz and classical music into one fully realized statement. It is a three movement work (fast, slow,

Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra was conceived in February of 2013, and conceptually it is my attempt to fuse personal expressions of jazz and classical music into one fully realized statement. It is a three movement work (fast, slow, fast) for 2 fl., 2 ob., 2 cl., bsn., 2 hrn., 2 tpt., tbn., pno., perc., str. (6,4,2,2,1). The work is approximately 27 minutes in duration. The first movement of the Concerto is written in a fluid sonata form. A fugato begins where the second theme would normally appear, and the second theme does not fully appear until near the end of the solo piano section. The result is that the second theme when finally revealed is so reminiscent of the history of jazz and classical synthesis that it does not sound completely new, and in fact is a return of something that was heard before, but only hinted at in this piece. The second movement is a kind of deconstructive set of variations, with a specific theme and harmonic pattern implied throughout the movement. However, the full theme is not disclosed until the final variation. The variations are interrupted by moments of pure rhythmic music, containing harmony made up of major chords with an added fourth, defying resolution, and dissolving each time back into a new variation. The third movement is in rondo form, using rhythmic and harmonic influences from jazz. The percussion plays a substantial role in this movement, acting as a counterpoint to the piano part throughout. This movement and the piece concludes with an extended coda, inspired indirectly by the simple complexities of an improvisational piano solo, building in complexity as the concerto draws to a close.

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2013

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Three meditations on the philosophy of Boethius: performance instructions

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Three Meditations on the Philosophy of Boethius is a musical piece for guitar, piano interior, and computer. Each of the three movements, or meditations, reflects one level of music according to the medieval philosopher Boethius: Musica Mundana, Musica Humana, and

Three Meditations on the Philosophy of Boethius is a musical piece for guitar, piano interior, and computer. Each of the three movements, or meditations, reflects one level of music according to the medieval philosopher Boethius: Musica Mundana, Musica Humana, and Musica Instrumentalis. From spatial aspects, through the human element, to letting sound evolve freely, different movements revolve around different sounds and sound producing techniques.

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2013

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Madiba 46664

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Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born July 18, 1918 into the Madiba clan in Mvezo, Transkei, South Africa. Mandela was a lawyer by trade and a freedom fighter who envisioned freedom and equality for all South Africans regardless of race. In

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born July 18, 1918 into the Madiba clan in Mvezo, Transkei, South Africa. Mandela was a lawyer by trade and a freedom fighter who envisioned freedom and equality for all South Africans regardless of race. In 1965, Mandela was imprisoned at Robben Island for twenty-seven years for treason and terrorist activities against the South African apartheid regime: he was assigned prison numbers 46664. In 1992, Mandela was released from prison and two years later not only became the first democratically elected president of South Africa, but also its first black president. "Madiba 46664" is an eight-minute chamber work scored for flute, oboe, clarinet in B-flat, and bassoon; vibraphone, and two percussionists; piano; violins, violas, and celli. The work blends traditional South African rhythms of the drumming culture with elements of Western harmony and form in contrasting textures of homophony, polyphony and antiphony. "Madiba 46664" utilizes Mandela's prison number, birthdate and age (at the time the composition process began in 2013) for the initial generation of meter, rhythm, harmony, melody, and form. The work also shares intercultural concepts that can be seen in the works of three contemporary African composers, South Africans Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph and Andile Khumalo, and Nigerian Ayo Oluranti. Each section represents a period of Mandela's life as a freedom fighter, a prisoner, and a president. The inspiration stems from the composer's discussions with Mandela soon after his release from prison and prior to his presidency. These lively discussions pertained to the state of traditional music in then apartheid South Africa and led to this creation. The conversations also played a role in the creative process.

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2014

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A recording project of three commissioned works for unaccompanied clarinet by Taiwanese composers

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As clarinet compositions created by Taiwanese composers have not been widely discussed and published in academia, this research paper examines three unaccompanied clarinet works by three Taiwanese composers: Ballade by Hsiao-Wen Tseng, Chin Thoughts III by Ling-Huei Tsai, and Pointe

As clarinet compositions created by Taiwanese composers have not been widely discussed and published in academia, this research paper examines three unaccompanied clarinet works by three Taiwanese composers: Ballade by Hsiao-Wen Tseng, Chin Thoughts III by Ling-Huei Tsai, and Pointe de Flame by Chia-Lin Pan, all commissioned by the author in 2007. This research also includes a compact disc with recordings of these works, aiming to document the creativity of Taiwanese composers. This research paper examines these three commissioned works by analyzing their overall musical styles, notations, formal structures, rhythmical and melodic materials, unconventional clarinet techniques as well as the influence of Chinese musical elements. The analysis reveals the distinctive characteristic of each piece. Moreover, the author provides composers' insights and performance guides to help interested readers practice these pieces. To further understand how the composers create these pieces by drawing upon different life experiences, the paper also includes information about their backgrounds, program notes, lists of compositions, and music examples for reference. The author found that collaborating with these composers helped to establish a closer composer-performer relationship in interpreting the music. It is hoped that this compact disc recording will help make Taiwanese composers' clarinet works more accessible to a wider audience. Moreover, this research paper hopes to generate more interest in performing and appreciating music composed by Taiwanese composers.

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2011

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Professional orchestral auditions for trumpet: criteria for evaluation of candidates, common mistakes and concerns, and a discussion of the top fifteen excerpts asked at auditions

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Every year hundreds of aspiring musicians audition for positions with professional orchestras throughout the United States. This study is designed to provide a comprehensive look at professional orchestral auditions for trumpet. While other resources rely on the single opinion of

Every year hundreds of aspiring musicians audition for positions with professional orchestras throughout the United States. This study is designed to provide a comprehensive look at professional orchestral auditions for trumpet. While other resources rely on the single opinion of their author, this study gathers information from a broad range of sources to develop its conclusions. This project was completed in three phases. In the first phase, lists of excerpts from trumpet auditions were compiled. In the second phase, an online survey of musicians who have served on a trumpet audition committee was conducted. In the final phase, four principal trumpet players of major orchestras and one conductor were interviewed to look further into the criteria and procedures used in orchestral trumpet auditions. The results of this study can be grouped into four categories: the desired qualities sought in a trumpet audition, common mistakes and concerns for those taking auditions, common mistakes and concerns for audition committees, and a discussion of the top fifteen excerpts asked in auditions. The data from this study can be used to consider two different perspectives: what does an aspiring trumpet player need to do to win an audition? And also, what should a committee want to hear? Although there is a broad range of opinion when considering trumpet auditions, certain standards remain. Also, while most of those involved in this study agree that the audition process is among the fairest ways to determine the winner of a job with an orchestra, they also agree that significant changes to the process still need to be made. This is especially true with reference to the types of excerpts asked and the audition procedures used.

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Date Created
2012

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White College Boy Steelbands" in 1950s Trinidad: how middle-class teenagers helped the steelpan gain national acceptance

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This document highlights the increased involvement of “ college boys ” or “ white college boys ” - better-educated middle-class white and light-skinned persons - in steelbands in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Following an introductory overview of the

This document highlights the increased involvement of “ college boys ” or “ white college boys ” - better-educated middle-class white and light-skinned persons - in steelbands in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Following an introductory overview of the demography of Trinidad and Tobago, the history of Carnival, and the interregnum of the temporary instruments used between the ban of indigenous drums in the 1880s and the invention of the steelpan at the end of the 1930s, this document will examine the history and membership of these college boy bands, with particular emphasis on the Hit Paraders. Two factors that highlight the vital role played by these college boy steelbands are discussed: commercial sponsorship of bands, and support that bands received from the People's National Movement Party. A detailed timeline of steelpan invention and innovations is also included.

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2011

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An overview of Bohuslav Martinù's piano style with a guide to analysis and interpretation of the Fantasie et Toccata, H. 281

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Bohuslav Martinù (1890-1959) was a prolific composer who wrote nearly 100 works for piano. His highly imaginative and eclectic style blends elements of the Baroque, Impressionism, Twentieth-century idioms and Czech folk music. His music is fresh and appealing to the

Bohuslav Martinù (1890-1959) was a prolific composer who wrote nearly 100 works for piano. His highly imaginative and eclectic style blends elements of the Baroque, Impressionism, Twentieth-century idioms and Czech folk music. His music is fresh and appealing to the listener, yet it remains intriguing as to how all the elements are combined in a cohesive manner. Martinù himself provides clues to his compositional process. He believed in pure musical expression and the intensity of the musical idea, without the need for extra-musical or programmatic connotations. He espoused holistic and organic views toward musical perception and composition, at times referring to a work as an "organism." This study examines Martinù's piano style in light of his many diverse influences and personal philosophy. The first portion of this paper discusses Martinù's overall style through several piano miniatures written throughout his career. It takes into consideration the composer's personal background, musical influences and aesthetic convictions. The second portion focuses specifically on Martinù's first large-scale work for piano, the Fantasie et Toccata, H. 281. Written during a time in which Martinù was black-listed by the Nazis and forced to flee Europe, this piece bears witness to the chaotic events of WWII through its complexity and intensity of character. The discussion and analysis of the Fantasie et Toccata intends to serve as a guide to interpretation for the performer or listener and also seeks to promote the piano music of Bohuslav Martinù to a wider audience.

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2011

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Tony Baker & Alex Iles: interviews with two trombonists who excel as performers and soloists in classical and Jazz settings

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The ability of musicians to perform well in multiple musical styles is increasingly common and necessary. This paper profiles two trombonists who have gone well beyond the ability to function in multiple genres, and are instead considered significant artists. Tony

The ability of musicians to perform well in multiple musical styles is increasingly common and necessary. This paper profiles two trombonists who have gone well beyond the ability to function in multiple genres, and are instead considered significant artists. Tony Baker and Alex Iles were chosen to be profiled for this project because both have achieved recognition as solo artists in the genres of classical music and jazz and have performed on international stages as soloists. They also have significant ensemble experience in both classical and jazz settings and are active teachers as well. Both hold-high profile positions that have helped grow their reputations as performers: Mr. Baker as a professor at one of the largest music schools in the United States, the University of North Texas, and Mr. Iles as a highly in-demand freelance musician in Los Angeles. This paper presents interviews with both trombonists that investigate their development as musicians and soloists in both classical music and jazz. They are asked to describe the benefits and challenges of performing at a high level in both styles, and how these have affected their musical voices. Common traits found in their responses are examined, and recommendations are created for musicians seeking stylistic versatility.

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2012

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Real-time composer-performer collaboration as explored in Wilderness, a dance and audio installation

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From fall 2010 to spring 2011, the author was the pianist in twenty public performances of Wilderness, a site-adaptable dance and audio installation by choreographer Yanira Castro and composer Stephan Moore. Wilderness's music was generated as the result of an

From fall 2010 to spring 2011, the author was the pianist in twenty public performances of Wilderness, a site-adaptable dance and audio installation by choreographer Yanira Castro and composer Stephan Moore. Wilderness's music was generated as the result of an algorithmic treatment of data collected from the movements of both dancers and audience members within the performance space. The immediacy of using movement to instantaneously generate sounds resulted in the need for a real-time notational environment inhabited by a sight-reading musician. Wilderness provided the author the opportunity to extensively explore an extreme sight-reading environment, as well as the experience of playing guided improvisations over existing materials while incorporating lateral thinking strategies, resulting from a real-time collaboration between composer and performer during the course of a live performance. This paper describes Wilderness in detail with particular attention focused on aspects of the work that most directly affect the pianist: the work's real-time notational system, live interaction between composer and performer, and the freedoms and limitations of guided improvisation. There is a significant amount of multi-media documentation of Wilderness available online, and the reader is directed toward this online content in the paper's appendix.

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2012

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From Marathon to Athens: for orchestra

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From Marathon to Athens was inspired by the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger who ran approximately twenty-six miles between the cities of Marathon and Athens in ancient Greece to deliver an important wartime message. According to the legend, he

From Marathon to Athens was inspired by the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger who ran approximately twenty-six miles between the cities of Marathon and Athens in ancient Greece to deliver an important wartime message. According to the legend, he died shortly after completing the journey. The marathon races of today were inspired by his story, though it may be more myth than reality. There is a great deal of inherent drama in the undertaking of such a feat, whether it be a marathon or any other test of strength and endurance. There is the rush of adrenaline when it begins, followed by the excitement and exhilaration of the first few miles. Then, there is a period of settling in and finding a groove - when the runner realizes that there is a long way to go, but is determined to pace him or herself and stay strong. All too often, there is the "wall" that appears about three-quarters of the way through, when it seems that there is no strength left to finish the race. Finally, there is the final push to the finish line - where the runner decides that they are going to make it, in spite of fatigue, pain, or any other obstacle. In this piece, I used a simple melody that was very loosely modeled after a melody from ancient Greece (the tune inscribed on the Epitaph of Seikilos). I used both Phrygian and Dorian modes, which, according to Plato, were most appropriate for soldiers. Throughout the piece, I used different instruments, mostly percussion, to represent the heartbeat of the runner. In the legend, the runner dies - in the piece, the heartbeat becomes very fast and then rather erratic. It then slows and, finally, stops. Though I find the story of Pheidippides inspiring, I wish all marathon runners and athletes of every kind (myself included) a safer and happier outcome!

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2010