Bard News & Events

Press Release

Concert includes two world premiere performances

Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Da Capo Chamber Players, presented by The Bard Center, will perform "'Leafy Speafing': A Musical Remembrance of Stephen Albert," on Wednesday, October 18, at 8:00 p.m. The concert, free and open to the public, will be held in Olin Hall at Bard College. Joining Da Capo for this program are guest artists soprano Lucy Shelton, pianist Stephen Gosling, violist Lois Martin, harpist Susan Jolles, clarinetist Marianne Gythfeldt, and percussionist Jim Baker.

The vibrant and moving works of Stephen Albert, a Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winning composer, have inspired this musical tribute by the Da Capo Chamber Players. "Albert was a wonderful composer who died very tragically in his early fifties," according to Patricia Spencer, visiting associate professor in the arts at Bard College and flutist with Da Capo. "He was an inspiration for the new music scene, with his distinctive and luscious harmonic sense and a truly distinctive style of very melodic and sensuous melodies. We have wanted to do the program for a long time and feel it is important to do it now, as Albert's works are no longer frequently played. We do not wish to forget him and lose the beauty of his music. Everyone who hears his music is moved by it."

Da Capo will perform Albert's "To Wake the Dead" and "Rilke Song," which he wrote for them on the occasion of their twentieth anniversary in 1991. Albert's musical vision inspired the other works on the program: Bruce MacCombie's "Elegy," Sebastian Currier's "Whispers," and two world premieres, the quintet "Riverend," by Jonathan Leshnoff, and Philippe Bodin's "PEAL," also composed for Da Capo.

Winner of the Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 1973, Da Capo is widely acclaimed for its virtuosity, stimulating programs, and openness to a wide spectrum of styles in new music. Its dedication to working with composers is matched by its commitment to rehearsing a piece as a living, moving, breathing entity, rather than a fixed blueprint to be executed precisely and perfectly. The Da Capo Chamber Players are flutist Patricia Spencer, clarinetist Jo-Ann Sternberg, violinist Eva Gruesser, cellist André Emelianoff, and pianist Lisa Moore.

For further information about the concert, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425.

About the Composers:

Stephen Albert's untimely death in an auto accident in 1992 stunned the music world. He was recognized during his lifetime for a body of work at once powerful, dramatic, colorful, and deeply emotive. Contemporary in sound yet firmly rooted in traditional compositional techniques, Albert's music sought to establish links with fundamental human emotions and musical archetypes. He drew inspiration from the rich emotional palette of nineteenth-century music, and sought to discover, within the context of a personal twentieth-century idiom, new connections with music of the past. In 1985 Albert received the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his symphony RiverRun. He served as composer-in-residence with the Seattle Symphony and received commissions from the Chicago, National, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Seattle Symphonies, as well as the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Library of Congress. Other awards and honors he received were MacDowell Colony, Huntington Hartford, and Guggenheim Foundation fellowships; two Rome Prizes; and grants from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the Alice M. Ditson Foundation. From 1988 until his death he was professor of composition at the Juilliard School of Music. In 1995 he received a posthumous Grammy Award for the recording of his cello concerto, commissioned and performed by Yo-Yo Ma. Recordings of his works are available on the Nonesuch, Delos, New World, CRI, and Smithsonian Collection labels.

After studying piano, organ, architecture, mathematics, and physics in his native France, Philippe Bodin moved to the United States, where he completed his undergraduate studies at Oberlin College and received an M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University. A prolific and strikingly creative composer, Bodin has written extensively for orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo instruments, and voice. He is assistant professor of composition at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music.

The music of composer Sebastian Currier has been performed worldwide in the cities of Paris, Rome, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow, London, and Toronto. In the United States his works have been performed in Carnegie Hall in New York, Symphony Hall in Boston, Kennedy Center in Washington, and Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Tanglewood, and the National Endowment for the Arts; a Rome Prize; and several awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has held residencies at the MacDowell and Yaddo Colonies and received commissions from the Fromm and Koussevitzky Foundations, Barlow Endowment, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, and the American Composers Orchestra.

Jonathan Leshnoff's orchestral composition Hadran was recently performed by the Oakland East Bay and Peabody Concert Orchestras. His interest in Stephen Albert was sparked when he was a conservatory student and Albert spoke to his composition class. Albert's untimely death did not deter Leshnoff from exploring his harmonic theories. The world premiere composition "Riverend" utilizes aspects of these theories in addition to semi-quotations from Albert's "Treestone." Leshnoff is the reipient of two ASCAP Young Composers Awards, grants from the Johns Hopkins University, and numerous prizes and awards, including the Boston Conservatory and Maryland Music Educator's Association. He is a faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory and Towson State University.

Bruce MacCombie's compositions have been performed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, and Seattle Symphony and have been performed in Poland, Russia, and London. MacCombie was dean of the School for the Arts at Boston University and of the Juilliard School. He was vice president and director of publications for G. Schirmer and Associated Music Publishers and has served on the board of directors of the Charles Ives Society. He is the recipient of various awards and grants, including the Sutherland Dows Fellowship, a DAAD grant to Freiburg Conservatory in Germany, a travel grant from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund, and commissions from the Jerome Foundation, Aeolian Chamber Players, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, and Twentieth Century Consort, among others.

back to top

This event was last updated on 03-02-2001