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 1997 Conference
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Panel Discussion
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>Concert 4

1997 Conference, Concert 4

Saturday, April 26, 1997, 2:30 p.m., First Unitarian Meeting House, Madison.


Double Dance Joseph Koykkar
Mary Leavell, flute
Christine Mata, clarinet
Maria Yuin, bassoon
Todd Welbourne, piano
Galen Karriker, percussion
To an Unborn Soul Al Benner
Mary Leavell, flute
Tom Bishop, piano
The Drunken Boat Hal Rammel
Hal Rammel, electronics
Three Abstract Preludes
     In Silence
     Interrupted Dreams
     Inner Spaces
Joel Naumann
ellsworth snyder, piano
Fancy Jeff Burns
Jeff Gibbens, piano
Beelzebub Variations William Rhoads
Les Thimmig, clarinets
Avedis Manoogian, piano
Chad Lauber, guitar
Hans Sturm, bass
Galen Karriker, percussion
Andrew George, conductor

Notes on the Music and Composers

Joseph Koykkar is coordinator of the Interarts and Technology faculty and music director for the dance program at the UW-Madison. He holds degrees from UW-Milwaukee, Indiana University, and the University of Miami (DMA 1983). His principal composition teachers have been John Eaton, Dennis Kam, and John Downey. His compositions have been performed extensively throughout the United States and in Europe and South America by such ensembles as the New York New Music Ensemble, North/South Consonance (New York), California EAR Unit (Los Angeles), Synchronia (St. Louis), Relache (Philadelphia), Present Music (Milwaukee), Compagnia Brasileira De Music (Sao Paulo, Brazil), and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He has composed in a variety of media including chamber music, orchestral scores, music for dance, film/video scores, and electronic music.

He has been the recipient of twelve consecutive annual awards from ASCAP, and has received an Individual Artists Award in Music Composition for the Wisconsin Arts Board. Among his other awards are grants from Meet the Composer, the American Music Center, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and the NEA. He has been a fellow at the International Summer Workshop for New Music in Darmstadt, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Conductors Institute American Composer/Conductor Program and the Montanea Festival in Bern, Switzerland. He has been a past president of the Wisconsin Alliance of Composers.

Double Dance is a rhythmic work that features a through-composed structure and an economical handling of musical materials. Today's concert will feature the first movement only; a second movement of a contrasting nature is currently in progress.

The music of Al Benner has been performed frequently throughout the United States, including Lincoln Center in New York. He has received numerous commissions by the Louisiana Sinfonietta, the Magnolia Trio, various members of the Baton Rouge Symphony and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and other artists. Recipient of ASCAP standard awards the past several years, he is founder of A&L Musical Enterprises, Inc.; on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers; the editor for Composer/USA, the bulletin of the National Association of Composers, USA; and the series editor for Conners Publications "Music of America" reprint series. Benner holds a BA, BFA, and MFA from Tulane University and a DMA in composition from Louisiana State University where he served as President of the Society of Composers, Inc.'s local chapter. He taught composition at LSU's School of Music from 1989 to 1993 and is now on the music faculty of St. Norbert College, DePere.

To an Unborn Soul (1989) received its title from the dedication to the composer's yet unknown future wife and first-born child. The work uses various modal, whole-tone, and pentatonic scales. Alternating periods of reflection with dance-like joy, the piece highlights the skill of the flautist. Recurring short sections of fast and slow interplay with one another until the work ends as it began. To an Unborn Soul premiered July 27, 1989, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with Pam Dobson, flute, and Louis Wendt, piano.

Experimental multi-instrumentalist, composer/performer, author, and visual artist Hal Rammel has been designing and building musical instruments since 1977. He has been an active participant in the improvised and experimental music scene in Chicago since the early 1980s. Now residing in southeastern Wisconsin, he performs freely improvised music in a trio with guitarist John Corbett and violinist Terri Kapsalis and in a duo with Milwaukee saxophonist Steve Nelson-Raney. His musical instruments and graphic work have been exhibited at the UWM Art Museum, the Walker's Point Center for the Arts (Milwaukee), the Harold Washington Library Center (Chicago), and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago). Penumbra Music (Grafton, WI) has released three CDs of his electro-acoustic and acoustic improvisations and compositions.

The Drunken Boat is an electroacoustic navigation performed on an instrument designed and built by the composer in 1991:"Comme je descendais des Fleuves impassibles."(Arthur Rimbaud) ("As I came down the impassable Rivers." trans. Louise Varese.)

Joel Naumann has been on the composition faculty at the UW-Madison since 1980, and founded the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers, Inc. in 1984. He received his composition training at Manhattan School of Music, Long Island University, and the University of Utah, studying with Vitorrio Giannini, Nicholas Flagello, Ludmilla Ulehla, Stefan Wolpe, Alexei Haieff, Theodore Antoniou, and Vladimir Ussachevsky.

"Three Abstract Preludes is a set of short piano pieces written for and dedicated to ellsworth snyder. Instead of the usual 'fast-slow-fast' progression for this kind of work, Ilaid out this set in a 'slow-fast-slow' grouping--after all, they were written for ellsworth! All three of the pieces were composed as examples of possible solutions to assignments I gave to my Freshman Composition class at the UW-Madison. ellsworth premiered the first of the three pieces on a 'Live from the Elvehjem' broadcast in January of 1996. Today's performance is the first time the entire set has been heard."

Fancy, by Jeff Burns, is the third in a set of miniatures with the same title for disparate media.

Born 1966 in Coney Island, New York, William Rhoads received his BM in Music Composition and Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where his composition teachers included Stephen Dembski, Joseph Koykkar, Les Thimmig, and Joel Naumann. In addition, he has studied with composers John Corigliano, George Rochberg, John Harbison, Olly Wilson, and George Crumb. He has been active as board member of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers, Co-director of the Madison Chapter of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers, Founder/Director of the "Ear & Now" concert series, and Co-founder/Director of the "99-cent Concert Series" in Madison. His works have been performed in various cities throughout the U.S., including Madison, Milwaukee, Cedar Rapids, Seattle, Miami, and Fayetteville, AR, by such groups as Present Music of Milwaukee, the University of Arkansas Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Florida International University faculty, and the New World Symphony chamber music society. He is currently attending the Institute of Audio Research and is active as an engineer/producer, copyist/arranger, and composer in New York City. Recent projects include a composition for pianist, Avedis Manoogian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a commission for Resistance Theater in New York. His works are published by Sikesdi Press.

"I remember reading in an article somewhere that the dirty little secret about the New York art scene is that it is as regional as any other area. That, contrary to the reigning view that the output of resident Manhattan artists is more (can I say it?) cosmopolitan than other areas of the country, the works of these artists suffer from (if suffering it truly is) the same quality of regionalism as that of their cohorts in other parts of the country. Beelzebub Variations is the result of my interest in this brand of 'cosmopolitan regionalism' indigenous to the downtown New York new music scene in the early 90's. Of particular interest to me were the works of those composers associated with the 'Bang on a Can' festival and the apparent new musical aesthetic which surrounded this activity. This collective artistic effort was quickly heralded by Village Voice music critic, Kyle Gann, as a new movement, which he termed 'Totalism.' Without going too far in depth, the pieces described as Totalist were said to use, among other things, pop/world music inspired materials and the complex layering of rhythmic ideas as primary elements of compositional concern. The result of such a practice were works characterized by the intricate weaving of sexy, derivative rhythmic lines which were often superimposed to yield a complex and interesting contrapuntal musical fabric. I must confess that, at the time I began writing this piece I had no concrete knowledge of this music, then again, originality may be nothing more than the result of creative misinterpretation, so being in the dark to some extent was not without its benefits.

"Beelzebub Variations uses as its starting point, the song, 'Beelzebub' by the Bill Bruford group (led by famed drummer of the rock group Yes). This song immediately caught my attention, as it seemed to exhibit many of the characteristics applicable to Totalist composers. I wasn't interested in 'copping' the tune, per se. In the style of traditional Theme and Variations form, rather, I used various elements of the original song and abstracted them to the point of unintelligibility in order to provide myself with a clean slate, as it were, to compose within the universe of my own artistic needs and interests. Presented here is the first section, consisting of a Prologue and Passacaglia, of what will eventually be a three movement work. Beelzebub Variations was commissioned by the Wisconsin/Hilldale Undergraduate Research Award Fellowship Committee and was composed for, and dedicated to, friend and consummate musician, Hans Sturm."

1997 Conference
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