The Tenth Annual Music + Festival will be highlighted by the presence of composer Joan Tower, one of America’s foremost composers. An entire concert will be devoted solely to the music of Ellington, and a rare performance of an Ellington work for orchestra and jazz ensemble will be heard. The festival also provides the opportunity to encounter the music of the 20th-century giant, Paul Hindemith, who through composition, conducting, and teaching, transformed musical life in Europe and America in the 20th century.
The Music + Festival is made possible with the support of The Apgar Foundation; The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation; The Sarah Scaife Foundation; Volvo of Tucson; Drs. Fran and Tim Orrok; Wesley Green; Harvey Motulsky and Lisa Norton; I. Michael and Beth Kasser; Mesch Clark and Rothschild; HBL CPAs; Classical 90.5 FM / Arizona Public Media; KVOI 1030 AM “The Voice” Radio; The Arizona Daily Star; College of Fine Arts Bank One Visiting Artist Professorship Awards; and the American Culture and Ideas Initiative.
FESTIVAL SCHEDULE & PROGRAM
“Paris Blues” (1961) – Music by Duke Ellington
Introduction by Keith Pawlak
Director: Martin Ritt
Cast: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Sydney Poitier, Diahann Carroll, Louis Armstrong
Friday, October 6, 6:30 p.m., $Free
Center for Creative Photography auditorium (1030 N Olive Road)
Guest: Joan Tower
Speakers: Matthew Mugmon, Angelo Versace
Saturday, October 7, 1:30 p.m., Room 146, $Free
Saturday, October 7, 4:00 p.m., Holsclaw Hall, $Free
Jackie Glazier, clarinet
Pamela Decker, organ
Edward Goodman, saxophone
Tiezheng Shen, viola
Rex Woods, piano
Yunchen Liu, guitar
Misael Barraza-Diaz, guitar
Diana Schaible, flute
Tower: Snow Dreams
Hindemith: Trio for Saxophone, Viola, and Piano
Hindemith: Organ Sonata No. 3
Tower: Power Dance
Saturday, October 7, 7:30 p.m., Crowder Hall, $10, 7, 5
Arizona Symphony Orchestra
UA Studio Jazz Ensemble
UA Wind Ensemble
UA Faculty/Student Brass Ensemble
Hindemith: Geschwindmarsch by Beethoven
Tower: Fascinating Ribbons
Hindemith: Apparebit Repentina Dies
Ellington: Black, Brown, and Beige
Sunday, October 8, 1:30 p.m., Crowder Hall, $10, 7, 5
“The Music of Duke Ellington”
UA Studio Jazz Ensemble
Black and Tan Fantasy
East St. Louis Toodle-oo
Concerto for Cootie
Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue
Lady of the Lavender Mist
Sunday, October 8, 4:00 p.m., Crowder Hall, $Free
Arizona Wind Quintet
Tannis Gibson, piano
Timothy Kantor, violin
Theodore Buchholz, cello
Daniel Katzen, Gregory Helseth, Anne Cotin, Michael Mesner, horn
UA Percussion Group
Arizona Contemporary Ensemble
Hindemith: Kleine Kammermusik for Wind Quintet
Hindemith: Sonata for Four Horns
Tower: String Force
Hindemith: Kammerkonzert, Opus 24, No. 1
ABOUT THE COMPOSERS
Paul Hindemith (from Schott Music)
Paul Hindemith was born on 16.11.1895 in Hanau. He studied the violin and composition with Adolf Rebner, Arnold Mendelssohn and Bernhard Sekles at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt/Main. He was only twenty when he was appointed as the leader of the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra. After the end of the First World War, he returned to Frankfurt and founded the Amar Quartet in which he played the viola from 1922 to 1929. In 1923, Hindemith became a member of the organizational committee for the Donaueschingen Music Festival: it was at this festival that he gained an initial reputation following the first performance of his String Quartet Op. 16. In 1927, he was appointed as professor for composition at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. His career as a composer reached a first peak at the beginning of the 1930s, but with the seizure of power by the Nazis, his works were declared as “culturally bolshevist” and disappeared from concert programs. Hindemith undertook a number of journeys to Turkey and the USA. In 1936, a final ban was issued for the performance of his works which provoked Hindemith to emigrate, initially to Switzerland. He subsequently relocated to the USA and acquired American nationality (1946). As a professor, he taught at Yale University from 1940 to 1953 and was a guest lecturer at Harvard University in 1949/50. From 1951 to 1957, he was a professor for musicology at the Zurich University and settled in Blonay near Lake Geneva. Paul Hindemith died on 28 December 1963 in Frankfurt/Main.
Hindemith played a prominent role in music history, not only as one of the leading composers of the 20th century, but also as conductor, teacher and musical theorist. His oeuvre spans all genres: orchestral works, solo concertos, chamber music for a wide variety of instruments, choral works, lieder, operas and ballets. He was also the author of numerous books and essays, including the book on harmonic theory “Unterweisung im Tonsatz”, first published in 1937. His compositions take up a position within the contradictory contexts of avant-garde provocation, “Neue Sachlichkeit” [New Objectivity] and the search for a universally accepted musical language. While Kammermusik No.1 which was premiered in1922 in Donaueschingen was deliberately intended to provoke the bourgeois public with its wailing sirens, the later Kammermusik works which were composed up to 1927 display the transparent, contrapuntal and well-dosed harmony which chiefly characterized Hindemith’s works during his central creative phase. The Concerto for violin and orchestra from 1939 heralded a series of later solo concertos which display Hindemith’s fully mature style.
Hindemith produced a decisively contrasting alternative to Wagner’s musical dramas with his comic opera Neues vom Tage (1928-29), composed in the style of the “topical opera” of the 1920s. Hindemith’s operas frequently contain stylistic elements of parody which can also be detected in his ironical chamber music works such as Minimax (1923) or the Ouvertüre zum „Fliegenden Holländer“ („wie sie eine Kurkapelle morgens um 7 am Brunnen vom Blatt spielt“) [Overture to the “Flying Dutchman” (“as played at sight by the spa orchestra at seven o’clock in the morning at the fountain”)]. Hindemith made a substantial contribution to the genre of music theatre with his operas Cardillac (1925-26/1952), Mathis der Maler (1934-35) and Die Harmonie der Welt (1956-57).
Hindemith received honorary doctorates from numerous universities including the University of Frankfurt (1949), the FU Berlin (1950) and Oxford University (1954). He also received the Bach Prize from the city of Hamburg (1951), the Order pour le mérite (1952), the Sibelius Prize (1955), the Kunstpreis from the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia (1958) and the Bazlan Prize (1963). Since 2000, the city of Hanau has commemorated “the lifework of this illustrious artist” with the biennial awarding of the Paul Hindemith Prize of the city of Hanau.
Joan Tower (from Bard College website)
Joan Tower is widely regarded as one of the most important American composers living today. During a career spanning more than 50 years, she has made lasting contributions to musical life in the United States as composer, performer, conductor, and educator. Her works have been commissioned by major ensembles, soloists, and orchestras, including the Emerson, Tokyo, and Muir quartets; soloists Evelyn Glennie, Carol Wincenc, David Shifrin, and John Browning; and the orchestras of Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Washington DC among others.
In 1990, Tower became the first woman to win the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for her composition Silver Ladders. She was the first composer chosen for a Ford Made in America consortium commission of sixty-five orchestras. The Nashville Symphony and conductor Leonard Slatkin recorded that work, Made in America, with Tambor and Concerto for Orchestra for the Naxos label. The top-selling recording won three 2008 Grammy awards: Best Classical Contemporary Composition, Best Classical Album, and Best Orchestral Performance.
From 1969 to 1984, she was pianist and founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players, which commissioned and premiered many of her most popular works. Her first orchestral work, Sequoia, quickly entered the repertory. Tower’s tremendously popular five Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman have been played by over 500 different ensembles. She is currently Asher Edelman Professor of Music at Bard College, where she has taught since 1972.
Her composer-residencies with orchestras and festivals include a decade with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Composer of the Year for their 2010-2011 season, as well as the St. Louis Symphony, the Deer Valley Music Festival, and the Yale/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.
Among her recent premieres: White Water (2012), commissioned by Chamber Music Monterey Bay and premiered by the Daedalus Quartet; Stroke (2011), commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; White Granite (2009), commissioned by St. Timothy’s Summer Music Festival, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, and La Jolla Music Society for SummerFest; Angels (2008), her fourth string quartet, commissioned by Music for Angel Fire and premiered by the Miami String Quartet; Dumbarton Quintet (2008), a piano quintet commissioned by the Dumbarton Oaks Estate (their third commission after Stravinsky and Copland) and premiered by Tower and the Enso String Quartet; Chamber Dance (2006), commissioned, premiered, and toured by Orpheus; and Copperwave (2006), written for the American Brass Quintet and commissioned by The Juilliard School of Music. A Gift (2007), for winds and piano, was commissioned by Chamber Music Northwest and premiered by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS). Other CMS premieres included Trio Cavany (2007) and Simply Purple (2008) for viola, performed by Paul Neubauer.
Her compositions cross many genres: Can I (2007) for youth chorus and percussionist; Copperwave (2006), written for brass quintet; DNA (2003), a percussion quintet commissioned for Frank Epstein and the New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble; Fascinating Ribbons (2001), her foray into the world of band music, premiered at the annual conference of College Band Directors; Vast Antique Cubes/Throbbing Still (2000), a solo piano piece for John Browning; Tambor (1998), for the Pittsburgh Symphony under the baton of Mariss Jansons; and her ballet Stepping Stones (1993), commissioned by choreographer Kathryn Posin for the Milwaukee Ballet and revisited by Posin with the Bulgarian Ballet in June 2011.
Duke Ellington (from Jazz at Lincoln Center, education and outreach website)
Duke Ellington was born in Washington, D.C. on April 29, 1899. His parents both played piano and they encouraged their son to study music at a very early age. Duke sought mentorship both in and out of the family. He studied with local pianists Oliver “Doc” Perry and Louis Brown and listened to piano rolls by the great stride pianists James P. Johnson and Luckey Roberts. By age 24, Ellington was among the most successful dance bandleaders in Washington. Already, the regal nickname he’d earned in high school seemed prescient.
In 1923, Duke moved to New York, where he joined the cultural revolution known as the Harlem Renaissance. He immersed himself in the musical life of the city, playing and studying alongside many of his heroes, including pianists Johnson and Willie “The Lion” Smith, and composer Will Marion Cook. It was Cook who advised young Ellington, “First…find the logical way, and when you find it, avoid it and let your inner self break through and guide you. Don’t try to be anybody else but yourself.” It was a lesson Duke would carry throughout his career.
That year, Duke and his group, The Washingtonians, found a steady job at the Kentucky Club near Times Square. Though he was just beginning his career as a composer, his five-piece band quickly earned attention for its fresh and unusual sound, highlighted by the startling growls of trumpeter Bubber Miley. Their growing reputation eventually earned the band a job at Harlem’s prestigious Cotton Club, where they would stay from 1927 to 1931. Now a large 10- to 12-piece orchestra, the band offered Ellington the opportunity to experiment with his writing and perfect the “jungle sound” for which he’d become famous. Writer Ralph Ellison, then a high school student, recalled the Cotton Club days, “It was as though Ellington had taken the traditional instruments of Negro American music and modified them, extended their range and enriched their tonal possibilities… It was not until the discovery of Ellington that we had any hint that jazz possessed possibilities of a range of expressiveness comparable to that of classical European music.”
By 1930, the orchestra had recorded nearly 200 compositions, including the best-selling Ellington/Bigard classic, “Mood Indigo.” Among his earliest hits, “Mood Indigo” offered listeners a glimpse into Ellington’s unorthodox musical world. Though wedded to the blues and the jazz traditions, Ellington was not afraid to turn the music on its head. At times, his unusual orchestral combinations baffled even his own band members.
Ellington was just beginning to hit his stride. In 1931, the band embarked on an extensive national and international tour that, in a sense, would continue for the next four decades. At times, it was not unusual for the group to perform as many as 300 concerts a year. Despite the exhaustive nature of his schedule, Ellington’s cosmopolitan elegance and integrity never wavered. Whether in small town or sprawling metropolis, the band’s visits were considered sacred events.
The band, a musical laboratory of sorts, continued to expand in size, offering its leader ever-varied tone colors with which to experiment. “The music,” he said, “must be molded to the men,” and as a result, the band’s handpicked personnel had an immeasurable impact on the group sound. Two of the most notable additions were bassist Jimmy Blanton and tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, whose combined mastery left a lasting impression on Ellington. Even more profound was the impact of the young Billy Strayhorn, who in 1939 became the band’s assistant pianist and arranger.
Armed with a growing arsenal of sounds and textures, Ellington began to broaden the scope of his work, experimenting with extended song forms, unconventional harmonies, and orchestrations. Already a master of the then-standard three-minute song form [exemplified by such classics as “Cottontail” (1940) and “Harlem Airshaft” (1940)], Ellington embarked on more expansive pieces, including Such Sweet Thunder (1957) and The Nutcracker Suite (1960), that stretched the boundaries of his genre. The music, as Duke liked to say, was “beyond category.”
Ellington embraced the scope of American music like no one else. He synthesized ragtime, the minstrel song, Tin Pan Alley, the blues, and American appropriations of the European music tradition, creating a consistent and recognizable style. His understanding of and appreciation for the blues resulted in new conceptions of blues form, harmony, and melody. He was also the master of the romantic ballad, writing evocative (though not saccharine) pieces that featured the distinctive sound and phrasing of his great soloists.
Ellington’s appreciation for the diversity of American life and music resulted in an incredibly varied repertoire. He wrote for the ballroom, comedy stage, nightclub, movie house, theater, concert hall, and cathedral. Anticipating the current embracing of “world music,” he incorporated themes and motifs inspired by his tours abroad into such evocative pieces as “The Far East Suite” (1964) and “Afro-Eurasian Eclipse” (1971). His adventurous spirit also extended to the piano. Always willing to embrace innovations in jazz, Ellington periodically left the bandstand to showcase his instrumental prowess. He performed and recorded in various small group settings with “modernists” Max Roach, Charles Mingus (Money Jungle), and John Coltrane (Duke Ellington & John Coltrane).
Ellington performed regularly until the spring of 1974 when he was overcome by lung cancer. In addition to a vast musical output, he left a distinctive personal account of his life and work in his autobiography Music is My Mistress, published in 1973.
Ellington’s music was a model of modern democracy, celebrating the freedom of personal expression in the service of a group sound. He wanted his musicians to “sound like themselves,” but to “make him sound good as well!” Writer Albert Murray explains, “at its best, an Ellington performance sounds as if it knows the truth about all the other music in the world and is looking for something better. Not even the Constitution represents a more intrinsically American statement and achievement than that.”