About the Pieces
Embrace the Wind Interludes, Robert J. Martin
Embrace the Wind! is a cycle of nine string quartets and seven string interludes that celebrate wind in human history as a source of inspiration, spirituality, play, and sustainable energy. Each string quartet celebrates an aspect of human relationship wind in mythology, play, art, and as source of energy. Between each quartet movement is a short interlude–a solo or duet–suggesting six of the unlimited ways we can describe the wind:
1. Twisting Wind (violin). The wind moves with virtuosic twists and turns, intriguing and entertaining us.
2. Circling Wind (violin and viola). Violin and viola playfully imitate wind circling and whistling through trees and mountains on a summer day.
3. Dancing Wind (viola). The wind dances slowly, moving now one way, now another.
4. Chilling Wind (violin). A solo violin plaintively sweeps up and down, lingering on the thin but powerful natural harmonic of the e string, evoking the chill of a winter wind.
5. Stinging Wind (violin and cello). Wind whips slivers of ice across our faces.
6. Biting Wind (cello). Like the wind that nips at our faces as we walk into it, the bow of the cello bites into the string with both intensity and sweetness.
Música para trompeta y piano, Miguel Astor
This work was composed in the city of San Jose, Costa Rica, in 2004 and as part of a cycle for piano and various solo instruments. It consists of 3 movements: Sonata, Passacaglia and Francisca e ‘Paula Chirimoya. The first Sonata movement is conceived as a single-themed structure in the manner of sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti. The second movement, Pasacalle, combines a baroque harmonic structure with slightly unconventional chords. The third movement is based on a known “fulía” song, a folk genre from Venezuela’s central coast, which is modified to make it a kind of festive Rondo. The work was premiered during the XVII Latin American Music Festival of Caracas in 2012.
The Aviary, Charles Gran
One of the most whimsical aspects of the English language are the collective nouns for animals—especially birds. The wonder of and admiration for the world of fliers is documented in English as for back as the language itself, in the Anglo Saxon bestiaries. In my aviary, magpies and finches call and then dance. Emus growl and strut. Rather than the sounds they make, “A Parliament of Owls” evokes the mysteries of the world we associate with them—a fable of a claustrophobic wood at night. Crows are again a harbinger of death. But the lark calls us to the skies and, in our best moments, we rise up too.
Two Lost Loves, Andrew Hannon
“Two Lost Loves” was created with the help of many individuals. Volunteers left messages at a Google Voice account setup for this composition. These messages were then used as source material for the vocal samples. While the entire story of the two primary messages in this piece is largely unknown, they both carry a thread of love, loss, and remorse. The end result is an intimate glimpse into the contributor’s emotional state during the voicemail. “I found a letter left by a pay phone with no return contact and it read like a horn blown by some sad angel.” (Aaron Weiss, Carousels)
Nomadic Variations, Victor E. Marquez-Barrios
The theme used in Nomadic Variations was written as a musical reaction to our current world’s migratory reality which, under different circumstances, seems to be the continuation of an ancient dynamic: masses of people being forced to leave their homes in the search for better living conditions. For these modern nomads, “home” is often nothing but a memory they carry around and treasure as a warm refuge. Each variation explores, musically, a different perspective on this reality.
The first two variations use motivic ideas form the theme in contrasting ways, first making emphasis on its rhythmic profile in a kind of frenetic dance (Domestic Alien), and then more lyrically in nostalgic variation No. 2: A Nomad’s Land. By the time the theme is presented at the center of the piece, most of its motivic material has been suggested and will probably sound familiar. Variations 3 and 4 depart from the theme again, but this time on a more optimistic note, with the not-so-frenetic (Some) Nomads Can Dance first, and ending with a vibrant dialogue between the four saxophones in Caminos Tiene El Sueño.
This work was commissioned by Central Michigan University and the J4 Saxophone Quartet. It is dedicated to them, for making it possible, and to all our present-day nomads, but especially to the approximately 1.5 million Venezuelans who have been forced to leave their homeland over the last 15 years.
Radiant Sea, Kala Pierson
“’O, for a muse of fire’: it’s one of Shakespeare’s most-loved phrases, and it expresses a hope we hold not just as artists but as people. Where can we find that burning core of inspiration for our lives? In my piece Radiant Sea (a 15-minute cycle of three texts, performed as one continuous movement), I weave together this phrase with two other brief but evocative texts in which Shakespeare talks about seeking the muse, love as a boundless source of inspiration, and the ways our lives ebb and flow in cycles. The emotional center of the piece is found in the second text, which Juliet speaks to Romeo: “My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.” This has been the core philosophy of my life, that love both multiplies itself and expands into creative inspiration when given freely. The third and final text is this eerily beautiful line from the little-known tragedy Timon of Athens: “The sea’s a thief, whose liquid surge resolves the moon into salt tears.” In context, Timon is describing how ‘thievery’ is really the natural order of the world, with each element pulling from other elements in succession – water in motion, the fluid gravities that shape us all. The muse is mysterious and ever-changing, just like these other natural phenomena, and in Radiant Sea I bring the singers through gradually evolving cycles that speak to our search for that creative fire. I wrote Radiant Sea for the 2016 New Horizons Music Festival, and I’m delighted to be present for its premiere today by Cantoria under Dr. Mark Jennings.”
Composers and Performers
Robert J. Martin is known for music projects based on images and metaphors. Martin’s compositions and titles are often image-based, giving listeners a puzzle to solve or an idea to listen for. Examples of Martin’s image-centered pieces include Embrace the Wind, a set of string quartets and solo pieces based on wind and wind energy in human history (on Ravelo), two solo piano works 100 Views of Mt. Fuji: 100 Pieces in 100 minutes: Homage to Hokusai and stone & feather (Parma/Ravelo release Playful Edge of the Wave). Also: Hommage à Tom et Jerry for soloist alternating between flute and piccolo (recorded by Ronda Ford Benson, available from www.rondaford.com) and The Owl and the Pussycat for harp and flute (onMetamorphosis Collaboration III on Beauport Classical at www.beauportclassical.com.
Martin studies with composer Herbert Brun and cybernetician Heinz von Foerster, resulted in an interdisciplinary doctoral thesis at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Professor Emeritus at Truman State University, Martin has been a long-term jurist for a international composition competition, and a curator for the New Horizons Music Festival Electronic Concert at Truman State University (2013, 2014, and 2016). He is a member of the Society of Composers, the Iowa Composers Forum, and the American Society for Cybernetics. He has been a principal in over a dozen musicals where his experience has nurtured the desire to connect effectively with the audience through drama, image, and gesture through a new work, TheMusicians of Bremen, a musical based on the fairytale by the Brothers Grimm (in progress).
Miguel Astor is a Doctor in History from the Central University of Venezuela. Bachelor of Arts and Master in Latin-American Musicology. He obtained degrees in composition, choral conducting and piano at the National Conservatory of Music “Juan Jose Landaeta” Conservatory and the National Youth Orchestra where he studied with Alberto Grau (Choral Conducting), Modesta Bor, Antonio Mastrogiovanni (composition), and Teresa Cos (piano). He is Professor at the School of Arts at the Central University of Venezuela, the National Experimental University of the Arts, and in several conservatories in Caracas. His musical work, his musicological research, and his teaching work has received several national and international awards, such as the Amadeus Contest (2012) with the work “O sacrum convivium”. He currently serves as chief conductor of the choral group Cantoría Caracas.
Hailing from Rapid City, South Dakota, Dr. Eric Dickson has been on faculty at Truman State University since 2015. Skilled in a wide variety of musical settings, he has held positions with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra (IN), Lafayette Symphony Orchestra (IN), and The Impalas, a 10-piece R&B band based in Indianapolis, IN. He has performed with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Cincinnati Brassworks, and has been a featured soloist with the Danville Symphony Orchestra (IL), the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Concert Band, and the Minnesota State University-Moorhead Orchestra, among others. Dr. Dickson has also spent significant time touring throughout the country and across the world on Broadway tours of The Drowsy Chaperone and A Chorus Line, and with the Hollywood Concert Orchestra on its five-week tour of China in 2014.
Dr. Dickson has given master classes and clinics across the country, including appearances at Auburn University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, he co-authored the article “Have Trumpet, Will Travel: Life with a Touring Musical” for the Journal of the International Trumpet Guild. During the summer, Dr. Dickson teaches at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, where he enjoys working with students and colleagues in Michigan’s beautiful Manistee National Forest.
Charles Gran joined the music faculty at Truman State University in 2008, where he chairs the Theory and Composition area and administers the Music Computing Lab and the Electronic Music Studio. He is the founder and director of the Electronic Music Working Group a student research program investigates electronic music through instrument design, art creation, and performance. Dr. Gran directs the New Horizons Music Festival, Truman State University’s Fall showcase of contemporary music. Dr. Gran received a B.Mus. in composition from California State University Fullerton, and Ph.D. in composition from U. C. L. A. in 2004. More information about Dr. Gran and his work can be found at campdeadly.com.
Andrew Hannon is a composer and bassist located in Boone, NC. His music is an amalgamation of many diverse influences and alternates between moments of violence and serenity. His music contains themes of tension in the musical elements as well as the philosophical nature of his compositions.
Andrew’s compositions have been performed throughout the United States at the National Association of Composers/USA, NASA National Conference, Kentucky New Music Festival, Outside the Box Music Festival, and CMS Pacific Northwest Conference. His soprano saxophone and piano composition, Eternal Enamor, is published through Dorn Publications and has been widely performed.
In 2014 Andrew earned a DMA in music composition from the University of South Carolina. His dissertation concentrated on an analysis of Ligeti’s final composition, Hamburg Concerto. This research focuses on how Ligeti creates an expansion and contraction of the melody, harmony, and formal design in the composition. Andrew also holds a MM and BM from Southern Illinois University. He currently teaches theory and aural skills at Appalachian State University.
Dr. Julianna Moore is Professor of Flute and Music Theory and the Director of the Truman Flute Quartet. She has also served on the faculties of Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, and the University of Wisconsin Summer Flute Program in Whitewater, Wisconsin. Dr. Moore received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, a Master of Music in flute performance at Florida State University, and the Doctorate in Flute Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Iowa. Her major teachers include Charles DeLaney, Karl Kraber, and Betty and Roger Mather, and she received additional instruction from the eminent English flutist Geoffrey Gilbert, Robert Willoughby of the Peabody Conservatory, and Lin Key-Ming of the Shanghai Conservatory. Dr. Moore has performed as a guest artist and clinician for flute festivals in Iowa, Tennessee, Wyoming, and Missouri and was invited to perform at the National Flute Association Conventions in Orlando and Las Vegas. She has been a member of the Missouri Chamber Orchestra, the Ottumwa Symphony, and the Oskaloosa Symphony. Dr. Moore has done extensive research on female flutists born before 1900 and has authored a chapter on this subject for the book, Fluting and Dancing (McGinnis & Marx). In addition, she is a contributing author to the NACWPI Journal and the Band Director’s Guide. Dr. Moore has recorded for Centaur Records.
Elaine AuBuchon teaches the oboe and bassoon studios, woodwind methods and perspectives in music at Truman State University.
She received a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Science in Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and then moved to the Chicago area where she graduated with a Master of Music from Northwestern University. Her teachers were Ray Still and Dan Willett. She has also studied with Marion Arthur, Dan Stolper, Edward Dolbashian, John Mack, and Alex Klein.
She has been the principal oboist of the Elmhurst Symphony, the Waukesha Symphony, and the Missouri Chamber Orchestra as well as the English Hornist with the Quad City Symphony.
She has also performed with the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas as well as various other professional orchestras and chamber groups in the Chicago area.
Jay C. Bulen is Professor of Music at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, where he has been since 1995. His responsibilities include graduate courses in research methods and in music history, studio instruction in trombone, and direction of the Brass Choir. Since 2006 he has served as chair of the Department of Music.
Dr. Bulen has a long career as both a performer and teacher. He has been a featured soloist with ensembles in Ecuador and the United States, and has taught at the University of Washington, Arizona State University, and the Academia Cotopaxi and Centro de Difusion Musical in Quito, Ecuador.
Venezuelan composer and guitarist Victor E. Marquez-Barrios holds an extended catalog of works that includes compositions for a variety of solo instruments, numerous chamber ensembles, mixed choir, electronics, symphonic band, and symphony orchestra. His music has been performed, published, and recorded by important soloists and ensembles from Latin America (Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, enCayapa Ensamble), the U.S. (H2 Quartet, Alexander String Quartet), and Europe (Guitar Duo Montes-Kircher, Proxima Centauri Ensemble). Works by Marquez-Barrios have also been performed at numerous international music festivals, such as the Latin American Music Festival (Caracas, Venezuela), XVII Festival of Contemporary Music of Havana (Cuba), 20eme Festival Internacional de la Clarinette (Martinique), Hollywood Fringe Festival 2012 (Los Angeles, USA), and the World Saxophone Congress in its 2012 and 2015 editions.
Currently, Marquez-Barrios teaches music theory and composition as part of the faculty at Truman State University’s Music Department, in parallel to his active career as a composer and guest lecturer. More information available at www.marquezbarrios.com.
Cantoria, Truman’s premiere choir performs a wide range of repertoire, with special emphasis on a capella works and major choral works with orchestra. Director Mark Jennings focuses on finding the right musical and vocal way to sing and perform each piece, bringing special attention to the stylistic integrity of the music. About sixty-percent of Cantoria’s 54 members are music majors, with all levels (freshman through graduate students) represented.
The choir goes on a short tour each spring, primarily within Missouri, and on international tours every three years. Recent international tours have included Italy and Greece; Ireland; Hungary, Austria and Germany; and Finland, Latvia, and Estonia.
Cantoria has received many honors, including invitations to perform at Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA) state conventions and at regional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and Music Educators National Conference (MENC).
Kala Pierson is an American composer and sound artist. Vivid, expressive, and full of bold colors, her music has been performed in more than 30 countries on six continents, widely awarded and commissioned, and published by Universal Edition.
Born in 1977, she studied composition at Eastman School of Music (with Joseph Schwantner, Augusta Read Thomas, David Liptak, and Robert Morris) and Bard College at Simon’s Rock. At festivals, she’s also worked with Steven Stucky, Henri Dutilleux, Chaya Czernowin, Mario Davidovsky, Louis Andriessen, and Ted Hearne. She’s a self-taught santur (Persian hammered dulcimer) player and a laptop/audio performer. She lives in Philadelphia with her spouses and son.
She’s held season-long composer residencies with American Opera Projects, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and San Francisco Choral Artists. In 2016, she’ll be the featured guest composer of the Truman State University New Horizons Festival; a Britten-Pears Foundation resident composer in Aldeburgh, UK; and a Big Sky Choral Initiative Composer Fellow with The Crossing.
She’s initiated many international projects and has appeared as a guest composer or lecturer at the Hochschule für Musik Köln (Germany), Musikhögskolan i Piteå (Sweden), Summer in Sombor (Serbia), Boston University, Syracuse University, Tanglewood’s BUTI, and Fordham University. She’s collaborated with a wide range of visual artists, filmmakers, choreographers, writers, and theater directors. In 2015, she represented the U.S. in the Swedish government’s KIM grant exchange, meeting with leading Swedish musicians and working as a Composer in Residence at the VICC / ISCM Gotland Section.