Faculty Artist Series Recital
March 19, Saturday, 7:00 p.m.
Holsclaw Hall, $Free
Colin I. NOSSEK
Invocation (2021) ✧
Maggie Polk OLIVO
White Sand and Gray Sand (2020) ✧
White Sand: Caliche
Gray Sand: Limestone
for Casey and Sara (1995/2022) ✧
Passepied for Sara
Johanna Magdalena BEYER
Six Movements for Oboe and Piano (1939) ✧
Pine Chant (2021)
✧ world premiere
ABOUT THE MUSIC
Invocation was written primarily in October of 2021, during my favorite time of year. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I find the entire Halloween season deeply inspirational. This piece came from a fairly spontaneous spark of inspiration for something short and incantatory. I conceived of it as a prelude to a witches’ sabbath or some other seasonally appropriate rite. –– CN
Colin I. Nossek (b. 1999) is a composer and clarinetist dedicated to the creation of new, imaginative works that are accessible to a wide audience. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition from the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music, where he studied with Dr. Kay He (composition) and Dr. Jackie Glazier (clarinet). Nossek’s music is inspired by the natural world, dreams, interpersonal relationships, and queer identity. He enjoys blending genres and likes to describe his music as “if Radiohead were a bluegrass band that played on classical instruments.” Nossek has received commissions internationally for concert music as well as music for theater, including award-winning saxophonist Don-Paul Kahl, No Divide KC, the Winding Road Theater Ensemble, contrabassoonist Susan Nigro, and the zooDuo. His works for saxophone have been featured at NASA Region 2 and Region 4 conferences, and his work Automata for clarinet and electronics, was featured at the 2021 TURNUP Festival.
As a performer, Nossek is a proponent of new music. He believes in decolonization of the classical music canon and is always looking to perform new or underperformed works by women, queer composers, and composers of color. While studying at the University of Arizona, Nossek held the position of principal clarinet and principal bass clarinet in the UA Wind Ensemble and participated in the Arizona Symphony Orchestra, the Vulpes Wind Quintet, and the Avian Trio. Nossek was selected as a winner of the 2021 University of Arizona President’s Competition for his performance of Scott McAllister’s Black Dog. colinnossek.com
White Sand and Gray Sand takes its name from an 18th-century street cry originating in England, later brought to the United States by English and Irish immigrants. Street cryers stood on street corners singing the song, selling sand that would help to blot ink for quill pens. White sand was unused and the gray sand was recycled. My first experience hearing the rich harmonies of the song was during my Kodály training. Coincidentally, Sara learned the song as a member of the Kodály Chorus in New Haven, CT and shared, “It later resurfaced, with different words, in a song collection” that she shared with her own kids. “I have always loved this round and its tug of melancholy, despite all of its major thirds.”
I began to think of how Sara retreats to the Midwest each summer for the Bay View Music Festival, living in Tucson the rest of the year. Having grown up in Tucson, I now live in Bloomington, Indiana. So I turned to our own “sands” of these respective lands, particularly limestone and caliche. Although I am by means an expert in geology, I learned as much as I could about the geological processes of these two sedimentary rocks. I saw similarities between the formations’ processes and the canon’s melody: horizonal lines layered with repetitions and colors to create vertical harmonies and bindings. It was at this point that the piece metamorphosed into a symbolic gesture, each movement emulating the process of the sedimentary rock formations: Caliche in the Southwest (White Sand) and Limestone in the Midwest (Gray Sand). In its introduction, I present the song as a whole, both horizontally and vertically, flirting with gestures and subtle liberties. Drawing from the five-note question, “Who’ll buy my white sand?” White Sand–Caliche emulates the rising of minerals, binding of calcium carbonate with other materials, and rain. Gray Sand–Limestone takes from the final five-note question, “Who’ll buy my gray sand?” Depicting the movements of marine life, these intervals weave throughout the movement. All motions eventually fossilize, though they are never completely static.
The eloquent words of poets Lois Roma Deeley and Scott Russell Sanders, alongside the beautiful images of printmaker Melanie Yazzie, helped me to articulate these geological processes through music. As it morphed into a metaphor for 2020, composing White Sand and Gray Sand has helped me to find meaning in such an eventful yet challenging year. Every place is defined by unique cultural landscapes. Like music, its stories alter over time: seemingly permanent but forever fluid. —MO
The northern and southern boundaries are marked by the main stem and East Fork of the White River—meandering stream that the Miami called Wapahani, meaning, White Sands.
–– Scott Russell Sanders, Stone Country
- White Sand: Caliche
In the Sonoran, the fickle desert rain
never comes when you need it—
but when the wind picks up, it pours itself out
empties itself of the black sky
rages down dry gullies and aching river beds
like a promise. Or a curse,
leaving behind caliche—white rock soil—
the ground which refuses to be tamed.
–– Lois Roma Deeley’s “Caliche,” published in Quiddity International Literary Journal (2018)
- Gray Sand: Limestone
Solid as rock, we say. Build your foundations upon stone, we say.
But of course, the rocks are not fixed.
Waters carve them, winds abrade them, heat and cold fracture them,
the twitches of the heaving earth buckle and warp them.
The sands on our beaches started out as bits of mountain.
The soil that feeds us is laced through and through with pulverized stone. Right this minute, the oceans are manufacturing the stuff, and so are volcanoes. From one millennial blink to the next, God would see an altered world. Still, in our hasty sight, the rocks seem fixed.
–– Scott Russell Sanders, Stone Country
Maggie Polk Olivo wears multiple hats as a musical collaborator, composer, educator and performer. Passionate about music education and new music, she is the creator and director of the BloomingSongs project, a music collection of works by renowned artists from all over the world. She started composing at a young age with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Young Composers Project. Awarded the IU Freshman Composition Competition, she studied music composition with P.Q.Phan, Sven-David Sandstrom, Don Freund, Claude Baker, and Marilyn Shrude at IU Jacobs School of Music. Recognized by the Music Educators National Conference and a National Young Composer Award semi-finalist in her youth, Olivo has since had music performed and commissioned by ensembles such as the Southwest String Quartet, Vera String Quartet, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, IU Children’s Choir, and Amity Trio.
During her Kodály Methodology certification at IU Jacobs, Olivo fell in love with folk music. Her love of folksongs evolved into a process she calls, “musical quilting,” in which folk songs are embedded into her compositions as musical messages—serving as harmonic foundations, gestural imitations, and melodic fragments.
Her projects have been featured in “Your Classical,” INform magazine, and IndyKorea. She was recognized as 2020’s Bloomington’s Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year. She teaches music composition at Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, Colorado and the Bridges Musical Arts Youth Organization. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana with her husband and two children. In addition to creating music with and for others, she loves observing the amazing behavior of plants and insects in nature.
Anthony Patterson enjoys a multi-faceted career as solo and collaborative pianist, composer, arranger and educator. For Brio Recordings produced by Chérie Noble, Patterson has recorded five albums of original compositions for use in ballet and dance studios and two solo piano ballet albums. In April, the National Chorale will record the world premiere of Patterson’s Gloria for vocal soloists, choir, percussion and two pianos at the Dimenna Center in New York City.
Patterson was Artist-in-Residence at Alma College from 1995 to 2020 and is a faculty artist at the Bay View Music Festival, where he has given hundreds of solo and chamber music performances since 1986. Tony began classical piano lessons at age three with his father, Richard Patterson who was a jazz pianist and bandleader. He made his solo debut at age eight, playing Mozart’s Concerto No. 28 with the Lima Symphony; and four years later joined the LSO in the premiere of “The Anthony Concerto,” composed for him by his teacher, Don Hurless. Patterson later studied with Richard Syracuse, Jerome Rose, and Earl Wild.
The piece Casey was written in 1995 for his wife, Casey Robards. Passepied for Sara is a piece meant to reminisce about our summers in Northern Michigan and the joy of making music together.
Through her novel approaches to texture and melody, German-American composer Johanna Magdalena Beyer (1888–1944) became one of the most distinctive ultramodernist voices of the mid-20th century. Beyer was the first woman known to have composed for electric instruments (Music of the Spheres, 1938). Her compositions anticipate elements of minimalism, a movement that would manifest two decades after her passing. Beyer was long omitted from the written history of ultramodernism, but her activities as a composer and pianist in 1930s New York City placed her within the orbits of many important artists.
Sparked by a rediscovery of Beyer’s compositions in the 1970s, performers, composers and scholars have endeavored to understand her music and life story. Beyer was born in Leipzig, Germany, though little is known of her life there. In 1923, she made New York City her permanent home and became an American citizen in 1930. Beyer earned degrees from the Mannes College of Music and later learned the principles of dissonant counterpoint as a student of Charles Seeger and Ruth Crawford. Beyer attended Henry Cowell’s classes at the New School for Social Research and became his devoted assistant during the time of his imprisonment in the late 1930s. In her own career, Beyer faced intersecting prejudices and limitations based on her gender, age, nationality and ultramodernist idiom. She struggled to gain acceptance as a composer, enduring poverty and debilitating illness at the end of her life.
In little more than a decade of intense creativity, Beyer produced inventive pieces in an ever-unfolding ultramodernist style. Many of Beyer’s compositions, including her Six Movements for Oboe and Piano, were never performed in her lifetime. This piece, along with seven other premiere recordings of Beyer’s woodwind music, is now available on a new album release by members of the Arizona Wind Quintet and pianist Daniel Linder (New World Records, 2022). The richness and originality of these works confirm Johanna Beyer’s importance in the canon of 20th-century wind chamber music. –– SF
…all we had to do was put our ears to the trees and listen very carefully.
–– Valerie Trouet, Tree Story
Responding to this quote from dendrochronologist Valerie Trouet, Pine Chant represents a kind of tree-listening of my own. I composed music to align with the rhythms of annual tree growth, drawing on a set of data shared with me by the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona in Tucson. But the work also reflects my own lived experience amidst the current climate uncertainty, as heard in the deep sadness pervading the harmonic cycles upon which I mapped the tree data.
Each of the work’s three sections deals with a particular tree species: Colorado pinyon, Ponderosa pine, and Douglas fir. I used the annual growth data to control various musical parameters including the temporal placement, density or length of the instrumental gestures. For the most part this plays out over a floating sonic landscape abstracted by the use of reverb, echo and distortion in the electronics. But in the faster third section of the work the sonification becomes more explicit: I wanted the listener to hear the changing climate.
Noticing a declining trend in the annual growth of Arizona’s Douglas Fir population across the twentieth century, I mapped this data to the space between each musical gesture (in this case rapidly falling arpeggios). The reduced growth over time creates an increasingly frantic texture as the gestures become closer together. We can also notice a greater synchronisation between the three instruments, and their coming together in rhythmic unison at the climax is for me symbolic: nature’s messaging is loud, clear and urgent.
In the work’s final moments, I added into the electronics the “voice” of another Douglas Fir dating from 1772, by far the oldest tree in the data set. These bell-like sonorities above the trio’s sustained chord hark back to a time before industrialisation. And I can’t help but think that the footprint of humanity is there in the trees, and it is upon all of us to listen, and to act. –– LS
Hailed by The Australian as possessing a “rare gift as a melodist” and by Limelight as expressing “both exquisite delicacy and tremendous power”, Australian composer Lachlan Skipworth writes orchestral, chamber, vocal and experimental music. His vivid musical language is coloured by three years spent in Japan where his immersion in the study of the shakuhachi bamboo flute inevitably became a part of his muse. Winning the 2014 Paul Lowin Prize for orchestral composition established Skipworth’s reputation and led to a string of major commissions and an appointment as composer-in-residence with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. lachlanskipworth.com
Pine Chant is a commission made possible by a UArizona Production Grant and the College of Fine Arts Fund for Excellence. Valerie Trouet, Tree Story: The History of the World Written in Rings. p. 89. © 2020 Johns Hopkins University Press. Reprinted with permission. Tree-ring diagrams, illustrating data from Pine Chant’s 12 Arizona trees, courtesy of Dr. Kelly Heilman of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.
ABOUT THE MUSICIANS
Sara Fraker is associate professor of oboe at the University of Arizona and a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. She is principal oboist of True Concord Voices & Orchestra, faculty artist at the Bay View Music Festival, and oboist of the Arizona Wind Quintet. Her innovative collaborations, which often explore intersections of music and ecology, include projects with ecologist/author Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass) and dendroecologist Margaret Evans (UArizona Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research). Sara’s work has been recently featured on CBC Radio and in an Artist Spotlight for the Climate Music Project. She has served as executive producer and score editor for two recent recording projects, Johanna Beyer: Music for Woodwinds (New World Records, 2022) and Hans Winterberg: Chamber Music (Toccata Classics, 2018). Her discography also includes a solo album, BOTANICA: music for oboe and English horn (MSR Classics, 2019) and projects for Naxos, Summit Records, and Reference Recordings. Sara has performed in festivals at Tanglewood, Aspen, Chautauqua, Spoleto Festival USA, and the Schleswig-Holstein Orchesterakademie in Germany. She has presented recitals and masterclasses across the US and in Mexico, Canada, Japan, Australia, and the Tohono O’odham Nation. Raised in New Haven, Connecticut, Sara is a graduate of Swarthmore College, New England Conservatory, and the University of Illinois. sarafraker.com
Marissa Olegario performs in the US and internationally as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. She has performed with artists from Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmoniker and the Breaking Winds Bassoon Quartet. Dedicated to non-traditional classical music experiences, she has partnered with Dance for Parkinson’s, collaborated with visual artists and designers, and commissions new works by living composers to expand the diversity of the bassoon repertoire. Her recent project, Musical Murals, was a partnership with Tucson’s Beyond Foundation that incorporated live music, visual art, and health and wellness into one interactive community event in downtown Tucson. She has presented recitals at the International Double Reed Society Conference and the Meg Quigley Bassoon Symposium. Bassoon faculty at the University of Arizona, Marissa gives masterclasses across the US. She holds degrees from Northwestern University, Yale School of Music and SUNY Stonybrook.
Clarinetist Gloria Orozco Dorado was born and raised in Colombia. As a soloist and chamber musician, she has performed in the United States, Colombia, Mexico, and the Netherlands. Gloria is a founding member of Q’iru Duet, a guitar and clarinet Chilean–Colombian duet that performs mainly Latin American music. Q’iru Duet was selected to perform at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest 2022 in Reno, Nevada. She is also a founding member of ClarINÉS Cuarteto de Clarinetes, winners of the 2015 National Contest “Luis Angel Arango,” held by the Colombian Republican Bank. In 2015, she created Soplan Vientos de Paz project (Winds of Peace are Blowing), which offers private and group clarinet lessons. Through this project, Gloria also raises resources to donate musical equipment to underprivileged communities going through a decades-long heavy civil war in Cauca, Colombia, and people from isolated Colombian and Brazilian Amazonia regions. Gloria has played with the World Youth Wind Orchestra and was a winner of the Northeastern Illinois University concerto competition. She has earned degrees from Universidad del Cauca, Northeastern Illinois University, and Southern Illinois University. Currently a first-year doctoral student at the University of Arizona, Gloria studies with Dr. Jackie Glazier under the auspices of a prestigious University Fellows Award.
Pianist/vocal coach and conductor Casey Robards has given recitals with singers and instrumentalists throughout the United States, Europe, Central and South America and Asia. Her repertoire includes art song, opera, musical theatre, gospel and popular vocal music, string, brass, wind and chamber music. She gave her Carnegie Hall debut with baritone Christiaan Smith performing an original program of Top 40 pop songs sung as art song arrangements. In 2019, she was featured on two new CD releases: BOTANICA: music for oboe and English horn with Sara Fraker (MSR Classics) and Chinese Fantasies with violinist Fangye Sun (Blue Griffin). 2021-22 touring programs include solo recitals with Ollie Watts Davis, LaToya Lain, and Karen Slack, all featuring the music of Black American composers and writers. Robards is currently on the faculty of the University of Illinois teaching collaborative piano, chamber music and vocal coaching. Previous appointments include Indiana University, Oberlin Conservatory (postdoc) and Central Michigan University. Robards’ growing career as a conductor includes leading productions at the Bay View Music Festival (Die Zauberflöte, La Traviata, La Boheme) and Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers for South Bend Lyric Opera. In 2017, she served as associate music director of the world premiere of “BOUNCE: The Basketball opera” co-produced with Ardea Arts and Univ. of Kentucky and has played in the Broadway touring productions of Wicked, Beautiful: The Carole King Story, and West Side Story. Casey is interested in the intersection of music and social justice and has led benefit recitals for MUSICAMBIA, a non-profit organization that creates music conservatories in prisons. Robards received the Henri Kohn Memorial Award for outstanding achievement at Tanglewood Music Festival. She completed her DMA in Vocal Accompanying and Coaching at the University of Illinois with her doctoral dissertation on the life and music of John Daniels Carter (1932-1981). Professional memberships include IKCAS (International Keyboard Collaborative Arts Society), NATS, Maestra, MUSE, and NOA (Sacred in Opera Initiative). caseyrobards.com