Mon Oct 14, 2013
PROGRAM NOTES FOR NBMAA CONCERT
NEW BRITAIN MUSEUM
OF AMERICAN ART
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2013
Jeffrey Krieger, electric cello
Threnody for electric cello and computer by Tom Flaherty
Dilemma for electric cello and video by composer, Jan Jirasek and video artist, Sheri Wills
Portrait of Jeffrey for electric cello and computer by Pauline Oliveros
Old Badman for electric cello and computer by Arthur Hernandez
Threnody, composed in late 2003, is partly about war and what is lost in its name. “Threnody,” which means "song of mourning," is probably best known to musical enthusiasts as the title given by Penderecki to his string orchestra piece named for the victims of Hiroshima. Like Penderecki in that piece, I composed the piece thinking I was working in purely musical terms; only afterwards did the tone and shape of the piece bring to mind the extra-musical resonance and title. Nonetheless, I was surely influenced by the daily news at the time, as the piece has come to seem inextricably connected to the war time loss of lives in my own mind.
In this piece the computer records, manipulates, and plays back the sound of the cello (and only the cello), beginning and ending with the simple and harmonious overtones of the open A string.
The title of the piece, Dilemma (1987) describes its content. Four basic musical ideas representing four basic emotions are confronted in order to express the feeling of a dilemma.
In Portraits the performer receives sets of pitches from the composer generated by various algorithms derived from the time, date, place of birth and name. The performer then renders a self portrait using the given pitches guided by a mandala score (included) and instructions. An interactive computer program was created in the software program MAX/MSP by the performer which includes the mandala image. The work was completed in 1988 with funding from the Composers’ Program of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Old Badman (2011) was commissioned by the e-cellist Jeffrey Krieger in 2008. This commission coincided with the passing of the American composer Donald Erb (1927-2008). Donald Erb was a great teacher, mentor and friend to Arthur Hernandez, and had written the work, Suddenly, It’s Evening, for Jeffrey Krieger in 1997. Both Hernandez and Krieger decided that it would be appropriate that this new commissioned work would be dedicated to the enduring memory of Donald Erb. The title, “Old Badman” comes from the last movement of Erb’s last large orchestral work, Evensong (1993). Old Badman is an American folk legend that Erb humorously adopted as a moniker for himself due to the iconoclastic reputation that he had developed over his music career. The work begins with a direct quote from the opening motive of the first movement of Evensong, followed by a passage of music that, if not a direct quote, is certainly a familiar passage in the later music of Donald Erb. From there, Hernandez takes this material and creates a uniquely original work of music all its own.
Jeffrey Krieger has been principal cellist of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, chamber musician and soloist since 1979. He has also been for more than two decades among the new generation of solo recitalists who have incorporated technology - the computer and video - as well as an electric cello built by Vermont craftsman, Tucker Barrett into performance. Mr. Krieger’s goal has always been to collaborate and perform on the electric cello in many new and interesting ways, thus creating a unique repertoire for the instrument. He has received numerous national awards for this work among which a prestigious 1993 Solo Recitalist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts which allowed extensive touring in the USA, a 1996 State of Connecticut Commission on the Arts Artist Fellowship for work in multi-media, as well as awards from the Canada Council, the Roberts Foundation Creation of New Work Initiative, New England Foundation for the Arts, and American Composers Forum.
Mr. Krieger has performed at prestigious venues, music schools and conservatories, museums, and international music festivals across the US and abroad. Past performances of note have been as featured soloist with the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center's New York State Theater and the Saratoga Festival, a solo recital of music by Lithuanian composer, Osvaldas Balakauskas sponsored by the American-Lithuanian Society of New York at Merkin Concert Hall, and a performance of Videocello at the Kennedy Center. He has been a frequent performer and guest lecturer at educational institutions such as the Cincinnati Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory, Yale University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Conservatorium of Music, Hobart, Tasmania. Performances at international music festivals have included the Boston Cyberarts Festival; International Festival of Electronic Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven; Subtropics Festival, Miami International University; New Directions Cello Festival at the Knitting Factory, New York City; Ebeltoft Festival, Denmarck. In 2000 he was soloist on the electric cello with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, and in 2001 performed composer, Robert Carl’s A Wide Open Field for electric cello with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. In 2007 and 2008 he served as Cultural Ambassador to India performing concerts of American music sponsored by the US Embassy which included performances at the American Center Auditoriums of New Delhi and Mumbai.
Mr. Krieger’s collaborations have been with renowned composers Virgil Thomson, Ned Rorem, Kaija Saariaho, Donald Erb, and Alvin Lucier, as well as numerous emerging composers. Having significant music software programming skills, his own computer software designed, interactive video improvisation, Videocello, was chosen in 2001 by American Composers Forum to be included on their touring program, Sonic Circuits. This resulted in a performance of Videocello at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Other cutting-edge projects have included Reliquary of Labor, the parallel media collaborative project with video artist, Gene Gort and composer, Ken Steen, commissioned by the Roberts Foundation to celebrate the new building at the Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut, premiered on November 26, 2006 with subsequent performances in India in 2008 and at Boston’s Cyberarts Festival in 2009; a computer software designed, interactive mandala for composer, Pauline Oliveros’s Portrait of Jeffrey; and in 1998 he collaborated with Austrian composer, Karlheinz Essl by way of the internet on Amazing Maze, a work that uses an interactive computer program which challenges the performer to improvise, with performances at the Schoemer-Haus and Alte Schmiede Museums in Vienna, Austria, and at the Biennial Arts and Technology Symposium at Connecticut College.
Mr. Krieger has recorded numerous electric cello works for New World Records, Vienna Modern Masters, Capstone, Innova, O.O. Discs and Ablaze Records. A recording of the late Donald Erb’s Suddenly It’s Evening on New World Records received rave reviews from the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Fanfare Magazine. His most recent recorded work, Night Chains and Night Canticle by Douglas Knehans, available on Ablaze Records, has received critical acclaim from the Audiophile Audition Web Magazine. CDs and downloads are available at Amazon and iTunes, and can also be heard on Pandora.
Mr. Krieger has a Bachelor of Music Degree from the Hartt School of Music and a Master of Music Degree from the Yale School of Music. His cello mentors have included Don Moline of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, David Wells, Jacqueline duPre, Channing Robbins and Aldo Parisot.
Tom Flaherty has received grants, prizes, awards, and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Music Center, the Pasadena Arts Council, the Massachusetts Council for the Arts and Humanities, the Delius Society, the University of Southern California, "Meet the Composer", and Yaddo. Published by Margun Music, Inc. and American Composers Editions, his music has been performed throughout Europe and North America, and is recorded on the Albany. Klavier, Bridge, SEAMUS, Capstone, and Advance labels.
He earned degrees at Brandeis University, S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook, and the University of Southern California; his primary teachers in composition include Martin Boykan, Bülent Arel, Robert Linn, and Frederick Lesemann. He studied cello with Timothy Eddy and Bernard Greenhouse.A founding member of the Almont Ensemble, he currently holds the John P. and Magdalena R. Dexter Professorship in Music and is Director of the Electronic Studio at Pomona College. He is an active cellist in the Los Angeles area.
Recent commissions include A Heckuva Job for guitarist David Starobin, When Time Was Young for Lucy Shelton, and Moments of Inertiafor Dinosaur Annex, and Gleeful Variants for Genevieve Lee.
Born in Rychnov nad Kneznou, Czech Republic, Jan Jirasek graduated at the Janácek Academy of Musical Art in Brno (JAMU), composition with Prof. Zdenek Zouhar as well as electro-acoustic, computer and electronic music and music theory. After the fall of the Iron Curtain Jirasek’s music was widely performed at the following festivals: “Synthese 90” Festival in Bourges; “Elektronmusik Festival” Stockholm; “ler Colloque International des jeunes Compositeurs de Musique Electro-accoustique 1991,” UNESCO in Paris; Prague Spring Festival; Schleswig - Holstein Festival; “Czechoslovak Night” Munich 1990; Munich Bienale (for two times), Plymouth Music Series Minneapolis, MN, USA, Summer Music Symposium Colorado Springs, etc. Jan Jirasek was commissioned to write for well-known institutions and performers: Kulturkreis Gasteig e.V. commissioned “Bread and Circuses” for six percussionists for the Munich Biennale 1992. Kulturkreis Gasteig e.V. commissioned recomposition of the World War II destroyed piece of Carl Orff (“St. Luke Passion” according to the manuscript of J.S.Bach), Duo Quattro mani commissioned piece for 2 pianos, Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra commissioned a piece for chamber orchestra, Festival “Voor de Vind” commissioned a piece “Viribus unitis” (for organ and tuba) etc.
Jan Jirasek is frequently invited to international radio and television discussions and interviews: Hessen Radio, Bavarian Radio, Czech Radio Prague, Radio Free Europe, Czech Television Prague, Spanish Television Madrid, Ars Electronica Linz (four times), UNESCO Paris, Minnesota Public Radio, etc. Jan Jirasek won Fulbright Fellowship and spent the academic year 1996-97 as a visiting professor of composition in USA (Hartt School of Music, University of Colorado at Boulder). He taught composition at different universities in USA and Europe. Mr. Jirasek writes a lot for films. He was awarded with the prestigious film music prize “The Czech Lion” for movie “An Ambiguous Report About the End of the World” (dir. Juraj Jakubisko) and for movie “Kytice” (Wild Flowers) – dir. F.A.Brabec
Mr. Jirasek’s music was recorded on labels like BMG Classics (the CD “Renaissance of Humanity” with music by Jan Jirásek, Arvo Pärt and Hildegard von Bingen), BMG-Ariola (the CD “Bread and Circuses”), etc.
Pauline Oliveros is a composer, performer, author and philosopher and has influenced American music extensively through her works with improvisation, electronic music, teaching, myth, ritual and meditation. She pioneered the concept of Deep Listening, a practice based upon principles of improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation designed to inspire both trained and untrained performers to practice the art of listening and responding to environmental conditions in solo and ensemble situations. During the mid-'60s she served as the first director of the Tape Music Center at Mills College, aka Center for Contemporary Music followed by 14-years as Professor of Music and 3 years as Director of the Center for Music Experiment at the University of California at San Diego. Since 2001 she has served as Distinguished Research Professor of Music in the Arts department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) where she is engaged in research on a National Science Foundation CreativeIT project. Her research interests include improvisation, special needs interfaces and telepresence teaching and performing. She also serves as Darius Milhaud Composer in Residence at Mills College doing telepresence teaching and she is executive director of Deep Listening Institute, Ltd. where she leads projects in Adaptive Use, Deep Listening and Publications. She is the winner of the 2009/10 William Schuman Award from Columbia University.
Arthur Hernandez is an American composer whose works have been performed by such esteemed music groups and soloists as The Cleveland Orchestra, the Cavani String Quartet, e-cellist Jeffrey Krieger, the guitarist Jason Vieaux, the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra (HICO), the percussionist Bill Solomon, Turn On The Music, The West End String Quartet, and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, to name a few. His music has been performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Severance Hall in Cleveland, the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York, the June in Buffalo Music Festival, the Aki Music Festival, the Wintergreen Music Festival, and on National Public Radio. His music has been described by music critics as, “adventurous and daring,” “electrically charged,” “assured of lyric line,” “tender, exuberant,” and even, “defiantly weird.” The American composer David Felder said of Hernandez’s music, “his works display formal invention, a strong lyrical gift, and have behind them a tremendous force of energy.” His music is recorded on Capstone Records.
Hernandez has been commissioned by, among others, The Cleveland Orchestra, e-cellist Jeffrey Krieger, the Alturas Duo, and Erberk Eryilmaz. He has studied composition with Donald Erb, Barney Childs, Robert Carl, Steven Gryc, Frank Wiley, Joseph Packales, and Margaret Brouwer. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Composition, cum laude, from the Hartt School. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The American Music Center, The Massachusetts Arts Council, and the Bascom Little Fund.
Dr. Hernandez is presently Associate Professor and Music Program Coordinator at Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is also the founder, director, and curator of Concerts@Capital, an eclectic music concert series residing in Centinel Hill Hall Auditorium on the campus of Capital Community College.
VIDEO ARTIST BIOGRAPHY
Sheri Wills is an artist whose work is based in film, video performance & installation. Her work has been exhibited around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the London Film Festival, the Director’s Lounge in Berlin, the San Francisco Cinematheque and the International Film Festival in Rotterdam. Her work is featured in the Rizzoli book Sonic Graphics: Seeing Sound, by Matt Woolman. She holds an MFA in filmmaking & an MA in art history, theory & criticism, both from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her collaborations include video projects with music composed by Bright Sheng, Jan Jirásek, Charles Norman Mason, and Ofer Ben-Amots and video performances with music ensembles, including the Providence String Quartet and Luna Nova New Music Ensemble. Sheri Wills is a professor of art and the director of the film/media program at the University of Rhode Island. She is currently an American Council on Education Fellow at The Cooper Union. She lives in New York City. www.sheriwills.com
Thu Sep 26, 2013
MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART CONCERT
Sunday, October 13 at 3 pm
Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT
Threnody by Tom Flaherty
Dilemma with music by Jan Jirasek and video by Sherri Wills
Portraits by Pauline Oliveros
Old Badman by Arthur Hernandez
Sat Jul 27, 2013
TALCOT MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL HARTFORD COURANT REVIEW
Tue Feb 12, 2013
NEW PANDORA CHANNEL
Tue May 29, 2012
Transcending Traditional Performance Workshops for Composers, Instrumentalists and Media Artists
I am offering a presentation that focuses on performer and computer interaction using MAX/MSP software. I have built interactive MAX/MSP computer patches for performance for over 20 years. This presentation has been successful at schools such as the Hartt School, Peabody, Radford University and Cincinnati Conservatory, and can be for composers, instrumentalists and media artists.
The above can also be in the form of a short or long term residency. A 2-day residency would begin with a concert performance followed by a workshop for student composers, performers and media artists. An extended residency could include student interaction, as well as a performance of their work.
The presentation would need a stereo sound system for playback, as well as a smart classroom projection system to demonstrate the software and multimedia connected to a Macintosh Powerbook computer.
WORKSHOP TOPICS AND REPERTOIRE:
INTERFACING THE INSTRUMENT WITH A MOTU DIGITAL AUDIO INTERFACE, MIDI PEDALS AND COMPUTER
INTRODUCTION TO MAX/MSP SOFTWARE
REALTIME EFFECTS, AUTOMATED TASKS AND COMPUTER SCORES
- Petals by KAIJA SAARIAHO - demonstrates extended sonic possibilities using realtime pedal control and the scoring of electronics.
- Shadows & Light by KEN STEEN - expanding and contracting the space.
- Indian Summer by ALVIN LUCIER - the work features 2 sets of beating patterns, one a unison double-stop, the other a slightly detuned speaker using a pedal.
EXPANDING COMPOSITIONAL POSSIBILITIES
- On Connecticut Naturalism by MICHAEL GATONSKA - a complex MAX/MSP program which allows the performer to record material in realtime resulting in the layering of sections and transitions, as well as extending the sound of the electric cello.
- Landmine by ANNA RUBIN - triggering digital audio from the fingerboard and playing sound files.
INTERACTIVE SCORES AND MULTIMEDIA
- Variations II by JOHN CAGE - a realtime score in MAX.
- Portrait of Jeffrey by PAULINE OLIVEROS - a unique, interactive, computer score in the form of a mandala which encourages improvisation.
- Videocello, an interactive video improvisation by JEFFREY KRIEGER
Fri May 25, 2012
Videocello - an interactive video improvisation for electric cello and computer
I'm writing because we have just under a week to reach our USA Projects Videocello goal! This is an all or nothing fundraising model so we need one last push to keep all funds raised to date.
-- Can you help? Even sharing on your Facebook wall or sending the project link to one friend would be so appreciated.
Also, I would like to announce that I will be donating 5% of any money made performing this cutting-edge work to Water Aid India. Water Aid India is the leading charity for clean, safe water and sanitation in the world's poorest countries.
Here is their website.
And here is the link to donate to Videocello. Please help me help Water Aid India.
Thanks to those of you who have already pledged! We can still make this happen.
Sun May 20, 2012
CINCINNATI CONSERVATORY PERFORMANCE ARCHIVE
If you missed the live broadcast of my Cincinnati Conservatory concert you can view the archived performance here.
Sat May 12, 2012
LIVE BROADCAST! CUTTING-EDGE ELECTRIC CELLO
Dear Music Lovers,
This coming Monday night the 14th at 8 pm EST my Cincinnati Conservatory concert will be broadcast live over the internet!
Here is the link.
Program information is here.
I hope you can join me for this exciting event!
Tue Apr 24, 2012
HARTFORD NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL
Why is this music titled Cello Peace?
Mon Apr 02, 2012
USA PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT
Check out my USA Project, Videocello, an interactive video improvisation for electric cello and computer and see how you can become part of it.