Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY-The Da Capo Chamber Players will perform a special concert "CELEBRATE BARD!" on Wednesday, April 11, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall, Bard College. The performance, presented by The Bard Center, features works by Bard faculty members Joan Tower and Kyle Gann and is free and open to the public. Following the concert, the composers will participate in a short panel discussion. Da Capo will be joined by guest artists violinist Curt Macomber, clarinetist Meighan Stoops, pianists Bari Mort and Joan Tower, and gamelan player Ehren Hanson.

"Music at Bard is intensely creative," says Patricia Spencer visiting associate professor of the arts at Bard College and flutist with Da Capo. "It evokes a spirit of much earlier times, when all performers were composers and vice versa. To capture this spirit we have chosen two pieces each by Kyle Gann and Joan Tower, who will also perform one of her works, plus compositions by Bard alum Stefan Weisman '92 and Bard senior Ehren Hanson."

The program will include Gann's "Last Chance" sonata for clarinet and piano and "Hovenweep," a work inspired by an ancient village on the Utah-Colorado border that was occupied by the Anasazi from 500 b.c. to 1300 a.d. Gann explains, "Joan Tower had asked for a piece on an American theme, and you can't get any more American than Hovenweep." Of Tower's two works, "Amazon" was written in 1977 for the Da Capo Chamber Players, and "Big Sky" was premiered in June 2000 at the La Jolla Chamber Music Festival. Hanson's "Flutescope of a Small Island" for gamelan, flute, and piano, was "inspired by the eerie and wavelike texture of Balinese gamelan combined with the beautiful sound of Pat Spencer's flute." Weisman describes "Big Red," his15-minute solo for clarinet as monothematic and postminimalist; it was written for clarinetist Meighan Stoops, who has called it "a lip buster."

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 commitment to rehearsing each piece as a living, moving, breathing entity, rather than a fixed blueprint. The Da Capo Chamber Players are flutist Spencer, clarinetist Jo-Ann Sternberg, violinist Eva Gruesser, cellist André Emelianoff, and pianist Lisa Moore.

Funding for the concert is provided through the generosity of the Homeland Foundation and the Leon Levy Foundation at Bard College. For further information, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425.

About the Composers:

"Kyle Gann's reputation as a composer is beginning to equal his renown as a writer on new music," wrote Paul Griffiths in the New York Times. Gann, assistant professor of music at Bard College, is an international authority on American music and new-music critic for the Village Voice. He is the author of The Music of Conlon Nancarrow and American Music in the Twentieth Century; and It's Only As Good As It Sounds, a collection of his Village Voice columns, to be published later this year. His works have been performed at the New Music America, Bang on a Can, and Spoleto festivals. He is the recipient of a commission from Music in Motion for his "Astrological Studies" and an Individual Artist's Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition to his pieces for the Village Voice, he has written extensively on new music for over 35 publications, including Perspectives of New Music, Contemporary Music Review, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Chicago Sun Times, Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, New Grove Dictionary of Musicians, and Fanfare Magazine. Gann has taught at Columbia University, Brooklyn College, Bucknell University, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His music is recorded on the Lovely Music, New Tone, and Monroe Street labels.

Ehren Hanson, a senior at Bard College, is majoring in musical composition. He began studying piano as a child, later adding guitar and percussion to his repertoire. He has studied Indian tabla for the past six years, recently under Pandit Anindo Chatterjee in India. For the past two years, Hanson has also studied Brazilian and Balinese music. At Bard he studies with Joan Tower, Luis Garcia-Renart, and other members of the Bard music faculty.

Joan Tower, Asher B. Edelman Professor of Music at Bard College, is one of the most highly regarded composers in the United States today. In 1998, the year of her 60th birthday, more than 20 concerts were presented in her honor throughout the country. Tower received the Delaware Symphony's Alfred I. Dupont Award for Distinguished American Composers and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 1990 was the recipient of the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. Tower, whose orchestral works have been commissioned and performed around the world, is currently composer-in-residence with the Orchestra of St. Luke's in New York City. Recent commissions include works for percussionist Evelyn Glennie and the National Symphony Orchestra, pianist John Browning, Emerson and Tokyo Quartets, Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, and a viola concerto for Paul Neubauer. Tower recently conducted the Anchorage Symphony and the University of Southern California orchestras. She was active as pianist with the 1973 Naumburg Award-winning ensemble, the Da Capo Chamber Players, which she founded. She was composer-in-residence with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and is currently coartistic director of the Yale/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and composer-in-residence at the Institute at Deer Valley in Utah. Her most recent recording is Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman (Koch International Classics), with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor.

Stefan Weisman is a graduate of Bard College (in 1992) and Yale University. He has studied composition with David Lang, Joan Tower, Martin Bresnick, and Jacob Druckman. His commissions include works for the Gotham Choir with the Cosmopolitan Orchestra, the Battell Chapel Choir, and the Minimum Security Composers Collective. His work has been performed by the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and Miró String Quartet, who performed his "Nervous People" at a Bang on a Can marathon concert. He has received fellowships and residencies from the Edward Albee Foundation, Blue Mountain Center, MacDowell Colony, and Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and is a recent recipient of a Meet the Composer Grant. He has written incidental music for the plays GreenlandY2K and What the F*** is String Theory? and participated in video collaborations at the Knitting Factory, Collective: Unconscious, and in the Most Significant Bytes series. His music has been heard at Merkin Concert Hall, the HERE Theater, the June in Buffalo festival, and the Flea Theater. He is producing four compact discs to be included in the book Voices from American Musical History, an overview of an oral history for American composers by historian Vivian Perlis. Weisman will begin doctoral studies at Princeton in the fall.

About the Guest Artists:

Violinist Curtis Macomber is recognized as one of the today's most versatile soloists and chamber musicians who is equally at home with works from Bach to Babbitt, and with a discography that includes the complete Brahms string quartets as well as the Roger Sessions Solo Sonata. A featured lecturer/recitalist in the first American Violin Congress in June of 1987, he won second prize in the 1980 Rockefeller Foundation International Competition for the Performance of Twentieth Century American Violin Music. Macomber has appeared in recital at Carnegie Recital Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Miller Theatre, and the Kennedy Center and has been soloist with the Musica Aeterna Orchestra, the Juilliard Orchestra, Great Neck Symphony, Westchester Philharmonic, Vermont Symphony, and at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. He was first violinist of the award-winning New World String Quartet for 11 years (1982-93), a founding member of the Apollo Piano Trio and the Bridge Horn Trio, and has been a member of the 20th-Century music ensemble Speculum Musicae since 1991. Macomber has also appeared with the Sea Cliff Chamber Players, New York Chamber Soloists, New York New Music Ensemble, Group for Contemporary Music, and in chamber music series across the country and in Europe. He has recorded for Nonesuch, Koch International, Vanguard, Pickwick, and Musical Heritage; his second solo recording, entitled Songs of Solitude (CRI), was named one of the best instrumental solo discs of 1996 by the New York Observer; and his recording with pianist Diane Walsh, of Violin-Piano Sonatas of Amy Beach and John Corigliano is available on Koch. Macomber is a member of the chamber music faculty of the Juilliard School and the violin faculty of the Manhattan School of Music; he has taught at Utah State University, Montclair State College, and Calvin College. He received B.M., M.M., and D.M.A. degrees from the Juilliard School, where he was a scholarship student of Joseph Fuchs and winner of the Morris Loeb and Walter Naumburg Prizes.

Bari Mort, a faculty member in the Music Program at Bard College, is a pianist who "uses her excellent musical instincts with taste and technical security," said Bernard Holland in the New York Times. She made her New York recital debut at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, as the winner of the Artists International Young Musicians Auditions. Mort has performed many solo recitals and chamber music concerts in the United States and is a member of the New York Chamber Ensemble. She has appeared with the International String Quartet, Musica de Camera, and the Phoenix Chamber Players, among others, and has performed at many music festivals, including Bar Harbor, Belleayre, Cape May, Beethoven Music Festival, and Music at Caramoor. Mort has also appeared on PBS television's "Live from Lincoln Center" and on National Public Radio. She recently toured the American Southeast and Midwest for Columbia Artists Community Concerts, and she has presented many collaborative programs at East Coast schools for the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts. Her recording of contemporary American music is on ERM Records, and she appears as a chamber musician on two Albany Records releases.

Clarinetist Meighan Stoops holds degrees from Northwestern University and Yale University. This year she received an artists diploma from Yale, where she studied with David Shifrin. While at Yale, she was a recipient of the Lucy G. Moses Fellowship and the 1998 Dean's Award. She has performed in the Yale Chamber Music Society series and has twice been a finalist at the Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition. A participant in many contemporary festivals, Stoops has been a guest artist with the Da Capo Chamber Players on numerous occasions.

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This event was last updated on 03-28-2001