Remembering William Albright
Guest Pianist, Robert Satterlee
Two Etudes (Homage to William Albright) *
bodacious gaits *
La follia II: Lacuna *
Gabriela Lena FRANK
Rag latino *
Prelude and Toccata *
Five Chromatic Dances
Procession and Rounds
Pianist Robert Satterlee has developed a reputation as an accomplished and versatile solo recitalist and chamber musician. He plays regularly throughout the United States, delighting audiences with his incisive and imaginative performances. He has appeared on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in Chicago, San Francisco's Old First Concert Series, the Schubert Club in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Music Teachers National Association national conventions, the Quad Cities Mozart Festival and many colleges and universities.
In the summer of 2010 he played concerts at the new Romanian-American festival in Romania and at the Interlochen Arts Center in the United States. He recently was a featured performer at the Piano Plus Festival and the Corfu Festival in Greece and has also played concerts in China, Thailand, Sweden, Holland and Kenya. He has been heard in radio broadcasts throughout the United States, most notably on Minnesota Public Radio and WFMT in Chicago.
Music of our time plays an important role in Satterlee's performing activity, and he has given premieres of several works. In June of 2004 he was invited to perform at the Music04 festival in Cincinnati, where he shared a program with the composer and pianist Frederick Rzewski. In 2006 he toured the US with a program of the composer's works, including a new piece specially written for the tour, and has recorded a CD of his works.
Satterlee's avid interest in chamber music has led him to collaborate with members of the Chicago, London, Philadelphia and Detroit Symphony Orchestras in chamber music performances, and he was co-artistic director of Chamber Music Quad Cities, an organization presenting a concert series and music festival in Iowa and Illinois. He was also a member of the North Coast Chamber Players, a string/winds mixed ensemble which toured extensively on the West Coast.
Satterlee was appointed in the fall of 1998 to the piano faculty of Bowling Green State University in Ohio, having previously held teaching positions in Illinois, Missouri, California and Connecticut. He teaches at the Interlochen Arts Camp in the summer. He has been awarded prizes in many competitions, among them honors in the St. Louis Symphony Young Artists Competition. Satterlee has participated in many music festivals and summer programs, including the Aspen Festival, the Banff Centre, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the Festival at Sandpoint. He holds degrees in piano from Yale University, Peabody Conservatory, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music.
Toccata, from Two Etudes (Homage to William Albright)
David Gompper has lived and worked professionally as a pianist, a conductor, and a composer in New York,
San Diego, London, Nigeria, Michigan, Texas and Iowa. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London
and, after teaching in Nigeria, received his doctorate at the University of Michigan. Since 1991 he has
been Professor of Composition and Director of the Center for New Music at the University of Iowa. In 2002-2003
Gompper was in Russia as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching, performing and conducting at the Moscow Conservatory.
In 2009 he received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City. His
compositions are heard throughout the United States and Europe, including premiers at Carnegie Hall and
London's Wigmore Hall.
This is the second of three planned piano solo works in memory of Bill Albright. The first piece, written
ten years ago and simply entitled Homage a W.A., is based on a complex chord generated from his surname.
In this newly-composed movement, I returned to that same collection and combined it (at the intervallic
"DNA" level) with the first five pitches from his Five Chromatic Dances. Formally presented in three
episodes framed by an introduction and coda, the work taps not only my own experience with Prokofiev's
Toccata op. 4, but also suggests faux-stride as well as one of Bill's greatest strengths as a composer,
Drawing from a seemingly bottomless pool of wide-ranging styles and influences, Doug Opel creates
a strange and wonderfully eclectic sort of musical stew for the concert stage that is at once dark and
humorous, controlled and chaotic, reflective and passionate, traditional and contemporary.
My favorite moments in William Albright's music are when wild and lucid come together and somehow logically
occupy the same space. In those moments, there's a sense of something wanting to break loose and run amok,
of something that quite frequently comes close to escaping, or better still, is purposely let loose and
then masterfuly reined in again. With bodacious gaits, I attempted to capture that same strange mix through
my own language while paying homage to Albright by hinting at his love of rags, boogie-woogie, and other
popular American, piano-based idioms. From my earliest drafts, I came up with an altered stride piano lick
and gradually slowed it down to emphasize the groove resulting from changing the octave/chord/octave/chord
sequence of the traditional stride left hand to an octave/octave/chord sequence. The term "stride" then
became the impetus for deriving the sequence of musical interpretations based on various manners of walking
or moving on foot that make up the piece in toto: skip — tip-toe/stomp — hobble — saunter
and finally strut.
Opel's music has been performed around the world by such notable organizations and artists as New York
City's Keys to the Future and MATA Festivasl, the Duquesne Contemporary Ensemble, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic,
and the Aldeburgh Festival at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Music Studies in England. In 2003, he
became one of seven composers to receive the Aaron Copland Award. He holds degrees from Ball State University,
the University of Michigan and Indiana University.
La Follia II: Lacuna
Chicago-born composer Marilyn Shrude received degrees from Alverno College and Northwestern University.
Her works have been performed by the Czech Radio, Toledo, Fox Valley, Chicago Civic, Curtis Institute, Bowling
Green, South Dakota, Interlochen World Youth and Daegu (Korea) Orchestras; at the Kennedy Center, Symphony Hall
(Boston), the Ravenna Festival (Italy), Smetana Hall (Prague), Carnegie Recital Hall, Merkin Hall and Brussels
Town Hall; on the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Series, Fromm Music Series, St. Louis Orchestra
Chamber Series, Music Today and New Music Chicago; and at meetings of the World Saxophone Congress, Society of
Composers, International Harp Congress, MENC, CBDNA and MTNA. She has been a guest at numerous college campuses
and festivals throughout the world. Her work for saxophone and piano, Renewing the Myth, was the required piece
for the 150 participants of the 3rd International Adolphe Sax Concours in Belgium (2002).
I have been an avid student of the music of William Albright since 1971, when I heard his intriguing work
for organ, Juba. His music was bold, gentle and deep; I found myself returning to it again and again.
Perhaps a lasting impression was made after intimately getting to know his Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano,
which John Sampen and I recorded and performed repeatedly in places such as Moscow, Shanghai, Basel, Paris and
Carnegie Hall. This important composition is now a staple of the saxophone repertoire.
It is the 2nd movement, La follia nuova: a lament for George Cacioppo, to which I pay homage with my work
for piano. The incessant rhythmic and harmonic scheme of the follia is an appropriate backdrop for Albright's
traditional lament for a dear friend and is adapted here for my own personal commentary. The subtitle,
lacuna, is originally a literary term and signifies some type of "gap" or missing text. Its musical
counterpart could be a purposeful silence, a journey into the black hole of a resonance that follows an
extensive buildup (in this case repeated segments of 23, Albright's follia scheme). The lacuna is also
Albright himself, a complex and mysterious man, who left us too soon. La Follia II: Lacuna is dedicated
to Robert Satterlee, who commissioned and premiered the work.
Since 1977 she has been on the faculty of Bowling Green State University, where she teaches and chairs the
Department of Musicology/Composition/Theory. She continues to be active as a pianist and clinician with
saxophonist John Sampen. In 2001 she was named a Distinguished Artist Professor of Music.
Gabriela Lena FRANK
Identity has always been at the center of Gabriela Lena Frank's music. Born in Berkeley, California,
to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Frank explores
her multicultural heritage most ardently through her compositions. She has traveled extensively throughout
South America and her pieces reflect and refract her studies of Latin-American folklore, incorporating
poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework that is uniquely her own.
which is a fanciful way of saying "storm" in Spanish, is in homage to my former teacher, William Albright.
As a composer and keyboardist, Bill was unparalleled in gutsy imagination and gutsy virtuosity... Bueno,
guts in general? Bill had them. Lessons could be electric as he pushed me to the stranger corners of my
pieces, asking that I spend more time in the quirks. I especially appreciated how he pushed me to write
piano music that was beyond what I could immediately play, that stared down my own shortcomings. It was
Bill who first suggested that I write pieces for just the left hand, a genre identified with difficulty
and, yes, guts. It has taken me many years before I took up the challenge, but nearly thirteen years after
Bill passed on all too early, I finally have the first of what will be a series of "vendavales" for one hand.
It's an honor to partner with pianist Robert Satterlee, another admirer of Bill, in the creation of this tribute.
A 2009 recipient of a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship to assist in research
and artistic creation, Frank's premieres have included a new song cycle for Dawn Upshaw and the Saint Paul
Chamber Orchestra, a work for Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble and pieces for the Indianapolis, Seattle,
Houston and Utah Symphonies, Chanticleer, the Brentano String Quartet and the Aspen Music Festival. Frank
attended Rice University in Houston and the University of Michigan.
Evan Chambers is currently Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan. His orchestral
song cycle The Old Burying Ground was performed in Carnegie Hall in February 2008. Chambers' compositions
have been performed by the Cincinnati, Kansas City, Memphis, New Hampshire, and Albany Symphonies, and he has
appeared as a soloist in Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra. His work has been recognized by
the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Luigi Russolo Competition, Vienna Modern Masters, NACUSA, the
American Composers Forum, and the Tampa Bay Composers Forum. He has been a resident of the MacDowell Colony,
and been awarded individual artist grants from Meet the Composer, the Arts Foundation of Michigan and ArtServe Michigan.
When Bill Albright died, I think many of us were torn. Sadness crowded in with anger at his too-early death.
In writing this piece I still found myself veering between those feelings and my fond memories and gratitude
for his teaching, his friendship, and his brilliant, compelling music.
As a student of Bill's, I've been influenced and inspired by him in countless ways, so I hope that this is
a piece in his spirit as well as in his honor, and I offer it more as a tribute than as an elegy. Torn between
wistful nostalgia and manic fury, the music occasionally even threatens to tip over into the ridiculous.
There are a few small details and rough paraphrases of remembered moments from Bill's music, as well as
some from my own.
For my part, I have decided not to try to tape back together the page that was torn at his death, and so
this piece still shows some of the rough edges of the hole he left behind.
Named 2007 Composer of the Year by Musical America, and honored with multiple Grammy Awards for his
ground-breaking setting of Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience, William Bolcom is a composer of
cabaret songs, concertos, sonatas, operas, symphonies, and much more. He was awarded the 1988 Pulitzer
Prize in Music for his Twelve New Etudes for piano.
William Albright and I began sending each other new rags we composed (by mail, like chess problems) in
about 1967 or 68; together we would give the first concert of any kind in Minneapolis's Walker Arts Center
auditorium in the early 70's, where we compiled a list of about 100 rags which we chose from to play.
When the pianist Robert Satterlee recently asked me to do a piano piece in Bill's memory I was compelled
to revisit the rag form but in this case with a Latin twist, my exploration into American ragtime having
been followed by steeping myself in the related piano music springing up all around the Gulf Coast
(after all Joplin was from Texarkana): Ernesto Nazareth, Ignacio Cervantes, Manuel Campos, Ramon Delgado
Palacios from the early 20th century, and of course the great Astor Piazzolla from only a few years ago.
All of that, plus Albeniz's character pieces, would feed into the style of Rag Latino. Although
Bill Albright's interest in the tangos, danzas, choros, and the like from Latin America was not as great
as mine, I nevertheless hope he would have enjoyed the piece.
As a pianist he has recorded for Advance, Jazzology, Musical Heritage, Nonesuch, Vox, and Omega. With his
wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, he has performed in concert for more than 35 years throughout the United
States, Canada, and abroad.
As a composer, Bolcom has written four violin sonatas; eight symphonies; three operas (McTeague, A View
from the Bridge and A Wedding), plus several musical theater operas; eleven string quartets; two film scores
(Hester Street and Illuminata); incidental music for stage plays, including Arthur Miller's Broken Glass;
fanfares and occasional pieces; and an extensive catalogue of chamber and vocal works. His music has been
Bolcom taught composition at the University of Michigan from 1973-2008. Named a full professor in 1983, he
was Chairman of the Composition Department from 1998 to 2003 and was named the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished
University Professor of Composition in the fall of 1994. He retired from teaching in 2008.
Prelude and Toccata
Composer Evan Hause studied composition and percussion at the Oberlin Conservatory, the University
of Michigan, and the North Carolina School of the Arts. He has an active career as a composer and performer.
His music has been commissioned or performed by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Salt Lake City Contemporary
Music Consortium, Albany, Boston, Phoenix, Utah, Louisville, Memphis, Brooklyn and Grand Rapids Symphonies,
the Oberlin Percussion Group and Contemporary Ensemble, the Banff Centre for the Arts, CalArts, June in Buffalo,
U. S. Marine Corps, the Yellow Barn Festival, and the "Spring in Havana" Electronic Music Festival, Aspen
Music Festival, as well as numerous venues throughout the world. He is the Publications Director for the
Edward B. Marks Music Company.
Though the piano is my first instrument (I am known as a percussionist), I have written very few serious
solo concert piano works. Ironically, part of my lack of piano completions might have had something to do
with my studying with two of the world's finest composer-pianists in Williams Albright and Bolcom.
Prelude and Toccata could not help but to be a clearing house of pianistic ideas for me. What would
Bill Albright say to this? He was unpredictable. I might expect him to say that I should not try to
do too much in one work, and then he would say I didn't push it hard enough! He had a duality, to my
mind, and Prelude and Toccata does, too.
The Prelude begins in a dark place. Cavernous. Perhaps angry. Not only had I to think about Albright's
untimely passing, but I began the composition a week after my own father died. Etched into this opening are
left hand spanning figures derived from stride piano. Yet, there are beams of heavenly light peeking
into this Prelude sepulchre. The Toccata's raison d'être is to develop a most-favorite fragment
of running music that I composed in 1998, meaningfully, about a month before Albright died. Its ultimate goal is to
tie the Toccata together with the Prelude.
was an American composer, organist and pianist. His brilliant talents enabled him
to do more in his only 53 years than many performers, composers, and educators are able to do in a full
career. He received early musical training between 1959 and 1962 at the Juilliard Preparatory Department,
where he studied piano with Rosetta Goodkind and began theory and composition study with Hugh Aitken.
In 1963, he began his college career at the University of Michigan, beginning an association that would
last the remaining 35 years of his life, years that, not coincidentally, saw the composition department
in Ann Arbor ascend to world-class status. His primary composition teachers included Ross Lee Finney and
Leslie Bassett; he also excelled at the organ, studying with Marilyn Mason. By 1970, he would receive a
doctor of musical arts in composition, with the Alliance for Orchestra, an expansion of his earlier
master's composition Masculine-Feminine Part I (1967). As recipient of a Fulbright fellowship (the first of two)
in 1968-1969, he spent time at the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied with one of the century's foremost
composers and teachers, Olivier Messiaen. Other major teachers with whom he studied were George Rochberg
and Max Deutsch.
Upon his graduation in 1970, William Albright joined the faculty at the University of Michigan. He directed
the electronic music studio at the university, specializing in what was becoming known as electro-acoustic
music, the blending of acoustic instruments with electronic modifications. He was widely hailed by his
composition students for the way in which he allowed them to identify and give voice to their own style;
he received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the university.
Even before his formal study was concluded, William Albright began to receive what would become a steady
stream of commissions, awards, and honors. These included the Queen Marie-Jose Prize for his Organbook I
(1967), the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award (1970), two Guggenheim fellowships (1970 and 1986),
and three NEA fellowships (1976, 1981, 1984). In 1974, he was commissioned to compose for the 900th
anniversary of Chichester Cathedral, producing the Chichester Mass. At UNESCO's International Rostrum
of Composers in 1979, Albright was selected to represent the USA, a testament to his rapid ascent; the
same year, he was composer-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome. In later years, he was named
Composer of the Year by the American Guild of Organists (1993) and in 1995 was recognized by the Richard
Wagner Center for outstanding choral composition.
As a composer, William Albright's music stands out for its humor and vibrant eclecticism. In such pieces
as the Chichester Mass or his oratorio A Song to David (1983), his adoption or rejection of tonality always
seems appropriate to the music at hand. Though Albright explored a vast variety of style, it was typically
his wont to explore a specific genre within a single movement while touching on several styles over the
course of the entire work. This tendency, as well as his knack for subtly alluding to but never actually
quoting other compositions, is evidenced in his monumental Five Chromatic Dances for piano (1976). Over
the course of a half an hour, Albright references Chopin mazurkas, boogie woogie style, and almost
everything in between while exploring the range of chromatic motion. Albright widely concertized as an
organist with a focus in contemporary music and a pianist specializing exclusively in ragtime music, a
style that attracted and influenced he and his colleague William Bolcom. William Albright passed away
due to health complications stemming from alcoholism.