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UMS Concert Program, Thursday Mar. 22 To 25: San Francisco Symphony American Mavericks --

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Season: Winter 2012
Hill Auditorium

ums University Musical Society
Presented with major support from the Creative Ventures Leadership Fund.
Winter 2012 Season 133rd Annual Season
General Information
On-site ticket offices at performance venues open 90 minutes before each performance.
Children of all ages are welcome al UM5 Family and Youth Performances. Children under the age of three will not be admitted to regular, full-length UMS performances. All children must be able to sit quietly in their own seats without disturbing other patrons. Children unable to do so. along with the adult accompanying them, will be asked by an usher to leave the auditorium. Please use discretion in choosing to bring a child.
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While in the Auditorium
Storting Time Every attempt is made to be?gin concerts on time. Latecomers are asked to wait in the lobby until seated by ushers at a predetermined time in the program.
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If you have a question, ask your usher. They are here to help.
Please turn off your cellular phones and other digital devices so that everyone may enjoy this UMS event disturbance-free.
In the interests of saving both dollars and the environment, please either retain this program book and return with it when you attend other UMS performances included in this edition or return it to your usher when leaving the venue.
Event Program Book
Thursday, March 22 through Sunday, March 25, 2012
San Francisco Symphony American Mavericks
Concert 1
Thursday, March 22,7:30 pm Hill Auditorium
Concert 2 15
Friday, March 23,8:00 pm Hill Auditorium
Concert 3 27
Saturday, March 24, 8:00 pm Hill Auditorium
Chamber Concert 33
Sunday, March 25,4:00 pm Rackham Auditorium
ums University Musical Society
Fall 2011
I An Evening with Ahmad Jamal
i Emerson String Quartet 23-24! Mark Morris Dance Group
25 i Dan Zanes & Friends
John Malkovich and Musica Angelica
Baroque Orchestra: The Infernal Comedy:
Confessions of a Serial Killer
Yuja Wang, piano
National Theatre Live: One Man, Two
State Symphony Capella of Russia
Goran Bregovic and His Wedding and
Funeral Orchestra
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan:
Water Stains on the Wall
Schola Cantorum de Venezuela
Gate Theatre Dublin: Beckett's
Endgame and Watt
National Theatre Live: The Kitchen
Apollo's Fire with Philippe Jaroussky,
Audra McDonald
Diego El Cigala
AnDa Union
A Night in Treme: The Musical Majesty
of New Orleans
Beijing Guitar Duo with Manuel Barrueco
Canadian Brass
Handel's Messiah
London Philharmonic Orchestra with
Janine Jansen, violin
Stile Antico
Winter 2012
National Theatre Live: The Collaborators
Einstein on the Beach
Denis Matsuev, piano
Les Violons du Roy with Maurice Steger,
Hamburg Symphony Orchestra with
Francesco Tristano, piano: Messiaen's
From the Canyons to the Stars
Sabine Meyer and the Trio di Clarone Chamber Ensemble of the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra Michigan Chamber Players The Tallis Scholars Sweet Honey In The Rock Wayne McGregor I Random Dance: FAR FELA! (at Music Hall, Detroit) National Theatre Live: Travelling Light Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis Hagen Quartet
Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Pinchas Zukerman, violin Max Raabe & Palast Orchester Ex Machina: The Andersen Project National Theatre Live: The Comedy of Errors San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor: American Mavericks
St. Lawrence String Quartet (NEW DATE)
National Theatre Live:
She Stoops to Conquer
Zakir Hussain and Masters of Percussion
Cheikh L6
Charles Lloyd New Quartet
Pavel Haas Quartet
Ballet Preljocaj: Snow White
Ford Honors Program: Academy of
St. Martin in the Fields with
Joshua Bell, violin
i Breakin'Curfew
Explore. Interact. Create...with UMS and the San Francisco Symphony: American Mavericks.
Presented with major support from the Creative Ventures Leadership Fund.
Pre-Concert Presentation Inside Mavericks
Friday, March 23,6:30 pm
Hill Auditorium, Mezzanine Lobby
Composer and music educator Eliza Brown presents an interacts
pre-concert experience for the audience based on techniques from
the Walden School. In addition to learning about the music through
lecture and demonstration, participants will engage in singing tone
clusters and contemplating their own approach to performing John
Cage's Song Books.
Post-Concert Jam Session with Classical Revolution
Friday, March 23, post-concert
Sava's Restaurant, 216 S. State Street
Join Classical Revolution and members of the San Francisco Symphony
at Sava's following Friday's concert for a jam session celebrating the
American Mavericks concerts.
Pre-Concert Program
Meet the Maverick: Charles Ives in Words and Music
Saturday, March 24,6:30 pm
Modern Languages Building, Auditorium 4,
812 E. Washington Street
Highlighting Charles Ives as a composer, a writer, and a true American
eccentric, performer David Prather weaves together musical passages
from Ives' "Concord" Sonata with literary passages from Ives' book
Essays Before a Sonata to illuminate both the musical material and "
expressive intention behind this radical work.
American Mavericks Post-Concert Artist Q&As
Thursday-Sunday, March 22-25
Immediately following each concert on stage
Audience members are invited to stay in the auditorium for an
Q&A session with performers from that evening's performance. Special
guests will be announced from the stage after each concert.
ums University Musical Society
ums University Musical Society
As Daniel Pink said, "In a world upended by outsourcing, deluged with data and choked with choices, the abilities that matter most are specialties of the (brain's) right hemisphere--artistry, empathy, seeing the big picture, and pursuing the transcendent."
Stuart and I believe the arts are fundamental in educating the leaders of tomorrow. We established the Creative Ventures Leadership Fund to ensure that UMS, through programming, has the flexibility to consider the new, the different, the innovative, and the cutting-edge. Some performances are beautiful and awe-inspiring; others are challenging, provocative, or controversial. Yet all engage the mind and the imagination.
The University of Michigan is the ideal incubator for nurturing and fostering creative thinking and collaboration.
--Maxine Frankel
The events in Pure Michigan Renegade are presented with major support from the Creative Ventures Leadership Fund, a multi-year challenge grant created by Maxine and Stuart Frankel to support artistic, innovative, and cutting-edge programming.
For a complete listing of donors as of January 24,2012 please refer to page 14.
We invite you to engage in this adventure by partnering with UMS to meet the Creative Ventures Leadership Fund challenge.
For more information, please contact Margaret McKinley, 734.647.1177 or
UMS, with major support from the Creative Ventures Leadership Fund, presents
San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director and Conductor
Mason Bates, Electronica Jeremy Denk, Piano Paul Jacobs, Organ
University of Michigan Chamber Choir Jerry Blackstone, Conductor
Thursday Evening, March 22,2012 at 730 Hill Auditorium Ann Arbor
Aaron Copland Orchestral Variations
Henry Cowell Piano Concerto Polyharmony Tone Cluster Counter Rhythm
MR. DENK Intermission
Mason Bates Mass Transmission
The Dutch Telegraph Office
Wireless Connections
Commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony with support from Michele and Laurence Corash.
Lou Harrison Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra
Andante (Siciliana in the form of a double canon)
Canons and Choruses
Allegro (Finale)
Robin Sutherland, Piano
Marc Shapiro, Celesta
Jack Van Geem, Raymond Froehlich, Tom Hemphill, James Lee Wyatt III,
David Herbert, Victor Avdienko, Artie Storch, Stan Muncy, Percussion
48th Performance of the 133rd Annual Season 133rd Annual Choral Union Series
This evening's performance is part of Pure Michigan Renegade, a series of special performances and educa?tional events presented by UMS throughout the Winter 2012 Season, sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
The events in Pure Michigan Renegade are presented with major support from the Creative Ventures Leader?ship Fund, a multi-year challenge grant created by Maxine and Stuart Frankel to support artistic, innovative, and cutting-edge programming.
Funded in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works.
The Steinway piano used in this evening's performance is made possible by William and Mary Palmer and by the Steinway Piano Gallery of Detroit.
Special thanks to Mark Clague of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Classical Revolution Ann Arbor, and the Ann Arbor District Library for their support of and participation in events surrounding the San Francisco Symphony concerts.
Special thanks to Tom Thompson of Tom Thompson Flowers, Ann Arbor, for his generous contribution of lobby floral art for this evening's performance.
The San Francisco Symphony's Tour of the American Mavericks Festival is made possible by a generous gift from David & Roberta Elliott with additional support from Marcia & John Goldman.
In the inlereit of saving both dollars and the environment, please either retain this program book and return with it when you attend other American Mavericks events, or return it to your usher when leaving the venue.
The photographing or sound and video recording of this concert or possession of any device for such recording is prohibited.
Large print programs are available upon request.
Orchestral Variations (19301957)
Aaron Copland
Born November 14, 1900 in Brooklyn, New York
Died December 2,1990 in Peekskill, New York
Premiere: March 5,1958, by the Louisville Orchestra with Robert Whitney conducting.
Orchestration: two flutes (both doubling piccolo), oboe and English horn, two clarinets (second doubling bass clarinet), two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, snare drum, tenor drum, boss drum, bongos, Conga drum, cymbals, tom-tom, wood block, glockenspiel, xylophone, tubular bells, antique cymbals, cow bell, harp, and strings.
Duration: approximately 13 minutes
Between 1948 and i960, in an amazing and idealistic project, the Louisville Orchestra commissioned about 120 orchestral works. When his Louisville commission came along, Copland had in mind the orchestral possibilities of his Piano Variations of 1930. The young Copland had . become troubled by his penchant for the grandiose, and he eventually came to think of his Variations as representing "another version of the grandiose, except that it had changed to a very dry and bare grandiosity." When he orchestrated the Variations in 1957, he did a remarkable job of getting them bare and grand at the same time.
Copland described the Variations as consisting of "a theme of dramatic character followed by 20 variations and a coda." It takes less than 15 minutes to traverse these 22 sections; progress from one powerfully etched episode to the next is swift. You hear first a four note cell which is the source for the entire work and which is almost always present. Through Variation 10, the music becomes more complex, and Variation 10 itself puts a firm punctuation mark to the end of Chapter 1. Variation 11, contrapuntal with a hushed bass, is the slow movement, so to speak; Variations 12-18 are an extended scherzo. Variation 19 begins as though it were to be another slow episode, but speed and energy increase rapidly. The spare-textured coda is magnificent.
Program note by Michael Steinberg.
Piano Concerto (1928)
Henry Cowell
Born March 11,1897 in Menlo Park, California
Died December 10,1965 in Shady, New York
Premiere: Cowell completed his Piano Concerto in 1928 and on December 28,1930, was soloist in the first complete performance, with the Havana Philharmonic conducted by Pedro Sanjuan.
Orchestration: three fiutes (first doubling piccolo), three oboes and English horn, three clarinets, three bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (snare drum, large and small cymbals, triangle, and crash cymbals), and strings.
Duration: approximately 17 minutes
Henry Cowell grew up free of the assumption that all worthwhile culture came from the other side of the Atlantic. He explored the piano, absorbed whatever was in the air in San Francisco's Chinese and Japanese neighborhoods, developed a love of Irish folk music, and came to include in his concept of "music" virtually all sounds natural and human.
By the time he was 13, Cowell was already composing pieces that employed the tone cluster. Where the chords of traditional harmony are made of notes separated by intervals of pitch, tone clusters use groups of contiguous notes, which traditional harmony classifies as dis?sonant to one another. In 1913, at an event sponsored by the San Francisco Musical Society, Cowell went a step further by unveiling to amazed listeners a further pianistic development: altering the instrument's tones by inserting objects on the piano's strings and by plucking or strumming directly on the strings with his hands, dispensing with the intermediary of the keyboard. These would become favorite devices of John Cage's; in fact, Cage would formu?late the insertion of hardware into what became known as the "prepared piano."
In the hierarchy of musical instruments, the piano was (and still is) placed on a pedestal by many listeners. Many considered it sacrilege to monkey with its strings or extract sounds in any non-traditional way. Until Cowell's sound-world caught on, critics bound to uphold traditional values had a field day.
It really is a pity that such a fun piece as Cowell's Piano Concerto has gone almost unplayed since its premiere in 1930; it waited until 1978 for its first full performance in the US. The concerto's three movements--"Polyharmony," "Tone Cluster," and "Counter Rhythm"-together last only about 17 minutes, and they're full of tonal, rhythmic, and (after a fashion) melodic variety. The solo part cannot be negotiated successfully by a pianist whose idea of technique is defined by Hanon and Czerny exercises, as quite a lot of the playing involves attacking the piano with the forearms rather than with the fingers. It may look--and sound--pretty wild, but Cowell actually plumbs the harmonic implications of competing clusters with considerable sophistication, and the pianist is challenged to figure out how to enliven the score by combining fidelity to the notation with sensitive voicing and phrasing.
Program note by Michael Steinberg and James M. Keller.
Mass Transmission (2012)
Mason Bates
Born January 23,1977 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Premiere: March 15,2012, with the composer on electronka, organist Paul Jacobs, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and Donato Cabrera conducting.
Orchestration: choir, electronka, and organ. Duration: approximately 20 minutes
Mason Bates brings an unmistakably 21st-century sensibility to concert music. Bates represents the new generation of American maverick, for whom genre mixing is just one factor in the process of developing an authentic voice.
Mass Transmission, composed in 2011 (on a commission from Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, with generous support from Laurence Corash, in honor of Michele Corash's birthday), exhibits what has become Bates's most recognizable stylistic sig?nature: the blend of acoustic instrumentalists andor singers with electronic sounds. Bates prefers the term "electronica" for his palette of digital samplings and techno beats; these are as much a part of his toolkit as a personal harmonic vocabulary was for the Romantics.
Exploring connections with sensibilities from past generations--and how they resonate for us today--lies at the heart of Mass Transmission. Here Bates contrasts human vulner?ability with the distant reach of technology. He began with a sonic image involving "ethereal choral sonorities appearing and disappearing into the static haze." The piece evolved as he searched for a narrative framework in which this image could play a central role. Research?ing the history of earlier technologies, Bates became fascinated by how the pioneering days of radio intersected with indigenous cultures.
By serendipity, he discovered exactly the pieces needed to construct a narrative that would juxtapose the two key elements from his original image. During the early 20th century, while The Netherlands held colonies in Asia (including the island of Java), young people were sent from Europe to work as colonial pages halfway across the planet. Via a massive radio transmitter operated from a government telegraph office at home, parents attempted to communicate with their children. Bates discovered an obscure Dutch government publication that included transcripts of conversations conducted across the wireless contraption as well as recollections gathered from those who had taken part. From this he adapted the texts that frame the first and last of Moss Transmission's three sections, all of them woven together. As a counterpart to the voice of the mother we meet in the telegraph office, Bates wanted to in?clude the perspective of her daughter in the central section. The latter he found in an online blog kept by Elizabeth van Kampen, who lived in Java and recorded her impressions.
Using the chorus as Mass Transmission's backbone was a given: "The human voice repre?sents the most beautiful animal warmth we have." Bates's writing for mixed chorus estab?lishes this natural human sphere. Juxtaposed against it is "the cold, lifeless sounds of radio static, of our technology." A prelude for electronica sets the scene in the Dutch Telegraph Office, where an operator scans the radio spectrum. Instead of the orchestra, Bates realized the organ would provide an ideal third element for this sound environment. Its enormous range and power could span these two poles, the human and the technological. Thus the organ "inhabits both worlds" and functions as a bridge between them. At first it supports this "choral warmth," but toccata-like passages, marked "mechanistic" in the score, conjure technology's indifferent forces.
In the final section, Bates uses the organ's capacity to swell into a massive wall of sound, as the mother replays "the ecstasy of having spoken with her daughter." Near the beginning of the work, its sonority builds "as if you're tuning into something on the radio, becoming more and more drawn in, until it dominates your emotional spectrum." Meanwhile, the choral writing in the framing sections evokes the mother's "strange feelings of this contact with her daughter," as Bates describes it. "While it was beautiful to hear her child's voice, the conversation was happening in this government office, with government technology, against the backdrop of colonialism."
No improvisation is involved in the electronica. "What it provides is a kind of scrim and static haze, which sometimes becomes more precise and rhythmic, as little clips of static accumu?late like a tapestry of beads." The central section set in Java incorporates samples from field recordings in the jungle, occasionally reimagining the sounds of Javanese gamelan or simply of drumming. For Bates, electronica is another source within the composer's arsenal of sounds.
Moss Transmission might be characterized as program music for the information age. "Every new medium transforms the nature of human thought," remarks James Gleick in his recent book, The Information. "In the long run, history is the story of information becoming aware of itself." The work of artists like Mason Bates sheds light on that process.
Program note by Thomas May.
Assistance with the electronic sounds was provided by Gary Rydstrom ofSkywalker Sound.
Mass Transmission--Libretto
Mason Bates
I. The Dutch Telegraph Office
The miracle still lies in my memories like a dream.
Slowly layers of mystery unfold. Gradually my eyes alight as if recovering from a dream. A bit fearfully, I speak into the microphone: "Hello Hello Are you there, my child"
12,000 kilometers, not a single wire. The air is what transmits the message. A miracle. My voice travels to the Indies, which took my daughter weeks to reach on a steamboat.
Days and nights, the endless sea around her. Now I can speak to that distant land, and
my voice travels there wirelessly. "Hello! Hello! Are you there, my child" But the reality around me is sober and mechanical. I'm in the headquarters of the Dutch
Telegraph Office, in a small lifeless studio. A strange apparatus before me. A technician
nearby. The earphones, the microphone on the armchair. It is very cold. This is where Holland converses with its colonists in Java. My child was sent to be a page in the government in Java. It is a great honor, but it is hard
on a mother.
I speak into the microphone: "Hello! Hello! My child" In a single second, I have crossed 12,000 kilometers, as if it were the distance between two
rooms. And within that second, my daughter's voice comes back:
What I love most about Java are the moments I wake up.
I stay just a little longer in bed to listen to all the tropical noises. Birds twittering and monkeys echoing through the humid jungle. I hear soft, strange, beautiful music com?ing from the village. Gamelan music. Then I go outside, enjoying the fresh morning fragrance and admiring all those colorful flowers and the Durian trees. My house is built on poles and made of stone and bamboo. The doors and windows are painted green. On top of the house is a red zinc roof. Underneath the house I often hide with the other children.
Sometimes we go into the jungle. It is always hot and magical, and it always has a special smell--a bit of snakes and all sorts of plants. I watch my steps in this strange, lovely kingdom. This world is so unreal, like a paradise or Eden.
In the evening, lying in my bed, I listen again to the gamelan in the village, and I miss you. You are so far away.
I. Wireless Connections
Are you there mum
Yes, dear. I can definitely recognize your voice!
Is everything fine with you, mum
Yes, my good to hear your voice.
miss you mum!
I miss you too, my child.
Well.Jt is hot here in Java.
And it's storming here in Holland!
Is grandpa with you
No, he could not come.
Okay, have a good night mum.
Good night, dear.
The voice from the East. Nothing is further apart than the straits that separate us. In this way the world grows closer and closer, even as we move further apart.
Each phone call was allowed to last six minutes at most. Six minutes, it seemed far too short. The six minutes passed, and the voice comes to a halt. The headphone is silent, the microphone lies on the table in the Dutch Telegraph Office.
Later, when I lie in my white bed, I can still hear my child's voice: the memory, the ecstasy. No poem, no music is more beautiful than that voice. Holland and Java lie in the deep?est part of a mother's heart, and in every sigh is a wireless signal: Hello, oh, my child...
"The Dutch Telegraph Office" and "Wireless Connections" adapted from Hallo Bandeong, hier Den Haagl
(1928). Translation by Jerry Zhu. Used by permission. "Java" adapted from Memories of My Youth in the Dutch East-Indies by Elizabeth van Kampen. Used by
Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra (1973)
Lou Harrison
Born May 14,1917 m Portland, Oregon
Died February 2,2003 in Lafayette, Indiana
Premiere: In 1973, with soloist Philip Simpson and the San Jose State University Orchestra.
Orchestration: a percussion ensemble of six great bells, three temple blocks, celesta, tube chimes, small Chinese crash cymbals, suspended cymbal, bass drum, snare drum, three wood drums, glockenspiel, three muted gongs, three high suspended gongs, three low suspended gongs, guiro, jangles, maracas, piano, six muted large plumber's pipes, large rasp, rattle, three tom-toms, and vibraphone.
Duration: approximately 20 minutes
For more than 40 years, Lou Harrison was one of the Bay Area's most distinguished musical citizens. He studied with Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg and in the 1940s wrote for the New York Herald-Tribune, contributed to the journal Modern Music, and conducted. His interest in non-European music led him to compose for orchestras of Asian instruments, Indonesian gamelan, or ensembles that mix Western and "exotic" instruments.
Harrison wrote this of his Organ Concerto: "After I had worked in New York for 10 years and returned to coastal California, and had been teaching at San Jose State University for a number of years, I composed my Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra. My friend Anthony Cirone, who play[ed] in the San Francisco Symphony and who directed] the percussion department at San Jose State, asked me for a new percussion piece. At the same time Philip Simpson, organist at the University, asked me for a piece, and I thought... well, why not combine them, if only because both can make a great deal of noise, and it might be fun. There was an artistic problem, though. I needed a bridge between the fixed sustained tones of the organ and the unfixed and more ephemeral tones of such things as gongs, oxygen tanks, automobile brake drums, wood blocks, and other such. I needed, in short, pianos, vibraphones, celesta, and any other fixed-pitch percussion instruments. The three groups could join together, separate and combine with the organ in numerous ways. The soloist uses his forearm to play two-octave tone clusters, and a special octave bar made by William Colvig to play clusters of single-octave width. I composed in very simple modes, but the last movement, which is in a special version of an ancient Greek mode, is often taken to be some sort of jazz celebration. Its actual inspiration was the finale of Cesar Franck's Symphony in d minor'.'
Program note by Michael Steinberg.
Michael Steinberg was San Francisco Symphony program annotator and contributing writer from 1979-2009. James M. Keller is currently program annotator for the San Francisco Sym?phony and New York Philharmonic. Thomas May is a contributing writer to the San Francisco Symphony program book.
Please refer to page 45 in your program book for performers' biographies. For biographies of all American Mavericks artists, please visit www.americanmavericks.orgmusicians.
he events in Pure Michigan Renegade are presented with major support from the Creative Ventures Leadership Fund, a multi-year challenge grant created by Maxine and Stuart Frankel to support artistic, innovative, and cutting-edge programming.
The following have provided matching gifts to the Fund to date:
Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation Michigan Economic Development Corporation The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Endowment for the Arts
Mary and Brian Campbell
in memory of Herbert Amster John S. and James L. Knight Foundation The Power Foundation, Founding Sponsor
Jane and Edward Schulak Edward Surovell Realtors Glenn Watkins
Subir and Malini Chowdhury Foundation
The Herbert and Junia Doan Foundation
Faber Piano Institute
Randall and Nancy Faber
Susan and Richard Gutow
Carl and Charlene Herstein
David and Phyllis Herzig
Jerry and Dale Kolins
Stephen and Barbara Munk
Prue and Ami Rosenthal
Judy and Lewis Tann
UMS, with major support from the Creative Ventures Leadership Fund, presents
San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director and Conductor
Joan La Barbara Meredith Monk Jessye Norman
St. Lawrence String Quartet Geoff Nuttall, Violin Scott St. John, Violin Lesley Robertson, Viola Christopher Costanza, Cello
Friday Evening, March 23, 2012 at 8:00 Hill Auditorium ? Ann Arbor
John Cage Song Books
Yuval Sharon, Director Daniel Hubp, Stage Designer Jason Thompson, Projection Designer Jesse Stiles, Electronics Christopher Kuhl, Lighting Designer
Leor Maltinski, Violin Yun Jie Liu, Viola Amos Yang, Cello Stephen Paulson, Bassoon Mark Inouye, Trumpet Timothy Higgins, Trombone Peter Grunberg, Piano Marc Shapiro, Piano
Henry Cowell Synchrony
John Adams Absolute Jest
Commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony with support from the Phyllis C. Wattis Fund for New Works of Music, and by Cornegie Hall.
Edgard Varese Ameriques
49th Performance of the 133rd Annual Season 133rd Annual Choral Union Series
This evening's performance is part of Pure Michigan Renegade, a series of special performances and educa?tional events presented by UMS throughout the Winter 2012 Season, sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
The events in Pure Michigan Renegade are presented with major support from the Creative Ventures Leader?ship Fund, a multi-year challenge grant created by Maxine and Stuart Frankel to support artistic, innovative, and cutting-edge programming.
Funded in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works.
Special thanks to Brent Assink, Executive Director of the San Francisco Symphony, for speaking at this evening's Prelude Dinner.
The Steinway piano used in this evening's performance is made possible by William and Mary Palmer and by the Steinway Piano Gallery of Detroit.
Special thanks to Mark Clague of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Classical Revolution Ann Arbor, and the Ann Arbor District Library for their support of and participation in events surrounding the San Francisco Symphony concerts.
Special thanks to Tom Thompson of Tom Thompson Flowers, Ann Arbor, for his generous contribution of lobby floral art for this evening's performance.
The San Francisco Symphony's Tour of the American Mavericks Festival is made possible by a generous gift from David & Roberta Elliott with additional support from Marcia & John Goldman.
Meredith Monk's costume by Gary Graham.
In the interest of saving both dollars and the environ?ment, please either retain this program book and return with it when you attend other American Mavericks events, or return it to your usher when leaving the venue.
The photographing or sound and video recording of this concert or possession of any device for such recording is prohibited.
Large print programs are available upon request.
Song Books (1970)
John Cage
Born September 5,1912 in Los Angeles, California
Died August 12,1992 in New York City
Premiere: Cage composed his Song Books from August to October 1970. One can scarcely speak oSong Books as having been premiered, since it is in the nature of the composition that every performance will result in a substantially different piece. The published version bears the dedication "For Cathy Berberian and Simone Rist."
Orchestration: An interpretation will involve voice or theatrical action or both, either with or without elec?tronic amplification, depending on what happens.
Duration: approximately 30 minutes
To John Cage, music was simply the organization of sound. By recognizing valid musical material in what others discarded as noise, by transforming the sounds of instruments through physical or electronic means, and by leaving critical aspects of his compositions open to the judgment of performers (or the vagaries of chance), Cage freed his sounds from traditional require?ments of composition and interpretation.
Cage took inspiration from non-Western music, or borrowed from the "music of life" that surrounds everybody every day. An appreciation for Zen Buddhism led him to study the role chance might play in realizing music. Many of his mature works employ procedures regulated by chance and sometimes by the Ching. He developed a penchant for leaving to fate not just the notes to be played but even the instruments employed in their execution. The music, he would argue, was already in place, just waiting to happen.
Cage composed his Song Books in a spurt of creativity from August to October 1970, and the work was promptly published in three volumes. The first contained Solos 3-58, the second Solos 59-92. (What happened to Solos 1 and 2 is a mystery, assuming they existed.) The third volume was devoted to instructions on how to perform the pieces. Michael Tilson Thomas has described these volumes as "basically a kind of kit from which you, the performer, can come up with songs, speeches, actions, performances on other instruments, which all add up together to create a musical event."
As a general directive. Cage indicates: "Each solo belongs to one of four categories: 1) song; 2) song using electronics; 3) theater; 4) theater using electronics." A footnote clarifies what he had in mind for electronics: "Wireless throat microphones permit the amplification and transformation of vocal sounds. Contact microphones amplify non-vocal sounds, e.g. activi?ties on a table or typewriter, etc."
He displays a liberal interpretation of the word "solo": "The solos may be used by one or more singers." He allows interpreters complete freedom in the choice of material they will perform on a given occasion: "Any number of solos in any order and any superimposition may be used. Superimposition is sometimes possible, since some are not 'songs,' but are directives for theatrical activity (which, on the other hand, may include voice production). A given solo may recur in a given performance."
Continued on page 19
The Song Books: Introducing What You Will Hear
This evening we explore three worlds that John Cage creates in his Song Books: Cage's own world, as represented in theateraction numbers; a world populated by eccentric and avant-garde French composer Erik Satie (1866-1925) and Dada icon Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968); and the world of a Cage idol, Henry David Thoreau.
Cage's World: A Strange Theater
Some numbers are mini-dramas. For example, No. 36. Cage's directions: "Number given is number of things eaten or drunk." Assume the "number given" is 3The song text: "I can drink without eating, but I certainly can't eat without drinking."
No. 54 includes only this direction: "Leave the stage by going up (flying) or by going down through a trap door. Return in the same way wearing an animal's head."
No. 79 instructs the soloist to "breathe as though you had lost your voice"; the score consists of squiggles that rise and fall, along with indications of where the soloist is to inhale and exhale as she follows the pattern.
No. 88 directs the singer to "Leave the stage through the audience returning to the stage without leaving the theater. Do this very slowly."
No. 89 asks the singer to locate an audience member by dropping a transparency with two intersect?ing lines on a seating chart. The person seated where the lines intersect is to receive a gift--an apple or some cranberries. "If no one is seated there, simply place gift on empty seat."
No. 25 applies electronics to a song of Erik Satie's.
No. 91 pays homage to Marcel Duchamp. In his text Cage uses large uppercase letters to spell "Marcel" and "Duchamp." This, he emphasizes, has "no musical significance." These are the first lines:
creMe fraiche followed by three kinds of Potatoes.
Walden Revisited: The World of Thoreau
No. 27 is homage to Thoreau: "Lusty growth of oaks and pines, Phoebe came to find its nest radiant as gems on weeds. Trees are losing their leaves. Sparkles in clear cool air. The cowslip in blossom. March, November fifty-three, how could patient pine have known Birds' nests, tracks of animals outside the wall, indication of water."
No. 30 sets a fractured passage from Thoreau's journal. It opens like this: "Wasps are building summer squashes, saw a fish hawk, when I hear this both bushes and trees are thinly leaved, few ripe ones on sandy banks, rose right up high into the air, like trick of some pleasant demon to entertain me."
No. 35 sets text from Thoreau's essay "On Civil Disobedience": "The best form of government is no gov?ernment at all, and that will be what we will have when we are ready for it."
Nor does he consider the music in Song Books to be necessarily self-contained: "The solos may be sung with or without other indeterminate music." Tonight other Cage works are interlaced or superimposed: his Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1958), Winter Music (1957), and Fontana Mix (a tape work from 1959). The score may be taken to provide basic material (ideas, music, actions, suggestions) that the performers can offer in a straightforward manner or superimpose in an infinite number of ways.
The solos in the first two volumes of Song Books employ a broad range of notation. Some?times they use notes on staves. Sometimes the notes are more like dots, blobs, or circles and the staves don't have five lines and are more like diagrams. Sometimes they involve only words. Sometimes the words aren't in English, and sometimes they're written in fanci?ful typefaces and font sizes. Sometimes the words are placed within staves. Sometimes the words are Cage's. Sometimes they are quotations--from Norman 0. Brown, Marcel Duchamp, Buckminster Fuller, Marshall McLuhan, Merce Cunningham, but especially from Henry David Thoreau. Sometimes the notation is pictorial: One song is a "Map of Concord, .Mass. Showing Localities mentioned by Thoreau in his Journals," and the performer is instructed to trace the writer's movements through that geography as a guide to how the music should unroll.
Sometimes the directions for interpreting a solo indicate behavior, as in Solo 32: "Go off?stage at a normal speed, hurrying back somewhat later." Or Solo 64 (song with electronics): "Shout text at highest volume without feedback like a football cheer-leader. Keep score au?dibly on an amplified table making four vertical marks and a diagonal for each five." Or Solo 82 (an example of theater with electronics): "Using a Paris cognac glass, serve yourself the amount above the line. Drink, using throat microphone to make swallowing very audible." Cage offers this all-embracing guidance: "To prepare for a performance, the actor will make a numbered list of verbs (actions) andor nouns (things) not to exceed 64 with which he or she is willing to be involved and which are theatrically feasible (those may include stage properties, clothes, etc.; actions may be 'real' or mimed, etc.)."
Thoreau was a continuing fascination of Cage's. He approved of Thoreau's nonconformist ideas and overall temperament, which, in another era, might have led to the sort of joyful anarchy that makes Cage's music so easy to enjoy.
Program note by James M. Keller.
Synchrony (1931)
Henry Cowell
Born March 11,1897 in Menlo Park, California
Died December 10,1965 in Shady, New York
Premiere: June 6,1931, in Paris with Nicolas Slonimsky conducting the Orchestre Straram at a concert of the Pan American Association of Composers.
Orchestration: three flutes (all doubling piccolo), three oboes, three clarinets, three bassoons (third doubling contrabassoon), four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (tam-tam, small and large cymbals, small and large gongs, woodblock, glockenspiel, castanets, triangle, and grand piano, whose five low strings are played with padded gong stick), and strings.
Duration: approximately 12 minutes
Henry Cowell grew up free of the assumption that all worthwhile culture came from the other side of the Atlantic. Nearby San Francisco was full of Asian music, and Cowell's fantasy was drawn to sounds from across the Pacific. He explored the piano, absorbed whatever was in the air in San Francisco's Chinese and Japanese neighborhoods, developed a love of Irish folk music, and came to include in his concept of "music" virtually all sounds natural and human.
This composer of about 1,000 pieces was more than just a composer. In Berlin he studied comparative musicology; during World War II he was the Office of War Information's resident expert on Asian music. He edited the symposium American Composers on American Music, and with his wife, Sidney Robertson Cowell, he wrote Charles Ives and His Music, the first book on the great pioneer. He founded and edited the quarterly New Music. He found time to teach at schools across the country, and among those who learned from him were John Cage, Lou Harrison, George Gershwin, and Burt Bacharach.
Synchrony was intended for Martha Graham, whose striking presence had already been noted in the dance world, but the hoped-for collaboration did not materialize. Cowell begins with about a minute of music for trumpet alone. It is not so much music as flight and soaring translated into music. What the trumpet plays is source material for everything else. Its intervals and melodic shapes are redeployed in new rhythms, and the latent harmonic potential of the long melody is realized. From time to time we are reminded that Cowell had heard Debussy and Stravinsky, but the overwhelming impression is of a new voice. There is even some suggestion of the tone cluster, a device for which Cowell became famous, and which is the simultaneous sounding of a bunch of adjacent or close-together notes on a keyboard. Here, half a minute after the trumpet solo, three piccolos play more or less the same tune, one beginning on 'D,' the second on 'C,' and the third on 'B'; but with sustained tones taking the place of the piano's percussive attack-and-diminuendo, the acoustic effect is quite different than clusters sounded on a keyboard. The clusters fan out into true harmony, so to speak. The orchestral texture is varied, the pace even more so. Solo instruments remind us of the trumpet's solo flight, but Synchrony ends with a vigorous tutti, crescendo e accelerando to the last offbeat crash of timpani, cymbals, and gong.
Program note by Michael Steinberg.
Absolute Jest (2on)
John Adams
Born February 15,1947 in Worcester, Massachusetts
Premiere: Composed on a commission by the San Francisco Symphony with support from the Phyllis C. Wattis Fund for New Works of Music, and by Carnegie Hall. First performed by the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting and with the St. Lawrence String Quartet on March 15,2012.
Orchestration: two flutes and piccolo, two oboes and English horn, three clarinets and bass clarinet, three bassoons and contrabassoon, four horns, two trumpets (first doubling piccolo trumpet), two trombones, timpani, cowbells, xylophone, bass drum, chimes, glockenspiel, vibraphone, piano, celesta, harp, solo string quartet, and strings.
Duration: approximately 23 minutes
More than three decades have passed since the San Francisco Symphony gave its first world premiere of music by John Adams (the choral-orchestral Harmonium in 1981). The event marked the beginning of a longstanding relationship between composer and orchestra that has resulted in the commissioning of several landmark works, including Adams's breakthrough orchestral composition, Harmonielehre (a new recording of which Michael Tilson Thomas and the Symphony have just released).
Readers of Adams's blog, "Hell Mouth," can find observations equally entertaining and in?sightful about the fate of the composer in today's cultural climate. In one entry, for example, he muses about the times when his pieces have been programmed alongside Beethoven: "Another rite of passage that one must endure, if you're to be a 'classical' composer, is to share the bed with one of the Large Guys."
In Absolute Jest, Adams explores how his own affinity for Beethoven leads down surpris?ing new paths. "I frequently have these powerful, archetypal experiences with Beethoven," says Adams, "but with the piano sonatas and the quartets, which for me are the most vivid, rather than with the symphonies and the public music that gets heard all the time." Com?prising a large, widely spanning single movement, Absolute lest incorporates more than a half dozen Beethoven fragments, mostly from the late string quartets. These fragments, however, are not simply rearranged "quotations" but provide the raw material for a score that could be by none other than John Adams.
The unifying factor here is the composer's attraction to what he calls "the ecstatic energy of Beethoven." One of the signature components of Adams's style is an irresistible sense of momentum. This is driven both by energetic pulsation and by an architectural grasp of tonal gravitation--traits that find their paradigmatic expression in Beethoven. Even more, points out Adams, Beethoven "was the master of taking the minimal amount of informa?tion and turning it into fantastic, expressive, and energized structures." He compares what Beethoven achieved with the Fifth Symphony's famous four-note motto or, in his late period, with the expanded universe that he built from a banal waltz tune in the Diabelli Variations, to "atomic theory" in action and to the construction of complex compounds out of basic molecules.
But it was a later composer who provided the catalyst for the underlying concept of Absolute Jest. Around the time Adams was beginning to think of the new commission, he attended a performance by MTT and the SFS of Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite, derived from the 1920 ballet score in which the composer recycled 18th-century source material. What especially struck Adams was "the fact that Stravinsky could take fragments from music more than 200 years old and preserve some aspects of the original form but make a Stravinsky piece."
In contrast to Stravinsky, who "updated" whole swathes of previously composed material in Pukinello, Adams restricts himself in Absolute Jest to using brief, isolated, and originally unrelated fragments. These he uses as building blocks to construct a single movement of large proportions. Adams discovered after he had composed the score that along with his obviously conscious choice of sources, some unexpected or subconscious Beethovenian allusions and models seemed to become part of the process as well. "You have to be careful not to think of these things while composing," he remarks. "Otherwise it's like staring into the sun."
Yet instead of producing an instance of the "anxiety of influence"--literary critic Harold Bloom's term for the creative pressure exerted by past achievements--the prospect of using fragments directly from Beethoven seems to have had a liberating effect. To Adams's metaphors from physics and chemistry one is tempted to add another from microbiology. Absolute Jest involves the recombination and transfer of musical DNA to create something with distinctively new properties. "I think probably more than any other piece of mine," says Adams, "this one is about invention in the sense of taking material and doing all kinds of things with it."
Most of the Beethoven fragments in Absolute Jest originate from scherzos from the com?poser's late period: in particular, the scherzos of the String Quartets in c-sharp minor. Op. 131, and FMajor, Op. 135. Indeed, Beethoven's genius for unleashing unsuspected power from "minimal information" is especially pronounced in his scherzos. Here, as in the Diabelli Variations, he uses elementary musical impulses--take the three-note rhythmic cell thun?dered by the timpani in the Ninth Symphony's scherzo--as the seeds of immensely inven?tive movements. By the same token, Beethoven's own label for these movements--scherzo, or "joke"--suggests the irony of such rough magic, by which the trivial is transformed into something profound. Adams seems to explore this connection further byjuxtaposing his scherzo fragments with others from the "serious" opening fugue of Op. 131 as well as with a brief bit of the imposing Grosse Fuge ("Great Fugue"), originally written as the finale to the Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130.
Adams also includes a winking reference to Beethoven's "public" music by setting Absolute Jest into motion with the rhythmic motif from the Ninth just mentioned, initially given as a telegraphic pulse played by the timpani on a single pitch. That motif's immediately recognizable octave leap, later spelled out in slightly varied rhythms by diverse instruments, is characteristically recombined with other fragments as the music unfolds.
Soon after that opening gesture, Adams introduces a sonority completely foreign to Beethoven: the piquant "tintinnabulation" (as the composer terms it) of cowbells, harp, and piano all tuned in a special way (mean intonation as opposed to the standard Western tuning used for the rest of the ensemble). This "alternative" tuning has its own rich history among such West Coast maverick composers as Harry Partch and Lou Harrison. Adams himself notes that he became enamored of its possibility when he used it for The Dharma at Big Sur, his concerto for electric violin. Throughout, this trio of mean-tuned instruments functions as a "consort in the medieval sense."
Another unusual feature of Absolute Jest's scoring is the presence of a solo string quartet that weaves in and out of the orchestral fabric. The challenge posed by this instrumenta?tion further widens the scope of his invention. Although Adams had been immersed in Beethoven's string quartets while conceiving the piece, it was through his collaboration with the St. Lawrence String Quartet (for whom he composed his substantial String Quartet in 2008) that the idea of combining string quartet and orchestra occurred to him.
In terms of its form, Adams suggests that Absolute Jest is "the closest thing I've written to variations--although in this case there is no single tune as in a classic set of variations like Bach's Goldberg Variations." The opening minutes percolate with a sense of expectation as fragments from the scherzos of the Ninth Symphony and the Quartet in c-sharp minor, Op. 131, flash across the landscape. Shifts in tempo and texture are never predictable and lead to a meditation on ideas from the irrepressibly energetic Op. 135 scherzo (Beethoven's final quartet), with the solo quartet now and again taking the spotlight. A marked change of atmosphere arrives with a haunting section in which Adams crafts an entirely new fugal passage from fragments of the opening of Op. 131 as well as from the quasi-atonal strain and pull of the Grosse Fuge. A newfound fascination with age-old contrapuntal techniques is a hallmark of Absolute Jest. In some passages, simultaneous statements of the same material are parsed into varying durations to create an effect of multiple layerings of time.
Yet another significant fragment comes from earlier Beethoven: the "Waldstein" Piano Sonata in CMajor, Op. 53. Adams recalls listening from the other room while his son Sam--himself a composer--was practicing the Beethoven sonata as a teenager: "Even after hearing him play it over and over, I never got tired of hearing him practice it and became fascinated by the opening bars." He worked his fascination with this middle-period sonata into Absolute Jest's highly dramatic coda, which "rides upon the harmonic changes at the opening of the 'Waldstein.'"
Tonality itself emerges as an intriguing subplot alongside the continual morphing and recombining of the Beethoven fragments. In the process Adams weaves in references to his own body of work, from the rolling, "Emperor"-style waves of E-flat Major to which he once alluded in his "tricksterish" Grand Pianola Music (1982) to the rousing energies (a la Shaker Loops) that gather power in the coda. But no sooner do these coalesce and resolve into a powerfully anchored tonal goal of B-flat than the music dissolves for a final, enigmatic comment from the "detuned" percussion consort.
Program note by Thomas May.
Ameriques (1926)
Edgard Varese
Born December 22,1883 in Paris, France
Died November 6,1965 in New York City
Premiere: April 9, 1926, Leopold Stokowski conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Orchestration: two piccolos, two flutes, and alto flute: three oboes, English horn, and heckelphone; three clarinets, E-flat clarinet, and bass clarinet: three bassoons and two contrabassoons; eight horns; six trum?pets; three tenor trombones, bass trombone, and contrabass trombone; tuba and contrabass tuba; two harps; two sets of timpani; an enormous percussion section; and sometimes-divided strings.
Duration: approximately 22 minutes
Varese's influence was not widely felt until long after his pieces were written. "An artist," he observed, "is never ahead of his time, but most people are behind their own time."
Varese's musical training reads like a resume for a properly schooled French musician at the turn of the 20th century. When he sailed for New York in December 1915, his catalogue included a couple of Strauss-sized symphonic poems and an incomplete opera. He had left most of his manuscripts in Berlin, where they disappeared in a fire. Apart from one early song, Varese's output comprises 13 works, all dating from his maturity. Ameriques marks his rupture from mainstream European tradition and the beginning of his idiosyncratic modernism.
Ameriques requires such gigantic forces that its airings still remain rare. But the 125 per?formers required in the revised version represent a considerable reduction from the original score's 142 instrumentalists. In 1926, after 16 rehearsals, Leopold Stokowski introduced Ameriques at a matinee of the Philadelphia Orchestra, to one of the most conservative au?diences on the East Coast. "It is indeed a powerful piece of music which can cause a Friday afternoon audience to indulge in hisses and catcalls," reported one critic. A few days later the forces reinstalled themselves at Carnegie Hall, for a performance that left audience and critics divided.
Some listeners and commentators latched on to the sound of the siren and decided that Ameriques depicted the bustling city of the new America. Indeed, the work's original title was Ameriques: Americas, New Worlds, but Varese objected to any such interpretation, protesting that the name was to be understood as "symbolic of discoveries--new worlds on earth, in the sky, or in the minds of men."
The piece is massively complicated. The instrumentation of the opening is as shocking as anything: In the midst of such a gigantic assemblage, a languorous theme is announced, mezzo-forte, by an alto flute. After a measure on its own, the alto flute is joined by two harps and little interjections from a bassoon--a texture that sounds like one of Debussy's gentler moments. But Varese soon shows his own colors when larger instrumental groups, sometimes operating as if unaware of each other's existence, juxtapose their own material over the flute theme. Sonorities are often brash, and instruments play at the extremes of their registers and dynamics. Ameriques proceeds with a generally sectional, almost
arbitrary, flavor; it displays little of the traditional structure that listeners of 1926 would have expected. At the end, everything comes together into a single body of sound to yield one of the most exciting, Dionysian, and potentially deafening spans in the orchestral literature.
Program note by James M. Keller.
Michael Steinberg was San Francisco Symphony program annotator and contributing writer from 1979-2009. James M. Keller is currently program annotator for the San Francisco Sym?phony and New York Philharmonic. Thomas May is a contributing writer to the San Francisco Symphony program book.
Please refer to page 45 in your program book for performers' biographies. For biographies of all American Mavericks artists, please visit www.americanmavericks.orgmusicians.
I any thanks to the individuals, I corporations, and foundations whose contributions to the Creative Ventures Leadership Fund made the following performances possible in the 1112 Season:
Einstein on the Beach Hamburg Symphony Orchestra The TaMis Scholars Random Dance Hagen Quartet
Robert Lepage's The Andersen Project San Francisco Symphony: American Mavericks Festival
We invite you to engage in this adventure by partnering with UMS to meet the Creative Ventures Leadership Fund challenge. For more information, please contact Margaret McKinley at 734.647.1177 or
onight's performance is made possible in part by support from the Medical Community Endowment Fund.
The Medical Community Endowment Fund was established through dona?tions from members of the southeast Michigan medical community.
The many generous contributors to the Fund recognize the significant contribu?tions UMS makes to the quality of life for themselves and their patients. To date, the Fund has received more than 145 contributions totaling over $100,000.
For more information, or to contribute to the Fund, please contact Mamie Reid at 734-647.1178 or
ums University Musical Society
UMS, with major support from the Creative Ventures Leadership Fund, presents
San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director and Conductor Emanuel Ax, Piano
Saturday Evening, March 24,2012 at 8:00 Hill Auditorium ? Ann Arbor
Carl Ruggles Sun-treader
Morton Feldman Piano and Orchestra
Charles Ives A Concord Symphony
Orchestrated by Henry Brant Emerson Hawthorne The Alcotts Thoreau
50th Performance of the 133rd Annual Season 133rd Annual Choral Union Series
This evening's performance is part of Pure Michigan Renegade, a series of special performances and educa?tional events presented by UMS throughout the Winter 2012 Season, sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
The events in Pure Michigan Renegade are presented with major support from the Creative Ventures Leadership Fund, a multi-year challenge grant created by Maxine and Stuart Frankel to support artistic, innovative, and cutting-edge programming.
Funded in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works. Tonight's performance is made possible in part by the Medical Community Endowment Fund. The Steinway piano used in this evening's performance is made possible by William and Mary Palmer and by the Steinway Piano Gallery of Detroit.
Special thanks to Mark Clague of the U-M School of
Music, Theatre & Dance, Classical Revolution Ann Arbor,
and the Ann Arbor District Library for their support of and
participation in events surrounding the San Francisco
Symphony concerts.
Special thanks to Tom Thompson of Tom Thompson
Flowers. Ann Arbor, for his generous contribution of lobby
floral art for this evening's performance.
The San Francisco Symphony's Tour of the American
Mavericks Festival is made possible by a generous gift
from David & Roberta Elliott with additional support from
Marcia & John Goldman.
In the interest 0 saving both dollars and the environment.
please either retain this program book and return with it
when you attend other American Mavericks events, or return
it to your usher when leaving the venue.
The photographing or sound and video recording of this
concert or possession of any device for such recording is
Large print programs are available upon request.
Sun-treader (1931)
Carl Ruggles
Born March 11,1876 in East Marion, Massachusetts
Died October 24,1971 in Bennington, Vermont
Premiere: February 25,1932, in Paris, by an orchestra conducted by Nicolas Slonimsky.
Orchestration: five flutes (fourth and fifth doubling piccolo), three oboes and two English horns, four clari?nets and bass clarinet, three bassoons and contrabassoon, six horns, five trumpets, five trombones, tuba and bass tuba, timpani, large and small cymbals, two harps, and strings.
Duration: approximately 16 minutes
Carl Ruggles was uncompromising, as disdainful of the "mainstream" as it was of him. He scraped together a living from playing the violin, engraving, teaching, conducting, and private patronage. He left a catalogue so small as to make Webern seem prodigal, a catalogue of pieces endlessly fussed over and brought as near to perfection as he knew how. He conducted some and was an able painter. Henry Cowell summed him up: "...irascible, lovable, honest, sturdy, original, slow-thinking, deeply emotional, self-assured, and intelligent." His music, rarely performed until the last years of his life, was admired by colleagues like Ives and Varese. More often it met with incomprehension and hostility. Michael Tilson Thomas is the composer's greatest champion, and he is chief among the artists in the recording, just re-released on the Other Minds label, of all of Ruggles's published works.
Ruggles began Sun-treader in 1926 for a concert to be presented in New York that fall. It was 1931 by the time he completed the score. The title comes from a line from Robert Browning's "Pauline": "Sun-treader, Light and Life be thine forever"--the words are a paean to Shel?ley. Ruggles had no interest in Shelley. What got to him was the giant-steps imagery that Browning's grand word evokes, and we hear his response to that in the vivid opening gesture of striding brass over pounding kettledrums. Sun-treader is a work of potent and dramatic contrasts, sections of uncompromising steadiness setting off long-range accelerations, roaring rhetoric being spelled by pages of serene lyricism.
Program note by Michael Steinberg.
Piano and Orchestra (1975)
Morton Feldman
Born January 12,1926 in New York City
Died September 3,1987 in Buffalo, New York
Premiere: November 22,1972, at the Rencontres Internationales de Musigue Contemporaine in Metz, France, with Hans lender conducting the Saarland Radio Symphony and pianist Roger Woodward (to whom the work is dedicated).
Orchestration: three flutes (second and third doubling alto flute) and piccolo, three oboes and English horn, three clarinets and bass clarinet, three bassoons and contrabassoon, two horns, three trumpets, three
trombones, tuba, harp, piano (doubling celesta), timpani, two triangles, glockenspiel, chimes, moracas, vibraphone, crotales, two cymbals (medium and large), gong, marimba, tenor drum, wood block, bass drum, and strings.
Duration: between 20-26 minutes
The colleagues with whom Morton Feldman was most aesthetically aligned were the painters of the New York School, a group of artists of the 1950s and 1960s whose work ranged from potent abstract expressionism to gentler Color Field painting. Feldman's closest colleague among these artists was Philip Guston, but he counted others as friends, too: Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Rauschenberg, and Mark Rothko. The impression of momentary gestures inhabiting a flat plane became a Feldman hallmark. One might imagine him defining his temporal workspace much as a painter would stretch a canvas onto a frame and then paint within the defined area. Feldman fills that time frame with sounds, delicately for the most part, as if he were dabbing tones onto his canvas with a . brush of the finest bristles.
From 1971-1979 Feldman produced eight large-scale orchestral works that he called his "still-life titles." One of these was Piano and Orchestra. Calling a piece Piano and Orchestra reduces our expectation that it will be a "concerto for piano and orchestra," a work of mul?tiple movements in different tempos and a display of digital dexterity from the soloist. The two sound-producing units in this work--the piano and the orchestra--maintain distinct characteristics. The piano strikes a contemplative pose. The orchestra usually keeps very quiet, and Feldman uses its forces selectively. These two elements find a point of mediation in the orchestral piano part, which at times is a voice in the symphonic texture, and at other spots is more aligned to the solo piano.
At the beginning, the solo piano intones what passes for a melody: 12 soundings of the identical note 'D-flat,' and then a three-note chord that drifts away. Even with such minimal material, the listener senses the beginning of a narrative. But timbre, rather than melody or harmony, is the principle structural device in Piano and Orchestra. The most pervasive drama is the gradual but constant shift of color as one instrument (or combina?tion of instruments) cedes to another.
Of Feldman's series of "Instrument and Orchestra" still lifes, Piano and Orchestra may be the most chaste. Listening to this piece is an exercise in observing and recognizing similarities and differences among moments of sound. We hear notes sustained by a single instru?ment, by a small assemblage of similar instruments, by instruments of essentially different character. We encounter notes or chords touched on and silenced quickly, and we hear others held out to a particular length or allowed to decay as they are sustained after other participants have fallen silent. No sound endures for long, and nothing is predictable.
Program note by James M. Keller.
A Concord Symphony (19201994)
(After Charles Ives's Sonata No. 2 for Piano: Concord, Mass., 1840-60, orchestrated by Henry Brant)
Charles Ives
60m October 20,1874 in Danbury, Connecticut
Died May 19,1954 in New York City
Orchestrated by Henry Brant
Born September 15,1913 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died April 26,2008 in Santa Barbara, California
Premiere: Henry Brant made his orchestral transcription between 1958 and 1994. He conducted the first performance on June 16,1995, with the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada, in Ottawa.
Orchestration: three flutes (second and third doubling piccolos), three oboes (third doubling English horn), three clarinets (third doubling bass clarinet), three bassoons (third doubling contrabassoon), four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, xylophone, glockenspiel, chimes, vibraphone, cymbals, bass drum, jazz drum set, piano (doubling celesta), harp, and strings.
Duration: approximately 50 minutes
Charles Ives's maverick path was already clear during his Yale years, from 1894-1898. There he studied organ with Dudley Buck and composition with Horatio Parker, who hoped classical training would rein in what they viewed as errant musical proclivities. After graduation Ives took a position with an insurance firm. His business success, combined with health concerns, led him to pursue composition in private. He was not pleased that most of his works went unperformed, but at least his finances enabled him to go on composing. Because Ives did not work under deadline, he tended to revise incessantly.
Even by the standards of Ivesian gestation, the "Concord" Sonata crept forward over an unusually extended span. Ives's most concentrated work apparently occurred in the period 1916-19. He published it in 1920, but his changes grew so extensive that he brought out a greatly modified edition in 1947.
Henry Brant had been staking his bona fides in the musical avant-garde since the 1930s, but he became most famous for his spatial compositions, which he began to write in the 1950s. This idea grew from Ives's The Unanswered Question. As he got to know the "Con?cord" Sonata, Brant sensed "that here, potentially, was a tremendous orchestral piece. It seemed to me that the complete Sonata, in a symphonic orchestration, might well become the 'Great American Symphony' that we had been seeking for years. Why not undertake the task myself What better way to honor Ives and express my gratitude to him..."
The sonata's four movements relate to a group of writers centered in Concord, Massachu?setts, just outside Boston, in the mid-igth century. They bonded beneath the flag of tran?scendentalism, a world-view that exalted non-conformity and proclaimed that individuals might achieve breakthrough understandings via communion with nature.
Ives wrote a rambling preface to the sonata, published in 1920 as fssoys Before a Sonata, in which he clarified his intention: "The whole is an attempt to present (one person's) impression of the spirit of transcendentalism that is associated in the minds of many with
Concord, Mass., of over a half century ago. This is undertaken in impressionistic pictures of Emerson and Thoreau, a sketch of the Alcotts, and a scherzo supposed to reflect a lighter quality which is often found in the fantastic side of Hawthorne."
"Emerson" is a muscular movement, with passages of gentle contrast. It is often thorny and dissonant (as is much of the "Concord" Sonata), its themes so strongly etched that the ear seizes them easily. Ives wrote original themes but sometimes developed them from pre?existing tunes, and often he quoted other music. He quotes at least 11 works in the sonata, from Beethoven and Wagner to hymns and popular songs. In "Emerson" we cannot escape the "da-da-da-daaaa" of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, which appears in each of Ives's four movements. Ives thought of those four notes as an "oracle" bearing "one of Beethoven's greatest messages," something akin to Emerson's thinking. Ives heard that message as "the soul of humanity knocking at the door of the divine mysteries, radiant in the faith that it will be opened--and the human become the divine!" "Emerson" unrolls rhapsodically yet remains cohesive. It is not cast in any kind of sonata form--Ives said the composition was "called a sonata for want of a more exact name"--and its energy leads to a quiet conclusion.
Most of us got to know Nathaniel Hawthorne through The Scarlet Letter, but he also published numerous short stories. Ives stated that he tried "to suggest some of his wilder, fantastical adventures into the half-childlike, half-fairylike phantasmal realms." This movement related to Hawthorne's story "The Celestial Railroad," a dream journey obviously dependent on John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. Visions collide: scurrying "phantasmal" music, a peaceful hymn ("Martyn"), a riotous march (Ives's own Country Band March), and "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean."
After these dense movements, our ears try to relax to the comparatively gentle strains of "The Alcotts." Today we remember Louisa May Alcott as author of Little Women, but her family enjoyed all-around intellectual respect, beginning with her father Amos Branson Alcott, a transcendentalist educator, abolitionist, and vegan. Hearth and home infuse this movement. Picture the family singing hymns and parlor songs.
The serenity moves outside for Ives's finale, a tribute to Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond. Debussy seems to haunt this movement, although the principal quotation comes from Stephen Foster's song "Massa's in de Cold Cold Ground." Passion swells at the move?ment's center, but elsewhere the music is emotionally distant. At the end, the sounds of the flute hover in the ether.
Program note by lames M. Keller.
Michael Steinberg was San Francisco Symphony program annotator and contributing writer from 1979 until 2009; James M. Keller is currently program annotator for the San Francisco Symphony and New York Philharmonic. Mr. Steinberg's and Mr. Keller's books are available at www.sfsymphony.orgstore.
Please refer to page 45 in your program book for performers' biographies. For biographies of all American Mavericks artists, please visit www.americanmavericks.orgmusicians.
ums University Musical Society
UMS, with major support from the Creative Ventures Leadership Fund, presents
Members of the
San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director and Conductor
Jeffrey Milarsky, Conductor
Jeremy Denk, Piano
Kiera Duffy, Soprano
Joan La Barbara, Vocalist
Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, Vocalists
Jesse Stiles, Electronics and Music Supervisor
Sunday Afternoon, March 25,2012 at 4:00 Rackham Auditorium Ann Arbor
David Del Tredici Syzygy Ecce Puer Nightpiece
Lukas Foss Echoi Echoi I Echoi II Echoi III
Echoi IV
Meredith Monk Realm Variations
Commissioned by the Son Francisco Symphony
Morton Subotnick Jacob's Room: Monodrama
Commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony with the support of the Ralph i. Dorfmon Commissioning Fund
5ist Performance of the 133rd Annual Season
This afternoon's performance is part of Pure Michigan Renegade, a series of special performances and educational events presented by UMS throughout the Winter 2012 Season, sponsored by Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
The events in Pure Michigan Renegade are presented with major support from the Creative Ventures Leader?ship Fund, a multi-year challenge grant created by Maxine and Stuart Frankel to support artistic, innovative, and cutting-edge programming.
This afternoon's concert is sponsored by Randall and Nancy Faber and the Faber Piano Institute.
Funded in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the )ohn S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works.
Media partnership provided by WGTE 91.3 FM, Ann Arbor's lO7one, WDET 101.9 FM, and Delioit Jewish News.
Special thanks to Mark Clague of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Classical Revolution Ann Arbor, and the Ann Arbor District Library for their support of and participation in events surrounding the San Francisco Symphony concerts.
The San Francisco Symphony's Tour of the American Mavericks Festival is made possible by a generous gift from David & Roberta Elliott with additional support from Marcia & John Goldman.
In the interest of saving both dollars and the environ?ment, please either retain this program book and return with it when you attend other American Mavericks events, or return it to your usher when leaving the venue.
The photographing or sound and video recording of this concert or possession ojany device for such recording is prohibited.
Large print programs are available upon request.
Syzygy (1966)
David Del Tredici
80m March 16,1937 in Goverdale, California
Premiere: July 6,1968, at Philharmonic Hall (nowAvery Fisher Hall) in New York City, with Richard Duffallo conducting and Phyllis Bryn-Julson as soloist.
Orchestration: In addition to soprano soloist: horn, tubular bells, plus a chamber orchestra comprising piccolo (doubling alto flute), flute (doubling second piccolo), two oboes (both doubling English horn), two clarinets (second doubling bass clarinet), two bassoons (second doubling contrabassoon), two trumpets, two solo violins, two solo violas, solo cello, and solo double bass.
Duration: approximately 26 minutes
Michael Tilson Thomas, Conductor
Kiera Duffy, Soprano
Tom Hemphill, Tubular Bells
James Lee Wyatt III, Tubular Bells
Raymond Froehlich, Tubular Bells
Linda Lukas, Piccolo
Robin McKee, Alto Flute
Russ de Luna, English Horn
William Bennett, English Horn
Luis Baez, Clarinet
Steve Sanchez, Bass Clarinet
Stephen Paulson, Bassoon Steven Braunstein, Contrabassoon Nicole Cash, Horn Scott Macomber, Trumpet Micah Wilkinson, Trumpet Jeremy Constant, Violin Dan Carlson, Violin Jonathan Vinocour, Viola Nanci Severance, Viola Sebastien Gingras, Cello Scott Pingel, Boss
Native Californian David Del Tredici began his public musical career in 1954, when he appeared as a 16-year-old piano soloist with the San Francisco Symphony. His skill as a performer led him to the summer program at the Aspen Festival, where, in 1958, he showed Darius Milhaud a piano solo he had written. Milhaud was impressed.
Del Tredici became schooled in the music of Schoenberg and his followers, and his early works evinced a strong interest in 12-tone and serial techniques as well as a fascination with texts by James Joyce. Syzygy, from 196G, still reflects a degree of this structural influ?ence. In the first of the two Joyce poems the music reaches its midpoint and then goes in reverse from there to the end, though in re-orchestrated form--essentially a reflection of Schoenbergian retrograde.
Composer John Adams commented of this piece: "The very choice of the title reveals Del Tredici's attraction to symmetries and designs. The word contains the Greek root for the verb 'to yoke together,' and in astronomy one speaks of the syzygy as being either of two opposing points in the orbit of a heavenly body. The idea of a symmetrically swinging body, like a heavenly metronome or pendulum, might then serve as an initial image for the listener. In fact, the image of a tolling bell swinging mournfully in some dark orbit seems to furnish the prime leitmotif for the whole work."
Del Tredici has described the first movement as "a short, rather cryptic, setting of a not dissimilar poem, 'Ecce Puer.'" He continued: "The second, a much longer, very elaborate
setting of 'Nightpiece,' is an attempt musically to suggest great distances and the space between: A sort of music of the spheres, an outer space where pale stars wave in gloom, ghost-fires faint illume, Seraphim awaken, and a tolling starknell soars."
We regret that copyright restrictions prohibit us from printing texts. Texts may be accessed online at www.poemhunter.compoemecce-puer and www.bartleby.com300972.
Echoi (1963)
Lukas Foss
Bom August 15,1922 in Berlin, Germany
Died February 1,2009 in New York City
Premiere: November 11,1963, at the McMillan Theater of Columbia University in New York City by the Group for Contemporary Music.
Orchestration: Clarinet, cello, percussion, and piano. The percussion array consists oftympano, vibraphone, chimes, glass chimes, antique cymbal (mounted), anvil (or metal plate), temple blocks, wood blocks, wood chimes, two small muffled gongs, suspended deep gong, sandblock (mounted), three suspended cymbals (sizzle and normal), three pipes, bongos, timbali, triangle, cloves, snare drum, bass drum, and garbage can lid. The conclusion involves electronic overdubbing using portions of the music previously recorded by the performers.
Duration: approximately 24 minutes
Performers Jeremy Denk, Piano
Jack Van Geem, Percussion Carey Bell, Clarinet Peter Wyrick, Cello
In the mid-1950s Lukas Foss began experimenting with graphic notation, indeterminacy, and composi?tions that gave performers more or less control over a piece. In later works he would sample the possibilities of electronic music, minimalism, and cross-fertilization between Classical tradition and other musical styles.
The four movements of Echoi, from 1963, reveal Foss's interest in improvisation. Although the score appears "composed" in a traditional way, numerous footnotes detail how the sounds should actually be approached: with a great detail of freedom while observing specific directives.
Foss reflected on Echoi, The Byzantine Echoes, in a voluminous program note. Paraphrased and much condensed, the note describes "Echoi I" as "four simultaneous cadenzas" that introduce the four players "in a joint disorderly display of virtuosity"; order is imposed "as if by accident." Whereas "Echoi I" was "not yet music," "Echoi II" is collected and "completely composed (in every sense of the word)." "Echoi III" is "a game of sounds"; the music is "dreamlike" and "hallucinatory." "Echoi IV" in a sense echoes the chaos of "Echoi I." At the conclusion, said Foss, he wanted "hundreds and hundreds of notes" to convey the sense of an obsession.
Realm Variations (2012)
Meredith Monk
Bom November 20,1942 in New York City
Premiere: Composed on commission by the San Francisco Symphony and first performed in Davies Sym?phony Hall, San Francisco, March 18, 2012, by Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, flutist Catherine Payne, violinist Nadya Tichman, violist Adam Smyla, horn player Bruce Roberts, bassoonist Stephen Paulson, clarinetist Steve Sanchez, and harpist Jieyin Wu.
Orchestration: Piccolo, violin, viola, horn, bassoon, contrabass clarinet (doubling B-flat clarinet), harp, and six singers. The orchestration is by Meredith Monk and Allison Sniffin; score preparation by Allison Sniffin.
Duration: approximately 20 minutes
Catherine Payne, Piccolo
Nadya Tichman, Violin
Adam Smyla, Viola
Bruce Roberts, Horn
Stephen Paulson, Bassoon
Steve Sanchez, Contrabass Clarinet
and B-flat Clarinet Jieyin Wu, Harp
Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble Allison Sniffin, Soprano l Randall Wong, Soprano 2 Katie Geissinger, Alto 1 Meredith Monk, Alto 2 Bruce Rameker, Baritone Sidney Chen, Bass
Meredith Monk was born in New York City and grew up in New York and Connecticut. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in 1964, she plunged into a career of artistic breadth that has included her visionary exploration of the human voice as an instrument as well as the creation of interdisciplinary works that weave together music, movement, image, object, light, and sound in an effort to discover new modes of perception. She established herself in New York artistic circles in the mid-1960s, and her reputation grew steadily through the next decade; by the time she founded Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble in 1978, she had long been a touchstone participant in the city's world of contemporary art.
Realm Variations, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony, received its world pre?miere in San Francisco on March 18,2012. The work is an example of Monk's focus in re?cent years on creating compositions in which "voices are like instruments and instruments are like voices." The title reflects the composer's engagement with the idea of musical "realms," which in this case refers to the distinct pitch regions over which the performing forces are deployed. Monk explains:
As part of this commission, I was invited to compose a work that would spotlight Catherine Payne, the San Francisco Symphony's piccolo player. I realized that, as a singer, I didn't know much about that high treble area, so that was something to explore. Every piece I make is a learning experience. I created a high realm in which the piccolo is joined by the violin and two soprano singers. To balance the piccolo, I chose to use contrabasss clarinet at the bottom of the texture, along with bassoon and two low-voiced singers. And then in the middle realm are viola, French horn, and
two singers, one of whom is me. The three realms start out distinct, but as the piece progresses they crisscross in webs of activity. Completing the instrumentation is a harp, which crosses all the boundaries; you might say it pulls that web into one realm.
I have never made a piece quite like this, divided into areas of sound, although in the past few years I have been working on the relationship of voices to instruments and vice versa. I'm exploring how a singer and instrument can work together to make a third sound that isn't like either of them individually. Sometimes I treat the parts in a contrapuntal way and sometimes by layering them.
Catherine Payne is unusual among piccolo players in her capacity for melodic playing. She really can sing with that instrument. In this piece I have preferred to get away from the usual "sparkling" piccolo writing, though I do make use of her flexibility. I also love how the instrument suggests a spatial quality, how the instrument can extend into a performing space.
Realm Variations derives to some degree from ideas of Buddhism, which Monk has practiced for many years. "In the Buddhist tradition," she says, "there are different realm categories--this idea of joining heaven and earth by way of the human realm. I certainly don't intend to illustrate that idea through this piece, but sometimes these principles are inspiring for me. Still, as the piece developed, I had a sense that the realms did suggest aspects or processes of nature."
The work is cast as a multi-sectional single movement. The variations are not classical in the sense that a single theme is viewed from various perspectives; these variations unfurl kaleidoscopically, as the realms interpenetrate.
Jacob's Room: Monodrama (2012)
Morton Subotnick
Born April 14,1933 in Los Angeles, California
Premiere: Composed on commission by the San Francisco Symphony with the support of the Ralph I. Dorf-man Commissioning Fund; premiered in Davies Symphony Hall, San Froncisco, March 11,2012, by Joan La Barbara, violinists Sarn Oliver and Paul Brancato, violist David Kim, cellist Margaret Tait, pianist Marc Shapiro, conductor Jeffrey Milarsky, with electronics and musical supervision by Jesse Stiles.
Orchestration: Solo voice, string quartet, keyboard, and electronics. Duration: approximately 28 minutes
Performers Joan La Barbara, Vocalist Sarn Oliver, Violin Paul Brancato, Violin David Kim, Viola
Margaret Tait, Cello
Marc Shapiro, Keyboard
Jeffrey Milarsky, Conductor
Jesse Stiles, Electronics and Music Supervisor
Morton Subotnick became famous as an electronic pioneer through his 1967 composition Silver Apples of the Moon, the result of a visionary commissioning program by Nonesuch Records; indeed, it was the first tape piece ever commissioned by a record company. Even then, while most
composers working in the electronic medium saw an opportunity to create music in a novel sonic world without reference to traditional procedures, Subotnick was firm about imposing a discernable structure on his works.
Jacob's Room's origins stretch to 1985, when Subotnick composed its first incarnation for the Kronos Quartet and singercomposer Joan La Barbara, to whom Subotnick has been married since 1979. The work's subject was holocaust--"the Holocaust" of the World War II era, but also holocaust in the sense of the broader destruction of humanity. The narrative begins with a passage from Virginia Woolf's novel Jacob's Room that at first alludes to the British Museum as an enormous brain encapsulating all knowledge, and then depicts the character Jacob, isolated in his room as he reads Plato's Phaedrus. In a transcendent moment, he grasps his connection to the larger world. Subotnick interlaces a plot line from Nicholas Gage's 1983 memoir Eleni, in which the narrator grapples with his mother's long-ago execution, a casualty of the Greek civil war; ultimately, in a parallel to Woolf's Jacob, the son finds some way to countenance reality.
"The original version had several performances, but the piece was moving in the direction of an opera," Subotnick explains. "The Minnesota Opera asked me to write a work for their experimental workshop, so I adapted the piece into a larger version with electron?ics." Subotnick aborted that project after two years, but the work continued to evolve. "I expanded the Minneapolis version using video, to make a chamber opera for the American Music Theatre Festival in Philadelphia in 1993, and I thought that was the end. But then I got a commission for an opera from Berlin. I went to my original idea and developed it into a full-length, hour-and-a-half opera, premiered in 2010. This new piece for San Francisco is yet another conception of the whole thing. For this, I went back to the full opera and [adapted material from that] into a monodrama, about 28 minutes long."
In this new version, music distributed among various characters in the opera is concentrat?ed into a single voice--that of La Barbara, who "throws" her voice around the auditorium through digital possibilities accessed via three microphones. The music's mood and sound can change suddenly, suggesting dreamlike stream-of consciousness alternations: serene contemplation of Plato at one moment, the horror of a mother being tortured at another.
The work reaches structural highpoints, and moments of psychological clarity, in two vocal cadenzas, one near the work's center, the other near its end. "The second cadenza," Subotnick says, "is the quietest part of the piece, but it is the emotional climax. There is a poignant moment before the epilogue where she articulates just the word 'alone.' The basic notion of Jacob's Room is that holocausts are not just local catastrophes; they also gradually destroy the thin fabric we have of being human. They deprive us of the artifacts we have created and our empathy as a group. When these things fall apart, we find ourselves alone in the universe."
Program notes by James M. Keller.
James M. Keller is program annotatorfor the San Francisco Symphony and the New York Philharmonic.
Jacob's Room: Monodrama--Libretto
Morton Subotnick
Scene 1: The Museum.
There is in the British Museum an enormous mind Jacob reads, safe within the walls of his room. And, remembering, tries to forget.
In the heaven, there resides the colorless, formless, intangible-Divine and formless.
Here the brain is Plato's brain.
Within the walls, the walls of his room, he dreams.
Jacob reads. Jacob dreams.
In the streets below Jacob's room, voices are raised but he reads on.
In spite of the rain, in spite of the woman
who had come home drunk, battering at the door,
crying "let me in."
As if coal had dropped from the fire.
Or a fly falling from the ceiling, had lain on its back...
Too weak to turn over, in Jacob's room,
memories forgotten, memories forgotten,
An enormous mind, an enormous brain.
Jacob reads, safe within the walls of his room.
Plato continues his dialogue, in spite of the rain,
in spite of the battering at the door.
A coal dropped from a fire,
a fly dropped from the ceiling, lay on its back,
too weak to turn over.
A coal dropped from fire, dropped,
a coal from fire dropped from fire,
coal dropped from
beyond the walls of his room.
Coal from fire.
People scuttled close to the wall.
A coal from fire dropped.
Men wept, mothers, torn from their children, cried,
and Jacob read.
Coal dropped a coal from fire from a fire.
The rain poured down, and Jacob read of beauty and justice.
Coal from fire, a driving torrent flooded the earth.
Clouds dropped rain, planes dropped bombs,
houses went up in smoke.
The museum stands sleek in the rain.
The stone walls of the museum, the bone walls of the brain;
the museum stands sleek in the rain.
The vast mind is,
the vast mind is sheeted with
bone as bone as stone lies cool to touch.
Stone bone lies,
...she beholds divine, divine justice...
...stone lies as bone lies, as stone lies as bone,
as bone lies cool over the visions and heat of the brain.
here the brain is Plato's brain,
the brain has made pots and statues,
great bulls and little jewels,
and crossed the river of death this way and that,
incessantly seeking some landing,
wrapping the body for its long sleep,
now laying a penny piece on the eyes,
now turning toes scrupulously to the east.
Vision, vis-...
Mothers torn
from their children, cried
in spite of the cries, in spite of the screaming,
in spite of the battering at the door.
A driving torrent flooded the earth everywhere.
Everywhere houses went up in smoke.
Clouds dropped rain, planes dropped bombs.
Was this god's punishment raining down on the world
In the street below Jacob's room, voices were raised and Jacob read on.
They caught a family hiding in a stable, and hung them in the woods,
a man, a woman, their child.
And Jacob reading the Phaedrus heard knocking at the door,
as if a coal dropped.
They're still hanging a man, a woman, their child.
Still hanging a man, a woman, their child.
Is this a divine punishment raining down on the world,
a world up to its neck in blood
Cadenza l: "Justice, Mercy" The Death of Mana.
This is Jacob's book. A book of memories forgotten.
"It was late afternoon when one of the canvas-topped trucks roared past me,
stirring up clouds of dust. I saw my grandfather.
I shouted and ran, nearly catching up, when he turned his face away from me.
As the truck picked up speed, dust and exhaust stung my eyes,
tears of frustration dimming my sight.
As I emerged into the sunlight where passengers were climbing out of the truck,
I saw my grandfather walking away from me.
Staggering, trying to catch my breath, I reached him and seized his arm:
'What is it' I called. Where is Mana
Mana, Mana.
Papau looked away, then reached into his pocket,
and pulled out two worn bills.
'Take this, go buy sweets,' he said in a choked voice.
'Buy enough for many people,' then walked off leaving me standing in the dust.
I ran to the pastry shop.
As I waited for the box of sweets, my hands trembled.
Then I sprinted tow'rd our house.
A wave, a wave of sound rushed out.
Rising falling waves, a cry, a cry of despair,
a chorus of pain.
The box of sweets fell from my hand into the dirt as a wave,
a searing wave of sound rushed out.
A chorus of pain.
A wave of sound rushed out, the cries of pain.
Take him Papau, keep him from harm Papau, hide him.
"I pressed my face into the earth.
I clapped my hands over my ears trying to shut out the screams.
The cries, the, the pain, the pain."
The Mother is Taken Away.
"It was noon, hot. She was wearing her slippers.
It must have felt nice after having slept so many nights with shoes on.
So many nights waiting for them.
Suddenly we heard knocking at the door. It was them.
We ran; she lost one slipper in the doorway
and the second while climbing the brick wall.
The shouts were brutal. We hid in the.bushes. A shot!
I looked up there were soldiers on ev'ry roof.
She said, 'Papau take him and hide.'
Papau, take him Papau.
Then she ran. I lost her, then I saw her.
The sun stripped away her clothing.
I looked up. The sky was so blue, it hurt.
I looked down at her bare feet in the dry street dust.
She screamed as a soldier grabbed her
and forced her into the truck.
Papau grabbed me. We ran not knowing where we were going.
There were soldiers everywhere.
No, oh, oh, no."
Stop! please!
Never will I tell you where my son is.
You can kill me but you cannot have my son.
She beholds mercy and justice...
Zzzz...don't hit me again.
Just let me die!
Waves of sound rushed out.
The death knell.
Cadenza 2: "Alone"
GUIDE Alone.
The dialogue draws to its close. Plato's argument is done.
Jacob's mind continues alone,
Onwards, into darkness,
And, getting up, parting the curtains.
Sees, with astonishing clearness.
How it rained, how the women, coming home drunk,
Battered at the door, shouting "let me in!"
How the Jews and the foreign woman stood under the street light, arguing..
And hears, through the sound,
The distant cries rushing out...
The distant cries, the distant cries, the distant cries rushed out.
The distant cries, the cries, cries.
Please refer to page 45 in your program book for performers' biographies. For biographies of all American Mavericks artists, please visit www.americanmavericks.orgmusicians.
The San Francisco Symphony (SFS), which celebrates its centennial this season, gave its first concerts in December 1911. Its music directors have included Henry Hadley, Alfred Hertz, Basil Cameron, Issay Dobrowen, Pierre Monteux, Enrique Jorda, Josef Krips, Seiji Ozawa, Edo de Waart, Herbert Blomstedt, and, since 1995, Michael Tilson Thomas. The SFS has won such recording awards as France's Grand Prix du Disque, Britain's Gramophone Award, and US Grammy Awards. For RCA Red Seal, Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS have recorded music from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, two Copland collections, a Gershwin collection, Stravinsky ballets [le Sacre du printemps, The Firebird, and Persephone), and Charles Ives: An American Journey. Their cycle of Mahler symphonies has received seven Grammy Awards and is available on the Symphony's own label, SFS Media. Some of the most important conductors of the past and recent years have been guests on the SFS podium, among them Bruno Walter, Leopold Stokowski, Leonard Bernstein, and Sir Georg Solti, and the list of composers who have led the Orchestra includes Stravinsky, Ravel, Copland, and John Adams. The SFS Youth Orchestra, founded in 1980, has become known around the world, as has the SFS Chorus, heard on recordings and on the soundtracks of such films as Amadeus and Godfather III. For two decades, the SFS Adventures in Music program has brought music to every child in grades one through five in San Francisco's public schools. SFS radio broadcasts, the first in the US to feature symphonic music when they began in 1926, today carry the Orchestra's concerts across the country. In a multimedia program designed to make classical music accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds, the SFS has launched Keeping Score on PBS-TV, DVD, radio, and at the website San Francisco Symphony recordings are available at www.sfsymphony.orgstore.
Michael Tilson Thomas (Conductor) first conducted the San Francisco Symphony in 1974 and has
been Music Director since 1995. A Los Angeles native, he studied with John Crown and
Ingolf Dahl at the University of Southern California, becoming Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra at 19 and working with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland at the famed Monday Evening Concerts. He was pianist and conductor for Piatigorsky and Heifetz master classes and, as a student of Friedelind Wagner, an assistant conductor at Bayreuth. In 1969, Mr. Tilson Thomas won the Koussevitzky Prize and was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony. Ten days later he came to international recognition, replacing Music Director William Steinberg in mid-concert at Lincoln Center. He went on to become the BSO's Associate Conductor, then Principal Guest Conductor. He has also served as Director of the Ojai Festival, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, a Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Principal Conductor of the Great Woods Festival. He became Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1988 and now serves as Principal Guest Conductor. Fora decade he served as co-Artistic Director of Japan's Pacific Music Festival, which he and Leonard Bernstein inaugurated in 1990, and he continues as Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, which he founded in 1988. Michael Tilson Thomas's recordings have won numerous international awards, and his recorded repertory reflects interests arising from work as conductor, composer, and pianist. His television credits include the
New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts, and in 2004 he and the SFS launched Keeping Score on PBS-TV. His compositions include From the Diary of Anne Frank, Shdwa Shoah (commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing), Poems of Emily Dickinson, Urban Legend, Island Music, and Notturno. Among his honors are Columbia University's Ditson Award for services to American music and Musical America's 1995 "Conductor of the Year" award. He is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of France, was selected as Gramophone 2005 "Artist of the Year," was named one of "America's Best Leaders" by US News & World Report, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2010 was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.
Emanuel Ax (Piano) was born in Lvov, Poland, and moved to Winnipeg, Canada with his family when
he was a young boy. He studied at The Juilliard School with the sponsorship of the Epstein
Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America; he also attended Columbia University, majoring in French. Mr. Ax captured public attention in 1974 when, at age 25, he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, followed four years later by the Avery Fisher Prize. Mr. Ax made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1979 and has since been a regular guest with the Orchestra. Highlights of his current season include return visits to the Bos?ton, Houston, Toronto, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Cincinnati symphonies, as well as the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics. He will act as curator and performer with the Chicago Symphony for a two-week spring residency called Keys to the City. In Europe, this season includes return visits to the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orches?tra, Bavarian Radio Symphony, London Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and Orchestre National de France; he also performs a series of Beethoven sonata programs with violinist Leonidas Kavakos in London's Wigmore Hall. Mr. Ax is an exclusive Sony Classical recording artist. Recent releases include a disc of Mendelssohn trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, a recording of Richard Strauss's Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart, and two-piano works by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. Other record?ings include a Haydn piano sonata cycle, for which Mr. Ax has received multiple Grammy Awards; a Grammy Award-winning album with Yo-Yo Ma of cello and piano sonatas by Beethoven and Brahms; and period instrument performances of Chopin's complete works for piano and orchestra.
Mason Bates (ElecUonica) fuses innovative orchestral writing, imaginative narrative forms, the harmonies of jazz, and the rhythms of techno in his compositions. Frequently performed by orchestras
large and small, his symphonic music has been the first to receive widespread acceptance for its expanded palette of electronic sounds, and it is championed by leading conductors such as Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, and John Adams. He has become a visible advocate for bringing new music to new spaces, whether through institutional partner?ships such as his residency with the Chicago Symphony, or through his classicalDJ project Mercury Soul, which has transformed spaces ranging from commercial clubs to Frank Gehry-designed concert halls into exciting, hybrid musical events drawing over a thousand people. Bringing classical music to new audiences is a central part of Mr. Bates' activities as
a curator, be it through residencies with institutions such as the Chicago Symphony's Mu-sicNOWseries, or in alternative spaces with Mercury Soul. A collaboration with director Anne Patterson and Maestro Benjamin Shwartz, Mercury Soul embeds sets of classical music into an evening of DJing and beautiful, surreal visuals. Sold-out performances from San Fran?cisco's famed Mezzanine club to Miami's New World Symphony have brought a new vision of the listening experience to widespread audiences. Studying English literature and music composition in the Columbia-Juilliard program, Mr. Bates worked primarily with John Cori-gliano, and has also studied with David Del Tredici and Samuel Adler. Mason Bates is this season's Project San Francisco resident composer with the San Francisco Symphony.
Jerry Blackstone (Conductor) is director of choirs and chair of the conducting department at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance where he conducts the U-M Chamber Choir, teaches
conducting at the graduate level, and administers a choral program of 11 choirs. In Febru?ary 2006, he received two Grammy Awards ("Best Choral Performance" and "Best Classical Album") as chorusmaster for the Naxos recording of William Bolcom's Songs of Innocence and of Experience. In 2006, the U-M Chamber Choir performed by special invitation at the inaugural convention of the National Collegiate Choral Organization in San Antonio, and in 2003, the U-M Chamber Choir presented three enthusiastically received performances in New York City at the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). In addition to Dr. Blackstone's choral conducting work at the University, he has led operatic productions with the U-M Opera Theatre, including productions of Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen and Strauss's Die Fiedermaus. For his significant contributions to choral music in Michigan, he received the 2006 Maynard Klein Lifetime Achievement Award from the ACDA-Michigan chapter.
Jeremy Denk (Piano) received a degree in chemistry from Oberlin College and a degree in music from the Oberlin Conservatory. He went on to earn a master's degree in music from Indiana
University and a doctorate in piano performance from The Juilliard School. A1998 recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant and winner of the 1997 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, he made his New York recital debut at Alice Tully Hall in 1997 as winner of the Juilliard Piano Debut Award. Mr. Denk appears often in recital, including engagements in New York, Washington, Boston, and Philadelphia. He was artist-in-residence at the 2008 Gilmore Keyboard Festival and gave a recital tour playing the Ives "Concord" Sonata and Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" Sonata, culminating in a solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall. An active chamber musician, Mr. Denk has appeared at the Spoleto Festival in the US and in Italy, at the Santa Fe and Seattle chamber music festivals, and at the Verbier Festival. This season, he is the featured artist for the Ives Project, a three-day exploration and celebra?tion of Charles Ives at Maryland's Strathmore Hall; he also performs with the Saint Louis Symphony and returns to Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Mr. Denk has spent several summers at the Marlboro Music School in Vermont and been part of Musicians from Marlboro national tours. A faculty member at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, he has been a featured artist-in-residence on NPR's Performance Today.
Kiera Duffy (Soprano) holds bachelor's and master's degrees in voice performance and pedagogy from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. She has received awards and recogni-
tion from the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition, the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and the Young Concert Artists International Competition. Ms. Duffy was a finalist in the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and is featured in the film The Audition, which has recently been released on DVD by Decca. Ms. Duffy's 1112 season includes her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire and the National Symphony Orchestra in Handel's Messiah, as well as a return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Mahler's Symphony No. 8 for performances in Los Angeles and on tour in Caracas. Next season, Ms. Duffy debuts at the Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago and returns to the Atlanta Symphony and New World Symphony. She also debuts with the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk for a recording with Sony and with the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center. Accompanied by pianist Roger Vignoles, Ms. Duffy is heard in her first commercial recording, an installment in the series of Richard Strauss's complete songs, released on Hyperion Records last year.
Paul Jacobs (Organ) began studying piano at age six and organ at 13. At 15 he was appointed head
organist of a parish in his hometown of Washington, Pennsylvania. He studied organ and
harpsichord at the Curtis Institute and received a master's degree and artist diploma from Yale. He won the 1998 Albert Schweitzer National Organ Competition and was the first organist to be honored with the Harvard Musical Association's Arthur W. Foote Award. In 2000, at age 23, Mr. Jacobs gave a recital in Pittsburgh--18 hours, non-stop--playing all of J.S. Bach's organ music to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the composer's death. He has also performed the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen in a series of marathons across the country. Mr. Jacobs has chaired the organ department at The Juil-liard School since 2004. He toured with the San Francisco Symphony in 2010, performing Copland's Organ Symphony; his recording of that work with Michael Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra was released last year on SFS Media. This season Mr. Jacobs returns to the Pacific Symphony, where he performs the world premiere of a new Michael Daugherty work. Mr. Jacobs has been a featured performer at national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists and performs frequently at festivals throughout the US and abroad. He has appeared on American Public Media's Pipedreams and Saint Paul Sunday, on Bavarian Radio, Brazilian Arts Television, ABC-TV's World News Tonight, NPR's Morning Edition, and CBC Radio. New York Magazine named him "Best Organist of 2007." His 2010 recording of Messiaen's Livre du Saint Sacrement (Naxos) was awarded a Grammy Award in the "Best Solo Instrumental" category--the first time a disc of solo organ music received this honor.
Joan La Barbara (Vocals), composer, performer, sound artist, and actor, is renowned for her unique
vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques--multiphonics, circular singing,
ululation, and glottal clicks--influencing generations of composers and singers. In 2008, the American Music Center conveyed its Letter of Distinction Award to Ms. La Barbara for her significant contributions to American Contemporary Music. Awards and prizes include: Premio Internazionale "Demetrio Stratos"; DAAD-Berlin Artist-in-Residency; Civitella Ranieri, Guggen?heim and seven National Endowment for the Arts fellowships; and numerous commissions. Composing for multiple voices, chamber ensembles, theater, orchestra, interactive technology.
and soundscores for dance, video, and film, including a score for voice and electronics for Sesame Street, her multi-layered textural compositions were presented at Brisbane Biennial, Festival d'Automne a Paris, Warsaw Autumn, Frankfurt Feste, Metamusik-Berlin, Olympics Arts, and Lincoln Center. She was Artistic Director of the multi-year Carnegie Hall series "When Morty Met John" and New Music America festival in Los Angeles, and co-founded the performing composers-collective Ne(x)tworks. She produced and performs on acclaimed recordings of music by John Cage, Morton Feldman, and Earle Brown, and premiered land?mark compositions written for her by Robert Ashley, David Behrman, Cage, Feldman, Philip Glass, Alvin Lucier, Steve Reich, Morton Subotnick, and James Tenney. Recordings of her work include: ShamanSong (New World), Sound Pointings, and Voice is the Original Instrument (Lovely Music). 73 Poems, her collaboration with text-artist Kenneth Goldsmith, was included in The American Century Part II: Soundworks at The Whitney Museum. The award-winning interactive mediaperformance work Messa di Voce premiered at Ars Electronica Festival in Linz. Exploring ways of immersing the audience in her music, Ms. La Barbara recently placed musicians and actors throughout Greenwich House Music School for her musictheater piece Journeys and Observable Events, allowing the audience to explore the building, unveiling theatrical and sonic events. In March 2011, she seated musicians of the American Composers Orchestra around and among the audience in Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, building her sonic painting In solitude this fear is lived, inspired by Agnes Martin's minimalist drawings. Ms. La Barbara is developing a solo performance work, Storefront Diva, for pianist Kathleen Supove, and composing a new opera exploring the artistic process, interior dialogue, and sounds within the mind. For more information, visit
Jeffrey Milarsky {Conductor) has led ensembles such as the New York New Music Ensemble, the Cham?ber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Speculum Musicae, and the New York Philharmonic
chamber music series. Also a percussionist, he has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, and he has been principal timpanist for the Santa Fe Opera since 2005. He has recorded for numerous labels, including EMI, Teldec, Telarc, and London. Mr. Milar-sky is artistic director and conductor of the Percussion Ensemble at the Manhattan School of Music. A professor of music at Columbia University, he serves as music director of the Columbia University Orchestra and the Columbia Sinfonietta. He holds bachelor's and mas?ter's degrees from The Juilliard School and upon graduation was awarded the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding leadership and achievement in the arts. He regularly conducts the Juilliard Orchestra and is a member of Juilliard's pre-college percussion faculty.
Meredith Monk (Vocals) is a composer, singer, and creator of new opera and music-theater works. A
pioneer in what is now called "extended vocal technique," she has been hailed as a "magician
of the voice" and "one of America's coolest composers." Recently Ms. Monk was named 2012 "Composer of the Year" by Musical America and one of NPR's "Fifty Great Voices." In 1965, Ms. Monk began her innovative exploration of the voice as a multifaceted instrument, composing mostly solo pieces for unaccompanied voice and voice and keyboard. In 1978, she formed Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to further expand her musical textures and forms. In ad?dition to numerous vocal, music-theater works, and operas, Ms. Monk has created vital new repertory for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, with commissions from Michael Tilson ThomasNew World Symphony, Kronos Quartet, Saint Louis Symphony Or-
chestra, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Her music can also be heard in films by Jean-Luc Godard and the Coen Brothers, among others. Celebrated internationally, Ms. Monk's work has been presented by Lincoln Center Festival, Houston Grand Opera, London's Barbican Centre, and at major venues in countries from Brazil to Syria. Ms. Monk's numerous honors include a MacArthur "Genius" Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, an American Music Center Letter of Distinction, an ASCAP Concert Music Award, a Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts, and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also holds honorary Doc?tor of Arts degrees from Bard College, the University of the Arts, The Juilliard School, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the Boston Conservatory. Ms. Monk has made more than a dozen recordings, most of which are on the ECM New Series label, including the 2008 Grammy-nominated impermanence and Songs of Ascension, recently named "No. 1 New Music Release of 2011" by WNYCNew Sounds host John Schaefer. Ms. Monk's 40th year of performing and creating new music was celebrated in 2005 by a four-hour marathon at Carnegie's Zankel Hall, including performances by Bjork, Bang on a Can All-Stars, DJ Spooky, John Zorn, Alarm Will Sound, and Pacific Mozart Ensemble. She is currently developing a new music-theater work, On Behalf of Nature, which will premiere in 2013.
Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble
Sidney Chen (Boss) is a founding member of The M6, dedicated to Meredith Monk's music. He sang at Carnegie's Zankel Hall in the Meredith Monk Young Artists Concert in 2006, and has per?formed Monk's music for solo voice at Oakland's Garden of Memory. He sang in Carnegie's 45th-anniversary celebration of Terry Riley's In C, performs with the San Francisco new-music chamber choir Volti, and has recorded with the Kronos Quartet.
Katie Geissinger (Mezzo-soprano) began singing with Meredith Monk in Houston Grand Opera's 1991
production of47L4S(ECM) and was a soloist in WEAVE with the Saint Louis Symphony and Los Angeles Master Chorale. She premiered Bang on a Can's Obie-winning The Carbon Copy Building (Canteloupe) and sang in the world tour of GlassWilson's Einstein on the Beach (ElektraNonesuch), revived in concert at Carnegie Hall. Other credits include Jonathan Miller's staging of Bach's St. Matthew Passion at BAM and two Broadway shows.
Bruce Rameker [Baritone) began singing with Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble in 2008 and performs as baritone and countertenor. Appearances include Monk's Songs of Ascension at the Edin?burgh Festival, Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn for San Francisco Ballet, Monteverdi's Or-feo at BAM, Semele with Anchorage Opera, Maria de Buenos Aires at Town Hall, and Getty's Plump Jack at Munich's Prinzregententheater. He also sings with the Waverly Consort.
Allison Sniffin (Soprano 1, Score preparation), an Ensemble member since 1996, has performed in The Politics of Quiet, A Celebration Service, Magic Frequencies, mercy, Turtle Dreams, Book of Days, impermanence, and Songs of Ascension. She has orchestrated and prepared scores for Monk, and her compositions have won awards from Meet the Composer and Concert Artists' Guild. Her Prelude for Horn and String Orchestra was performed at the 2011 Interna?tional Alliance for Women in Music Congress.
Randall Wong (Soprano) specializes in Baroque and contemporary music. His Monk premieres in?clude ATLAS, The Politics of Quiet, and A Celebration Service. With Houston Grand Opera he premiered Stewart Wallace's Where's Dick and Harvey Milk (reprised by New York City and
San Francisco Operas). His SFS performances include Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and Wuorinen's The W of Babylon. He has composed, performed in, and designed miniature operas.
Jessye Norman (Soprano) performs a breadth and depth of repertory encompassing her innovative pro?gramming and scholarship. She is as admired and respected for her artistry presented on
the world's opera and concert stages and now into her newest expansion into jazz, as for her humanitarian contributions. Her collaborations with today's most exciting and creative artists include her work with four-time Grammy Award-winning composer Laura Karpman, resulting in a multi-media musical theater piece, Ask Your Mama--Twelve Poems on Jazz-by Langston Hughes, premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2009 as a part of the HONOR! Festival, a 52-event celebration of the African-American contribution to world culture, curated and directed by Miss Norman. Ask Your Mama was also presented at the Hollywood Bowl. The Jessye Norman School for the Arts in her hometown of Augusta, Georgia is a tuition-free arts program for talented middle-school students otherwise unable to experience private arts tutoring. The school, in its ninth year, is Miss Norman's response to the understanding that, given the opportunity to explore the arts, students introduced to this positive means of self-expression perform better academically and become more involved citizens. To find out more, visit Miss Norman's latest recording, Roots: My Life, My Song, shares with listeners part of her personal universe; in it she pays homage to some of the many who encourage her curiosity and what she feels is an obligation to offer musical expression outside the Classical canon, to reach all those open to taking this often surprising musical journey with her. Her work with not-for-profit organizations, including the New York Public Library, The Dance Theatre of Harlem, Howard University, Carnegie Hall, and the Partnership for the Homeless speaks to her concern for the larger community and the citizenship she credits her parents for demonstrating through their own community service. Among Miss Norman's many recognitions, she is a Kennedy Center honoree, a National Medal of Arts awardee from President Obama, a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, and an officer in the French Legion of Honor. With five Grammy Awards and almost 40 honorary doctorates, it is yet the sheer joy of singing that keeps her searching, exploring, and seeking to honor the ancestors.
Yuval Sharon [Director, Cage Song Books) has directed productions at the San Francisco Opera, the
Mariinsky Theater, the Bregenzer Festspiele in Austria, and the Komische Oper Berlin, as well as at venues such as Berkeley Opera, Le Poisson Rouge, and the Deitch Projects. He was assistant director to Achim Freyer on Los Angeles Opera's Ring cycle and was project director for four years of New York City Opera's VOX. Mr. Sharon is now artistic director of The Industry, an initiative for new opera and interdisciplinary performance in Los Angeles, which will give its inaugural production of Anne LeBaron's Crescent City in May.
The St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) was established in 1989 in Canada. In 1992, the Quartet
won both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Young Concert Artists International Auditions. Since 1998 the SLSQ has been Ensemble in Residence at Stanford University, and the Quartet's members are visiting artists at the University of Toronto. SLSQ
frequently performs new works and has active working rela?tionships with composers R. Murray Schafer, Christos Hatzis, Ezequiel Vinao, Jonathan Berger, Ka Nin Chan, Roberto Sierra, and Mark Applebaum. John Adams wrote his String Quartet for the SLSQ, which premiered the piece in 2009. That same year, the SLSQ celebrated the 20th anniversary of its founding by commissioning five Canadian composers and performing their work across Canada. Last October, the Quartet premiered Kohelet, a new work by Osvaldo Golijov, which will be per?formed in Ann Arbor in April. The piece (co-commissioned by Stanford Lively Arts and Carnegie Hall) builds on the success of
the Quartet's previous collaboration with Golijov, which culminated in the twice-Grammy-nominated SLSQ recording of the composer's Yiddishbbuk (EMI) in 2002. This season the Quartet performs across the US and Canada and returns to Australia. Violinists Geoff Nuttall and Scott St. John grew up in London, Ontario; Mr. Nuttall is a founding member and Mr. St. John joined in 2006. The two alternate the role of first violin. Violist Lesley Robertson is a founding member and hails from Edmonton, Alberta. Cellist Christopher Costanza is from Utica, New York, and joined the Quartet in 2003. All four members teach at Stanford and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The 45-member University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance Chamber Choir is the
premiere mixed choir of 11 choral ensembles on the Ann Arbor campus. Its members are graduate and undergraduate students majoring in vocal performance, music education, or conducting. The ensemble, which rehearses for 80 minutes three days a week, performs a broad spectrum of repertoire and frequently collaborates with instrumental ensembles. Re?cent appearances by the Chamber Choir have included performances at national and division conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, an appearance by special invitation at the inaugural conference of the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and acclaimed performances with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra Hall in Detroit. The University of Michigan choral faculty includes Jerry Blackstone, Director of Choirs; Eugene Rogers, As?sociate Director of Choirs; and Julie Skadsem, Choral Music Education. In addition, world-class musicology and theory faculties lend strong support to the choral program.
For biographies of all American Mavericks artists, please visit www.americanmavericks.orgmusicians.
This week's performances by the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) mark the Orchestra's 10th, nth, and 12th appearances under UMS auspices. The SFS made its UMS debut in October 1980 under the baton of Edo de Waart at Hill Auditorium. The SFS made its most recent UMS appearances in two performances at Hill Auditorium in March 2010 with Michael Tilson Thomas featuring violin soloist Christian Tetzlaff (in a performance of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35) and the UMS Choral Union (in a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 2). That weekend, Maestro Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony were honored with UMS Distinguished Artist Awards.
Michael Tilson Thomas makes his 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th appearances under UMS auspices this week. Maestro Tilson Thomas made his UMS debut leading the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in an April 1988 program at the 95th Annual May Festival at Hill Auditorium fea?turing Vladimir Feltsman as piano soloist in Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3. He has appeared with three orchestras in concerts at Hill Auditorium: the Pittsburgh, New World, and San Francisco symphonies.
Emanuel Ax makes his sixth UMS appearance this week. Mr. Ax made his UMS debut in a recital of Beethoven and Mozart at Rackham Auditorium in July 1978. He most recently appeared under UMS aus?pices in November 2008 in a recital at Hill Auditorium with pianist Yefim Bronfman.
Jerry Blackstone makes his 22nd UMS appearance this week, following his debut leading the UMS
Choral Union in performances of Messiah in 2003 at the Michigan Theater. He has appeared annually in Messiah performances since, most recently in December 2011 at Hill Auditorium.
Jeremy Denk makes his second and third UMS appearances this week, following his UMS debut at Hill Auditorium with violinist Joshua Bell in February 2007.
Meredith Monk makes her fourth and fifth UMS appearances this week. Ms. Monk made her UMS debut in two performances of The Politics of Quiet at the Power Center in October 1996. She last appeared under UMS auspices in February 2000 at the Power Center in her evening-length piece Magic Frequencies: A Science Fiction Chamber Opera.
Jessye Norman makes her ninth appearance under UMS auspices this week. Miss Norman made her UMS debut in the 1973 May Festival with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Thor Johnson at Hill Auditorium. She last appeared under UMS auspices in recital in April 1997 at Hill Auditorium as the recipient of the UMS Distinguished Artist Award.
The St. Lawrence String Quartet makes its second UMS appearance this week, following its UMS debut in November 2009 at Rackham Auditorium, where the Quartet performed John Adams's String Quartet. The Quartet returns to UMS this April for a concert in Rackham Auditorium.
The U-M Chamber Choir makes its third UMS appearance this week, following its UMS debut in October 1994 with the Martha Graham Dance Company in a celebration of Appalachian Spring. The Chamber Choir most recently appeared under UMS auspices in April 2004 at Hill Auditorium in the performance and Grammy Award-winning recording of William Bolcom's Songs of Innocence and of Experience.
UMS welcomes Mason Bates, Kiera Duffy, Paul Jacobs, Joan La Barbara, and Jeffrey Milarsky, who
make their UMS debuts this week.
San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director and Conductor Herbert Blomstedt, Conductor Laureate Donato Cabrera, Resident Conductor Ragnar Bohlin, Chorus Director Vance George, Chorus Director Emeritus
Violin I
Alexander Barantschik,
Naoum Blinder Choir Nadya Tichman,
Associate Concertmaster
San Francisco Symphony
Foundation Choir Mark Volkert, Asssfon
75I1 Anniversary Chair Jeremy Constant, Assistant
Concertmaster Mariko Smiley
Paula & John Gambs Second
Century Chair Melissa Kleinbart
Katharine Hanrahan Chair Yun Chu
Sharon Grebanier Naomi Kazama Hull In Sun Jang Yukiko Kurakata
Catherine A.Mueller Chair Suzanne Leon' Leor Maltinski Diane Nicholeris Sarn Oliver Florin Parvulescu Victor Romasevich Catherine Van Hoesen Sarah Knutson t Virginia Price t
Violin II
Dan Nobuhiko Smiley, Principal
Dinner & Swig Families Chair Dan Carlson, Associate Principal
Audrey Avis Aasen-Hull Choir Paul Brancato, Assistant Principal Kum Mo Kim
The Eucalyptus Foundation
Second Century Chair Raushan Akhmedyarova David Chernyavsky John Chisholm Cathryn Down Darlene Gray Amy Hiraga ChunmingMo Kelly Leon-Pearce Polina Sedukh
Isaac Stern Chair Robert Zelnick Chen Zhao Gloria Justen t Joseph Edelberg t Rudolph Kremert
Jonathan Vinocour, Principal Yun Jie Liu, Associate Principal Katie Kadarauch, Assistant Principal John Schoening
Joanne E. Harrington & Lorry I.
Lokey Second Century Chair Nancy Ellis Gina Feinauer David Gaudry David Kim Christina King Wayne Roden Nanci Severance Adam Smyla Stephanie Fong t
Michael Grebanier", Principal
Philip S. Boone Choir Peter Wyrick, Associate Principal
Peter & locqueline Hoefer Chair Amos Yang, Assistant Principal Margaret Tait
Lyman & Carol Casey
Second Century Chair Barbara Andres
The Stanley S. Longendorf
Foundation Second Century Choir Barbara Bogatin Jill Rachuy Brindel
Gary & Kathleen Heidenreich
Second Century Chair Sebastien Gingras David Goldblatt
Christine & Pierre Lomond
Second Century Chair Carolyn Mclntosh Anne Pinsker Shu-yi Pai t Richard Andaya t
Scott Pingel, Principal
Larry Epstein, Associate Principal
Stephen Tramontozzi,
Assistant Principal
Richard & Rhodo Goldman Chair S. Mark Wright Charles Chandler Lee Ann Crocker Chris Gilbert Brian Marcus William Ritchen
Tim Day, Principal
Caroline H. Hume Chair Robin McKee, Associate Principal
Catherine & Russell Clark Chair Linda Lukas
Alfred S. & Dede Wilsey Chair Catherine Payne, Piccolo Michelle Ciamotto t
William Bennett, Principal
Edo de Waart Chair Jonathan Fischer, Associate Principal Pamela Smith
Dr. William D. Clinite Chair Russ deLuna, English Horn
Joseph & Pauline Scafidi Chair Mingjia Liu t Stefan Wilkinson t
Carey Bell, Principal
William R. & Gretchen B. Kimboll
Chair Luis Baez, Associate Principal
E-flat Clarinet David Neuman
Steve Sanchez t, Bass Clarinet Roman Fukshansky t
Stephen Paulson, Principal Steven Dibner, Associate Principal Rob Weir
Steven Braunstein, Contrabassoon Carla Wilson t
Robert Ward, Principal
Jeannik Mequet Littlefield Chair Nicole Cash, Associate Principal Bruce Roberts, Assistant Principal Jonathan Ring Jessica Valeri Kimberly Wright Douglas Hull t Chris Cooper t Meredith Brown t Alex Rosenfeld t
Mark Inouye, Principal
William G. Irwin
Charity Foundation Chair Glenn Fischthal, Associate Principal
Peter Postreich Chair Michael Tiscione"
Ann L. & Charles ft Johnson Chair Jeff Biancalana Micah Wilkinson t Scott Macomber t David Burkhart t
Timothy Higgins, Principal Robert L. Samter Chair Paul Welcomer
John Engelkes, Bass Trombone Mark Lawrence t David Ridge t
Jeffrey Anderson, Principal
James Irvine Chair Daryl Johnson t
Douglas Rioth, Principal Jieyin Wu t
David Herbert, Principal Marcia & John Goldman Chair
Jack Van Geem, Principal Raymond Froehlich Tom Hemphill James Lee Wyatt III Victor Avdienkot Artie Storch t StanMuncyt John Burgardt t Timothy Dent t Christopher Froh t Loren Mach t Fred Morgan t Patricia Niemi t Ryder Shelly t
Robin Sutherland
Jean & Bill Lane Chair Marc Shapiro t
' On leave
t Acting member of the San Francisco
The Son Francisco Symphony string section utilizes revolving seating on o systematic basis. Players listed in alpha?betical order change seats periodically.
Second Century Choirs ore supported in port by the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Foundation, ensuring the ongoing artistic excellence of the San Francisco Symphony's string sections.
Touring Staff
John D. Goldman, President Brent Assink, Executive Director John Kieser, General Manager Nan Keeton, Director of External Affairs D. Lance King, Director of
Development John Mangum, Director of Artistic
Jean Shirk, Public Relations Manager Rebecca Blum, Orchestra
Personnel Manager Margo Kieser, Orchestra Librarian Joyce Cron Wessling, Manager,
Tours and Media Production Tim Carless, Production Manager Vance DeVost, Stage Manager Dennis DeVost, Stage Technician Rob Doherty, Stage Technician Roni Jules, Stage Technician
University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance Chamber Choir
Jerry Blackstone, Director
Leah Bobbey Saya Callner JoAnna Ford Ariel Halt Ashley Henry Paige Lucas Mary Martin Meghan McLoughlin Beverly Shangkuan Katherine Spear Samantha Winter
Antonina Chekhovskaya Sophie Delphis Maureen Ferguson Emily Goodwin Heidi Madagame Elizabeth Robertson Christine Reinard Katherine Sanford
George Case Matthew Dell Brian Giebler Arian Khaefi Jonathan King Nick Nestorak Nathan Reiff Ken Sieloff Willie Sullivan
Joseph Baldwin John Boggs Andrew Catalano Jesse Donner Carl Frank Austin Hoeltzel John Hummel Ronald Perkins Jr. Glen Thomas Rideout Alex Sutton
'Soloist in Mass Transmission on Concert l

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