- (Carrie Koffman)
- Format: CD
Pink Ink Series: Celebrating Women Composers When I was a student, I studied only one work for my instrument composed by a woman. Until I began thinking about this recording project, the works I had performed that were written by women could still be counted on one hand. I hadn't noticed this when I was a student, but as my career developed, I realized that the lack of music by women mattered to me. The reasons for that scarcity may be complex, but my response was simple. I wanted the music I played to reflect the creativity of people of both genders. So, I began an inquiry into repertoire that both existed and that might exist. Besides discovering and commissioning music for the saxophone, some of the music on this CD was developed from music originally intended for other instruments. I believe the results to be idiomatic for the saxophone, and feel incredibly fortunate to have premiered these versions by Anisimova, Auerbach, McTee and Thomas. The quality of this repertoire is inspiring. The women who created it are inspiring. I have a great deal of gratitude for the women who have written music for my instrument, and for the musicians who have brought it to life with me. My intention has been to raise awareness of what women have contributed, and are contributing in the areas of composition and saxophone performance. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Carrie Koffman teaches on the faculty at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. Prior to this, she held positions as Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Penn State University, at the University of New Mexico, and taught at Boston University. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe, New Zealand, and in Thailand, China and Argentina. Koffman holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a master's degree from the University of North Texas. Koffman is also a certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher and teaches Yoga for Performers. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ About this Music: GLINT Roshanne Etezady's music has been described in Fanfare magazine as "fresh, effusive, and immediately likeable," and she has been hailed by the Detroit Free Press as "a promising and confident composer." Her works have been commissioned by the Albany Symphony, eighth blackbird, Music at the Anthology, and the PRISM Saxophone Quartet. Etezady's music has earned recognition from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Korean Society of 21st Century Music, the Jacob K. Javits Foundation, Meet the Composer, and ASCAP. Etezady writes, "When I think of the word 'glint,' I think of something small, hard, and shiny, like broken glass on asphalt, or a diamond catching sunlight. It seemed like the perfect title for this piece, which is a fiendishly difficult showpiece for clarinet and alto saxophone. Both players are called upon to play virtuosic passages within and well above the 'normal' registers of their instruments, and intertwine timbres so that at times, individual voices are indistinguishable. Glint was commissioned by Robert Spring and Timothy McAllister." CARILLON SKY Augusta Read Thomas's impressive body of works embodies unbridled passion and fierce poetry. Championed by such luminaries as Barenboim, Rostropovich, Boulez, and Knussen, she rose early to the top of her profession. Later, as an influential teacher at Eastman, Northwestern and Tanglewood, chairperson of the American Music Center, and the Chicago Symphony's longest-serving resident composer, she has become one of the most recognizable and widely loved figures in American Music. Thomas writes, "The title Carillon Sky refers to a fantasized image that stimulated me to compose this music - that of a sky full of very soft tinkling and flickering bells, as well as very clamorous pealing, ringing, resonant bells, through which one floats. As if a cathedral's bell tower becomes a metaphor for nature's ever changing landscape and the soloist is a distinctive bird soaring, interacting, circling and swirling in the resonance. The idea was to try to compose a mini concert, but one that is in fact a 'whole piece'...This is like a miniature etching. The solo part is marked with this performance indication: 'Passionate and rubato; like a jazz improvisation. Accentuate the variety of characters.' Nine bars before the end of the work, there is an option for the soloist to compose and play a short (30 second) cadenza in the style and language of the composition...Great care was given to the selection of pitches and to the creation of the harmonic fields in this work...While the music was very carefully made, and is highly nuanced, and is a 'serious' piece of music, it should sound free, spontaneous, resonant, jazzy, playful and alive." TIMEPIECE Hailed by critics as a composer whose music reflects a 'charging, churning celebration of the musical and cultural energy of modern-day America,' Cindy McTee "brings to the world of concert music a fresh and imaginative voice." McTee's awards include: the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award; a Music Alive Award from Meet The Composer and the League of American Orchestras; two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; a Guggenheim Fellowship; a Fulbright Fellowship; and a Composers Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2010, she retired from the University of North Texas as Regents Professor Emeritus. McTee writes, "Much of my recent thinking about music is informed by the writings of Carl G. Jung who, in the words of Anthony Storr, 'felt that the whole energy of mental functioning' sprang from the tension between the oppositions of conscious and unconscious, of thought and feeling, of mind and body, of objectivity and subjectivity. So too have the integration and reconciliation of opposing elements become important aspects of my work. The frequent use of circular patterns, or ostinatos, offers both the possibility of suspended time and the opportunity for continuous forward movement. Carefully controlled pitch systems and thematic manipulations provide a measure of objectivity and reason, while kinetic rhythmic structures inspire bodily motion. Discipline yields to improvisation, and perhaps most importantly, humor takes it's place comfortably along side the grave and earnest." With McTee's permission, Kathryn Swanson-Ellis recast the original orchestral version of Timepiece into a score for electronics and solo saxophone. Swanson-Ellis is a member of the new music ensemble the Hartford Sound Alliance, and a faculty member at The Hartt School and the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. She has a strong background in music for theater and film having worked in both media as a composer, conductor, orchestrator, programmer, and technical assistant. "SONG AND DANCE" Shulamit Ran, winner of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize in composition, has been awarded most major honors given to composers in the U.S., including first prize in the Kennedy Center-Friedheim Awards competition for orchestral music, and fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the N.E.A., and the Koussevitzky Foundation at the Library of Congress. She served as Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and since 1973 has taught at the University of Chicago, where she is currently the Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor. "Song and Dance" began it's life as a nascent melody in the late eighties, as a three note motivic cell used in Ran's works East Wind, String Quartet No. 2, and Mirage. She writes, "Almost twenty years later, the vocal fragment finally evolved into the 'song' of this work, played here by the soprano saxophone. But it seems that the song, all these years, had been waiting for it's counterpart, a dance. Singing and dancing, two of humankind's most basic and essential impulses, transcending time and place, reaching back to the earliest civilizations. The resulting composition moves back and forth between the two, delineating it's various parts further with the use of both soprano and alto saxophones, partnered by mallet percussion instruments." CONCERT NO. 2 Marguerite Roesgen-Champion was a Swiss harpsichordist, pianist, teacher and composer. Born in Geneva, she received her first music lessons from her mother, the singer Cecile Roesgen-Liodet. She studied the piano under Marie Panthis and composition under Ernest Bloch and Jaques-Dalcroze at the Geneva Conservatory where she graduated in 1913. She began a concert career as a harpsichordist, appearing with leading French orchestras in Paris, Italy, Spain and Holland. In 1915 she returned to Geneva to teach at the conservatory and in 1926 moved to Paris where she devoted herself to composition. This work may seem a little out of place on a recording of recently written works by living women, but I included it because it was one of the few pieces I had played prior to this project. I was also struck by the fact that Marguerite felt she needed to use a male pseudonym (Jean Delysse) even though her life span was recent enough to have overlapped my own. CARAVAN Internationally-known cellist and composer Tanya Anisimova was born in the Chechen city of Grozny, situated in the Caucasian mountains. She moved to Moscow to begin her music studies at the age of six. After receiving a diploma with honors from the Moscow Conservatory, Anisimova continued her studies in the U.S., earning degrees from Boston University and Yale. Anisimova's music has been performed internationally and has been described by the Washington Post as 'mystical, melodious, and deeply emotional.' Anisimova has recorded seven CD's, three of which feature her own compositions and improvisations. Anisimova writes, "Caravan is us on our life path. We are all in a way caravan keepers. To keep our goods safe means to stay true to ourselves, in spite of many obstacles that await us on our path, like hamsin, the deathly sand storm." THE PRAYER Lera Auerbach is an award-winning poet, virtuoso pianist and one of the most widely performed and imaginative composers of her generation. She is the youngest author on the roster of Hamburg's prestigious international music publishing company, Hans Sikorski, also home to Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Schnittke. The Washington Post says that Auerbach "offers 18th-century forms and a 19th-century sensibility (that of the brilliant virtuoso) expressed in a 21st-century vocabulary." Lera was designated a "Young Global Leader" by the World Economic Forum in 2007, and honored as "Poet of the Year" by the International Pushkin Society in 1997. She is currently composer-in-residence with the legendary Dresden Staatskapelle and resides in New York. The Prayer exists in several versions for several instruments, and like some of her other compositions, they deal with her reaction to the tragedy of the Holocaust. They are not arrangements, but independent works that use similar material. It is appropriate: a different instrument is like a different person and each person prays in a slightly different way. Auerbach writes, "A prayer is a dramatic union between a human being and his true self, between one's soul and the eternal forces connected to it. To pray means to ask questions. What is the answer? Are there such things as answers? Henryk Szeryng once said: To breathe is to want,/To want is to get,/To get is to give,/To give is to live,/To live is to love. Isn't this magic circle of words the sacred formula to all prayers and to the human longing for eternal harmony?" CONTINUUM (POSTSCRIPT '97) The music of Marilyn Shrude is recognized for it's "shimmering sounds" and "sensuous beauty." Her many honors include a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship and citations from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and from the Kennedy Center Freidheim Awards. Active as a composer, pianist, teacher, and contemporary music advocate, Shrude has consistently promoted American music. Since 1977 she has been on the faculty of Bowling Green State University, where she teaches and chairs the Department of Musicology/Composition/Theory. Shrude writes, "Continuum (Postscript '97) is a brief but virtuosic study in perpetual motion. The lines of the alto saxophone and piano continuously swirl and intertwine in a joyous 'tour de force.'" I like the idea of ending with a postscript - especially one that sounds to me like a question mark. I also see most aspects of life in relationship to a continuum. This project has been no exception. About the Performers: Glen Adsit is the Director of Bands and the Associate Director of Instrumental Studies at The Hartt School. He has been married to Carrie Koffman since 1992, and they have an inspiring and entertaining 6-year old son, Noah Donald Koffman-Adsit. Margreet Francis is an active solo and chamber musician as well as the principle pianist of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. She teaches at The Hartt School where she also serves as both co-chair of the Piano Department and the honors chamber music program, Performance 20/20. Marc Goldberg is one of New York's most active freelance musicians, maintaining a close relationship with a number of Lincoln Center organizations. He is principle bassoonist of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and a member of the New York Woodwind Quintet in residence at The Juilliard School. He teaches at The Hartt School, Juilliard, Mannes, Bard, and Columbia. Clarinetist Alan R. Kay has traveled worldwide as co-principal clarinetist of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and with his wind quintet, Windscape. He is Principal Clarinetist of the Riverside Symphony and the Little Orchestra Society. Mr. Kay appears frequently with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and with the Yellow Barn and Angel Fire Festivals. Mr. Kay teaches at Juilliard, the Manhattan School and Stony Brook University. Benjamin Toth, Professor of Percussion at The Hartt School, has presented concerts, radio and television broadcasts, master classes, and children's programs throughout Europe and North America, and in South America, Asia, and Africa. His activities have focused on contemporary chamber music, including Percussion Group Cincinnati and the Jovan Percussion Projekt, various world percussion traditions, and big band drumming. David Westfall teaches at The Hartt School, and maintains an active career as a concert pianist, having performed and given masterclasses throughout the United States, Canada, Spain, Brazil, Germany, and Serbia. He has collaborated with internationally acclaimed string quartets such as the Jupiter, Chiara, and American. Acknowledgements: Producers: Glen Adsit and Carrie Koffman Recording and Editing Engineer: Justin Kurtz Mastering Engineer: Scott Metcalfe Associate Producers on Track 2: Matt Aubin and Sheri Brown Design: Bill Morgan Photography: Michael Fiedler Artwork: Sky Blue, by Gina Litherland, 2001, Oil on masonite, 18"x24", reproduced with the permission of the artist, courtesy of the collection of Shelley and Tom Caw Track 2: Recorded at Millard Auditorium, The Hartt School, University of Hartford Tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8: Recorded at Berkman Recital Hall, The Hartt School, University of Hartford Liner Notes: Carrie Koffman, edited by Myron D. Moss Partial funding was provided by the Women's Education and Leadership Fund at the University of Hartford. Thank you to Jennifer Sanborn for her support and patience. Thank you also to my students, from whom I learn every day. And thank you to Glen Adsit and Noah Koffman-Adsit, my most important teachers.