Luminescence Records

LUM002: Convergence - Composers

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We are really proud to have such an all-star group of composers represented on the Luminescence Records label on Strike's album LUM002 titled Convergence. Read below for information on each of these composers.

Chen Yi

Chen Yi - b. 1953
China West Suite

Originally commissioned and dedicated to the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Germany (Director Franz Xaver Ohnesorg) for Dennis Russell Davies and Maki Namekawa to premiere on June 4, 2007, my work China West Suite was originally written in four movements for two pianos. The authentic folk music from China West has amazed and inspired me to write this piece, which has the folk music elements drawn from the folk songs Gadameilin and Pastoral of the Meng People (Mongolian); Ashima (of the Yi People); Du Mu and Amaliehuo (of the Dou Duo and Jusheng ensemble music of the Miao People). I adapted the piece for marimba and piano after the premiere for this recording project and the group’s performances in 2009 and 2010. [C.Y.]

As a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries, Dr. Chen Yi was born in 1953 in Guangzhou, China. She is the Distinguished Professor at the Conservatory of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the recipient of the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her music is published by Theodore Presser Company, commissioned and performed world wide by such ensembles as the Cleveland Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony and the Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, recorded on Bis, New Albion, New World, Teldec (with a Grammy Award sung by Chanticleer), Telarc, Angle, Nimbus, Albany, Quartz, Naxos, Koch International and China Record Co. among others. Chen Yi has received bachelor and master degrees in music composition (1983 and 1986) from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, and Doctor of Musical Arts degree (1993) from Columbia University. Major composition teachers have been Profs. Wu Zu-qiang, Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky. She has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005, and appointed to the 3-year Changjiang Scholar Visiting Professor at the CCOM by the China Ministry of Education in 2006.

Brooke Joyce

Brooke Joyce - b. 1973
Sacred Trees

Sacred Trees was inspired by several trips to the Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa, a park that contains the remnants of several large Native American burial mounds, some of which are shaped like birds and animals. My experiences there led me to reflect on my own sense of ritual, memory and spirituality. As I was composing this music, I decided to focus my reflections not on the mounds or the people who built them but rather on the various and ancient trees that grow in the area. Trees are thought to be sacred in many faith traditions, and to me, they are a kind of silent witness to the passage of time and the people who come and go under their gaze. [B.J.]

Born and raised in East Lansing, Michigan, Brooke Joyce holds degrees in theory and composition from Princeton University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Lawrence University. He has attended summer courses with Joan Tower and Magnus Lindberg, and in 1997, he traveled to Wales on a Kittredge Educational Grant to study with Alun Hoddinott. His music has been performed by such ensembles as the Indianapolis Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Relache Ensemble, the Brentano Quartet, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Nash Ensemble, and the Verdehr Trio. In addition to his concert music, Brooke has collaborated on several musical theater works with playwright Frederick Gaines, including Unbekannt, a musical based on the life of the famous Anastasia pretender Anna Anderson, and An Imaginary Line, based on the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. Brooke is the recipient of the Joseph Bearns Prize, the Wayne Peterson Prize, the Darius Milhaud Award, and many citations from the National Federation of Music Clubs and ASCAP. Brooke teaches theory, history and composition at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and is a faculty member at The Walden School, a summer music festival for young composers in New Hampshire.

Marc Mellits

Marc Mellits - b. 1966
Tight Sweater Remix

Tight Sweater Remix is a piano and marimba version of Tight Sweater arranged for Jeff Meyer and Paul Vaillancourt. Tight Sweater was originally scored for Cello, Piano, and Marimba and commissioned by ‘Real Quiet’ and the Muzik 3 Foundation. Of the six original movements, three seemed to work quite well for piano/marimba duo. This is music that is tightly composed, with rapidly shifting patterns of notes and rhythms. The two instruments combine, mix, and remix in ways that present each one as half of a combined larger instrument. Linear melodic lines are formed from vertical sounding harmonies; funky bass lines can dictate harmonic textures while chordal sounds can inspire melodic writing occurring between the two instruments. [M.M.]

Marc Mellits was born in Baltimore, Maryland and is one of the leading American composers of his generation, enjoying many performances throughout the world. Mellits’ music is often described as being visceral, making a deep connection with the audience. It is eclectic, all-encompassing, colorful, and always has a sense of forward motion. Mellits’ music has been played by major ensembles across the globe and he has been commissioned by groups such as the Kronos Quartet, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Sergio and Odair Assad, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Eliot Fisk, Andrew Russo, Canadian Brass, Nexus Percussion, Real Quiet, New Music Detroit, Musique En Roue Libre (France), Fiarì Ensemble (Italy), and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. Mellits also directs and plays keyboards in his own unique ensemble, the Mellits Consort. He was awarded the prestigious 2004 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award, and has studied at Eastman, Yale, Cornell, and Tanglewood. On CD, Mellits’ music can be found on Black Box, Endeavour Classics, Cantaloupe, CRI/Emergency Music, Santa Fe New Music, Innova, and Dacia Music. Marc Mellits lives in upstate New York with his wife and two daughters, and spends significant time in Romania. Listen to his other work at www.marcmellits.com.

Daniel Koontz

Daniel Koontz - b. 1969
Soft Stillness and the Night

I excerpted the title of my piece Soft Stillness and the Night from Shakespeare:

How sweet the moonlight sleeps along the bank!
Here we will sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
The Merchant of Venice (V, i)

The piece is subtle and delicate, arising from sonic fantasies of night and dawn. It was commissioned by Strike and is dedicated to Jeff Meyer and Paul Vaillancourt. [D.K.]

Born in Lafayette, Indiana, composer Daniel W. Koontz teaches music at Stony Brook University. Trained as a pianist, Dan attended the Eastman School of Music and went on to complete a Ph.D. in Music Composition at Stony Brook University. Winner of numerous awards for his work, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and commissions from the Fromm Foundation and Swarthmore College, Dan composes every morning in his Sag Harbor, New York home. He frequently performs as a blues guitarist and with his family band Edna’s Kin. Dan’s 14 year old son Bo has recently joined the band on drums. Sunday mornings find Dan playing the pipe organ at Christ Church in Sag Harbor.

Dan is currently at work on a percussion trio for Timetable. Listen to his other work at www.danielkoontz.com.

James David

James David - b. 1978
Duo Toccata

Duo Toccata for piano and percussion is, as one might expect, a "touch piece" for two instruments. The two movements are each based on a particular type of articulation. Campanello d’allarme or "alarm bell" uses long, ringing tones from numerous gongs, bells and other metallic sounds throughout. Frequent shifts of rhythmic organization are intended to create sudden moments of excitement within a largely calm texture. The second movement, Aula di tribunale or "courtroom," was so titled as the opening is reminiscent of the theme from the TV show The People’s Court. Sharp, quick articulations are the rule within a definite tendency towards Afro-Cuban rhythms. Drums and cymbals are important throughout with a brief aside from the xylophone. [J.D.]

James M. David is assistant professor of composition and music theory at Colorado State University. Among the distinctions David has earned as a composer are an ASCAP Morton Gould Award, national first-place winner in the MTNA Young Artists Composition Competition, and national first-place winner in the National Association of Composers, USA Young Composers Competition. In 2009, he was awarded the Grant for Emerging Wind Band Composers from the Atlantic Coast Conference and was a winner in the Dallas Wind Symphony International Fanfare Composition Competition. He has received commissions from Joseph Alessi of the New York Philharmonic, John Bruce Yeh of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and The Commission Project of Rochester, NY. His works have been performed throughout the United States, Thailand, and Japan, including the SCI National Conference, the MTNA National Conference, two World Saxophone Congresses, and three International Clarinet Fests. Dr. David graduated with honors from the University of Georgia and completed his doctorate in composition at Florida State University. His music is currently available through Pebblehill Music Publishers and has been recorded for the Summit, Naxos, and MSR Classics labels.