Joan Tower (b. 1938) has been described as one of the most successful women composers of all time. Her compositions have been performed all over the world and she has earned Grammy awards for her music. In 1993 she was commissioned to write music for the Milwaukee Ballet Company. The final movement of the ballet “Stepping Stones” is entitled “Celebrations”. Jack Stamp (a composer and conductor) was studying with Joan Tower and he suggested she compose a work for concert band. Well, she suggested to Jack that HE should take the final movement of the “Stepping Stones” ballet and transcribe it for the modern Concert Band. This is the version we will perform on this evening’s concert.
Carolyn Bremer (b. 1958) is the current director of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU Long Beach. The composition “Early Light” was originally commissioned by the Oklahoma City Philharmonic in July 1995. The piece is based on the “Star Spangled Banner”, however it is not entirely a descriptive work of patriotic feelings. Bremer is an avid baseball fan and the work reflects her excitement and happy anticipation of hearing the anthem played before the strat of a baseball game. If you listen closely you will even hear the “crack” of the ball hitting the bat near the conclusion of the piece.
Julie Giroux (b. 1961) is one of the most sought after composers working today. She has had an extensive career in Hollywood, working with Bill Conti, and has earned an Emmy award for her work in Prime Time television. She is represented by two compositions on tonight’s concert. “Hands of Mercy” was composed in 2000. The work was composed “in memory of a baby girl”. Her niece, Grace Victoria Giroux, was discovered to have a fatal birth defect and only lived for five hours. During this time the Julie and her brother Peter took turns holding the baby until she peacefully passed away. This composition reflects the myriad of emotions the composer felt during the five hours they were together on earth.
The Speed of Heat was composed in 2012 and is a musical depiction of the adventures of a fighter pilot, specifically, an F-22 Raptor pilot. Pursuits, dogfights, NFOD (no fear of death), Breaking the Sound Barrier, and GAP (Gauges all pinged at maximum levels) are just a few of the amazing sections of this composition.
Shelly Hanson’s compositions have been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Australia. She is a conductor, clarinetist, and record producer. She has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, and the Minnesota Pops Orchestra. She received her PhD in Performance, Music Theory, and Music Literature from Michigan State University. The Cochran Chamber Commissioning Project commissioned the “Dances With Winds” in 2008. It is unique as the instrumentation is “flexible”, meaning It can be performed with a large Concert Band, or with a smaller ensemble. Tonight we will be presenting it using only the woodwind section of the OCWS. The work is in three movements: I. “Gaida” (Bagpipe) is based on two Macedonian folk tunes. II. “The Irish Star” is based on the Irish folk-tune “Star of the Country Down”. III. “Serbian Dance” is a very fast folk dance called a “kolo”. The glissandi and rips in the woodwinds should be, in the composers words, “joyful, tasteless, and crass.”
Kathryn Salfelder (b. 1987) is an American composer, conductor, and pianist and is active in the Boston area. She received here degrees from The New England Conservatory of Music and the Yale School of Music. Her “Cathedrals” was composed in 2007and is a fantasy on Giovanni Gabrieli’s Canzon Primi Toni of 1597.
Cathedrals is an adventure in “neo-renaissance” music in its seating arrangement, antiphonal qualities, 16th century counterpoint and canonic textures. The work is a synthesis of old and new, evoking the mystery and allure of Gabrieli’s spatial music; rich color palate, modal harmonies, and the textures of woodwinds and percussion.
Elena Roussanova Lucas is currently an Associate Professor of Music at the Berkelee School of Music in Boston. She received her BM degree from the Ippolitov-Ivanov College of Music and her MM degree from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. The “Serenade For Winds” was composed in 2005 and is a beautiful melodic chorale for Concert Band.