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Charles Amirkhanian, Irene Hayrapetian (interpreter), Bill Colvig, Ashot Zograbyan, Tan Dun, Lou Harrison, Jim Newman, Calliope Tsoupaki, Terry Riley, Frances White, Mari Kimura, Muhal Richard Abrams, Don Byron, Alvin Singleton, Rex Lawson, Ingram Marshall

Retrospective by Other Minds Executive and Artistic Director, Charles Amirkhanian

(to come)

Artist Bios

Born January 19, 1945, in Fresno, California, composer, percussionist, sound poet and radio producer Charles Amirkhanian is a leading practitioner of electroacoustic music and text-sound composition and has been instrumental in the dissemination of contemporary music through his work as Music Director of KPFA/Berkeley from 1969 to 1992. He also directed the Speaking of Music series at the Exploratorium in San Francisco (1983-1992) and was the founding Co-Director (with John Lifton) of the Composer-to-Composer Festival in Telluride, Colorado (1988-1991). From 1993 to 1997 Amirkhanian was Executive Director of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, California. From 1993 he has been Artistic Director of Other Minds. In May of 1998 Amirkhanian was appointed Executive Director.

In 1990 Amirkhanian completed an extended spoken word portrait of the late American composer Morton Feldman, incorporating his extant recorded speeches and conversations, on commission from Meet the Composer/Reader’s Digest (Loudspeakers, 1990). This 35-minute composition was premiered at the Electronic Music Plus Festival at Mills College in Oakland, California, on April 3, 1991, and was aired nationally over the NPR Satellite in January 1992. In 1991 he composed A Berkelium Canon (with Henry Kaiser), a digital pianistic tribute to Nicolas Slonimsky, on the occasion of the latter’s 97th birthday.

In his recent works, produced with the Synclavier digital synthesizer, Amirkhanian incorporates sampled acoustic environmental sounds (which he calls “representational sounds”) and traditional musical pitched sounds (“abstract sounds”) to develop dreamscapes which act as disjunct narratives, evoking a world of memory-triggers which induce a trance like listening state. Sounds are chosen both for purposes of reference to a subject and for their sculptural and gestural beauty. His Walking Tune (A Room-Music for Percy Grainger), is perhaps the most important example of this genre, combining natural sounds recorded in Grainger’s native Australia with haunting violin melodies and fragments of a J. C. Bach aria.

His music has been recorded on Starkland Records, 1750 Arch Records, Composers Recordings, Inc., Giorno Poetry Systems, Fylkingen Records (Sweden), S Press (Germany), OU Records (England), Perspectives of New Music, and Diffusion i Média (Canada). His CD “Walking Tune”, containing five works, was released in 1998 by Starkland Records.

Ashot Zograbyan was born on the 29th of January, 1945, in Yerevan, the capital of the former Armenian SSR. He studied music with Grikov Gheryazarian and Edward Bagdasarian at the Komitas Conservatory, where he now teaches composition and orchestration. He also teaches at the Babajanian Music School, for teenagers aged 14 to 18. Mr. Zograbyan won the 1993 Khachaturian Competition with his Parable for 13 instruments, composed in 1991. His works are well known in Armenia and Russia and have also been performed in Czechoslovakia, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, Belgium and the United States. For many years, Zograbyan has been an outsider as a composer in Armenia, due to the advanced chromaticism of his music, distilled from his study of the leading European avant-garde masters such as Boulez and Stockhausen.

Frances White is a composer working primarily in the medium of music for instruments and tape. Her more recent works include Resonant Landscape (1990), an interactive computer-music installation which was presented for two weeks in 1990 at the Kelvingrove Art Galleries in Glasgow, Trees (1991) for strings and tape, Nocturne (1992), a tape piece commissioned by the Groupe de musique experimentale de Bourges, and Winter Aconites (1993) for six instruments and tape, a commission by The ASCAP Foundation in memory of John Cage. Ms. White lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with her husband, writer James Pritchett, their two cats, and an ever-expanding collection of species and hybrid orchids.

Calliope Tsoupaki was born in Piraeus, Greece, in May, 1963. Her initial studies were in piano and music theory at the Hellinicon Conservatory in Athens. Her first composition teacher in Athens was Yannis Ioannithis. Later, she studied with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, where she graduated in December, 1992.

Ms. Tsoupaki’s works have been performed in Europe and in the United States, and she has participated in various music festivals such as Festival New Music in Middelburg in 1990 and 1992, Gaudeamus International Music Week in Amsterdam in 1991 and 1993 and several others. In 1993, she won a three-month residency from the fondation Pepinières for young artists, to live and work in Budapest. Presently, she lives and works in Amsterdam.

Tan Dun unites Chinese shamanistic traditions with the western avant-garde, reaching audiences through venues from the Concertgebouw, Avery Fisher Hall and Suntory Hall, to the Guggenheim Museum and La MaMa ETC. This year, Tan will be the featured composer at the Ultima Festival (Oslo), the Festival d’Automne (Paris), the BBC Proms (London), and the Helsinki Biennale which hosts the world premiere of his cello concerto Intercourse of Fire and Water: Yi. His works have been selected for major festivals around the world and have been broadcast often by National Public Radio, the BBC and Berlin Radio. In 1994, the recording of his orchestra music On Taoism (on Koch-Schwann) was selected by BBC Magazine as one of the best CD’s of the year.

Tan Dun was born in 1957 in Si Mao village in central Hunan, China and spent his early childhood with his grandmother, growing up amidst the ancient culture of a rural Chinese village. After planting rice for two years during the Cultural Revolution, and then working as a fiddle player and arranger for a provincial Beijing Opera troupe, Tan was selected for the Central Conservatory of Beijing where he spent eight years. He came to New York City in 1986 to take up a fellowship at Columbia University, and completed the doctoral program in composition, studying with Chou, Davidovsky and Edwards. His music is published by G. Schirmer.

Born 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, Alvin Singleton attended both New York University and Yale, and he studied as a Fulbright scholar with Goffredo Petrassi at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. After working for more than a decade in Europe, Singleton served as composer in residence with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 1985 to 1988 and was resident composer at Spelman College from 1988 to 1991.

He was awarded the Kranischsteiner Musikpreis by the City of Darmstadt, Germany, the Musikprotokoll Kompositionpreis by the Austrian Radio, Mayor’s Fellowship in the Arts Award by the City of Atlanta, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Singleton’s oeuvre includes works for the theater, orchestral pieces, instrumental solos, and a wide range of chamber ensembles. His compositions have been performed by major orchestras of the United States and Europe, and also by the Kronos Quartet, the Nash Ensemble of London, the Asko Ensemble of Amsterdam, Ensemble des 20. Jahrhunderts of Vienna, the London Sinfonietta, and the Bremer Tanztheatre in Germany. Important international festivals have also programmed Singleton’s music. They include Tanglewood, Aspen, the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, the Vienna Summer Music Festival, Pro Musica Nova in Bremen, the Styrian Autumn Festival in Graz, the Brussels ISCM World Music Days, and IRCAM in Paris.

Born in 1935 in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California, Terry Riley launched what is now known as the Minimalist movement with his revolutionary classic In C in 1964. This seminal work provided the conception for a form comprised of interlocking repetitive patterns that was to change the course of 20th-century music and strongly influence the works of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams, as well as rock groups like The Who, The Soft Machine, Curved Air, Tangerine Dream and many others.

In the 1960s and ’70s he turned his attention to solo improvisational works for electronic keyboards and soprano saxophone, and pioneered the use of various kinds of tape delay in live performance. This approach resulted in another set of milestone works, A Rainbow in Curved Air, Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band, The Persian Surgery Dervishes and Shri Camel. These hypnotic, multi-layered, polymetric, brightly orchestrated, eastern-flavored improvisations set the stage for the New Age movement that was to appear a decade or so later.

Terry Riley has written for a variety of new-music soloists and ensembles, including the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Array Music of Toronto, Zeitgeist, Stephen Scott’s bowed piano ensemble, The California Ear Unit, guitarist David Tanenbaum, the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio, pianist Werner Baertschi and the Amati string quartet. In 1989, he formed the new performance ensemble KHAYAL which specializes in group vocal and instrumental improvisation. In 1992, he formed a small theater company, The Travelling Avantt-Gaard to perform his opera/theater piece The Saint Adolf Ring, based on the divinely mad drawings, poetry, writings and mathematical calculations of Adolf Wölfli, an early 20th-century Swiss artist.

In 1970 Riley made his first of a series of trips to India to study with the renowned North Indian vocal Master, Pandit Pran Nath. Over the years he has frequently appeared with Pandit Pran Nath as vocal and tamboura accompanist.

Riley taught North Indian Raga and music composition during his years at Mills College in Oakland, California, in the 1970s. It was there he met David Harrington, the founder and first violinist in the Kronos Quartet, and began the long association that has produced nine string quartets, a keyboard quintet, Crows Rosary, and a concerto for string quartet and orchestra, The Sands, commissioned by the Salzberg Festival in 1991. Cadenza on the Night Plain was selected by both Time and Newsweek as one of the ten best classical albums of the year 1985. The epic five-quartet cycle, Salome Dances for Peace, was selected as the number one classical album of the year by USA Today Magazine and was nominated for a grammy.

Currently living in Connecticut, composer Ingram Marshall has lived and worked extensively in the San Francisco Bay Area. Educated at Lake Forest College, Columbia University, where he worked with Vladimir Ussachevsky, and California Institute of the Arts, where he worked with Morton Subotnick, Marshall went on to study gamelan music in Bali and Java in 1971. Over the next several years, Marshall further cultivated his interest in Indonesian music and continued the experimental work in electronic music.

Certain characteristics of Marshall’s music, such as the slowed-down sense of time and use of melodic repetition, can be traced to his study of Indonesian music. These characteristics can be heard in his earlier works such as Fog Tropes and Gradual Requiem, as well as in his more recent Penitential Visions and Sinfonia Dolce far Niente.

Marshall has performed his own live electronic music in the U.S. and Europe, and has collaborated with various artists and choreographers including photographer Jim Bengston and choreographers Stuart Pimsler and Paula Josa-Jones. Marshall has been the recipient of awards, grants and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fromm Foundation, California Arts Council, the Washington State Arts Commission and others.

Rex Lawson was born on April 3, 1948, the son of two talented amateur musicians who met through playing piano duos. He was educated at Dulwich College and Nottingham University, where he studied Music and French. He began his career in music administration, first managing an small orchestra in middle England, and then as a musical executive for the Arts Council of Great Britain. However, a fascination with player-pianos led to the idea of his orchestra performing the Grieg Piano Concerto with Percy Grainger, who at the time (1972) had been dead for just over ten years. As a result of the ensuing concert he was asked to organize and present other concerts of posthumous pianists, and gradually Rachmaninoff, Busoni, Stravinsky, Hofmann, Gershwin and others returned to the concert platform, while Mr. Lawson found his administrative career disappearing in favor of a full-time commitment to the player-piano.

Rex Lawson is kept very busy by his performances as well as his activities in creating and publishing music rolls for player-pianos, under his own Perforetur label. He has performed in the world premiere of Stravinsky’s Les Noces in its 1919 version (which includes pianola, harmonium and cimbalom) with Pierre Boulez in Paris, the revival of George Antheil’s Ballet Mécanique at Carnegie Hall, and the resuscitation of Percy Grainger to appear as soloist with the BBC Symphony. Mr. Lawson is the founder and director of the Pianola Institute, and has made three CD recordings of pianola music by Stravinsky and Antheil, available on the MusicMasters label.

Using both acoustic and electronic/MIDI violin, Mari Kimura pushes the boundaries of the violin, playing both her own works and those that numerous composers, such as Toshi Ichiyanagi and Robert Rowe, have written especially for her. Her recent appearances include those at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the festival of Electro-Acoustic Music in Sweden, the Asian Contemporary Music Festival in Seoul, the International Symposium of Electronic Art (ISAE) in Helsinki, and at the International Bartok Festival in Hungary. An accomplished improviser, she has toured with such leading American improvisers as Henry Kaiser and Elliot Sharp. An album entitled “Acoustics,” that includes her improvisations with Henry Kaiser, John Oswald and Jim O’Rourke, has just been released on the Victo label.

Lou Harrison lived his first nine years in Portland, Oregon, where he was born in May 14, 1917. Residences since then include Central California, Los Angeles, New York City (ten years), North Carolina, the San Francisco Bay region, Oaxaca, New Zealand, and the Monterey Bay region where he lives now. His studies were with Howard Cooper, Henry Cowell, Arnold Schoenberg, and Virgil Thomson. He is the recipient of several grants and awards, including Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships. Mr. Harrison has established himself as one of the most original and important American composers of the 20th century.

As Mr. Harrison likes to point out, American composers must often do other things to support themselves. Among these he has been a record salesman, an animal nurse, a journalist, a florist, a forestry firefighter, and dance accompanist. He is a poet, painter, calligrapher, and type face designer in addition to being a composer. He has helped to introduce the Indonesian gamelan to the United States and, with William Colvig, has constructed two large gamelans now in use at San Jose State University and Mills College.

Ned Rorem has said, “Lou Harrison’s compositions demonstrate a variety of means and techniques. In general he is a melodist. Rhythm has a significant place in his work, too. Harmony is unimportant, although tonality is. He is one of the first American composers to successfully create a workable marriage between Eastern and Western forms.”

Lou Harrison passed away Sunday evening, February 2, 2003, on his way to attend a festival of his music at Ohio State University at Columbus.

Composer and clarinetist Don Byron was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. Though Byron’s parents were not working musicians, they provided him with a wide base of musical experience through his father’s bass playing in a calypso band, his mother’s piano playing and early visits to jazz clubs and the New York Philharmonic. Though Byron originally studied classical clarinet, he became interested in neighborhood salsa bands in high school and began arranging and playing Latin music. During his studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, he took a strong turn toward jazz, and in 1980, while still an undergraduate, Byron embraced klezmer (the clarinet-led Jewish street music of Eastern Europe) and began playing in the Klezmer Conservatory Band.

Internationally acknowledged as a major new force on clarinet in a variety of genres, Byron has won the Down Beat Critics Poll for Best Clarinet Player for three consecutive years as well as the 1993 Downbeat Readers Poll for Best Clarinet Player and 1992 Downbeat Critics Poll for Best New Jazz Artist. His Music for Six Musicians was released in 1995 by Nonesuch Records.

Except for a brief period of study at Chicago Musical College and Governors State University in Chicago, Illinois, where he studied electronic music, Muhal Richard Abrams is predominately a self-taught musician who, as a result of many years of observation, analysis and practice as a performing musician, has developed a highly respected command of a variety of musical styles both as a pianist and composer. The versatile Mr. Abrams and members of The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), of which he is co-founder, are responsible for some of the most original new music approaches of the last two decades.

Some recent compositions of Mr. Abrams include Transversion I Op. 6 for symphony orchestra, NOVI for symphony orchestra and jazz quartet, and Variations for solo saxophone, flute and chamber orchestra. His Quintet for soprano voice, piano, harp, cello and violin was commissioned by The Kitchen and performed at Symphony Space in April, 1982, and his String Quartet #2 was performed by The Kronos Quartet on November 22, 1985, at the Carnagie Recital Hall in New York City. Further recent works include What A Man , commissioned for the Black Repertory Ensemble by the Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College Chicago and the Friends of the Chicago Public Library in honor of the Late Mayor Harold Washington and to commemorate the opening of The Harold Washington Library on October 7, 1991.

Muhal Richard Abrams’ catalogue of recordings is a long list indeed, including recordings on Delmark, Arista Novus and Black Saint Records. His musical affiliations is a “who’s who” of the jazz world, including Max Roach, Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer, Sonny Stitt, Anthony Braxton, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Eddie Harris and many others.

Mr. Abrams has taught privately for over twenty years, and has also taught jazz composition and improvisation classes at the Banff Center in Banff, Canada, Columbia University in New York City, the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and the BMI Composers Workshop in New York City. In addition to being the co-founder of the AACM, he is the founder of the AACM School of Music, and President of the AACM, New York Chapter.

Festival Program

Center for the Arts Theater
Thursday, March 30, 1995

 

Alvin Singleton:
Secret Desire to Be Black (Quartet No. 2) (1988)
Kronos Quartet:
David Harrington, violin
John Sherba, violin
Hank Dutt, viola
Joan Jeanrenaud, cello
Written for Kronos

Terry Riley:
Ascensión (1993)
David Tanenbaum, guitar
Written for David Tanenbaum

Mari Kimura:
Gemini (1994)
Mari Kimura, solo violin (movement I)
Zeta MIDI violin and interactive computer systems (movement II)
World premiere

Lou Harrison:
Varied Trio (1987)
Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio:
David Abel, violin
Julie Steinberg, piano
William Winant, percussion
Written for the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio

INTERMISSION

Muhal Richard Abrams:
The Prism I and The Prism 2 (1995)
Muhal Richard Abrams, piano
Eddie Allen, trumpet
Alfred Patterson, trombone
World premieres
These two works of Muhal Richard Abrams were commissioned by Other Minds especially for this concert series.

Center for the Arts Theater
Friday, March 31, 1995

Kronos Quartet
David Harrington, violin
John Sherba, violin
Hank Dutt, viola
Joan Jeanrenaud, cello
All works on this program were written for Kronos

Ashot Zograbyan:
Novelette (1992)
United States premiere

Terry Riley:
“The Gift” from Salome Dances for Peace (1985-86)

Don Byron:
There Goes the Neighborhood (1994)
I. Calypso
II. Strong at the Broken Places
III. Colgate Gardens
West Coast Premiere

Ingram Marshall:
Fog Tropes II (1993)
For string quartet and tape
Assisted by David Wessell

INTERMISSION

Tan Dun:
Ghost Opera (1994)
Wu Man, pipa
For string quartet and pipa with water, stone, paper and metal
West Coast premiere

George Coates Performance Works
Saturday, April 1, 1995, 2:00 pm

Music and Technology: A Performance and Demonstration

Mari Kimura:
Eco II (1993)
Mari Kimura, violin and real-time signal processing

Charles Amirkhanian:
Gold and Spirit (1984)
Composition for tape

Calliope Tsoupaki:
Mania (1988)
Mari Kimura, violin

Rex Lawson, in conversation with Charles Amirkhanian,
demonstrates the pianola, its repertoire, and its possibilities at (20th) century’s end

Conlon Nancarrow:
Toccata (1935)
Mari Kimura, violin, and Rex Lawson, pianola

Center for the Arts Theater
Saturday, April 1, 1995

 

Lou Harrison:
Five Short Pieces
I. Waltz for Evelyn Hinrichsen (1977)
II. Serenado (1952)
III. Air (1978)
IV. Usul-little homage to Sinan (1978)
V. Jahla-in the form of a Ductia to Pleasure Leopold Stokowski on his ninetieth birthday (1972)
David Tanenbaum, guitar
William Winant, percussion (on Nos. III, IV and V)

Calliope Tsoupaki:
Compulsive Caress (1993)
David Tanenbaum, guitar
West Coast premiere

Frances White:
Trees (1992)
Members of Sonus Imaginorem:
Kathryn Stenberg, violin
Candace Guirao, violin
Kurt Rohde, viola
West Coast premiere

INTERMISSION

Don Byron:
Tears (1994)
(The press made) Rodney King (responsible for the LA riots) (1994)

Bubber Miley (for Ellington Orchestra):
Jubilee Stomp
Don Byron, clarinet

Rex Lawson playing pianola rolls including
Igor Stravinsky: from Petrushka
Igor Stravinsky: Study for Pianola
Claude Debussy, arr. J. Lawrence Cook: Clair de Lune
Rex Lawson, pianola

Ingram Marshall:
Sierran Songs (1994)
I. John Muir: “The Sierra Matterhorn” from The Mountains of California (1894)
II. Jack Kerouac: from The Dharma Bums
III. Gary Snyder: “On Climbing the Sierra Matterhorn Again After Thirty-One Years” from Not Nature
IV. John Muir: “On Mt. Ritter” from The Mountains of California
V. Gary Snyder: “For/From Lew” from Not Nature
VI. Lew Welch: from Song of the Turkey Buzzard
Paul Hillier, voice
Daniel Kennedy, percussion
Ingram Marshall, electronics
Bay Area Premiere

Photos by John Fago

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