1998 Conference, Concert 3April 4, 1998, Siebert Chapel, Carthage College, Kenosha.
NotesJames Bohn James Bohn received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1992. At Madison, he studied with Stephen Dembski, Joel Naumann, Robert Crane, and Tamar Diesendruck. He received his Master's degree in 1993 from the University of Illinois, where he also earned his Doctorate last spring. At Illinois, he studied with Paul Zonn, Zack Browning, Erik Lund, Bill Brooks, Morgan Powell, and Salvatore Martirano. Since being awarded his Doctorate, James went on to Coordinate the Computer Labs for the Office of Research in Arts Technology at Illinois State University. He is a member of the American Composers Forum, and ASCAP.
Prelude: n. performance, event, etc., serving as an introduction. Something that precedes. All things precede and are preceded. In this case, Contemporary precedents include Impressionism, Expressionism, Neoclassicism, as well as jazz, pop, and broadcast news music. See also Bach, Chopin, Debussy, Scriabin, and Shostakovich.
David Bohn is a native of Wisconsin, and in fact lived there until 1991. He holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the University of Illinois. He is currently the organist at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Urbana, Illinois, and the Assistant Editor at Mark Foster Music Company in Champaign, in addition to work as a free-lance composer, copyist, conductor, and organist.
Tears & Flowers was composed on November 25, 1995. It is dedicated to the memory of composer and University of Illinois Emeritus Professor Salvatore Martirano, who had passed away shortly before.
John Jeffrey Gibbens is based in Madison, where he works as an archivist and free-lance accompanist. Gibbens has played his own music and the music of Wisconsin composers throughout the state, collaborating in 1997 with Milton Peckarsky in a series of five concerts devoted to centenarian Leo Ornstein. Gibbens is a charter member and director of WAC.
Nocturne and Waltz-Variations are the first two movements of Second Piano Set, a work composed at intervals over the last six years. Nocturne will be played for the first time on today's concert; Waltz-Variations, dedicated to Leo Ornstein, was premiered in 1994 at a Milwaukee concert in honor of the sesquicentennial of the city's Jewish community. The central image of Second Piano Set is "Music at home." Both the Nocturne and Waltz-Variations make reference to playing and listening habits derived from 19th-century piano music, and both were written through a combination of work at and away from the piano.
Paul Gmeinder has established himself as an outstanding chamber and solo performer. A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Gmeinder was given a scholarship to attend Drake University at the age of 16. There he studied with John Ehrlich and was assistant principal of the Des Moines Symphony.
In 1990, he was invited to participate in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Russia. He has served as Principal Cellist for many outstanding orchestras, including the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra from 1981 to 1994. Gmeinder was a founding member for Present Music, and Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel Critic Tom Strini has called him "Present Music's Fabulous Cellist." Gmeinder premiered Josh Schmidt's Late June Basement in July of 1997, as well as his O'Hara Songbook in March of 1998. In May of 1997, Gmeinder, Mike Lorenz, and Schmidt recorded Schmidt's incidental score to Bialystock & Bloom's The Elephant Man.
Mike Lorenz is one of Milwaukee's finest freelance percussionists, having worked with nearly every performing organization in the area. Lorenz is currently the percussionist for the Skylight Opera Theatre Orchestra, and is performing in its current production of Richard Wargo's A Chekhov Trilogy. His collection of percussion instruments numbers well over 1500, featuring rare and historical instruments from around the world. In June, Lorenz and Paul Gmeinder will be featured in a recital of new works by Josh Schmidt and Steve Nelson-Raney.
Gregory S. Robbin is completing his fifth and final year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While his primary focus is in Business Marketing, he (understandably) prefers studying Music Composition with Professors Joel Naumann, Stephen Dembski, and Les Thimmig.
The first piece, Plateau, is the product of an attempt to create a short, scenic, character-like piano work, while the second piece, Upright, was just a fun experiment in ragtime composition.
Joshua Schmidt is currently in his fourth year of undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, working towards a degree in Music Composition and Technology. His primary instructors are Yehuda Yannay, Jon Welstead, and Steve Nelson-Raney, as well as additional studies with Ellsworth Snyder in Madison. At the University, he serves as the Assistant Director of the Music From Almost Yesterday concert series, on which he has performed, composed and conducted a variety of works. This past October, Josh gave his debut recital featuring prepared and unprepared piano works of John Cage to a sold-out audience at Milwaukee's Piano Gallery. In addition to several performances throughout Milwaukee, Josh has also been featured in Madison's First Unitarian Society's Noon Musicale Series. As a composer/sound designer/keyboardist, Josh has worked extensively with several prominent theatre and dance companies including Skylight Opera Theatre, Theatre X, Wild Space Dance Company, and Bialystock and Bloom, the latter of which he is a company member. In June, Josh will give a recital featuring works of his own and Steve Nelson-Raney at Milwaukee's Villa Terrace.
Late June Basement surfaced in July of 1997 during a period of extensive flooding throughout south-eastern Wisconsin that turn many basements into indoor swimming pools. The work was premiered that month by Paul Gmeinder and Mike Lorenz at Milwaukee's Charles Allis Art Museum. The piece will be slightly revised and subsequently choreographed by Debra Loewen for Wild Space Dance Company's upcoming 1998-99 season.
Gary Verkade has performed much New Music throughout Europe and the United States, including that of John Cage, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, Luciano Berio, Jörg Herchet (Germany), Ernst Helmuth Flammer (Germany), and Warren Burt (USA/Australia). An active performer at the World Music Days, he premiered in 1991 (Zurich, Switzerland) has performed much New Music throughout Europe and the United States, including that of John Cage, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, Luciano Berio, Jörg Herchet (Germany), Ernst Helmuth Flammer (Germany), and Warren Burt (USA/Australia). An active performer at the World Music Days, he premiered in 1991 (Zurich, Switzerland) Antiphony X (Winded) for organ and 8-channel tape by Kenneth Gaburo, and in 1995 (Ruhrgebiet, Germany) he was invited to perform organ music by Hans-Joachim Hespos (Germany). His performances and compositions have been recorded and broadcast by German radio and Swedish television. Recipient of many grants and awards, he won a grant from the German government in 1995 to record a CD with his own compositions. He was a founding member of the improvisation ensemble SYNTHESE. Gary Verkade has taught organ as clinician/recitalist at universities in Germany, Sweden and the United States. He lived in Germany from 1978-1995 and taught organ for the University of Essen from 1988-1992. He joined the Carthage College Music Faculty in 1995.
Yehuda Yannay is a composer, conductor and professor of music theory and composition at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. A musician of international reputation, he is the creator of more than 100 works for virtually all musical media. Yannay is co-author and performer in films, videos and stage works. In 1994 he formed with visual artist Marie Mellott the intermedia performance duo Mindbender Theater. Yannay is also devoted to the organization and conducting of performances of music by living composers. In 1971 he founded the "Music From Almost Yesterday" concert series and continues to present every season numerous concerts of 20th Century music to the public.
Death and Tango have been linked by the Argentine musician Eduardo Bianco, who was very popular in Paris a few years before the terrible events of the Second World War. During the War, there was dance music played by prisoners at mass-murder sites in Eastern Europe. SS officers in Nazi extermination camps organized prisoner orchestras to accompany forced marches, executions and grave diggings and inmates referred to the music as "Death Tango." The Romanian-language title of my contrabass solo Tangoul Mortii (Tango of Death) is derived from the title of Paul Celan's most famous poem known later as "Deathfugue." The text was published first in Romanian, and was translated from the German by his Bucharest friend Petre Solomon in 1947. Tango of Death is Yannay's latest addition to a chain of works entitled Celan Ensembles based or inspired by works of Paul Celan. It lists, by now, six compositions for various instrumental and vocal combinations as well as pieces for video and synthesizer theater. The piece was written in 1996 at the request of the contrabass soloist Michael Cameron for the initiation concert of his newly built contrabass. Paul Gmeinder, who attended a recording session of Tango with Cameron last year, suggested to the composer to create a cello solo version of the work.
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