David Gompper, Director
Leonid Iogansen, Res.Asst.





   

   SEASON: 



Annual SCI Student Chapter Concert




 

Song Cycle, for saxophone * Elliot CLESS (b. 1984)
Thomas Snydacker, saxophone

Portrait of Transition (2012) Nima HAMIDI (b. 1984)
Andrew Uhe and Terese Slatter, violins
Manuel Tabora, viola
Yoo-Jung Chang, violoncello
Chun-Ming Chen, conductor

Sun Propeller, for violin and electronics * Nina YOUNG (b. 1984)
Leonid Iogansen, violin

Growing Fast in Sawdust Andrew THIERAUF (b. 1987)
Andrew Thierauf, percussion

Firu, for solo saxophone * Timothy MILLER (b. 1981)
Ryan Smith, saxophone

iha tgao (2012) Dan FRANTZ (b. 1986)
Andrew Uhe and Terese Slatter, violins
Manuel Tabora, viola
Yoo-Jung Chang, violoncello

200 Uses for a Paperclip (2012) Jason PALAMARA (b. 1977)
Janet Brehm Ziegler, soprano
Aaron Ziegler, percussion

To Make Good Progress (2012) Will HUFF (b. 1986)
Andrew Uhe, violin

I Might Fit (on texts by Christian Bök) * Dan RUCCIA (b. 1982)
Carolyn Anne Templeton, soprano
Amanda Lyon, flute
Andrew Uhe, violin
Aaron Ziegler, percussion
Chun-Ming Chen, conductor

* The works of Elliot Cless, Tim Miller, Dan Ruccia, and Nina Young were selected from the 2012 SCI Iowa chapter call for scores. The call garnered over 100 submissions from students all over the world, which were adjudicated by the SCI members in the composition program at the University of Iowa.

 



   
Elliot Cless Elliot CLESS
Song Cycle, for saxophone

My song cycle for saxophone is an open form composition that is designed to transform over time, though retain its overall cyclicality. It explores the ecology of the saxophone, including the player's relationship to the instrument and the breathing process. Breaths are the piece's meter and the songs are "sung" by the human/saxophone meta-instrument. The text describes a natural cyclical process, informing both the piece's poetics and the performer's interpretation. The original monosyllabic text attempts to encompass the lifecycle of any organism, be it flora or fauna. Over time, the text will transform and so too the specific musical content, taking advantage of the saxophone's unique history in improvised music, fully notated scores, and everything in the cracks.
The music of Elliot T. Cless weaves relationships between external natural stimuli and internal mental states, creating distinctive temporal experiences. Compositions explore experimental, fanciful urges through an evocative and communicative sonic discourse. Recent collaboratorsinclude saxophonist Marcus Weiss, saxophonist Mary Joy Patchett, the Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble, Point CounterPoint Chamber Players, Boston New Music Initiative, visual artist Nathalie Miebach, and the Longitude New Music Ensemble. His music has been honored by the SCI/ASCAP Student Composition Commission and the Longy School of Music String Department Composition Prize, and has been performed at summer festivals in Vermont and Italy. In 2013, Elliot will be a composition fellow at the UC Davis "Music and Migration" Festival where the Calder Quartet will perform his string quartet, stay. *ROT* for saxophone quartet, commissioned by SCI/ASCAP, will be premiered in Feburary at the Society for Composers, Inc. national conference, and a new work for Chicago's Dal Niente ensemble will be premiered in April.

Elliot is a graduate of Tufts University and is currently a Doctor of Music candidate in Composition at Northwestern University, studying with Lee Hyla and Jay Alan Yim. Othermentors include Lewis Spratlan, John McDonald, and Elliott Schwartz in composition, Clayton Hoener in violin, and Barry Drummond in Javanese gamelan music.

Thomas Snydacker, winner of the 2009 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition, played the solo soprano saxophone part in the world premiere of Prix de Rome winning composer Roger Boutry's concerto for saxophone quartet and wind ensemble, Eclats D'Azur, in October 2009. In April 2012 he presented a series of recitals and workshops with his quartet, the Estrella Consort, in Ecuador. Snydacker has played with the New World Symphony numerous times, where he has worked with composers John Adams and Steven Mackey. Recently, he has appeared with Claude Delangle and the Paris Conservatory Saxophone Ensemble and the University of Minnesota Concert Choir. Snydacker is currently pursuing a DMA under the tutelage of Timothy McAllister at Northwestern University, where he is the Graduate Assistant to the saxophone studio. He received a MM from Arizona State University, and a BM from the University of Minnesota, where he studied with Eugene Rousseau.



 
Nima Hamidi Nima HAMIDI
Portrait of Transition

is the third string quartet composed during my professional life, and the first one during my studies at the University of Iowa. After an obvious trend to formalize structure in my earlier compositions, this piece is a turning point for discovering new musical ideas. Being surrounded by a completely new musical environment and trying to discover a unique interpretation of the sonata form led me to compose this work. It is based on a two-bar musical idea that forms an eight-minute composition.
Nima Hamidi (b. 1984) lived as a composer in Tehran until 2011. Before studying composition in Iran he studied the Setar, an Iranian traditional instrument, and the guitar. Having lived in Tabriz for most of his life, he has an aural knowledge of Azerbaijan folk music. Currently he is enrolled in the PhD program in composition at the University of Iowa.


 
Nina C. Young Nina YOUNG
Sun Propeller, for violin and electronics

The title refers to the propeller-like rays of light that occur when sunbeams pierce through openings in the clouds. Scientifically, these columns of light that radiate from a single point in the sky are known as crepuscular rays. The actual phrase "sun propeller" is a literal translation of the Tuvan word for these sunbeams: Huun-Huur-Tu (also the name of a famous Tuvan folk singing group).

The idea for this work came while I was researching the music of Tuva, a culture in southern Siberia. Their music, particularly the practice of throat singing, is a vocal imitation of natural surroundings (the sounds of babbling brooks, wind resonating against mountains, etc.) and is used to pay respects to the spirits of nature. This type of Tuvan music is built up upon a low dronetone with overtones floating above. The music values timbre and vertical intervals over traditional melodic and harmonic principles. While Sun Propeller does not attempt to imitate Tuvan music in any way, it borrows the concept of the static drone and timbre preference in the language used to write the violin and electronics.
Nina C. Young (b.1984) is a New York-based composer writing instrumental and electronic music. With a unique voice that draws from spectralism, romanticism, and Russian folklore, Nina's music incorporates her research into blending amplification and live electronics into instrumental ensembles, always with a view toward creating a natural and cohesive sound world.

Nina's music has been performed throughout North America and Europe by ensembles including the Orkest de ereprijs, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, and Yarn/Wire. Awards include a BMI Student Composer Award and IAWM's New Music Competition. She has participated in festivals and conferences including the 17th International Young Composers Meeting, SEAMUS, Domaine Forget, and the European American Musical Alliance. This past summer Nina was the Composer Fellow at both the Atlantic Music Festival and the Bennington Chamber Music Conference. Upcoming projects include a new piece for the JACK Quartet and a Young Composer commission to for the Sixtrum Percussion ensemble's composer Lab.

Nina is currently pursuing doctoral studies in composition at Columbia University under the tutelage of Fred Lerdahl, George Lewis, and Brad Garton. She is an active participant at the Columbia Computer Music Center where she teaches electronic music. In 2011 Nina earned a Master's degree in from McGill University, studying with Sean Ferguson. While in Montreal she worked as a research assistant at the Centre for Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT) and as a studio and teaching assistant at the McGill Digital Composition Studios (DCS). Nina completed her undergraduate studies at MIT receiving degrees in ocean engineering and music, in addition to holding a research assistantship at the MIT Media Lab.



 
Andy Thierauf Andrew THIERAUF
Growing Fast in Sawdust

utilizes both common and uncommon sounds in this live electroacoustic work. The common sounds of the vibraphone and marimba are coupled with the sounds of a tin can as well as recordings of natural environments. The sounds of the vibraphone, marimba, and tin can are also manipulated in different ways throughout the piece.
Andy Thierauf is a percussionist and composer who specializes in the creation and performance of contemporary music. He is particularly interested in the commingling of percussion with theater and dance and was recently featured as the dancing percussion soloist for a commemorative video recording of Paul Elwood's Edgard Varése in the Gobi Desert. He continues to produce collaborative performances with various choreographers, and he also organizes and directs iHearIC, a concert series in Iowa City that features local performance artists. He has premiered many new works for percussion and has worked with composers such as Zach Zubow, David Gompper, and Paul Elwood.

Andy is currently pursuing the DMA in percussion performance and pedagogy at The University of Iowa under the direction of Dr. Dan Moore. He received his B.M. from CCM and M.M. from OSU both in percussion performance.


 
Timothy Miller Timothy MILLER
Firu, for solo saxophone

Firu, meaning "to fill" in Japanese, explores various ways "to fill" the space around itself – "to fill" the hall in which it is played, the pitch space it creates, the silence surrounding its gestures, and the horn on which it is performed.

The pitch material and rhythmic motives were derived from Kevin Arbogast's name, for which the piece was written. Using the infamous BACH method to derive its material, the opening accented melodic gesture (A, D, B, G, A, G#, F#, G, B) outlines the rhythmic and melodic motives that act as the seed for the rest of the piece to develop.

As the piece progresses, the melodic material is slowly surrounded by more intense rhythmic activity which is being pulled in opposite directions. This leads to an aleatoric section in the piece where the performer is asked to make decisions on what material to play next – or "to fill" the space around them with specific gestures played in no particular order. In the final moments of the piece, harmonics, microtones and growls seep into the textures creating a larger, more sonorous movements spanning the entire range of the saxophone.
A composer who strives to create exciting and emotionally engaging experiences, Timothy Miller's works have been performed at numerous local and regional festivals and performance spaces. His first orchestral work, …but a pattern can change, was recently premiered by Soprano Caroline Drury and the University of Louisville Orchestra, and is featured on their newest student composers recording project, released in late 2010.

Miller's recent projects have included collaborations with performers, choreographers, dancers and costume designers, which resulted in two multimedia works for the concert stage. His Inoculation Apparatus for bass clarinet, found percussion and dancer, included collaborations of two Indiana University faculty members from the Textile and Fine Arts departments, and The Seeping of 4 for mixed ensemble and 5 dancers, was included in Indiana University's annual Hammer and Nail Project in 2010.

The composer's recent interests have also involved interactive work inside of the MaxMSP/Jitter environment. A recent work, Set/ReSET, for drumset and performer, uses the Xbox Kinect motion tracking technology to manipulate live sounds.

Miller holds degrees in composition from Arkansas State University (B.M. 2006), the University of Louisville (MM 2008), and is currently finishing his dissertation at Indiana University Bloomington (D.M.) under the guidance of Sven-David Sandström. He has studied both acoustic and computer music composition under many widely known composers such as Steve Rouse, John Gibson, John Ritz, Tim Crist, Tom O'Connor, Claude Baker, David Dzubay, P.Q. Phan, Aaron Travers, and Jeffrey Hass. In August 2011, Timothy and his wife are welcomed their first baby, and they are currently residing in Clarksville, IN with their three dogs.



 

Daniel Frantz Dan FRANTZ
iha tgao

was constructed using several different algorithms, governed by the composer's intuition of pacing and contour. It was composed at the University of Iowa, and received a first reading from the JACK Quartet in October 2012.
Daniel Frantz received his BM in music composition and electronic music from the University of South Florida. There he studied with Paul Reller and Michael Timpson. He was awarded the Patrick Keim Memorial scholarship for composition in 2007, and received a talent grant for clarinet performance.

He is currently pursuing his MA in composition at the University of Iowa. His recent work explores applications of algorithmic composition, as well as the implementation of the software Puredata both during performance and the compositional process.



 
Jason Palamara Jason PALAMARA
200 Uses for a Paperclip

Freelance poet Soo David Nihm wrote 200 Uses for a Paperclip after being inspired by Sir Ken Robinson's lecture entitled "Changing Education Paradigms." In his lecture, Robinson details a study in which children were tested for divergent thinking at different ages from Kindergarten through high school. One of the questions on the test asked the schoolchildren to list how many uses they could think of for a paperclip. When given to adults, a small minority of respondents could list more than 200 uses, and adults who can do this usually score in the genius level on IQ tests. Surprisingly, 98% of Kindergarten students scored high enough on this test to be considered geniuses. However, the results of the study showed that as children progress through the American education system, their ability to think creatively diminishes, with the students scoring lower and lower as they approached adulthood. Nihm's poem, 200 Uses for a Paperclip, takes the form of a conversation between a person who is thinking imaginatively about the problem and a person who is not. This piece was commissioned by Janet and Aaron Ziegler.
Jason Palamara is a second year PhD student in music composition at the University of Iowa. He holds a Master's degree from the University of Louisville and a Bachelor's degree from Butler University. He has studied composition with Michael Schelle, Frank Felice, Krzysztof Wolek, Steve Rouse, Larry Fritts and David Gompper. Jason currently works as the sound designer for the University Of Iowa Department Of Dance, also composing music for many of the department's projects.


 
Will Huff Will HUFF
To Make Good Progress

maps my experiences with meditation: beginning in a state of rest and deliberate focus to frustrating distractions until focus is brought back and a feeling of calm comes over me--for me, good progress is increased mindfulness.
Will Huff holds a B.M. summa cum laude at the University of Arkansas (2008) and a M.M. at Butler University (2010). His commissions range from pieces written for friends to the Fort Smith Symphony (director, John Jeter). His most recent success includes the premier of his solo trombone piece, A Divisive Dichotomy, in Fort Myer, Virginia at the Eastern Trombone Workshop this past March. He has participated in ensembles devoted to new music including the JCFA Composer's Orchestra, Ensemble 48, and the Outside Orchestra all based out of Indianapolis. After graduating from Butler, Will Huff moved to Chicago where he worked at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and played in the new music ensemble Bricklayer's Foundation. Will Huff is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Iowa where he holds a TA in Theory/Composition as well as graduate assistant to the Electronic Music Studios directed by Lawrence Fritts. His composition teachers include Robert Mueller, Frank Felice, Michael Schelle, Lawrence Fritts, and David Gompper.


 
Dan Ruccia Dan RUCCIA
I Might Fit

Christian Bök's novel/prose poem Eunoia consists of five chapters, each of which only uses a single vowel – the chapter that the text of this song comes from uses only words with the letter i. He insists that each chapter use 98 percent of the available words, that sentences must include a certain amount of syntactical parallelism, and that a certain set of events happen in each chapter, including a culinary banquet, a prurient debauch, a pastoral tableau and a nautical voyage. Each chapter has its own texture and character, though what ultimately interests me in is the way each chapter sounds and the effect of having only closely related vowel sounds for long durations.

This particular piece is the second movement of a larger work titled Mondo Doloroso, which sets excerpts from each chapter of Eunoia in a different way. While I'm not interested in rigorously mimicking Bök's constraints, I do try to evoke the notion of constraints in the music. Each movement is dedicated to a composer whose name uses all 5 vowels (Movement I is dedicated to Cornelius Cardew), inverting Bök's chapter dedications, which are to figures whose names only use the chapter's vowel (Chapter I is for Dick Higgins). The music in this movement tends to imitate the two kinds of "i" sounds possible in this movement: the short i ("fish," and "nip") and the long i ("I," "light"). But these are only tendencies – ultimately the music goes where it, and its text, wants to go.

Words from Eunoia by Christian Bök, used with the author's permission.
Fishing till twilight I sit, drifting in this birch skiff, jigging kingfish with jigs, bringing in fish which nip this bright string (its vivid glint bristling with stick pins). Whilst I slit this fish in its gills, knifing it, slicing it, killing it with skill, shipwrights might trim this jib, swinging it right, hitching it tight, riding brisk winds which pitch this skiff, tipping it, tilting it, till this ship in crisis flips. Rigging rips. Christ, this ship is sinking. Diving in, I swim, fighting this frigid swirl, kicking, kicking, swimming in it till I sight high cliffs, rising, indistinct in thick mists, lit with lightning.

Lightning flicks its riding whip, blitzing this night with bright schisms. Sick with phthisis in this drizzling mist, I limp, sniffling, spitting bilic spit, itching livid skin (skin which is tingling with stinging pinpricks). I find this frigid drisk dispiriting; still I fight its chilling windchill. I climb cliffs, flinching with skittish instincts. I might slip. Still, I risk climbing.
Dan Ruccia is a Durham, NC, based composer. He writes music that exists at the intersection of different styles, forms, and genres, particularly free jazz and punk in all of its manifestations. His music has been performed across the United States and Europe by Eighth Blackbird, The Bad Plus, Wet Ink, Jacqueline Horner Kwiatek (Anonymous 4), the Juventas New Music Ensemble, Ensemble Soli Fan Tutti, and [dnme]. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Duke University where he has studied with Stephen Jaffe, Scott Lindroth, and Allen Anderson (University of North Carolina). Dan also has a B.A. in music from Princeton University, having worked with Dan Trueman, Dmitri Tymoczko, and Steven Mackey.

Additionally, Dan is a violist and improviser, playing with [dnme] (Duke New Music Ensemble, which he directed in 2009 and 2010), Microcephalic Superintendent, and other groups around the Triangle. He also is a DJ at WXDU, playing a freeform mix of rock, jazz, classical, and everything else, and writes album reviews for Dusted Magazine.