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A personal lens: Finnish music

Sponsored by the Consulate General of Finland in New York, Ms. Stinson created a musical evening exploring composers uniquely interested in Time, how music is conceived within it and the various ways in which we experience Time through music. The first performance took place on Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 at Merkin Hall, 129 W 67th St New York, NY.

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Brought about by a series of events that began at the Creative Dialogue seminar with Finnish cellist Anssi Karttunen in 2009, this program explores the concept of Time from Carter's iconic Cello Sonata beginning a new era in American music by re-conceiving musical time, to Lindberg's luscious Concert Piece in a continuation of Carter's approach, and Joan Tower exploring 'slow time'. These works suspend, animate and flank two premieres with electronics, exploring the passage of time and the perspective it provides.

Elliott Carter: Cello Sonata (1948) 20'
Branic Howard: Folds and Overlays for cello & electronics (2011), World Premiere 6' More Info
Joan Tower: Très Lent for cello and piano (1994) 8'
T. Patrick Carrabré: Ancestral Drones for cello & electronics (2011); written for Caroline Stinson 10' More Info
Magnus Lindberg: Konzertstück for cello and piano (2006) 15'

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Recording Projects

Caroline Stinson: Lines
European Lineages in American Music (Albany Records 2011)
Music of Bloch, Sessions, Harbison, Lutoslawski, Stucky, Waggoner, Weesner, Boulanger and Carter
Molly Morkoski, piano


In this début CD, Caroline Stinson says this about the album's conceit:

" For a number of years now I have been programming concerts by following the lines traced by my own curiosity about composers' relationships with one another as teachers, mentors and friends. I see the relationships and bonds that exist between the composers with whom I collaborate, and have become keenly aware of the significance of these relationships musically, personally and professionally. To what extent these exchanges play a role in determining what and how composers write, is intriguing to me; whether they manifest distinctly in harmony and structure, and whether the music either hints at influence or does not betray its associations at all, these connections have become an important entry point for me interpretively and programmatically.

This program presents music that through connection and contrast, outlines a series of relationships extending from three significant European figures into North American cello music of the 20th and 21st centuries, and is in all cases music that I love and have relished exploring. I feel fortunate and happy to have worked with all the living composers whose work is represented here. My time with each one of them has informed the playing, shaped the program and enriched my experience throughout the project. I thank them all for their time and support. "

Program presented on this disc:
Witold Lutoslawski: Grave | Steven Stucky: Dialoghi
Anna Weesner: Possible Stories | Andrew Waggoner: Le nom (Upperline)
Ernest Bloch: Suite No. 3 for solo cello | Roger Sessions: Six Pieces for Violoncello | John Harbison: Suite for solo cello
Nadia Boulanger: Trois Pièces | Elliott Carter: Figment for cello alone

Produced and engineered by Judith Sherman. Recorded October 22, 23 and 30, 2009 at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City. Cover photo by Bob Gates.

Special thanks to Joel Krosnick and Ara Guzelimian for their guidance, wisdom and enthusiasm, and to The Juilliard School's Artist Diploma Program. Funding for the Artist Diploma degree made possible by the Jerome L. Greene Foundation (2009-10), the Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (SYLFF), the Argyll Campbell Rice and Argyll Prior Rice Scholarship and the Lyllie Chasnoff Miller Scholarship (2008-09). Post-production made possible by Paul Gridley, David Stam and the Delmas Foundation.

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Dark and Quiet for solo cello by Daniel Strong Godfrey

Daniel Strong Godfrey

Daniel S. Godfrey (b. 1949) received his graduate degrees in composition from Yale University and the University of Iowa. He is Professor of Composition at Syracuse University's Setnor School of Music, and has also held visiting faculty appointments at the Eastman School of Music and the Indiana University School of Music.

Godfrey has earned awards and commissions from the J. S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Fromm Music Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bogliasco Foundation, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, and the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, among many others. His music has been performed by distinguished soloists, chamber ensembles and orchestras throughout the U.S. and abroad. He is founder and co-director of the Seal Bay Festival of American Chamber Music (on the Maine coast) and is co-author of Music Since 1945, published by Schirmer Books.

Godfrey's works are recorded on Albany, CRI, GM, Innova, Klavier, Koch, UK Light and Mark compact discs. His music is available through publishers Carl Fischer and G. Schirmer.

Daniel writes of the piece:

Dark and Quiet was written for and is dedicated to cellist Caroline Stinson. It is played with an ebony mute throughout. Outwardly a slow, contemplative monologue for one player, the music is really more akin to an internal dialogue between two sides of a personality, one brooding and uncertain, the other more hopeful, though bittersweet. This dichotomy, however, is one of contrast, not of conflict; the dialogue seeks a modus vivendi, not a resolution, though ultimately the music finds its way back to the same more shadowed space from which it first emerged.


Maia for cello and piano by David Glaser

David Glaser

David Glaser was born in New York in 1952. He remembers at a very early age asking his parents to play some of the records they owned, especially Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, and Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps. Although he played French horn in his junior high school band and studied classical guitar in high school it wasn't until he heard Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire in college that he decided to pursue a career in music.

He studied at Hunter College (BA), Queens College (MA) and Columbia University (DMA). His teachers included Mario Davidovsky, George Edwards, Martin Boykan, Jacques-Louis Monod and Jack Beeson. He has been the recipient of a CAP Grant and a Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Grant from the American Music Center, the Dr. Boris and Eda Rapoport Prize in Composition from Columbia University and Fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Wellesley Composer's Conference. He received a 2007 Fromm Foundation commission to compose a work for Parthenia viol consort. In 2005 he received the Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters which described his work as "...subtly potent..."

David writes of the piece:

Only infrequently do I find the impetus for a piece from an extramusical source. In this work it was the idea of gravity and motion. The small melodic fragments that start the piece are tenuously connected at first. They are static and isolated but as coalesce, collide, dissolve and echo develop more forward momentum and they build into the longer lines that dominate the second half of the piece. The title Maia comes from the name of the star in the constellation Taurus. It is the third work in a series of pieces that are named for stars and share a sonic profile featuring widely spaced chords and contrasts of register.


Folds and Overlays for cello & electronics by Branic Howard

Branic Howard

Branic Howard (b. 1983, Vancouver, WA) is a composer and sound artist working in Brooklyn, NY. He is inspired by sounds that we encounter daily in public and private spheres – stemming from observations of the affinities between the generic and intimate. His work attempts to creatively incorporate technology into live electro-acoustic music and improvisation. Recent projects have involved exploring family histories, concepts of place/space, and the recording of natural/domestic sounds. Howard's compositions have been performed at Symphony Space, Penn State University, with musicians at Portland's Creative Music Guild, as well as, in collaboration with The Space We Make performers collective, among others. Howard received his MM from Syracuse University in 2011. Currently he is working toward a PhD in composition at SUNY Stony Brook.

Branic writes of the piece:

Jorge Luis Borges' short story, On Exactitude in Science, imagines the art of cartography taken to its limit—a map is created, so detailed and expansive, it "coincides point for point" with the empire it superimposes. The map is rendered useless over time, as the inhabitants of the empire no longer find geography fashionable. They rid of the map by allowing it to deteriorate in the weather. In time, animals and beggars inhabit the threadbare particles of the map; they take shelter in the detritus of this cartographic overlay. Folds and Overlays hopes to capture this idea of the hyperreal by literally laying a map of timbral processing over the cello—except the map changes through time. The cellist navigates through these subtly shifting sound wolds, where our proximity to the natural cello and the hyperreal one are in continual play.

Icon of musical note listen to live performance of Folds and Overlays


Ancestral Drones for cello & audio by T. Patrick Carrabré

T. Patrick Carrabré

On March 3, 2011, Caroline premiered Ancestral Drones, a new work by T. Patrick Carrabré for cello and audio, commissioned for New Works Calgary, a series at the University of Calgary, Alberta, that presents new music with an emphasis on Southern Alberta composers and artists. Caroline reflects upon the work: "It was a great honor to have this piece written for me and to have Pat at the performance, which included a pre-concert talk with Pat hosted by Laurie Radford, Artistic Director of New Works Calgary."

Before Caroline received the piece, she had decided to pair it with Hebrew Melodies, an early work by George Perle, with whom Patrick studied for many years. It turns out that there is a rather serendipitous relationship between these two works, each representing some form of ritual chant.

Pat writes of the piece:

"I spent the first part of my life as a composer writing music in a complex harmonic system – still working with the concept of prolonging tonal centres that was recognizable to a post-romantic audience. Then, at some point my brain just didn't hear things that way anymore and I began trying to slow down the harmonic motion of my music - to enjoy the dissonances over much slower harmonic drones. The break came in pieces like Inuit Games and Creation Stories - when I started working with musicians from other cultures. Ancestral Drones, premiering tonight, tries to place the virtuosity of our western tradition into the context of a more primordial music making, where the cry of the soul sings through those notes that lean into the drone and call us to float with them."

Icon of musical note listen to excerpt from Ancestral Drones

John Link

A work for cello & electronics by John Link

Caroline is commissioning John Link, the esteemed Carter specialist, to write a piece for cello and "tape". The two spent an afternoon in the studio of Ryan Streber in Yonkers back in January, recording all possible cello sounds for John to use in making up the "tape" part for the work. Here is a tickle that John sent via email, at the end of that day.

Icon of musical note listen to Cello Sketch


Concerto for Cello & Wind Ensemble | Commission Proposal 2010-2011   download pdf

Steven Bryant

Cellist Caroline Stinson and composer Steven Bryant present a commission-collaboration for a Concerto for cello and wind ensemble with Cynthia Johnston Turner of Cornell University at its head. Through a hybrid commission consortium of both symphony orchestras and wind ensembles, the collaboration aims to include both university and professional ensembles.

Beyond creating an exciting work for the rare combination of cello and wind ensemble, the goal of this commission is to bridge the world of the wind ensemble with that of the symphony orchestra and to expand the sound possibilities for wind ensemble, something Bryant is becoming known for, most notably in his most recent work Ecstatic Waters, presented at the 2009 CBDNA National conference. The instrumentation of the work (see below) will allow for a shared performance life between these large ensembles, and given their experience and accolade, both Steven and Caroline are the strongest of ambassadors for a project of this ambition.

Icon of musical note Listen to the live recording of the première.

This concerto was premiered on March 25th, 2011 with the Ridgewood Concert Band and on April 30th, 2011 with the Cornell Wind Ensemble.

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additional commissions and world premières

Jennifer Bellor: Soliloquy

Ian Hartsough: Afterglow

John Link: Work for solo cello (2009)

Andrew Waggoner: Livre

Andrew Waggoner: Upperline

Andrew Waggoner: Stretched on the Beauty, Concertofor 4 celli

Andrew Waggoner: The Mountain Remains

Anna Weesner: Possible Stories

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Caroline Stinson collaborates with a number of musical groups and organizations. Some of these include:
Weekend of Chamber Music

Weekend of Chamber Music
The Weekend of Chamber Music seeks to present chamber music as a vital art to a broad cross section of the Sullivan County, NY community and beyond, reaching out to engage people of all ages and cultures. Colorful programming designed to stimulate the listeners' imaginations; a focus on high quality performance, a wide range of instrumentation, and lively communication with the audience through the spoken word, are features of every concert, workshop, coaching activity and collaboration with the community at-large. The Weekend of Chamber Music is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization EIN 16-1518575.

Open End Ensemble

Open End
Open End was formed in 2005, the brainchild of several interconnected musical friendships. Equally committed to new chamber music, particularly by composers with no easily-pegged stylistic affiliations, and to free improvisation, the ensemble is made up of players well-known in ever-expanding contexts whose collective experience spans the whole of Western instrumental literature, from the oldest to the newest. Open End has performed in the US, France and Italy, and was invited in 2007 for a week-long residency at the Conservatoire National de Région in Strasbourg, France, where they gave masterclasses in chamber music and improvisation and performed two concerts in collaboration with the ensemble Accroche Note.

Ensemble Meme

Ensemble Meme
Founded in 2009, the artists of Ensemble Meme are accomplished chamber musicians drawn together to perform innovative, wide-ranging programs. The group’s name, Meme, is an idea, action that enters the cultural landscape and transforms it through its presence. Ensemble Meme seeks to identify significant current works which show strength and pair them with time-proven compositions from the past to bring an engaging and enriching experience to the audience.

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LARK Quarte+

Lark Quartet
The Lark Quartet continues to delight audiences with its energy, passionate commitment and artistry since its inception in 1985. The Lark has performed in many of the world's great cultural centers including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Library of Congress, London's Wigmore Hall, L'Opéra de la Bastille in Paris, and appeared at international festivals including Lockenhaus, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Mostly Mozart, Istanbul Festival, Wolftrap and the Beethoven Festival in Moscow. Promising to deliver “a performance of grace, proportion and burnished brilliance” (The Washington Post), The Lark Quartet offers audiences new insights into the art of chamber music through programs that begin with the ensemble virtuosity of the western tradition and continue into recent music from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, all while regularly sharing the stage with dynamic collaborators.

Stamford Symphony

Stamford Symphony
Originally formed in 1919, the Stamford Symphony thrived under the leadership of Clayton Hotchkiss, Music Director of the Stamford Public Schools, until after WWII, when many of its musicians returned to their homelands. The Stamford Symphony was reborn in 1967, and has since grown to become an integral part of the cultural life in Fairfield County. Skitch Henderson's appointment as Music Director in 1974 marked the turning point when the Stamford Symphony became a fully professional organization.

Caroline holds the position of Principal Cello under Music Director Ekart Preu and enjoys collaborating with the orchestra as a soloist and chamber musician through the Classics Series as well as salons, outreach and education.