Composer Updates November 2017 Edition
We feel so fortunate to we've had the opportunity to get to know 42 composers through the FNMC Composition Contest between 2014 and 2016. This year, we’ll add nine new (and two returning) composers to the group. We’ve been able to feature 38 of the 42 in composer spotlights and we’ll begin featuring the 2017 composer very soon!
But, of course, their work doesn’t stop with their first composer spotlight! They are a very productive group of individuals and we thought it would be a great idea to check in with them and share their major activities since we featured them. Today, we share the first round of composer updates. We’re sure you’ll also be pleased to see that they are busy and achieving great success (and producing more works for flute!) There are lots of premieres, recordings, awards, new positions, and other exciting projects!
Oliver Caplan (Finalist 2014, My Elephant Cloud for Pierrot ensemble)
Oliver was recently appointed the Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble, a Boston-based ensemble which focuses on supporting the work of emerging composers. The Juventas New Music Ensemble also sponsors the Boston New Music Festival. A new album of his works, entitled You Are Not Alone, will be released December 12. The album includes several chamber works: Connect All. We All Connect for soprano, horn, and piano, Love Letters for flute, clarinet, 2 violins, viola, and cello, To the Sea for 2 violins, viola, and cello, and You Are Not Alone for violin, cello, and piano.
Nicole Chamberlain (second place 2014 French Quarter for flute quartet, honorable mention 2016 for Asphyxia for flute alone, finalist 2016 for Orion’s Belt for flute trio and Three Nine Line for flute and piano)
Nicole is very excited to announce the release of an album of her flute music through MSR Classics in January 2018. The album features flutists Matthew Angelo, Nicole herself (she is a flutist and composer!) and Dr. Mary Matthews (an FNMC member!) and pianist Jessica Niles. The album will include FNMC awarded pieces Asphyxia, Three-Nine Line, and Mintaka from Orion's Belt.
Her compositions have received several awards including:
She has several new commissions that will be premiered and made available by next year:
1. Death Whistle for solo piccolo commissioned by FNMC Vice-President Dr. Elizabeth Robinson
2. Acrophobia for flute/picc, flute, and soprano saxophone commissioned by FNMC member flutist Dr. Mary Matthews, flutist Matthew Angelo, and saxophonist Alyssa Hoffert.
2. Flute, Horn, and piano work commissioned by The Kitchen Sync (FNMC member Dr. Katherine Isbell Emeneth)
3. Contrabass flute work commissioned by Beth Devlin
4. Flute and Clarinet work commissioned by PM Woodwind Project
5. Solo Alto Flute work commissioned by Kelly Mollnow Wilson
6. Flute Choir Work commissioned by Charter Oak Flute Choir of Connecticut
7. Another HUGE work including flute soloists with string orchestra is a done deal, just waiting for signed contract before I can go public.
She also recently released several pieces for publication including: Capsaicin for two flutes and cello, Unity for solo flute, and Shenanigans for flute, clarinet, and bassoon.
Andrew Davis (finalist 2015, What’s Next for flute, bassoon, and piano)
Andrew shared with us that he has recently completed a new piece for orchestra entitled, Seek. You can listen to the entire work on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/andrewdavis33/seek. Seek features a significant piccolo solo which is really beautiful! He expertly employs the lower and mid-range of the piccolo, which is such a wonderful color and one we don't often get to hear in the context of the orchestra due to scoring challenges.
Paul Elwood (finalist 2014 Marfa Lights for flute duo (doubling piccolo and alto flute)
Like many of the other composers Paul has been busy writing new works, which have been premiered all around the word! Several of the works have also been recorded and will be available on commercially released discs in the next year.
Paul also has upcoming performances and lectures scheduled at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand (Nov. 20-24) and at the Universiti Teknologi MARA in Malaysia (Nov. 25-28).
Charles Halka (honorable mention, chamber music 2016 Por la Fuerza las Tierras for Pierrot ensemble)
Charles’ Por la Fuerza las Tierras (HM 2016) is achieving wide acclaim! It was also named the winner of Division 1 of the 2017 Young Composer Competition. It has been performed all over the United States this fall including:
The Odessa Philharmonic will perform Scherzo, for orchestra, alongside works by Stravinsky and Ukrainian composer Bohdana Frolyak on November 17, 2017 in Odessa, Ukraine at Philharmonic Hall, 7:00pm.
John Moody (honorable mention newly composed category 2016, Tutti Frutti for two Virtuoso Flutti)
John was so inspired by the success and support of Tutti Frutti that he’s decided to write another work for flute! He’s currently working on a five movement piece with the current title of Canzoni for Flute and Piano. He reports that it is different in style from Tutti Frutti, but we’re sure that we will love it too! He also recently completed a new work for orchestra, entitled Eclipse.
Xingzimin Pan (honorable mention 2014 for Kaidan for flute and piano)
Xing has been focusing on choral composition. His works are being widely performed in his native country of China as well as in the US, where he has lived for many years. He is currently a PHD candidate at in music composition the University of Utah. He shared some of his recent accomplishments with us!
Dandelion, for Children’s Choir, published by Fudan University Publishing House
The newly published choral work Dandelion has been performed frequently in different cities China, as well as the US, Hungary, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Future performances will be held in Canada, Poland and Taiwan within the next two years.
Bekah Simms (winner Newly Composed category in 2015 for a relic of adolescent heat for flute, cello, and piano)
Bekah was awarded the Canadian Music Centre's Toronto Emerging Composers Award in 2017, valued at $6000, it's one of the more substantial awards in the country for composition. She was also featured in Musicworks Magazine:https://www.musicworks.ca/sound-bite/bekah-simms’-music-discomfort. Bekah was also selected, through member vote, as the commissioned composer for the first FNMC Flute Artist competition. Her new work for flute and pre-recorded sound, Skinscapes, will be performed by all of the finalists on March 3, 2017.
Asha Srinivasan (winner 2014 for Dviraag for flute and cello)
Asha is pleased to announce a newly commissioned work by Pan Pacific Ensemble. The work will be recorded in January and released on Albany Records. We look forward to hearing it!
Dana Wilson (winner 2016 for The Conjurer for solo flute and chamber wind ensemble)
Dana limited his update to news about his flute and piccolo works. Fortunately, there’s a lot of good news to share! (The Conjurer was performed by Wendy Mehne at the NFA convention this past August. He has also produced a piano reduction that is now available for purchase and performance! There is also a recording available of Conjurer!
FNMC member Christie Beard performed his piece for piccolo and piano entitled, Whispers from another time, at the NFA convention and a recording is in the works! It’s a really lovely work we’re sure our many piccolo playing members will want to check out!
He’s also pleased to share that there is a transcription of his and longing to be the singing master of my soul, originally for flute and piano, for flute and harp; there’s also now a piccolo version of the work. The flute and harp version will be recorded in the spring.
Thank you to all of the composers for sharing these updates. We love to hear about their successes and look forward to hearing (and playing) their works!
Get to Know...Paul Elwood
Our second Colorado-based finalist, Paul Elwood is Associate Professor of Music Composition at the University of Northern Colorado. Paul was a finalist in 2014 for his flute duet, Marfa Lights (flute 2 doubling piccolo).
Q&A with Paul …
What about new music for flute appeals to you?
I love the timbral diversity of the instrument from diverse rich tones that the instrument produces to a wide variety of extended techniques available. I like the fact that many flutists with whom I've worked tackle a variety of techniques, rhythms, and compositions with an open mind.
Who are your favorite “new” music composers and why?
Thomas Adès for his inventive use of the instruments, and his complexity of writing at the micro- and macro-level; Augusta Read Thomas for not only musical construction but beauty of orchestration; Sean Friar and Andrew Norman ("Nouveau LA School Composers") for their youthful energy, virtuosic technique, and musicality, and Caroline Shaw for her unbridled and inspired writing.
What are your favorite new music pieces and why?
"Concentric Circles," violin concerto by Adès, a colorful, energetic composition; "Partita" by Caroline Shaw, for reasons cited above, and "Fighting Words" by Sean Friar using text from a variety of political speeches. There are a host of others from "classics" including Crippled Symmetry by Morton Feldman that uses beautiful, if random, combinations of colour between flute, glockenspiel, and piano, Stockhausen's early electronic work for their sheer monumental invention, and Messiaen's "Oiseaux Exotiques," an early strong influence on my work.
Do you have any upcoming events that you would like our friends and followers to know about?
I'm finishing a double concerto for violin and cello for the University of Northern Colorado orchestra, beginning a work for electric guitar and chamber ensemble commissioned by French experimentalist Jean Marc Montera, and working on an ongoing abstract multi-media homage to silent film actress Louise Brooks. She never compromised her intellectual integrity for fame - which ultimately cost her her career in film; there never seemed to wallow in self-pity after she made her last film (one of John Wayne's first) and ended up selling shoes in NYC for a spell. "Marfa Lights," the composition selected as a finalist in the FNMC competition, will be performed in November in Iowa City with the University of Iowa Percussion as part of my evening-length concept presentation titled "Strange Angels: exploring the paranormal."
What advice can you give to flutists about approaching new music in practice?
Listen to a lot of new music (listening to "old" music is a given) and keep an open mind to as much of it as you can.
More About Paul…
Paul Elwood’s music has been featured at festivals in Moscow, Sofia, Mexico City, Marseille, Wollongong (Australia), Edinburgh, Darmstadt, Madrid (July 2015), Strasbourg, and all over the U.S.A. Performers that have played his music include pianist Stephen Drury, percussionist Stuart Gerber, the Bent Frequency Duo, Zeitgeist (Minneapolis), the Callithumpian Consort (Boston), the North Carolina Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, the Wichita Symphony, Tambuco (the Mexican Percussion Quartet), saxophonist Jon Gudmundson, and Ensemble Signos (Mexico City). Recent recordings are on Innova Recordings as composer/banjoist with percussionist Famoudou Don Moye of the Art Ensemble of Chicago (titled Nice Folks, January 2015), Misfit Toys (2013, featuring drummer Matt Wilson, percussionist Dan Moore, and reed player Robert Paredes) and his own chamber and folk music, Stanley Kubrick’s Mountain Home (2011), with bassist Bertram Turetzky (2008), and Electric Cowboy Cacophony (2008).
He is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and of the Camargo Foundation (Cassis, France), and he has won fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, the Djerassi Artists Foundation, the Ucross Foundation, and Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain. In 2000 he won the Sigma Alpha-Iota Inter-American Music Awards and was awarded a 2007 commissioning grant from the Jerome Foundation to compose for Zeitgeist. Elwood’s compositions are published by C.F. Peters, Smith Publications, and his own Western Wear Music Publishing.
Elwood is an active five-string banjoist in both the realms of experimental and bluegrass music. In 2015 he played on the premiere of “Hanover” by Alvin Lucier, a composition using three banjos played with EBows with chamber ensemble. He is working on a new composition for solo banjo written for him by Christian Wolff
And he has collaborated with guitarist Jean-Marc Montera, guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, cellist Hank Roberts, the Callithumpian Consort of the New England Conservatory, famed banjoist Tony Trischka, Zeitgeist, bluegrass legend John Hartford, percussionist Eddie Prévost, and pipa player Min Xiao-Fen, among many others.
For more information visit his website: www.paul-elwood.com or blog http://soundchoice.typepad.com
If you enjoyed Marfa Lights check out Paul’s other works with flute…
A Vast Ocean of Promise
Instrumentation: solo bassoon with flute, clarinet, piano, two violins, viola, and five-string banjo
Year of Composition: 1999
Along the Mystic Thruway
Instrumentation: flute, piano, cello
Year of Composition: 1996
Instrumentation: flute and piano
Year of Composition: 1998
Instrumentation: yodeler with flute, clarinet, piano, violin, and cello
Year of Composition: 1990
Circo De Montes, Teatro De Las Nubes
Instrumentation: flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello
Year of Composition: 2001
Instrumentation: flute, two percussion, piano, two violins, cello and banjo (Ballet)
Year of Composition: 2010
Entre Irse Y Quesdarse
Instrumentation: flute, clarinet, piano, violin, and cello
Year of Composition: 1990
Instrumentation: flute (wearing Velcro-soled shoes)
Year of Composition: 1991
Pilot Jack Knight: Aviator
Instrumentation: flute, bass clarinet, piano, percussion, violin, and cello
Year of Composition: 1987
Road of Darkness, Distant Moon
Instrumentation: double bass, flute/piccolo, percussion, five-string banjo
Year of Composition: 2003
Snow Falls Ceaselessly
Instrumentation: flute, cello, percussion, piano, and audience players
Year of Composition: 1984
Stanley Kubrick’s Mountain Home
Instrumentation: soprano, Appalachian instruments (fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar) flute, clarinet, piano, violin, cello
Year of Composition: 2001
Strange Angels: Exploring the Paranormal
An evening length collection of works that includes Marfa Lights
Year of Composition: 2010
The Eternal Sky
Instrumentation: flute and piano
Year of Composition: 2008
The Vault of Heaven, The Crystal Sea
Instrumentation: solo cello with flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, and violin
Year of Composition: 1995
The Void Beneath The Coffee Table
Instrumentation: solo banjo, flute, clarinet, piano, violin, and cello
Year of Composition: 1989
Instrumentation: soprano, piano, bowed five-string banjo, flute, violin, and wine glasses
Year of Composition: 1998
Under the Table
Instrumentation: soprano, flute, cello, and banjo
Year of Composition: 2012
Instrumentation: flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, and cello
Year of Composition: 1988
Instrumentation: flute, bass clarinet, cello, percussion, and hand signer
Year of Composition: 1985
The Flute New Music Consortium is an organization dedicated to the creation and support of new music for the flute.