Composer: Valerie Coleman
Valerie Coleman, a revered composer and GRAMMY®-nominated flutist, is known for her distinct contributions to classical music. Highlighted as one of the "Top 35 Women Composers" by The Washington Post, she received the 2020 Classical Woman of the Year award from Performance Today. Notable accolades include the MAPFund, ASCAP Honors, and Chamber Music America’s Classical Commissioning Program. Her composition, Umoja, Anthem for Unity, earned a spot in Chamber Music America's "Top 101 Great American Ensemble Works."
In the 2021/22 season, Coleman premiered Fanfare for Uncommon Times at the Caramoor Festival and presented Seven O'Clock Shout at Carnegie Hall. She continues to receive commissions from esteemed organizations like the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater. Formerly of Imani Winds, she co-founded Umama Womama and has an extensive chamber music career. As an educator, Coleman created the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival and joined Mannes School of Music faculty in Fall 2021.
Her recordings span various labels, showcasing her versatility. Committed to arts education, she founded the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival, offering mentorship to young talents worldwide. Coleman also serves on advisory boards and adjudicates for esteemed competitions. Published by Theodore Presser and VColeman Music, she studied composition and flute with distinguished mentors. Currently based in New York City, Coleman is an influential figure in the world of classical music.
More about Valerie: https://www.vcolemanmusic.com/bio.html
Photo courtesy of Valerie Coleman
Piece: Bostonian Scenes
Commissioned by Celebrity Series of Boston for Neighborhood Arts for their 2022 Solo(s) Together commissioning project program, this 5-movement collection of four flute solos and a quartet takes the listeners on a journey through Boston’s most iconic scenes and old haunts of the composer during her studies in Boston. The work is influenced by the paintings of Boston-based African American artist, Allan Rohan Crite. His works, "Tire Jumping in Front of My Window", " Cambridge, Sunday Morning" and others that depict the African American experience in Boston were used as inspiration.
Composer: Amy Beach
Amy Marcy Cheney, born on September 5, 1867, in Henniker, New Hampshire, was not only a musical prodigy but a pioneering force in American classical music. From an early age, her talent was evident, memorizing songs at one, self-teaching reading at three, and composing waltzes at four. By six, she commenced piano studies and debuted publicly at age seven. The family's move to Boston in 1875 marked a pivotal moment, leading her to study with renowned pianists.
In 1883, Amy made her Boston debut, and shortly after, she performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. However, her journey took a unique turn when, in 1885, she married Henry Harris Aubrey Beach. At his request, she curtailed public performances, redirecting her focus to composition. Despite limited formal training, she embarked on independent composition studies.
Notably, Beach's impact extended beyond her compositions. Following her husband's death in 1910, she sailed to Europe, engaging in musical dialogues. One noteworthy episode involved a spirited argument with Antonín Dvořák regarding the American school of music.
Beach, a champion of American music, stood her ground, contributing to the ongoing discourse on shaping a distinct American musical identity.
Returning to the U.S. in 1914, Beach continued her dual role of performer and composer. Her leadership extended to advocacy, co-founding the Society of American Women Composers in 1925. Amy Beach passed away on December 27, 1944, leaving a legacy that not only enriched American music but also reflected her resilience in shaping its future.
More about Amy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Beach
Piece: Romance, Op. 23
Amy Beach's "Romance for Violin and Piano," Op. 23, is a captivating work that showcases her compositional prowess. Written in 1893, the Romance is a lyrical and expressive piece for violin and piano, reflecting Beach's Romantic sensibilities.
This composition is notable for its melodic richness and emotional depth. It explores a range of expressive elements, allowing the violinist to convey a poignant narrative while being supported by the piano's harmonious accompaniment. The work is characterized by its warm and lyrical themes, providing a platform for the performers to convey a sense of intimacy and emotional resonance.
Amy Beach's Romance for Violin and Piano is a testament to her ability to craft evocative and engaging music, contributing to her reputation as a prominent American composer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The piece remains a cherished part of her chamber music repertoire, offering performers and audiences a glimpse into Beach's expressive and romantic musical language.
Although originally written for violin, Romance has been arranged for different instruments, including Antonina's transcription for flute.
Composer: Amanda Harberg
Amanda Harberg, a renowned composer, skillfully blends classical tradition with contemporary influences, praised by the New York Times for a "sultry excursion into lyricism." Described as conveying an original sense of happiness in music, her compositions, admired by composer John Corigliano, captivate both the brain and the soul.
Harberg's works have been conducted by luminaries like Yannick Nézet-Séguin, earning commissions from prestigious entities such as the Philadelphia Orchestra Association and the Juilliard School. Premieres include her Piccolo Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra and globally performed Concerto for Viola and Orchestra.
Beyond classical realms, she serves as an in-house composer for Common Good Productions, contributing to documentaries like "The Abominable Crime." As a concert-level pianist, Harberg has collaborated with principal musicians from major orchestras.
In education, Dr. Harberg, with over two decades of experience, imparts her knowledge at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts and the Interlochen Arts Camp. Completing her education at the Juilliard School and Rutgers University, she resides in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, passionately continuing her impactful work as a composer, pianist, and educator.
More about Amanda: https://amandaharberg.com
Piece: Sonata for Piccolo and Piano
Amanda Harberg's Sonata for piccolo and piano is a high-powered piece that will quickly become a part of the standard piccolo repertoire. It was commissioned by a group of 24 piccolo players, including many familiar names and faces from the NFA membership. With rhythmic drive, spellbinding melodies, and unpredictable phrase structure, this piece is effective for audiences of all types.
Harberg's music is engaging and powerful, which has led to demand for new pieces. She has five large-scale orchestral works, and her output--including for flute--continues to grow. Her Court Dances for flute and piano was reviewed enthusiastically in this publication, and she has had works performed at the past several NFA conventions, which she has also attended. Harberg currently teaches composition at Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts.
The piccolo sonata is in three movements and about 12 minutes long. The first movement is reminiscent of the music Philipp Glass wrote for the movie The Hours, as heard in the piano's scoring. The harmonies are attractive yet interesting, and there is a groove that can be felt, even within an inconsistent mixed meter that changes frequently. The second movement is nostalgic, with a middle section of the ABA form that feels like a flashback to another event or time. The third movement has a serious rhythmic groove that will keep the performers and audience members on their toes.
This is an excellent sonata. The piano part is challenging but relatively idiomatic, similar to the difficulty level of Muczynski's sonata. One of the most delightful aspects of the piccolo writing is the emphasis on the low and middle register of the instrument. Serious piccoloists spend so much of their time living in the high register of the instrument, bringing out orchestral effects that are important and impressive for symphonic writing. The opportunity to explore the instrument's expressive side and lower tessaturas will be welcomed by the piccolo community. The piece is certainly advanced and would be a great recital selection for a university student who is a serious piccolo player and has great rhythm.
Amanda Harberg's Sonata for piccolo and piano is immediately engaging and well written. On a personal note, I played through this piece with a colleague and immediately wanted to seriously practice it and find performance opportunities. I was disappointed I hadn't been part of the commission, which would have given me access sooner. This piece is destined to take an important place in the piccolo repertoire, and we should all look forward to hearing it on more programs in the near future.
Johnson, Rebecca. "Sonata Amanda Harberg." Flutist Quarterly, spring 2020, p. 67. Gale Academic OneFile, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A640746785/AONE?u=aikentcl&sid=bookmark-AONE&xid=1ae30e5d. Accessed 12 Feb. 2024.
Composer: Michael Daugherty
Multiple GRAMMY Award-winning composer Michael Daugherty has achieved international recognition as one of the ten most performed American composers of concert music, according to the League of American Orchestras. His orchestral music, recorded by Naxos over the last two decades, has received six GRAMMY Awards, including Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2011 for Deus ex Machina for piano and orchestra and in 2017 for Tales of Hemingway for cello and orchestra. Current commissions for 2020 include new orchestral works for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Omaha Symphony and a concerto for violinist Anne Akiko Meyers who will give the world premiere with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center in 2021.
Michael Daugherty was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1954 and is the son of a dance-band drummer and the oldest of five brothers, all professional musicians. As a young man, Daugherty studied composition with many of the preeminent composers of the 20th century including Pierre Boulez at IRCAM in Paris (1979), Jacob Druckman, Earle Brown, Bernard Rands and Roger Reynolds at Yale (1980-82), and György Ligeti in Hamburg (1982-84). Daugherty was also an assistant to jazz arranger Gil Evans in New York from 1980-82. In 1991, Daugherty joined the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance as Professor of Composition, where he is a mentor to many of today’s most talented young composers. He is also a frequent guest of professional orchestras, festivals, universities and conservatories around the world.
Daugherty’s music is published by Peermusic Classical/Faber Music, Boosey & Hawkes and Michael Daugherty Music.
More about Michael: https://michaeldaugherty.net
Piece: Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears (2010) for flute and orchestra was commissioned by a consortium consisting of the American Composers Orchestra, Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, Delaware Symphony Orchestra, Omaha Symphony and Tupelo Symphony. The world premiere was given by the Omaha Symphony under the direction of Thomas Wilkins, with Amy Porter, solo flute, at the Holland County Performing Arts Center, Omaha, Nebraska on March 25, 2010. It is scored for solo flute, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, percussion, harp and strings. Duration is approximately 22 minutes. At this performance Antonina will present the first movement, "where the wind blew free" in reduction for flute and piano.
The composer writes:
“One of the tragedies of human history is the forced removal of peoples from their homeland for political, economic, racial, religious, or cultural reasons. In America, the forced removal of all Native Americans living east of the Mississippi River began with the passage of President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830. In 1838, 15,000 Cherokee men, women, and children were forcefully taken from their homes by the U.S Army and placed in stockades and camps in Tennessee. From November 1838 to March 1839, the Cherokee, with scant clothing and many without shoes, were forced to make an 800-mile march for relocation in Oklahoma during the bitter cold of winter. Suffering from exposure, disease, and starvation, nearly 4,000 Cherokee died during the five-month march known as the “Trail of Tears.”
My flute concerto is a musical journey into how the human spirit discovers ways to deal with upheaval, adversity and adapting to a new environment. The first movement reflects on meaningful memories of things past, inspired by a quotation from the Native American leader, Geronimo (1829-1909): “I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun.” The second movement, entitled “incantation,” meditates on the passing of loved ones and the hope for a better life in the world beyond. The third and final movement, “sun dance,” evokes the most spectacular and important religious dance ceremony of the Plains Indians of 19th-century North America. Banned for a century by the U.S. government, the dance is now practiced again today. I have composed a fiery musical dance to suggest how reconnecting with rituals of the past might create a path to a new and brighter future.”
Composer: Roman Ryterband
Born on August 2, 1914, in Łódź, Poland, Roman Ryterband, from a family of lawyers and musicians, began composing at 12. Encouraged by Alexander Glazunov, he pursued music alongside law studies. On the eve of World War II, he toured Western Europe, finding refuge in Switzerland, where he worked as a laborer and completed his musicology PhD. Inspired by global folk traditions, he composed works reflecting various idioms.
After marrying Clarissa de Lazzari in 1950, Ryterband settled in Berne, earning acclaim as a pianist, composer, and conductor. In 1950, he moved to Montreal, directing CKVL and contributing to the city's musical life. Relocating to Chicago in 1960, he joined the Chicago Conservatory College faculty and received the 1965 Chicago City Council Outstanding New Citizen Award.
In 1967, seeking new challenges, Ryterband moved to Palm Springs. Composing, performing, and directing cultural events, he made significant contributions. Diagnosed with cancer, he passed away on November 17, 1979. Although his music remains largely unknown, Ryterband's compositions showcase a blend of early 20th-century modernism and folk elements. His diverse catalog includes orchestral, chamber, and vocal works, reflecting his rich artistic journey. Awards, including the 1961 ISCM Chicago First Prize, attest to his impact on contemporary music.
Piece: Two Desert Scenes
Roman Ryterband's "Two Desert Scenes" for flute, harp, and pai-yil is a unique musical exploration influenced by the rich cultural tapestry of the Agua Caliente band of Indians, residents of Palm Springs. This chamber composition reflects Ryterband's deep engagement with the local indigenous music traditions, a result of his immersive experiences and interactions with the Agua Caliente tribe.
In crafting these scenes, Ryterband delves into the intricate rhythms and moods inspired by the folklore, landscapes, and canyons that shaped Palm Springs. The first scene, "A Smoke Tree Dream," captures haunting sounds representing the mystical allure of the desert. The second, "The Tahquitz Falls," is characterized by musical cascades, drawing inspiration from the stunning waterfall Tahquitz and the legends surrounding it.
Ryterband's journey into Agua Caliente music involved overcoming initial reluctance from the tribal council, emphasizing the need to respect and preserve their cultural heritage. With approval, he incorporated authentic elements, even introducing the "pai-yil," a native Agua Caliente instrument resembling a maraca, adding an indigenous heartbeat to the composition.
These scenes offer a musical tribute to the Agua Caliente tribe, inviting them to witness how Ryterband has woven their traditions into a contemporary chamber work. By embracing the Agua Caliente musical legacy, Ryterband's "Two Desert Scenes" becomes a testament to cultural exchange and artistic collaboration, bridging the gap between classical composition and the vibrant heritage of Palm Springs' native inhabitants.
During “Americana” you will hear Two Desert Scenes performed by flute and guitar. Special thanks to Doris Ćosić for her hard work on this guitar transcription. In “The Tahquitz Falls” you will hear maracas instead of original pai-yil.
Composer: Antonín Dvořák
Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904) was a pioneering Czech composer who left an indelible mark on the world of classical music, particularly through his endeavors to shape an American school of music. Invited to direct the National Conservatory of Music in America in 1892, Dvořák sought to cultivate a distinctly American musical identity.
During his American sojourn, Dvořák advocated for the incorporation of indigenous melodies and African American spirituals into the fabric of American classical music. This vision materialized in his compositions, most notably the "New World Symphony," where he seamlessly blended traditional European forms with the rhythmic and melodic elements inspired by American landscapes.
Dvořák's teachings at the conservatory emphasized the importance of drawing from local musical roots. His ideas spurred discussions about creating an authentic American musical language, fostering a legacy that influenced generations of American composers. Though his time in the United States was relatively short, Dvořák's commitment to shaping the future of American music endures, making him a transformative figure in the development of a distinct national musical identity.
Piece: String Quartet No. 12
Antonín Dvořák's String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, Op. 96, commonly known as the "American Quartet," stands as a testament to the composer's exploration of American musical themes during his stay in the United States. Composed in 1893, this quartet reflects Dvořák's keen observation of the American landscape and its folk traditions.
The first movement, marked by its lively and open-hearted character, captures the spirit of American optimism. Dvořák weaves folk elements into the fabric of the music, echoing the diverse cultural influences he encountered during his time in America. The second movement, a heartfelt Lento, unfolds with a lyrical beauty, revealing Dvořák's sensitivity to melody and emotion.
The third movement, a lively and dance-like Scherzo, incorporates syncopated rhythms reminiscent of American square dances. Dvořák's playful exploration of these rhythmic elements adds a distinctly American flavor to the quartet. The Finale, marked by its energetic and rhythmic drive, brings the work to a triumphant close, leaving a lasting impression of exuberance and vitality. Some researchers are claiming that the repeated rhythmic pattern was to Dvořák's admiration for American trains.
The "American Quartet" is a quintessential example of Dvořák's ability to seamlessly blend his European roots with the vibrant musical tapestry of America. Its enduring popularity stems from its infectious melodies, rhythmic vitality, and the composer's ability to capture the essence of a nation in musical form. As listeners embark on this musical journey, they are invited to experience the harmonious fusion of Dvořák's Bohemian craftsmanship with the spirit of the American landscape.
Antonina tweaked the first violin part adapting it to concert flute. During the recital you will hear first, third and fourth movements.