Festival 2003 Composers and their works

Jason Bahr (b. 1972) is currently Chair of the Composition Department at Oklahoma University and a doctoral candidate at Indiana University. Bahr was a prize winner in the Renee B. Fischer Piano Competition (2003), received an honorable mention in the Kubik International Composition Competition (2002), and won the Cambridge Madrigal Singers Choral Composition Competition (1999). Bahr has studied with Samuel Adler, Claude Baker, David Dzuaby, Eugene O'Brien, Don Freund, James Mobberley and Gerald Kemner.

The Four Humors comes from Hippocrates' theory that the health of a person, both mental and physical, is governed by a combination of fluids in the body: blood, yellow bile, phlegm, and black bile (yuck!). When the fluids are in balance, the ancient Greek postulated, the body and mind are in balance. Should a fluid come to predominate, the following would occur:

I. Cholericus--Too much choler, or yellow bile. This person would act angry, violent and vengeful.
II. Melancholicus--The person with too much black bile would be gloomy and sad.
III. Flematicus--With too much phlegm, one was cold, emotionless (and probably in need of a tissue).
IV. Sanguinicus--An over-abundance of blood wrought cheerfulness and optimism.


John G. Bilotta was born in Waterbury, Connecticut. He graduated from Berkeley and studied at the Music & Arts Institute, San Francisco. He lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. His compositions have been performed at concerts and music festivals across the USA and Europe. His vocal set Renaissance Songs was performed and recorded in Munich by American tenor Gregory Wiest. The Unicorn in the Garden for actors and orchestra received the 2000 Digital Media Arts Award. Recent compositions include the Divertimento for Orchestra, the Madison Sketchbook for piano and Gen'ei no Mai for flute and clarinet.

The Nocturne for clarinet and piano is a neo-romantic work constructed from a small number of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic motifs. A monothematic sonata, the piece is enriched by the use of bitonality and cross-meters. At some points in the development section, the clarinet is playing in 3/4 and the piano in 5/8, coming together fully at the recapitulation.


Aris Carastathis is an Associate Professor of Theory and Composition and Director of the New Music Ensemble at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Canada. He is an Associate Composer and a Voting Member of the Canadian Music Centre. He holds a DMA degree from Louisiana State University where he studied with Dinos Constantinides. Carastathis has received commissions from Music Canada 2000, the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, the Lakehead University Centre for Northern Studies, the Louisiana Sinfonietta, the Acadia Trio and the LSU New Music Ensemble. Carastathis' music has been performed in Canada, USA, Germany, England, Poland and Greece.

The title Vertexes refers to the three instrumental parts as they change roles by weaving in and out of the spotlight in a triangular network of timbres. Similar to a revolving geometric triangle, each instrument serves as a vertex in a continuous interplay of sound. The work was commissioned and premiered by cellist Christoph Both and the Acadia Trio.


Darlene Chepil Reid holds HBSc (McMaster University), AMus (Conservatory Canada) and has studied composition with Aris Carastathis at Lakehead University. Her works have been performed by the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Lakehead University New Music Ensemble and Winnipeg's GroundSwell Series. Doannan for solo cello is performed frequently by The Off-Balance Dance Troupe. Through a grant from Canada Council, plans are being finalized to record Doannan as part of a music video on interpretative dance to be released in fall 2003.

Jehome and Haalsan is composed as a set for solo trombone and CD. Jehome is a pseudo duet of solo trombone with recorded trombone. As a programmatic leap, Jehome could be viewed as man versus machine (implying no gender just cliché). Haalsan takes the man into society. Haalsan abuses both children's laughter and the music of the oldest operating carousel in North America. Whether Jehome and Haalsan portray success of the individual in these situations is left as an exercise to the listener. Neither work is meant to be pretty.


Dora Cojocaru studied composition and musicology (PhD) in Romania and Germany. She has received many composition prizes including First Prize at the International Mozart Composition Contest, Romanian Composers Union Prize. She has received grants from various sources including DAAD, Soros, European Community, Gaudeamus, and Sacher. Her works are widely performed in Europe, Asia and in the USA. She was Associate Professor in Cluj/Romania and moderator at WDR Cologne/Germany and gave workshops at conferences in Europe until her arrival in Montreal (2001). She teaches at McGill University.

Fragmenti for trombone solo (1996) is shaped from various apparently unfinished micro-movements with signal character, specific for this instrument. The expression reminds one of an ancient communication in an imaginary language.


Paul Dickinson, born in 1965, began his musical studies on piano at age eleven, and composition at age twelve. He received degrees from the Eastman School of Music (BM) and Northwestern University (MM, DM) where he studied with Joseph Schwantner, Warren Benson, Samuel Adler, Tomas Svoboda, Alan Stout and Gerhard Stäbler. His music has been performed throughout the USA and Europe, and has received honours and awards, including a grant from the Arkansas Arts Council, a BMI Award, a grant from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), and numerous commissions. Dr. Dickinson is Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory at the University of Central Arkansas.

A Guidebook to the Afterlife was written in the spring of 2001 for Dr. Lorraine Duso, Instructor of Oboe at the University of Central Arkansas. The text is from a series of Guidebook poems by John Gallaher, of the UCA Writing Department. The stream-of-consciousness character of the text suggested a free, recitative-like accompaniment for the oboe. Rhythmic unisons and pauses highlight recurring poetic ideas.


As a competitive pianist, Reena Esmail (b. 1983) won the Los Angeles Philharmonic Chamber Music Competition and appeared in recitals at the Hollywood Bowl Museum and The Luckman Fine Arts Complex in Los Angeles. Since 2001, she has focused on composition and has received ASCAP's Morton Gould Young Composers Awards (2002), The Norris Foundation Scholarship (2001) and the Peter D. Faith Prize in Composition (2002). Her works have been performed by artists such as The Debussy Trio and Peter Sheridan of the Los Angeles Flute Quartet. She studies at the Juilliard School, where her principal teachers are Samuel Adler and Christopher Rouse. Reena serves as Outreach Coordinator for the International Alliance for Women in Music.

Chardonnay, is the first movement of Fruits of the Vine, a five-movement suite for woodwind quintet. It was premiered and recorded by Peter Sheridan, of the Los Angeles Flute Quartet. The piece was inspired by the designs on a wine glass at a Caribbean restaurant. The piece is ultimately a memory of a special moment spent with close friends over dinner and is hardly suggestive of the wine after which it is named.


Giovanni Ferrauto graduated in Piano and Music Composition at Conservatory of Music in Palermo, and in Choral Music and Conducting at the Conservatory of Music in Rome. He participated in a music composition workshop held by Giacomo Manzoni. He won the Fiumara D'Arte International Competition and he was invited as a guest composer at the International Meeting with composers '94. His works are published and recorded by Carrara Editions (Bergamo), City Music (Milan) and SAM (Parma) and have been performed by orchestras and theatres across Europe. Giovanni is art director of Camerata Polifonica Siciliana and teaches music composition at Musical Institute Vincenzo Bellini in Catania, Sicily.

Giuseppe Rapisarda graduated in Piano and Electroacoustic Music at Istituto Musicale Vincenzo Bellini (Italy). He took part in master classes with Barry Truax, Giacomo Manzoni, Trevor Wishart, and Roberto Fabbriciani. His compositions have been performed at INTERFACE 97 (NZ), Live Wires (AUS), Electro Acoustic Summer II (B), SICMF (KR), Sonic Residues 02 Festival (AUS), Festival Garage (D), D>ART 01 (AUS), Festival Medi@terra 01 (GR), Nuit de la musique acousmatique (FR), Maxis Festival 2002 (UK), SFIFEM 2002 (USA), Sound Spaces (AUS), CIM (ITA). His reviews have been published in Computer Music Journal (MIT). Giuseppe teaches Musical Informatics at Istituto Musicale in Modica, Italy.

"Line CD is our small homage to Vincenzo Bellini and is based on a series of analogies: song, line, and pure sound. That's all. The tape part scatters these lean cells in a timeless dimension; they start from the vital breath and then they are curiously clotted and reach the outspread song. At last the latter is fragmented in its smallest constitutive elements."


Born, raised and educated in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Davidé Lähteenmaa began piano lessons at the age of 8. Mr. Lähteenmaa received a music degree from Lakehead University, where he studied piano with Heather Morrison and composition with Aris Carastathis. During that time he enjoyed a fruitful period of music making which culminated with the performance of his 'Nebula grey, white and topaz' by the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra in 2000. Davidé currently lives in the Western Caribbean, where he works for a lucrative cruise line and composes in his spare time.

Dot Matrix: Slip, a short study for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, is based on a matrix of notes that repeats itself over and over again. By 'turning on and off' different notes of the matrix, numerous textures and tonalities are achieved. The opening theme is taken from a 1994 piece called Slip, written by the electronic music group Autechre.


Chantale Laplante has received training in classical piano and piano jazz. She has completed an MA in composition at the University of Montreal, followed by private studies with Francis Dhomont and Jonathan Harvey (UK). Since 1996, she has been composer-in-residence at the Internationales Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia in Germany, the Center for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, the Banff Center for the Arts and the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne in Montreal. This spring, she will be artist-in-residence in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec, to compose a new work for accordéon in collaboration with visual artist Julia Oschatz from Frankfort, to be performed at the Carrefour International de l'accordéon in Montmagny.

The violin and the electroacoustic parts of Éclat have been handled like two separate identities that occasionally converge into structures of common dynamics, pitches, rhythmic patterns and silence. The pitches of the violin are issued from the highest partials from two electroacoustic sounds heard right at the beginning of the piece.


Chihchun Chi-sun Lee, originally from Taiwan, received degrees from the University of Michigan, Ohio University, and Soochow University in Taipei. Her teachers included William Albright, William Bolcom, Yien-Chung Huang, Yien Lu, Mark Phillips, Bright Sheng and Loong-Hsing Wen. She has received numerous honors. She is composer-in-residence with Taiwan's premiere traditional Chinese instrument group, China Found Music Workshop. Her music has had numerous performances and broadcasts worldwide. Chihchun has taught at Johnson County Community College, Washburn University, Rhodes College, and the University of Michigan. Her works appear on CDs from the Albany/Capstone label and Celebrity label, and have been published by World-Wide-Music.

Gín-á Koa (Children's Songs) ties together dualities: European vs. Asian music, 'pop' vs. 'serious' music, and folk vs. classical music. In the first movement, the violin and piano imitate the Chinese 'er-hu' (spike-fiddle) and 'ku-zheng' (zither). The second movement contrasts lyrical and 'quirky' elements and follows traditional Sinitic classical form. The final movement, in using kindred folk rhythms, expresses the joy of youthful games--even to the extent of trouble making and mischief!


A graduate of Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut), Melissa Maier studied with Arnold Franchetti at Hartt College of Music and later with Paul Glass in Switzerland. She now manages the publications and special projects of the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, and serves on the board of directors of the International Alliance for Women in Music.

"In jailbreak the prison referred to is one of my own devising; a strict rhythmic sequence that undergirds the first part of the piece, and certain restrictions as to the notes employed by each instrument. The unstructured last section serves as a meditation on the material of the first; a taste of sweet freedom from arbitrary restraint."


Chan Ka Nin was born in Hong Kong and moved with his family to Vancouver in 1965. Since 1982, he has been teaching theory and composition at the University of Toronto. His works have been performed by international ensembles from North America, Europe and Asia. His numerous awards include the Béla Bartók International Composers' Competition, Barlow International Competitions, and the Jean Chalmers Award. In 2001, his opera, Iron Road won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Musical. In 2002, his chamber work, Par-çi, par-là, won his second Juno Award for Best Classical Composition.

Written in 1989, Among Friends is composed especially for the trio Amici, whose name inspired the title and the spirit of the work. The mood reflects the highs and lows of any human relationship. This one movement work is essentially a set of variations based on the initial notes F-Bb-Ab by the clarinet. Friendship, like music, will last only through the test of time. This work is commissioned by the Ontario Arts Council and the CBC.


Andrián Pertout was born in Santiago, Chile, 17 October, 1963, and lived in Gorizia, Northern Italy before finally settling in Melbourne, Australia in 1972. He is currently undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Melbourne on an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship, studying composition under the guidance of Brenton Broadstock. In, 2002, he was awarded the Michelle Morrow Memorial Award for Composition and the Zavod Jazz/Classical Fusion Award. He was a finalist in the 2002 Icebreaker Composers' Competition (Surrey, UK) and the 2001 Hultgren Solo Cello Biennial (Birmingham, USA).

Aristotle's Rhetoric is a seven movement work for orchestra based on the writings of Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC). Each of the seven sets of opposite emotions is outlined in book two of his rhetorical manual The Art of Rhetoric - anger and calmness, friendship and enmity, fear and confidence, shame and shamelessness, kindness and unkindness, pity and indignation, envy and emulation - are represented within an individual movement. Friendship and Enmity is an arrangement for mixed ensemble of the second movement.


William Pura was born in Winnipeg and has studied in both Canada and the U.S. His work has been performed in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Recently his chamber opera Batoche, based on the 1885 Riel rebellion in Saskatchewan was premiered at the New Music Festival in Saskatoon. His current projects include a work for string quartet; another opera with playwright Maureen Hunter based on her play Transit of Venus, and a CD of works for violin and piano.

Der Holzweg for solo cello was written for a dance performance as part of an art exhibition of the same name. This exhibition traced the myths connecting the wilderness in Canada and in Europe. To a degree, the music is programmatic, following the Teutonic god Wotan and his crisis where he was lifted off his horse by an errant tree branch and left to hang upside down for 9 days. While hanging, he entered a mystical state and invented the Runic alphabet. The music follows his struggles and his eventual rescue by a forest spirit.


Born in Toronto, Sylvia Rickard made her home in Vancouver for 28 years. Piano and theory gave away to a University of British Columbia Bachelor of Arts degree in French, German and Russian. In the 70's Rickard studied composition and theory privately with Jean Coulthard. During that time, Rickard was a frequent winner of the Okanagan Composers' Festival. From 1976 to 1979, she was exposed to many compositional styles and techniques at the summer schools of Shawnigan Lake, B.C. and the Banff Centre. Known especially for her vocal chamber music, Rickard was, at the invitation of Taras and Gaelyne Gabora, the first resident composer of the Oberlin in Casalmaggiore International Festival (Italy) in the summer of 1999. Her output includes solo instrumental, chamber music, opera, radio play, cabaret songs and symphonic music. She is currently completing a song cycle of three poems by Rilke - in German - for tenor Roger Honeywell.

Songs of the Loon is dedicated to Bridget MacKenzie. Since male and female loons share nesting and other duties, two instruments, clarinet and violoncello are chosen. Echo and mimicry are used to reflect the birds' songs.


Evis Sammoutis was born in Cyprus in 1979 where he had his first musical lessons at the age of six. He is the winner of many music scholarships and awards and is currently pursuing a PHD in Composition at the University of York. He has had performances and workshops in Cyprus, Greece, France, Belgium, Germany, the USA and the UK. Last year he adjudicated the Second Malaysian Guitar Competition and, recently, he has been selected to be a Composition Fellow at the Tanglewood Festival for the summer of 2003.

Four Pieces for clarinet and piano were written in 2002. The formal construction of the first three pieces resembles classical forms, and serves as a direct contrast to the fourth piece. In the first three pieces, the clarinet has the leading role. The piano primarily provides the harmonic background and, on a few occasions, it compliments the clarinet contrapuntally. In the last piece, the balance is shifted and the two instruments assume roles of almost equal importance.


Eric Schwartz has studied composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music, New York University, and both the Interlochen and Aspen Summer Music Festivals. Teachers include Margaret Brouwer and Donald Erb. His diverse musical background consists of screaming and performance art for metal and art rock groups, playing guitar in jazz big bands, and accompanying modern dance classes on the piano. He is a founding member of the New York City contemporary music group, Forecast Music, and is a member of the music theory faculty at New York University.

"While in graduate school, I spent a semester studying temporal theory which inspired me to think about music outside the barline. I became interested in the idea of fast, fun, pulse driven music that would not be subservient to meter. It would spin forth in a seemingly endless undulating line. Simply the Cat's Pajamas is the result of this line of thinking."


Haskell Small is a pianist and composer. A student of Leon Fleisher, he has performed throughout the world. As a composer, Small studied with Vincent Persichetti, has written in most mediums, and was the winner of the 1999 Marin Ballet Dance Score Competition. He is currently composer-in-residence with the Mount Vernon Orchestra and teaches composition and piano at the Washington Conservatory of Music.

"Considering my name, I felt it was obligatory for me to respond to a call for scores by the Association Decadanse in Lunel, France for composers from around the world to each submit five to fifteen compositions, each of a maximum length of (sic) ten seconds. I contributed an even dozen, varying the instrumentation from solos to a quartet comprised of flute, clarinet, cello, and piano. To cap off the set, the final "snippet" is a complete, 10 second-long four-movement sonata. Twelve Snippets was premiered in the spring of 2000 at the Association Decadanse's 2000 for 2000 festival in southern France, and have also been performed by New York's chamber group, Soundclock."


Pete Stollery studied composition with Jonty Harrison. In most of his music there exists an interplay between the original "meaning" of sounds and sounds existing purely as sound, divorced from their physical origins.

"In 1994, I became very interested in the live action paintings of artists such as Jackson Pollock. What fascinated me technically about their work was the methodology of spontaneous expression followed by modeling to produce the desired result. Henri Michaux, more widely known for his poetry, would also create work in this way, squirting ink or paint onto a canvas and then smearing it to produce images. I wanted to be able to do something similar using sound as the medium - to be able to project a sound into a space and then to model and reshape that sound, creating new images. The most obvious example of this occurs with the first gesture of Squirt where the saxophone "squirts" a sound out into the space, which is subsequently smeared."


Diane Thome is Professor and Chair of the composition program at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle. She has composed of a wide variety of works including solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, and electronic media. Her compositions have been performed internationally and have been recorded on CRI, Crystal Records Capstone, Leonarda, and include Palaces of Memory and Bright Air/ Brilliant Fire, two monographic CDS of her electroacoustic music on the Centaur label.

"All my compositions have titles that possess some degree of evocative resonance. Like a Seated Swan is especially significant. The metaphor of the human soul floating on the waters of existence - 'He breathes in the waters like a seated swan' - from the ancient Vedic text is reflected in the dual media and the orchestral characterization of the synthesized music. I have created a sonic landscape of acoustic, electronic, and electroacoustic sound with which the viola would interact, contrast or merge." The work is homage to Witold Lutoslawski. Like a Seated Swan is the first Seattle Symphony commission for electronic music.


Joseph Trapanese studies composition with Giampaolo Bracali at the Manhattan School of Music. His music has been performed at the New Jersey Performing Arts, Interlochen Center of the Arts, Manhattan School of Music, and in other concert venues in New York City. Joseph has received awards from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, Downbeat Magazine, Interlochen Arts Camp, and the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM).

"I am fascinated with Renaissance and Baroque composers and their music, especially the idea of independent musical lines shaping the harmony. The vertically dependent sound of pop and the numerical chord analysis of romantic music are much removed from this idea. This work is not only a showpiece for trombone and piano, it is a study in counterpoint." Fugue for trombone and piano is dedicated to Michael Ricci.


"My musical education began early: my parents claim that I could sing along to every Beatles song by the age of three. Despite taking piano lessons since the age of six, I didn't consider a career in music until my freshman year at Williams College." There, Michael Veloso studied with Lewis Spratlan, Robert Suderburg, and David Kechley, receiving a B.A. in Music in 1998. Michael has since received a M.M. in Music Composition from New England Conservatory, where he studied with Michael Gandolfi.

"Osteology, written for David Stansbury, is an exploration of the trombone, and incorporates special techniques introduced to me by David. The initial movement, Plate Tectonics, tests the performer's agility, calling for quick, wide skips within a strict temporal framework. Primordial Ooze is a game of timbres and "wrong" sounds, an experiment in making dirty, grainy music. Ancient Song, is a passacaglia of sorts, and a test of the performer's control. A cycle of low drones, repeated three times, alternates with a singing melody that floats gently away into the distance."


Reynold Weidenaar began working with electronic music in 1965 with Robert Moog. Following a 2-year stint as recording engineer for the Cleveland Orchestra, he created a number of tape pieces in the 1970's. In 1976 he began to produce electronic images on film, and later turned to video at the Experimental Television Center. Since 1982 he has produced 8 concert videos, scored for live musician, video, and recorded accompaniment. These have received numerous honours and awards, hundreds of live performances, and thousands of screenings in tape-alone versions. He has received Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships in video and a NEA composer fellowship.

Hang Time 2 on Jones Street is a video art/music exploration of the architectural features and sounds of a one-block street in the Greenwich Village section of New York. The video consists of processed images of apartment buildings and the audio is a soundscape composition using 12 seconds of sounds recorded in the street.


newmusicnorth@shaw.ca