Performance of Antares, Chamber Music
Sunday, April 13th, 2003, 6:00 p.m., Slifka Center
Free and open to the public
Vesselin Gellev, violin
Hailed by The Chicago Tribune for “powerful virtuosity and striking razor-sharp ensemble playing,” ANTARES was named First Prize Winner of the 2002 Concert Artists Guild Competition, where it was also awarded the WQXR Prize and numerous performance engagements. Formed in 1996 in New Haven, CT as the Elm City Ensemble, Antares draws upon a vast and colorful repertoire for the piano-clarinet quartet formation, as well as its various trio permutations. Programs span the traditional eras of classical music from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries to the music of today. In particular, the ensemble is dedicated to the commissioning and promotion of new works. Since its founding, Antares has won top prizes in four national chamber music competitions as well as the 1999 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. Future engagements for Antares include performances at the La Jolla Chamber Music Society, University of Iowa's Hancher Auditorium, the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois, Market Square Concerts in Pennsylvania, the Chautauqua Institution, and Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. Recently the ensemble gave its New York debut at Weill Recital Hall and presented concerts at Rockefeller University and the Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music concert series. Antares is in residence at Columbia University, NY and Wesleyan University and is a member of the Connecticut State Commission on the Arts Touring Roster, which provides partial funding for various programs throughout Connecticut and New England. Antares’ numerous festival appearances include the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, the Norfolk Contemporary Music Seminar and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, where the group received critical acclaim for works by Dahl, Hindemith, Messiaen, and Schickele. Actively involved in commissioning new music, Antares has had works written for it by composers including Ezra Laderman, Stefan Freund, Kevin Putz, and members of the Minimum Security Composers Collective. The ensemble’s two most recent commissions are by John Mackey as a collaboration with the Parsons Dance Company at the Joyce Theater in New York, and by Oliver Schneller through a Meet the Composer grant.
*Written for the ensemble
NOTES for SLIFKA CENTER PROGRAM
Laderman has been commissioned three times by the Philadelphia Orchestra, twice by the National, Louisville and Chicago Symphonies as well as from the New York Philharmonic, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, Syracuse, Denver, Columbus, Albany, and New Haven Symphony Orchestras. In addition he has written for such distinguished artists as Jean-Pierre Rampal, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Sherrill Milnes, Aldo Parisot, Samuel Baron, David Shifrin, Ransom Wilson, the Vermeer, Colorado, Juilliard, and Tokyo String Quartets, and the Elm City Ensemble (now called Antares.)
Ezra Laderman was born in Brooklyn, New York, on 29 June 1924 He studied composition with Stefan Wolpe and with Otto Luening. He received his BA in 1950 from Brooklyn College, and his MA in 1952 from Columbia University. He has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, SUNY Binghamton, and directed the Bennington Composers Conference in 1967-68. In 1988 he was visiting composer at Yale, and from 1989 to 1995 he was Dean of its School of Music. As of the fall of 1996 he was named professor of composition at the Yale School of Music. He has received three separate Guggenheim fellowships (1955, 1958, 1964) and the Rome Prize (1963). He now divides his time between New Haven, Connecticut and Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where his wife, Dr. Aimlee Laderman (a lecturer at Yale) is a limnologist at the Marine Biological Laboratory.
Scenes From an Imagined Life
Exil was commissioned by the Stuttgart Musical Academy and premiered there in 1995 and was originally intended as a commemorative homage to Bartok on the fifteenth anniversary of his death.
"In my composition Exil allusions are made to compositions, to the literature of those who went into Exile, even though there are no direct citations; allusions are also made to the inner emigration that applies to me, i. e., being to the side of the mainstream. The piece presents the withdrawal into oneself, the attempt to hear what is going on inside, and not to avail oneself of that which is expected of one. It is a very depressing piece in which there are many self-quotations.
"If one wants to discover something on the order of a story in the piece, the nit might go as follows...the first movement portrays one's turning away, and the second movement (turned away), life in isolation. Here I refer to Miles David, first because I admire him so much, and second, because his music, and black music from America in general, is for me music of exile, a symbol of the situation of being in the Diaspora in one's own country.
"The Isolation third movement has a sort of choreography. All turn away from each other, and each one plays - insinuatingly distributed in space- his own music. This choreography is not a theatrical gag but content: the tonal-spatial turning away is a metaphor of our music, of the multilayered juxtaposition of different aesthetics which all exist independently of one another. In the Abschied (departure) fourth movement there is an atmospheric approximation to klezmer music. This movement returns to the point of departure for my considerations: inward and outward emigration."
The music of David Schiff conjures up many images and references to non-classical sources, even since his early years of study at Columbia, Cambridge, Juilliard, and the Manhattan School of Music. His sense of instrumental drama has been compared with that of his former teacher, Elliot Carter. Schiff explains: " To me, the interesting thing is to write a klezmer piece not using klezmer instruments...If you grow up in America you hear many different kinds of music..." About the Divertimento, which is based on his opera Gimpel the Fool (1975, 1979): [The opera is based on Isaac Bashevis Singer's tale of a too-trusting man who is repeatedly humiliated by his townsfolk-but whose innocence transcends their cruelty.] Schiff remarks: "The present Divertimento...gives each of the instruments a virtuostic character, different but equivalent to the voices they are replacing from the opera."
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