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Presented as part of the Bowdoin International Music Festival since 1965, the Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music represents a sustained commitment to nurturing and promoting the music of our time. It is programmed by Festival composer-in-residence Derek Bermel.
The Power of Two
ANA PAOLA SANTILLÁN ALCOCER (b. 1972)
Jae In Yoo, harp • Victor Sintchak, percussion
JUSTINE F. CHEN (b. 1975)
Russell Iceberg, violin • Stephen Lee, piano
MARCO-ADRIÁN RAMOS (b. 1995)
Los héroes gemelos bailan en la Casa de Cuchillos o Breve dúo (The Hero Twins dance in the House of Knives or Brief duo)
Ye Jin Min, violin • Jiwon (Grace) Kim, viola
ANTHONY R. GREEN (b. 1984)
Nicht Zart II: Hommage à Scelsi
Tyler Vittoria, bass • Angie Zhang, piano
NINA SHEKHAR (b. 1995)
if these walls
Dana Rath, William Suh, cello
JESSIE MARINO (b. 1984)
Victor Sintchak, Luke Rinderknecht, percussion
SAMUEL ADLER (b. 1928)
Duo for Eight Strings
Sory Park, violin • Jiwon (Grace) Kim, viola
EVAN CHAMBERS (b. 1963)
I. Lament for JaFran
II. Two Jigs: The Barnacle and The Nautilus
Jiwon (Grace) Kim, viola • Tyler Vittoria, bass
The Fellows on this program are sponsored by Patricia Brown, Barbara Gauditz, Peter & Harriette Griffin, Kent & Natalie Mitchell, Tod & Lyn Rodger, Claudia & Michael Spies, Liza & Reid Thompson, Ruth & Rupert White, and an anonymous donor.
ANA PAOLA SANTILLÁN ALCOCER
Ana Paola Santillán Alcocer has provided the following note to accompany Heiligenschein:
Heiligenschein literally means ‘holy shine’ but it also means “aureola” in German. This word represents a halo-like optical illusion in which a diffuse white ring surrounds around the observer’s shadow. This phenomenon is musically portrayed by the rotation of pitches within the two hexachords in the piece, hence representing a halo. The piece mainly explores the timbre and color of the harp and some percussion instruments as a way to represent not only shadows and shining, but also the spirituality and mysticism encompassed in the word.
JUSTINE F. CHEN
Testing, 1-2-3 (2002)
Justine Chen has provided the following note to accompany Testing, 1-2-3:
As a composer, I have always been interested in architectonics. The greatest obstacle concerning architectonics in a temporal art such as music is the limited scope of aural perception. This piece tests the audibility of a structural entity that is formed by three units, each designated with a speed identity: Fast, Medium, and Slow. Each speed unit has a distinct melodic/motivic profile. The unit scheme is 1) fast, faster –2) slower, medium, faster –3) slow, medium, fast.
In addition to testing structural audibility, Testing, 1-2-3 explores the question of true ‘inevitability’ or fate of musical materials – each section combines the various motivic modules of the opening in alternate formations leading to musical elaborations unique to each unit.
The main inspirations for this piece were Bartók’s second violin sonata, his solo violin sonata, Stephen Hartke’s The King of the Sun, and Beethoven’s late quartets opus 131, 135, and 133 – all models of structural and motivic efficiency and innovation. This piece represents an experiment in form hence the title, Testing, 1-2-3, the usual words one hears when testing out a microphone through loudspeakers.
Los héroes gemelos bailan en la Casa de Cuchillos o Breve dúo (The Hero Twins dance in the House of Knives or Brief duo) (2016)
Marco-Adrián Ramos has provided the following note to accompany Los héroes gemelos bailan en la Casa de Cuchillos o Breve dúo:
The Hero Twins are gods in the Mayan legend of creation (the Popol Vuh), and a brief scene from their saga entails a challenge from the lords of the underworld to survive getting through a house filled with razors and knives; other challenges include a house of blistering cold, and another filled with jaguars (future pieces?). The work is a fanciful but abstract scenario with stomping and stabbing; it is in arch form and approximately three and a half minutes in duration.
ANTHONY R. GREEN
Nicht Zart II: Hommage à Scelsi (2007)
Anthony R. Green has provided the following note to accompany Nicht Zart II:
Okanagon by Scelsi – a work for bass, tam-tam, and harp – creates a mesmerizing sound world through a quasi-stasis regarding pitch and register, as well as through the buzzing he achieves with this instrumentation. It is a piece in which time can not exist as you listen to it – only sonic beauty. My second Nicht Zart attempts to recreate, in my own way, this intriguing, buzzing, timeless world, inviting the listener to view pleasurably my own sonic tapestry that I could not have woven without the loom that Scelsi has left for little composers such as myself.
if these walls (2021)
Nina Shekhar has provided the following note to accompany if these walls:
all the king’s horses and all the king’s men
couldn’t put us together again
Rot Blau (2009)
Jessie Marino is a composer, performer, and media artist from Long Island, New York. Her work explores the repetition inside common activities, ritualistic absurdities, and uncovering nostalgic technologies. Jessie’s pieces score out sound, video, physical movements, lighting, and staging, which are then placed within organized temporal structures, fractured narratives and musical frameworks. Much of Marino’s interdisciplinary compositional work eschews conventional instrumentation, with scores that ask performers to use their bodies—using precisely articulated gestures, facial expressions, and quotidian physical movements—both as an alternative and a complement to musical sounds.
Jessie Marino describes Rot Blau as a “tightly knit rhythmic duo which uses synchronised and mirrored upper body movements to create small vignettes which depict the exercises of two androids.”
Duo for Eight Strings (2020)
In an interview with New Music USA, Samuel Adler shared some thoughts about his compositional philosophy:
I find that a piece has to be satisfying to play and have some kind of a message to give. What it is should be the composer’s secret. I’m very much against telling too much to the audience because the result that I have seen, if I’ve said too much, is, “Well, it doesn’t mean that to me.” This is a danger, you know, like the whole idea of “Do you think I’ll remember this melody when I leave the concert hall?” Look, you’re going to remember Schubert Unfinished because you’ve heard it six thousand times. Of course, when you hear it again, you’re going to know it and sing it on the way out. I’m not for writing melodies like that necessarily, but I do feel that part of it should be communicative. The music should say something, give an experience. All I ask of an audience is not that they like the piece or don’t like the piece. All I want is for an audience to have an experience with me, an adventure, something new, something different. I cannot have them expect a piece that sounds like Mozart or Beethoven or Brahms or Debussy or Stravinsky. It may have parts of all of these things, but I want it to be an adventure. Most of our audiences don’t want an adventure because they’re told they shouldn’t like the piece in the first place, instead of just letting them enjoy it.
Duo for Eight Strings is among several chamber works composed by Samuel Adler during the early months of quarantine in 2020. The 3½-minute duo was written for and premiered by principal players in the Berlin Philharmonic.
Fisherstreet Duo (1997)
Evan Chambers has provided the following note to accompany Fisherstreet Duo:
The name of the town of Doolin, County Clare Ireland is still shown on some maps simply as Fisherstreet – when I first visited the place, there did indeed remain some confusion as to whether or not it was a small village or merely a road from the ferry dock inland, with a few houses, a couple of shops, and three pubs along it. Now of course, it has become a famous destination for lovers of traditional music.
The first movement, Lament for JaFran was written in memory of my friend and teacher, JaFran Jones, who directed the gamelan at Bowling Green State University. The second movement, The Barnacle and the Nautilus, consists of two jigs with nautical titles; the first one a slow jig evocative of some crusty old soul (with a blues slant), and the second a more self-consciously angular, tightly wound and circular fast tune.