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a splendid cellist --New York Newsday (Oct 27)
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Commissions / Premières

Branic Howard: Folds and Overlays for cello & electronics
Première November 2013 at Merkin Hall, New York, NY

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Branic Howard 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.

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Steven Bryant: Concerto for Cello
Première March/April 2011 with the Ridgewood Concert Band and the Cornell Wind Ensemble

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Steven Bryant Steven writes:

Written for my dear friend and extraordinary cellist, Caroline Stinson, the Concerto for Cello is my first solo concerto (I have never before been particularly drawn to Concerti, or the traditional concerto form). When Carrie approached me about writing a work for her, I knew this was the perfect project to dispel my hesitation (fear?). Cast in two movements, the work displays more of my recent fascination with both serialized pitch usage and minimalist rhythmic patterns, while hopefully retaining the drama I strive to imbue in all of my music. The first movement explores a fairly strict serial treatment of a nine-tone pitch row (stated clearly in the first bar), punctuated by a few notable moments of triadic harmony (still melodically related to the row). The second movement exploits the natural harmonics of the Cello, and is thus necessarily in a bright D-major (veering toward A-major) tonality, full of life and joy. The Concerto is scored for an orchestral wind section plus percussion (see Instrumentation List on this page), so that either a symphony orchestra or a wind ensemble may perform the work using existing personnel.

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T. Patrick Carrabré: Ancestral Drones for cello and electronics
Première March 2011 New Works Calgary, University of Calgary, AB, Canada
Further Performance November 2013, Merkin Hall, NYC

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T. Patrick Carrabré

Patrick says of the work:

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.

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Andrew Waggoner: Stretched on the Beauty, Concerto for 4 celli
Premières November 2007, CELLO with the Syracuse Symphony, Daniel Hege conducting
Further Performance November 2013, Merkin Hall, NYC

Icon of musical note listen to movements III and IV

Andrew Waggoner

Andrew says of the work:

Stretched on the Beauty was composed between 2004 and 2007 for the 'cello quartet CELLO and the Syracuse Symphony. It arises from several sources, two of them musical, one literary and one personal: my 4-'cello sketch, also called Stretched..., and the first of my efforts to grapple with the singular challenges the concerto would present; my somewhat larger sketch for solo 'cello and orchestra, called The Mountain Remains, an orchestral rethinking of the 4-'cello version of Stretched...; Leaves of Grass, in which Whitman describes himself in a boat, "stretched" on his fancy across the beauty of the bay on which he glides towards a mountain in the distance; and, most importantly, my father's vivid recollection of shipping out for Korea from Puget Sound, his first trip overseas and in fact his first extended foray out of his native Iowa. He was 23. The concerto is in four movements, Prélude; Lament; Cadenzas; The Mountain Remains. It is dedicated to the wonderful artists of both CELLO and the Syracuse Symphony, and to my father.

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Andrew Waggoner: The Mountain Remains, Concerto for Cello
Première April, 2005 with the Syracuse University Orchestra, James Tapia conducting

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Andrew says of the work:

"TEXT TO BE UPDATED"

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Andrew Waggoner: Le Nom (Upperline)
Première February 2006 Winnipeg Symphony New Music Festival, MB, Canada
Other performances of note: Birstonas, Lithuania; Strasbourg, France; Calgary, Canada; Wednesdays at One, NYC; BargeMusic, NYC
Recording on Albany Records (2011)

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Andrew says of the work:

"But if these names consume for all time the image I had of these cities, it is only to transform that image, to submit its reappearance in me to their own laws, in consequence rendering that image more beautiful, but also more different than the cities of Normandy or Tuscany could be in reality…" Proust, Du Coté de chez Swann (Nom de pays: Le Nom)

"Five thousand years ago, much of southern Louisiana did not exist. A hundred years from now, it is unclear how much of it will remain.” Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker

These taken together conjure up something of the sense I had about this piece while writing it. Consumed each day by the news from my home town of New Orleans, I found myself incessantly repeating the street name "Upperline". This incantation was purely sonic: I attached no particular personal significance to the street itself (other than my love for the eponymous restaurant that one finds there, truly one of the greatest in the country). The name itself was music to me, and began to manifest as very high melodic material for the 'cello. An evocation of higher ground, the relative safety of a rooftop, an unbroken levee, perhaps. But I think the New Orleans of my grieving was less the city in the news than one of dreams and memory. Many of us who came from there found ourselves wondering, in the fetid and awful days that followed the storm, what it could mean to be anywhere if there were no longer to exist. The name 'le nom’ became a totem, a glyph, and it carried a whole history, both personal and collective, within it.

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Andrew Waggoner: Livre
Première December 2001 Muttart Hall, Edmonton, Alberta
Other performances of note: Tenri NYC; Paul Hall, Juilliard NYC; Florence, Italy; New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, LA
Recording on Albany Records (2011)

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TEXT TO BE UPDATED.

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Anna Weesner: Possible Stories
Première Syracuse University 2009
Further Performances BargeMusic and Wednesdays at One, NYC
Recording on Albany Records (2001)

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Anna Weesner

From the liner notes by Harold Meltzer Weesner embeds conceptions of intimacy into the very narrative of her theme and variations. Marked "collected and private," the theme follows the public, more boisterous opening, as if tucked inside the piece. Subsequent variations, which grow gradually more boisterous and public—Weesner herself uses the metaphor of a party—protect the theme, until intimate reflections pour out at the end. The diatonic framework of the music is everywhere undermined ingeniously by chromatic cross-relations, blending buoyancy and introspection. Awarded the 1995 Brian Israel Prize, Possible Stories was composed during Weesner's student days at Cornell.

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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.

Looking Ahead

David Glaser: Maia for cello and piano

David Glaser

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.

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John Link: A work for cello & electronics

John Link

Icon of musical note listen to Cello Sketch

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.

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