Program Notes

Friday, October 26, 2012, 7:30 p.m.. Tilson Auditorium


Vidi aquam – Michael McCarthy (b. 1966)
Ritmo – Dan Davison (b. 1956)
ISU Concert Choir
Scott Buchanan, director

As Dancing is to Architecture (1996) - Christopher Theofanidis
ISU Symphony Orchestra
Crossroads of America Youth Orchestra
William Davis, director

Postludes for bowed vibraphone / four players - Elliot Cole (b. 1984)
Indiana State University Percussion Ensemble
Jimmy Finnie, director
A. J. Cowall, Nicholas Olsen
Jacob Rowe, Nathan Spellman, vibraphone

Sweet Like That - Christopher Theofanidis
ISU Symphonic Band
Douglas Keiser, director

Seasons - John Stephens (b. 1951)
ISU Faculty Brass Quintet

Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986) - John Adams
ISU Wind Orchestra
Roby George, director

I wander the world in a dream of my own making (2005) - Christopher Theofanidis
ISU Wind Orchestra
Roby George, director


Vidi aquam
Michael McCarthy (b. 1966)

Michael McCarthy is the Director of Music and Choirmaster at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Vidi aquam was composed to commemorate the investiture of Presiding Bishop Dr. Katherine Jefferts Schori, which took place at the cathedral in November 2006.

I saw water flowing forth from the temple.
I saw water flow forth from the right side,
and all those to whom this water flows,
all people thereby are made whole.
O give praise to the Lord our God, who is gracious.
I saw water flowing forth from the temple.
I saw water.

Dan Davison (b. 1956)

Ritmo is a very rhythmic piece with Spanish origin. It includes hand/body percussion, which is intended to be seen as much as it is intended to be heard. The composer, Dan Davison, has been a junior high music teacher in Puyallup, Washington since 1979.

Clap your hands to the rhythm.
Clap your hands to the rhythm.
Sing in joyful chorus,
with love and hope.
We will sing in rhythm.
We will sing in chorus.
Lift your voices. (All the voices)
Lift your heart.
With musical instruments,
We will sing of freedom and love.
Make harmony.
Let’s go sing and play.
Clap your hands to the rhythm.
Clap your hands with all the people, will
All voices, with happiness, and with joy.

We will sing with joy.
With love and hope.
We will sing of peace.
We will sing of love.
We will sing with happiness and with joy.

As Dancing is to Architecture (1996)
Christopher Theofanidis (b. 1967)

As Dancing is to Architecture (1996) was written for the California Symphony under Maestro Barry Jekowsky for that orchestra's fifteenth anniversary. It is a short, four-minute overture based on a two note figure contrasted with a longer, descending melody.  The title comes from a phrase that Igor Stravinsky used- 'Words are to music as dancing is to architecture.'
- Christopher Theofanidis

Postludes for bowed vibraphone / four players
Elliot Cole (b. 1984)

Elliot Cole is a composer, performer and programmer based in Newark, NJ. His compositions span traditional and experimental chamber music, music drama, algorithmic music and hip hop, and have been performed by So Percussion, Mobius Percussion Quartet, FLUX Quartet, Brentano Quartet, Metropolis Ensemble, Ensemble ACJW, operacabal, Divergence Vocal Theater, and ETHEL violinist Tema Watstein. As a performer, he has rapped his hip-hop history lecture De Rerum with the Chicago Composers Orchestra and sung his living-room drama Babinagar all over Texas and as a Spotlight Artist at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. He has degrees in composition and cognitive linguistics from Rice University, and is a doctoral candidate at Princeton.
Postludes grew out of a year-long collaboration with So Percussion.  This slow development was essential: although approaching a vibraphone with a bow is not uncommon in contemporary music, it always appears as a special effect, an exotic color; it has never been thoroughly explored as a site for a chamber music all its own.  First, it took several drafts to understand the many mechanical challenges (which boil down to, basically, how not to stab each other.)  Then we arrived at the musical ones: how to play a line that passes between several people smoothly, how to differentiate foreground from background, how to manage time with these awkward, fragile and unpredictable tools.  It challenged us to develop slower, subtler virtuosities, and it was thrilling to discover the effortless choreography that emerged from these new physical and musical relationships.  I am very proud to share these discoveries with this group and with you today.

Sweet Like That
Christopher Theofanidis

As part of BandQuest, I wrote “Sweet like that” for the Betsy Ross Middle School band in my current hometown of New Haven, Connecticut.  I went out to the school a couple of times and really enjoyed talking with and getting to know the students there.  I knew that I wanted my main goal for the piece to be to write something that these eager and very young musicians would have fun playing and that they would know was written especially for them.  On one of the visits, I asked them what kind of things they wanted to play- things they would compose if they could write their own composition- and the list was formidable.  They in fact gave me many of the basic ideas for the work, and I consider them co-creators in the process.  Some of the big things for our meetings that made it into this piece were:
~ the tuba player wanted a solo (so the beginning and ending of the piece has one)
~ the flute players wanted to play piccolo (so half the flutes play piccolo)
~ the percussion section asked for a drum set to be included (so there is)
~ the percussion section also asked for several unusual instruments (so I included
~ vibraslap, whistle, egg shaker, sleigh bells, and slapstick, among many other cool percussion instruments)
~ the brass players wanted to use mutes (so there are a couple of passages with straight mutes in them)
- Christopher Theofanidis

John Stephens (b. 1951)

John Stevens is Director of the School of Music and Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also a member of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, a UW-Madison faculty ensemble-in residence. Professor Stevens has enjoyed a varied career as a teacher, orchestral, chamber music, solo and jazz performer and recording artist, composer/arranger, conductor and administrator. Following the completion of degrees in Tuba Performance at the Eastman School of Music (BM, 1973) and Yale University (MM, 1975), he was a free lance performer based in New York City for many years. He performed with every major orchestra in New York, was a member of the New York Tuba Quartet and many other chamber groups, principal tubist in the Aspen Festival Orchestra, toured and recorded with a wide variety of groups including Chuck Mangione, the American Brass Quintet and the San Francisco Ballet, and was the tuba soloist in the original Broadway production of BARNUM. As a composer and arranger with over 50 original compositions and almost as many arrangements to his credit, Stevens is internationally renowned for his works for brass, particularly for solo tuba, euphonium and trombone, tuba/euphonium ensemble, brass quintet and other brass chamber combinations. He is the winner of numerous ASCAP awards and has received many composition grants and commissions. In 1997 he was commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to compose a tuba concerto. This work, entitled JOURNEY, was premiered by the CSO, with tubist Gene Pokorny as soloist in June, 2000, and performed by them again in December, 2003. In addition to being performed regularly by ensembles and soloists worldwide, Stevens' works have been commissioned and/or recorded by (among others) the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, Symphonia, the International Trumpet Guild, the International Tuba Euphonium Association, the Madison Symphony Orchestra, The Ohio State University Wind Symphony, the Denver Brass, soloists Roger Bobo, Brian Bowman, Toby Hanks, Demondrae Thurman, James Jenkins and Mark Fisher, and many of the world's finest tuba quartets (Sotto Voce, New York, Summit Brass, Melton, Dutch, Swiss, etc.). The Sotto Voce Quartet has released a CD recording of all of Stevens' tuba quartets. Seasons is directly related to his 1980s move from Florida to Wisconsin. He puts it this way: “I composed Seasons a year after returning to the northern parts of the United States after living in Miami for four years. Each movement reflects some of my feelings associated with a happy return to a seasonal climate and each specific time of year. The moods are expressed as much through tonal colors and nuances of orchestration as through melodic or rhythmic content. Spring reflects a time of beginnings. Summer is a joyous dance. Autumn is the melancholy movement, yet beautifully so, and Winter is harsh and violent. The work culminates, however, in a return to Spring, the cyclical nature of the seasons being perhaps their greatest beauty.”  The Wisconsin Brass Quintet, for which Seasons was written and of which Mr. Stevens is the tubist, premiered the work in spring 1987 and later recorded it for the Summit label on a CD called Fabrics (Steven’s second quartet).

I wander the world in a dream of my own making (2005)
Christopher Theofanidis

When Robert Rumbelow approached me to write a piece for wind ensemble for this wonderful consortium commission, I was really delighted, as I had been thinking of a piece for these forces for some time and was eager to try some of the acoustic things that I do in my pieces for symphony orchestra in a different context.  I have long been interested in the idea of trying to “build in” an acoustic into my orchestrations; that is, to create the effect, for instance, of  a melody which has a sense of sustain as if it were being played in a cathedral even though it is not- to build that reverberation into the orchestration.  I was very pleased to see that not only could I achieve similar effects but also different and even more exciting things with various combinations of winds, brass, and percussion.
The title for this work is a reference to the compositional process.  Writing a piece of music is like creating a dream that you want to have.  The feeling that pervades the work is one of a sense of mystery, and this sentiment is primarily conveyed through the harmonies and orchestration.
The work is based on two ideas:  the first is a short, two-note motive, and the second is a descending melody of five notes, ending in the repetition of the final note several times.  This second material could be called the main melody, and it always appears shrouded in a kind of haze, until toward the very end of the work. 
- Christopher Theofanidis