Composer: Eve Beglarian
According to the Los Angeles Times, composer and performer Eve Beglarian is a “humane, idealistic rebel and a musical sensualist.” A 2017 winner of the Alpert Award in the Arts for her “prolific, engaging and surprising body of work,” she has also been awarded the 2015 Robert Rauschenberg Prize from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts for her “innovation, risk-taking, and experimentation.”
Eve Beglarian is a celebrated composer and performer, recognized for her innovative and engaging work. She has won numerous awards and commissions, including the Alpert Award in the Arts and the Robert Rauschenberg Prize. Her current projects include collaborations with Karen Kandel and Mallory Catlett on a project about women in Vicksburg, a song cycle for the Brooklyn Art Song Society, and a piece for 24 double basses. Beglarian's music has been commissioned and performed by many ensembles and performers, including the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the American Composers Orchestra, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Her work in music theater includes collaborations with Mabou Mines and Chen Shi-Zheng. Beglarian has also collaborated with many choreographers and visual artists, and her recordings are available on multiple labels.
More about Eve: https://evbvd.com/blog/bio/
Supporting women in need is a cause close to Eve Beglarian. Please consider donation to the Women Rising here: https://www.womenrising.org/
Photo courtesy of Eve Beglarian
Hard4the$ is a piece for solo flute and pre-recorded track that explores the current gender and racial pay gap in the United States, a pay gap that became particularly glaring in COVID days, because so many black and/or female workers are both essential and underpaid.
The piece is a set of four abstractions of the 1983 classic Donna Summer/Michael Omartian tune “She Works Hard for the Money” played simultaneously. Each layer has been given the name of a universally known public figure who represents the race and gender of that layer: Michelle Obama, John Lewis, Hillary Clinton, and Brett Kavanaugh.
Michelle’s variation is the only one that is the full length of the four minute piece: the others are shorter (and faster in tempo) in proportion to how much more quickly people of that gender and race are statistically likely to earn the same amount of money. Thus, Brett’s variation is only 2:28.
On the other hand, Brett’s multi-layer variation is played fortissimo on piccolo while Michelle’s is played pianissimo on alto flute, so Michelle is only actually heard when Brett and the others successively finish playing. (Hillary is mezzo forte, and John is mezzo piano.)
It is suggested that the player take on a different role each time he/she/they play the piece. Depending on the role the live player chooses to take, the piece will be a very different experience for both player and listeners.
Hard4the$ is 31 March in Eve’s ongoing project A Book of Days, because 31 March was Equal Pay Day 2020 in the United States; that is, how far into the year women had to work to earn what men earned in the previous year.
Hard4the$ was commissioned by Hal Ide for Claudia Anderson’s solo show Glass Ceilings, and premiered online at the 2021 National Flute Association convention. Many thanks to Allison Loggins-Hull, Eric Lamb, Claudia Anderson, and Tim Munro, who recorded Michelle Obama, John Lewis, Hillary Clinton, and Brett Kavanaugh (respectively) for the pre-recorded track.
Hard4the$: Graphic courtesy of Eve Beglarian
Composer: Anna Isabella Leonarda
Anna Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704), daughter of Giannantonio and Apollonia Leonardi, was a prolific Italian composer who wrote 20 books of music, including sonatas for violin and basso continuo, sacred music, litanies, masses, and music for Vespers. She also taught music and held positions of authority at the Collegio di Sant' Orsola in Novara. Leonarda likely studied under Elizabeth Casata and Gasparo Casati, and her works were often dedicated to important officials. Her Opus 16, published in 1693, contains the earliest published sonatas by a woman, including Sonata Duodecima. Her compositions were discovered and praised by French composer Sebastien de Brossard :“ All the works of this illustrious and incomparable Isabella Leonarda are so beautiful, so gracious, so brilliant and at the same time so learned and so wise, that my great regret is not having them all.”
Piece: Sonata Duodecima
Sonata Duodecima is one of the 12 sonatas in Leonarda's Opus 16, which was published in 1693. Opus 16 is considered the earliest known published collection of chamber music by a woman composer. The Opus 16 sonatas for two violins and basso continuo were groundbreaking for their time, as they were among the first examples of instrumental music written specifically for domestic performance. Number 12, Sonata Duodecima was intended for one violin with basso continuo accompaniment. Leonarda's sonatas feature virtuosic writing, lively rhythms, and expressive melodies. They also showcase Leonarda's innovative use of harmony, which at times includes unexpected chromatic progressions and modulations. Sonata Duodecima consists of seven short movements: Adagio, Allegro, e presto, Vivace, e largo, Spiritoso, Adagio, Aria, allegro and Veloce.
While there were likely other women composers who wrote chamber music before Leonarda, their works may not have been published or have survived to the present day. So, in terms of surviving published chamber music, Leonarda's Opus 16 is a significant milestone in the history of women composers.
If you are interested in the work of women composers and their amazing stories, please have a look at the Boulanger Initiative, a non profit organization which mission is to promote music by women, to work toward greater inclusivity, and to enrich our collective understanding of what music is, has been, and can be. I am personally a big fan of this organization and used its resources many times!
Composer: Joseph Martin Waters
Joseph Martin Waters (b. 1952) is an American classical composer who has gained recognition for his experimental chamber ensemble and orchestral music, which integrates electronic sounds with traditional instruments. Waters' style of composition is based on both European classical and African (beat-based) musical traditions, which he blends together to create unique and innovative works of art.
In addition to his compositions, Waters is also the founder and Artistic Director of NWEAMO (New West Electro-Acoustic Music Organization), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the work of living composers and increasing public awareness of contemporary performing arts. The organization runs an annual showcase called The NWEAMO Festival, which travels between San Diego and various international locations. The festival has been held in Berlin, Boulder, Mexico City, Miami, New York City, Portland OR, Morelia (Mexico), and Venice (Italy), where there is ongoing programming. The festival showcases a diverse range of contemporary music, including electronic, avant-garde, and experimental genres. Waters also collaborates with visual artists, creating music for live performances, films, dance, and public art installations. Waters is currently a professor of music composition and computer music at San Diego State University, where he teaches courses in composition, electronic music, and music theory. He earned his Master of Music degree from Yale University in 1982, and his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 2002. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota and has studied at Stockholms Musikpedagogiska Institut.
Joseph Martin Waters is a highly accomplished composer, educator, and organizer who has made significant contributions to the field of music through his innovative compositions, collaborations with visual artists, and founding of NWEAMO. He continues to push the boundaries of contemporary music and inspire future generations of composers and musicians.
More about Joseph: https://josephwaters.com
About “Kyiv” from the composer, Joseph Martin Waters.
I composed “Kyiv” in April 2022, a couple months after Russia invaded Ukraine. One of my artistic collaborators, Svitlana Reinish, a visual artist and Videographer, who has poured her passionate vision into the creation of surreal music videos from my Opera “the magic hummingbird” had fled Kyiv in the early days of the missile strikes, with only her cat and her mother… terrified as they sat stuck in their car for several days behind thousands of other Ukrainians fleeing across the border into Poland. So it all struck close to home - even more so big because my beautiful collaborators, Antonina, Pola, and Iwo are all from Poland… so the piece is an evocation of all of that. It’s all packed in there somehow: a beautiful ancient culture, hundreds of years of architecture and striving, senselessly being reduced to rubble at the hands of a madman. And the terrified millions of people, their lives upended as yet another uncontrollable sociopath wreaks their personal mania upon the world. We live in a time of the rise of tyrants. “Kyiv” is a call to arms, and action, an illustration of bravery, courage, the need to reach out, lay ourselves on the line . And ultimately, to forge a compassionate world. It is the ultimate responsibility of all artists, to paint the picture of the twisting vapors in the ether, and contribute to the dialogue of who we are becoming as a culture.
If you wish to support Ukranians in their hardship, please donate to the Ukraniane Red Cross. www.donate.redcrossredcrescent.org/ua/donate/~my-donation?_cv=1
Composer: Grażyna Bacewicz
Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) was a Polish composer and violinist known for blending traditional Polish music with modernist ideas. She won numerous awards and was highly respected as a performer. Her works spanned various genres and were characterized by technical virtuosity and emotional intensity. Although initially overshadowed by male contemporaries, she is now recognized as a significant female composer of the 20th century. Bacewicz's works spanned a variety of genres, including symphonies, chamber music, vocal music, and film scores. Some of her most notable compositions include her seven string quartets, her violin concerto, and her opera "Medea." Her music is known for its technical virtuosity and emotional intensity, as well as its ability to capture the spirit of the Polish people.
More about Grażyna: www.polishmusic.usc.edu/research/composers/grazyna-bacewicz/
Photo: Google graphics
"Oberek" is a lively folk dance from Poland, and Grazyna Bacewicz composed her own interpretation of it in 1952 for piano solo. The piece features rapid, playful rhythms and colorful harmonies, which are typical of Bacewicz's style. "Oberek" is just one example of Bacewicz's fascination with the traditional music of her native country, which she often incorporated into her compositions. It reflects her ability to take a simple folk tune and transform it into a sophisticated and captivating piece of music that showcases her unique style and technical prowess.
Composer: Kevin Day
Kevin Day (b.1996) is a multifaceted musician whose compositions and performances have garnered international acclaim. He has been described by Boston Symphony's Robert Kirzinger as having a music style characterized by "propulsive, syncopated rhythms, colorful orchestration, and instrumental virtuosity."
Day's works span a diverse range of genres, blending elements of jazz, minimalism, Latin music, fusion, and contemporary classical idioms. He is known for crafting music that is both introspective and exuberant, with a distinct ability to capture a wide range of emotions and moods.
Throughout his career, Day has composed over 200 works and received numerous accolades, including the BMI Student Composer Award and being a three-time finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. In 2022, he was considered for the Pulitzer Prize for his Concerto for Wind Ensemble.
Day's music has been performed by prestigious symphonies such as the Boston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and Detroit Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has also worked with renowned musicians such as David Childs, Nicki Roman, and Hiram Diaz, as well as chamber ensembles such as One Found Sound, Axiom Brass, and the Tesla Quartet.
As a conductor and pianist, Day has showcased his talents on a variety of stages, including Carnegie Hall and the Rachmaninov Hall in Russia. In fact, he recently made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut at the 2022 New York International Music Festival.
Currently, Day serves as the Vice President of the Millennium Composers Initiative, a collective of over 120 composers from various countries. He is also an Assistant Professor of Composition at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where he guides and inspires the next generation of musicians.
Day's musical journey began with his BM in Performance from Texas Christian University, followed by a MM in Composition from the University of Georgia. He is currently pursuing his DMA in Composition from the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where he studies with Charles Norman Mason, Dorothy Hindman, and Lansing McCloskey. As an alumnus of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, Day is dedicated to promoting music education and advancing the art of composition.
More about Kevin: https://www.kevindaymusic.com/bio
Photo credit: Sara Bill Photography/Karen Cubides Agency
Piece: Ecstatic Samba
"Ecstatic Samba" by Kevin Day is a vibrant and infectious piece of music that can be performed in various settings. Originally composed for wind ensemble (2014), the piece has been arranged for a smaller ensemble consisting of flute, cello, and piano (2017). The arrangement maintains the lively rhythms and upbeat melodies of the original piece while allowing each instrument to showcase its unique sound and technical ability. The piece is a joyful celebration of Brazilian samba music, featuring intricate rhythms and catchy melodies that are sure to delight audiences. Whether performed by a wind ensemble or a chamber group, "Ecstatic Samba" is a testament to Kevin Day's skill as a composer and his ability to bring together diverse musical influences into a cohesive and exciting work of art.
Composer: Anahita Abbasi
Anahita Abbasi (b. 1985) is an Iranian-born composer whose music has been widely acclaimed for its sophistication, energy, and timbral exploration. Her compositions have been commissioned and performed by an impressive array of soloists and ensembles, including the International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Modern, UmeDuo, Klangforum Wien musicians, and many others. Her music has been showcased at prestigious festivals around the world, including the Mostly Mozart Festival, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Sound State festival at London's Southbank Centre.
In addition to her work as a composer, Abbasi is deeply committed to nurturing the next generation of musical talent. She teaches composition, gives lectures, curates workshops on the fundamentals of creation, and serves as a juror at composition competitions. She is also a founding member of the Schallfeld Ensemble in Graz, Austria, and the Iranian Female Composers Association (IFCA) in New York City, where she curates concerts, workshops, and conferences, and advocates for young composers, acting as their ambassadors in presenting their music to others.
Abbasi's impressive achievements have been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including a work-scholarship from Experimentalstudio des SWR in Freiburg, a 2015 Morton Gold ASCAP young composers award, and a nomination in 2017 at the Cairo Contemporary Festival as one of the "women composers of our time" alongside Kaija Saariaho and Isabel Mundry. In 2019, she was one of the winners of the composition competition of the Acht Brücken Festival.
Despite all of her success, Abbasi remains deeply committed to her roots. She was born and raised in Iran and moved to Austria in 2005 to pursue her undergraduate studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz. She currently resides in San Diego, where she is completing her Ph.D. in composition under the supervision of Rand Steiger at the University of California San Diego.
More about Anahita here: http://anahitaabbasi.com
Photo courtesy of Anahita Abbasi
Piece: No I am not roaming aimlessly
“No I am not roaming aimlessly” is based on two ideologies; Dialogical Self Theory & Sufism. Dialogical Self Theory weaves two concepts, self and dialogue, together in such a way that a more profound understanding of the interconnection of self and society is achieved. Usually, the concept of self refers to something “internal,” something that takes place within the mind of the individual person,while dialogue is typically associated with something “external.” The composite concept “dialogical self” goes beyond the self-other dichotomy by infusing the external to the internal and, in reverse, to introduce the internal into the external. As functioning as a “society of mind”,the self is populated by multiplicity of “self-positions” that have the possibility to entertain dialogical relationships with each other. The form and the context of this Dialogue is inspired and shaped based on a poem by Rumi and the sincere definition of Sufism; The search for the center, for the inner state of mystical love; a deeper identity or essential self and the Unity of Being. Sufism is the selfless experience and actualization of the Truth, which involves an enlightened inner being, not intellectual proof; revelation and witnessing, not logic. The practice of Sufism is the intention to go towards the Truth, by means of love and devotion. The truth of Sufism requires reformulation and fresh expression in every age. The Sufi is one who is a lover of Truth, who is eager and persistent, and by means of love and devotion moves towards the Truth, Clarity and the perfection which we are all seeking.
No I am not roaming aimlessly
around the streets and bazaar
I am a lover searching for his beloved
God have mercy on me
I am walking around troubled
I have done wrong and sinned
and am walking around wounded
I have drunk the wine of desire
and am strolling around beloved
Though I may seem drunk
I am quite sober
Translated by Farah Aziz.
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi was a 13th-century Persian poet, Islamic scholar, and Sufi mystic. He's famous for his poetry about love, spirituality, and the search for truth. His most famous work is the Masnavi, a six-volume poem written in Persian that's considered one of the greatest works of Persian literature. Rumi's poetry has been translated into many languages and is popular in the West, where he's often called "Rumi". His poetry is still widely read today and appreciated for its beauty and spiritual insight.
Photo: Google graphics
Composer: Reza Vali
Reza Vali was born in Ghazvin, Iran, in 1952. He began his music studies at the Conservatory of Music in Tehran. In 1972 he went to Austria and studied music education and composition at the Academy of Music in Vienna. After graduating from the Academy of Music, he moved to the United States and continued his studies at the University of Pittsburgh, receiving his Ph.D. in music theory and composition in 1985. Mr. Vali has been a faculty member of the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University since 1988. He has received numerous honors and commissions, including the honor prize of the Austrian Ministry of Arts and Sciences, two Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships, commissions from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, the Carpe Diem String Quartet, the Seattle Chamber Players, and the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, as well as grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as the Outstanding Emerging Artist for which he received the Creative Achievement Award. Vali's orchestral compositions have been performed in the United States by the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Baltimore Symphony, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra 2001. His chamber works have received performances by Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Carpe Diem String Quartet, Kronos Quartet, the Seattle Chamber Players, and the Da Capo Chamber Players. His music has been performed in Europe, China, Chile, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Australia and is recorded on the Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, New Albion, MMC, Ambassador, Albany, and ABC Classics labels.
More about Reza: https://www.rezavali.com
Photo courtesy of Reza Vali
Piece: Folk Songs (Set No. 9)
Folk Songs (Set No. 9) is the ninth set of an ongoing cycle of Persian folk songs which I have been writing since 1978. The piece consists of eight songs, some of which are based on authentic Persian folk melodies and some composed in the style of a folk song (imaginary folk songs). - Reza Vali
Reza Vali's Folk Songs, Set No. 9 for flute and cello showcases eight distinctive songs, with some rooted in traditional Persian folk melodies, while others are original pieces inspired by the genre. The piece's musicality is heightened by the use of a range of instruments, including concert, alto, and bass flutes, as well as a piccolo, tambourine and the cello. To add a further layer of complexity, the cellist also sings and whistles, while occasionally playing crystal glasses and tom-toms. While Folk Songs, Set No. 9 takes inspiration from traditional folk music, it adds an avant-garde flair by incorporating innovative techniques commonly found in 20th century Western music. In some of the songs, both the flutist and cellist play their instruments while singing or whistling, creating unique sounds and harmonies. Other movements feature unconventional techniques, such as the flutist creating pitched percussive sounds and the cellist attacking the c-string with his fingers or using a wooden stick to produce distinctive sounds. Despite these innovations, each song in the set is bound together by recurring motifs, highlighting Vali's skill and artistry. Overall, Folk Songs, Set No. 9 is a captivating piece that celebrates traditional Persian folk music while simultaneously pushing musical boundaries.
From Reza: “I thank you for your solidarity with the Iranian people, especially the young generation, in these hard times. I believe that by representing Iranian culture, especially contemporary music, we can make our due to this ancient culture. This is not the first time that Iran had to endure hardship and perhaps it will not be the last time. But we have survived and I am sure we will survive, precisely because of the strength of the culture.”
If you wish to support “women, life, freedom” movement in Iran, please read more at: https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/event/2022-woman-life-freedom-discussion-virtual and consider donation to the Center for Human Rights in Iran: https://fundraise.givesmart.com/form/_TNnXA?vid=xnvu9
Composer: Astor Piazzolla
Astor Piazzolla was an Argentinian composer, bandoneón player, and arranger who revolutionized traditional tango music with his new style known as nuevo tango. He was born on March 11, 1921, in Mar del Plata, Argentina, and died on July 4, 1992, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Piazzolla was a classically trained musician who incorporated elements of jazz and classical music into traditional tango music. He formed his own group in the 1950s and began to experiment with new rhythms, harmonies, and instrumentation. His music was initially met with resistance by traditionalists who felt that he was straying too far from the traditional tango form. However, he eventually gained a following and his music became widely popular both in Argentina and internationally.
Some of his most famous works include "Libertango," "Adiós Nonino," and "Oblivion." He also composed music for films and theater productions. Piazzolla was a prolific composer and his music continues to be performed and enjoyed by audiences around the world.
Piazzolla's legacy has been influential on a generation of musicians, particularly in the field of tango nuevo, and his works have been arranged for and played by various orchestras and ensembles worldwide. He has received numerous accolades and awards for his contributions to music, including the Konex Award in 1985 as the best Tango Composer of the Decade in Argentina, the French Order of Arts and Letters, and the "Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award" in 2003.
Piece: The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires
"The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires" is a set of four tango compositions by the Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla, each representing a season of the year. Originally composed between 1965 and 1970 for Piazzolla's quintet of bandoneón, violin, piano, electric guitar, and double bass, the pieces have been arranged for various instrumentations over the years, including orchestra, solo violin, and saxophone quartet.
The four pieces are:
"Verano Porteño" (Buenos Aires Summer): The first movement is characterized by fast, rhythmic passages in the bandoneón and violin, with a sultry and passionate melody.
"Otoño Porteño" (Buenos Aires Autumn): The second movement is slower and more melancholic, with a wistful melody and long, lyrical lines.
"Invierno Porteño" (Buenos Aires Winter): The third movement is the most dramatic and intense, with sharp, staccato rhythms and dissonant harmonies. It conveys a sense of struggle and hardship.
"Primavera Porteña" (Buenos Aires Spring): The final movement is lively and upbeat, with a syncopated rhythm and playful melody. It captures the joy and energy of springtime.