Michael Lee | Joyce Wai-chung Tang | Vera Ivanova | Zachariah Zubow | Daniel Blinkhorn
Lucas Lechowski | Arthur Gottschalk | Stephen Yip
ABLAZE Records is pleased to announce the winners of its SECOND Millennial Masters Master tape prize. The winners are all included on ABLAZE Records Millennial Masters Vol. 2 CD, which is available worldwide through Amazon.com and iTunes.
What ABLAZE was looking for were simply two things as we approached this second Millennial Masters volume: great compositions and excellent performances that were well recorded. We were again impressed at the level of the submissions and this second disc features music of wonderful composers from the USA, Hong Kong, Australia and Russia. MICHAEL LEE was awarded a place on the disc for his Capriccio for Violin and Piano ‘a voice in the waves,’ which impressed us with its fluid drama and tight, focused intensity. LUCAS LECHOWSKI composed a work for multi-tracked violins, which is evocative, plaintive and atmospheric. We felt this matched well with much of the other music on the disc that uses electronics including DANIEL BLINKHORN’s evocative soundscapes, which were so beautifully recorded and produced we could not pass them up. Solo violin also features in VERA IVANOVA’s tremendous QUIET LIGHT: an abstract, searching evocation of light as it penetrates the dome of an ancient church. JOYCE WAI-CHUNG TANG’s incisive and brilliant work for the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble (HKNME) earned a place on the disc for her terrific and fresh compositional voice, the great performance of the HKNME and the very high recording quality of her submission. ZACHARIAH ZUBOW’s work was selected because of the evocative electronics he pairs with solo flute to make a work of high impact and dramatic structure. Instruments with electronics reach a lush, dramatic and virtuosic peak with ARTHUR GOTTSCHALK’s glimmering and muscular work for brass instruments and electronics appropriately titled Heavy Metal. The work of STEPHEN YIP is again featured on this second volume of Millennial Masters recordings. Once more, his work is highly evocative, coloristic, poetic and wonderfully crafted. This collection of great works, tremendous performances and wonderful recordings is again mastered by our superb Grammy Award winning mastering engineer, Silas Brown and beautifully designed by ABLAZE graphic artist Josephine McLachlan.
When it comes to new music, quality audio, great performances and bold, dramatic, original conceptions, you don't have to look any further than ABLAZE Records.
Michael Lee is a Korean-American composer born in Atlanta and is currently studying under Prof. Samuel Adler at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. Mr. Lee is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he was the recipient of both the Bernard Rogers Memorial Prize and the Howard Hanson Award. Among his many accomplishments, Michael is most recently a finalist in the 28th ALEA II International Composition Competition.
Michael's Capriccio for violin and piano "a voice in the waves" received very high praise and personal critique from the faculty at Juilliard, including John Corigliano, Robert Beaser, and Christopher Rouse. Michael is a recipient of the $20,000 Cartwright Scholarship from Juilliard. Michael is also a recipient of a letter of praise from BMI for a "promising work for the future" for his Metropolis Piano Concerto. He has received a $1,000 professional performance award for his chamber work, which has been performed in the same program with the Van Cliburn Gold medalist, Jon Nakamatsu. His work has also been selected for professional orchestral performances in Europe. Michael has continuously received guidance and high commendations for his young, innovative and ambitious music compositions by a wide array of successful composers of various styles including Milton Babbitt, Christopher Theofanidis, Yehudi Wyner, Sir Nicholas Maw, Samuel Adler and John Corigliano. Michael's developing and maturing interests have revolved around his pride and passion for being an American composer.
Michael Lee's website
Capriccio for violin and piano "a voice in the waves."
"This piece was written for Jiwon Kwark, a talented violinist and enthusiast of both classical and modern music. Jiwon has helped manage, rehearse, and perform Michael's music, including the piano quintet, which was performed in October 2010. Her enthusiasm and talent helped inspire Michael to compose this piece. The subtitle to this violin and piano duet is 'a voice in the waves.' The voice is the pure and beautiful, the dream and hopeful part of life hidden among the 'waves.' Waves, like sea waves, represents the reality of the world, an unrelenting force which will never cease to prohibit the 'voice' from coming forth. I give much thanks to my teacher, Samuel Adler, whose guidance and wisdom helped shape this piece. I also give thanks to the players who sacrificed much of their time and whose dedication helped put this piece together in such short time."
HaEun Lee holds a BM in piano from the Juilliard School where she is currently pursuing her MM degree. Jiwon Kwark, BM, a former Juilliard violinist is pursuing her graduate degree at the Yale School of Music.
Joyce Wai-chung Tang
Joyce Wai-chung Tang was born in Hong Kong. She obtained Master's degrees in both composition and electroacoustic music at the Hong Kong Baptist University. She graduated with a PhD in musicology from the University of Hong Kong. Her compositions have been widely performed and broadcast. Many of her works have also been selected for performance in major contemporary music festivals/conferences, such as the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) World Music Days, International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), International Rostrum of Composers, Journées d'Informatique Musicale (JIM), Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Asian Composers' League Contemporary Music Festivals, Hong Kong Arts Festival, and Musicarama Festivals. Her works have been performed by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Hong Kong Bach Choir, RTHK Quartet, NEW Quartet, Ensemble TIMF, North/South Consonance, and the Sregnis Singers. She has received commissions by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Hong Kong Arts Festival, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Bach Choir and Orchestra, Contemporary Musiking, and the Hong Kong Composers' Guild.
Joyce Wai-chung Tang's website
"Aurora ('polar light') is a natural phenomenon characterized by the spectacular swirling streamers of reddish or greenish light in the sky near the North or South Pole. In Roman mythology, Aurora is the goddess of the dawn who dances across the sky to announce the arrival of the sun. I had images of moving refracted lights in my mind when I was composing the piece. The refracted lights are symbolized by the timbral variation of the layering of melodic lines. Melodies play an important role in this piece. The two wind instruments, the flute and clarinet, are treated mainly as melodic instruments, playing expansive and expressive lines, which are always colored, layered, thickened, and extended by the sounds played by the string instruments. The piano is treated as a percussion instrument, not in the sense of providing pulse, but rhythmically decorating the melodic lines. Commissioned by the Hong Kong Composers' Guild with sponsorship from CASH Music Fund, this piece is dedicated to the sufferers and victims of the cruel natural disasters that occurred in May, 2008."
The Hong Kong New Music Ensemble (HKNME) was founded in 2008 with an aim of presenting the best new music in Hong Kong by local Hong Kong composers, Asian composers and by important international figures. It intends to foster interesting interdisciplinary collaborations, and to present the highest quality contemporary music to Hong Kong audiences on a regular basis. In October 2008 members of the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble were resident at the Shanghai Conservatory. Since 2009 the HKNME has presented regular concerts in Hong Kong, and has toured to China, Malaysia, and Singapore. The HKNME was featured at the 2010 New Vision Arts Festival in Hong Kong and its touring schedule in 2011 includes performances in Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia.
Hong Kong New Music Ensemble's website
John Winzenburg, Conductor is an assistant professor of music at Hong Kong Baptist University, where he conducts the Cantoría Hong Kong and the HKBU Choir. He previously served as director of choral and orchestral activities at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia from 2005–08. Winzenburg spent the 2004–05 school year researching Chinese-Western "fusion concertos" as a Fulbright Doctoral Fellow at the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) in Beijing after earning graduate degrees in orchestral and choral conducting from the University of Iowa and University of Minnesota. Winzenburg has conducted the HKBU choral groups since 2008. He established the Cantoría in September 2009, which he led at the Festival of Songs in the Czech Republic in June 2010.
Vera Ivanova graduated from the Moscow Conservatory (Honours Diploma), Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London (MM with distinction), and the Eastman School of Music (Ph.D. in Composition). Her works have been performed in Russia, Europe and the USA. After teaching as Assistant Professor of Theory and Composition at the Setnor School of Music of Syracuse University (NY), she was appointed as Assistant Professor of Music at the College of Performing Arts at Chapman University (Orange, CA). Ms. Ivanova is a recipient of the Sproull Fellowship at Eastman, the Gwyn Ellis Bequest Scholarship at Guildhall School, Moscow Culture Committee and American Composers Forum Subito grants, Honourable mention at the 28th Bourges Electroacoustic Competition, 3rd Prize at the 8th International Mozart Competition, 1st Prize in Category "A" at the International Contest of Acousmatic Compositions Métamorphoses 2004 (Belgium), the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, the André Chevillion-Yvonne Bonnaud Composition Prize at the 8th International Piano Competition at Orleans (France), and Special Award from Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music. Her music is available in print from Universal Edition, on CDs from Quartz Music Ltd, Centaur Records (CRC 3056), Musiques & Recherches (Métamorphoses 2004). Vera Ivanova's website
"The title Quiet Light refers to one of the oldest Christian songs ('Svete tikhiy' in Russian) which dates back to the 5th century, and which usually follows the psalm in the Russian Orthodox Church. It literally means 'quiet light' (and is usually translated as "Gladsome Light"). Numerous composers have set 'Svete tikhiy' to music: the most well-known settings are by Pavel Tchesnokov, Alexander Grechaninov, and Sergei Rachmaninoff (as a part of his 'All-Night Vigil'). My Quiet Light is not quoting the song or the text, or any of its music settings; it rather refers to the special natural lighting, which one can see in an old Russian Orthodox Church. If one were to look up, standing below the dome of the church, the rays of light strikingly cut the darkness of the church, highlighting the frescos on the wall and creating a very special atmosphere."
Luke Fitzpatrick is a Portland-based violinist, collage composer, and experimental improviser. He has premiered works of Helmut Lachenmann, Jeff Holmes, Vera Ivanova, and Qasim Naqvi, among others. He has been a guest artist with ensembleGREEN, The Penderecki String Quartet, and is a founding member of stille trix, an electroacoustic improvisatory and new music group. He holds a Performer/Composer MFA from California Institute of the Arts.
Zach Zubow’s compositions have been featured on numerous new music conferences and festivals throughout the United States and abroad, including the 2010 Society of Composers (SCI) National Conference in Columbia, South Carolina. Zach was also named regional winner in the 2011 SCI/ASCAP Student Composition Commission Award for his string quartet, Sundown, and was also the 2011 recipient of the first prize from the biannual Five College Composition Competition hosted by the University of Massachusetts Five College New Music Festival for his alto saxophone and percussion duo, Rounded Angles. As well as composing, Zach has presented his research regarding beat class transformations in Ligeti’s Étude No. 4, Fanfares, from Ligeti’s first book of Études that will be published in the online journal, Proceedings, for the New Music Festival at the University of Central Missouri. Zach was also recently accepted as one of six composers worldwide to participate in the Alba New Music Festival in Alba, Italy in May 2011, where Mr. Brian Ganz performed Zach’s work for solo piano titled Prevailing Wind. Zach has received degrees from Luther College, Illinois State University and is now pursuing a PhD in music composition at The University of Iowa.
Zachariah Zubow's website
"When looking into the starry, winter night sky in the Midwest, one cannot help but notice the three perfectly aligned and spaced stars that make up Orion's belt. On particularly dark nights, the emergence of a small cloud on the hip of this belt can be seen, which is Orion's sword, hanging from his belt. This small cloud is the closest nebula to Earth where stars are formed among a massive cloud of gas. The inspiration for Nebulae comes from this particular nebula, but is a musical imagery of what the composer would hope to hear within any nebula. The beautiful colors, bursts of light, and certainly, an abundance of sound all combine to form new stars. The tape part attempts to surround the audience, creating a sense of physical movement while giving them a feeling of total immersion in this cloud. The flute provides the colors and light from which the star is formed."
Rebecca Ashe is a freelance flutist and appears across the country as a performer, lecturer, and master class clinician. A new music performer and collaborator, she has partnered with several composers and has performed at several festivals. She has been adjunct faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City; Georgetown College (Georgetown, TX); Park University (Parkville, MO); and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Belton, TX).
Daniel Blinkhorn's works often gravitate around a synchronicity of frequency, texture, gesture, space, location and motion. He is increasingly interested in working at the nexus of environmental sound, electroacoustic music and acousmatic soundart.
As an educator he has worked in a variety of academic, research and teaching contexts, and while his creative work as an artist typically gravitates around the electroacoustic, audiovisual and acousmatic genres, his output also includes chamber, symphonic and wind orchestra works, music for film, dance and various hybrid/intermedia environments, sound installations and radiophonics. He is a member of various new music initiatives and is a represented composer at the Australian Music Centre. Between 2007 and 2011 he undertook residencies in composition and digital media at a variety of international institutions including Centre National de Création Musicale, La Muse en Circuit, Paris; Visby International Centre for Composers, Sweden; Atlantic Centre for the Arts, Florida; Centre d'arts Orford, Montreal; EcoSono Institute, West Indies; Mamori Artlab, Amazon Basin Brazil; Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Australia; and the Arctic Circle 2011—an artist and scientist led expedition throughout the Arctic circle. Daniel's works are increasingly performed, exhibited, presented and broadcast internationally at festivals/concert halls, conferences, galleries and other venues, where he has also received numerous citations at prestigious international composition competitions. He has undertaken studies at a number of universities including University of New South Wales and University of Wollongong, where he received his Doctoral Degree in Composition.
Daniel Blinkhorn's website
Relatively Loud Tones
"Beeps, chimes, electronic chirps … auditory signifiers of relative shapes and lengths, designed to communicate a vast array of meanings: so vast an array of meanings in fact that these sounds seem to blend into the background, only occasionally reaching through to us.
This work attempts to bring to the foreground some of these auditory icons, from summons to prayer to evacuation alarms. In doing so it intimates a certain desensitization to the meanings behind these otherwise relatively loud tones, as we fail to take heed of their message, almost as though the more we hear them, the more peripheral they become—even if the icons sometimes signify danger. This miniature was created using recordings on a 'soundwalk' in a ship as it was forced to evacuate passengers and crew. Additional sounds were captured on a sea port 'soundwalk' in Trinidad."
"The focus of this work is not on the sounds themselves, but the spaces they inhabit. More specifically, I wanted to convey a short piece that captures some of the sonic spaces that I grew up listening to on the radio. To achieve this, I recorded the sound of a series of spaces ranging from large workshops and kitchen spaces to cars and livings spaces, and then used these recordings to create impulse responses. I then composed a series of simple musical gestures for string instruments, clarinet, piano and a variety of sound objects (objects often found within the spaces themselves) and carefully set about situating the composed material within the captured spaces. The work reflects my interest in capturing the vitality and evocative possibilities associated with spaces themselves to use as expressive devices within composed works."
All instrumental music within the work was performed by Daniel Blinkhorn.
Lucas Lechowski was born in Poland, where he began his professional music training at age seven in classical violin. In 1999 he was admitted to the violin class at the Department of String Instruments and to the Jazz Department of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. He holds a BA in Violin Performance, an MA in Jazz Violin Performance and an MA in Jazz Guitar Performance. He started to perform professionally at the age of 12. He has been collaborating with symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, string quartets, baroque ensembles, big bands, jazz ensembles, pop, rock, and theatrical groups. He collaborated with such artists as: Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Tony Bunn, Carl Grubbs, Bernard Maseli, and Urszula Dudziak, among others. He has performed in many music, film and theatre festivals in Poland and abroad. Along with exploring the artistry of violin he has always been fascinated with the possibilities that new technologies can contribute to the field of music. He has originated two experimental music projects: Hello, and Number 0. Hello, combines music with images and animations while Number 0 brings composed digital music into improvised soundscapes. He has also written music for the project Sketches from Virtual Spaces—the exploration of architecture in cyberspace. He is a member of The Society of Composers and Lyricists and ASCAP. Lucas currently resides in Maryland in the United States.
Lucas Lechowski's website
"I have played violin since early childhood and I have always been inspired by its intriguing sound. The Outer Space is an exploration of violin tone and the game between harmony and disorder: it is an entity, a living space of sounds. The composition consists of twelve violin tracks where each part is a single line but all lines together create the enclosed area: a playground for violin harmonics. Lines meet each other and go beyond each other at the same time. What inspired me in this work was the balance of what we know and what we don't know about the space that surrounds us, the space we create. The violin parts in The Outer Space I performed myself. This piece is the outcome of my personal approach to this instrument."
A man whose music has been described as "vital and original" (American Record Guide) and with "undeniable integrity" (The Village Voice), award-winning composer Arthur Gottschalk is a Professor of Music Composition and Theory at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. With the number of compositions in his catalog now approaching two hundred, his music is regularly performed domestically and overseas, and his works are recorded on New Ariel, Crystal Records, Summit, Capstone, Beauport Classical, ERMMedia, Golden Crest, MSR Classics, Ablaze Records, and AURecordings. His works are published by Subito Music, Shawnee Press, European American Music Distributors, Alea Publishing, Trevco Music, Potenza Music, and The Spectrum Press. Dr. Gottschalk has worked in diverse areas of music, including composing and arranging music for feature films, television scores, numerous industrial films and commercials, music publishing, and artist management. He continues to work as an expert in music copyright cases and as a forensic musicologist. In 2006, his Concerto for Violin and Symphonic Winds won the First Prize of the XXV Concorso Internazionale di Composizione Originale (Corciano, Italy), and in 2011 he was awarded a prestigious Bogliasco Fellowship for further work in Italy. Dr. Gottschalk's many other awards include the Charles Ives Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and composer residencies at the famed Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center and at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Since 1980, he has been the recipient of annual awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. A student of renowned American composers William Bolcom, Ross Lee Finney, and Leslie Bassett, Professor Gottschalk carries on this important lineage by producing students who compose original and innovative music in various forums throughout the world.
Heavy Metal was commissioned by the Choralis Brass Quintet for premiere on a New Music America Festival. It is dedicated to Larry Livingston, recent dean of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. The accompanying sounds are from recordings of the brass quintet and analog electronics, realized at Sugar Hill Recording Studios and at Rice University's Electronic Music Laboratories (REMLabs).
Shepherd Brass Quintet—Rice University Brass Ensemble
Rice University's Brass Ensemble consists of the combined efforts of the entirety of the Shepherd School's trumpet, horn, trombone and tuba studios, with the occasional addition of percussion. The group also performs in conjunction with the Shepherd School's Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, as well as in its Orchestral Brass Repertoire class. The Rice University Brass Ensemble is under the leadership of trumpet professor Marie Speziale, and is featured in concert twice per year. In the recent past, the ensemble's repertoire has included many works of varying size and style for different combinations of brass instruments, running the gamut from the antiphonal works of Giovanni Gabrieli to living composers such as Michael Daugherty and Arthur Gottschalk.
Stephen Yip was born in Hong Kong and now lives in the USA. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) from Rice University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. His mentors include Wing-fai Law, Clarence Mak, Arthur Gottschalk and Ellsworth Milburn. He has attended major music festivals including: Aspen Music Festival; Asian Composers' League; ISCM World Music Days; Music X; June in Buffalo; IMPULS Ensemble Akademie; California E.A.R. Unit Composer Seminar; the 13th International Summer Program, Czech Republic; International Composers' Workshop, Luxembourg; and the 45th International Summer Course for New Music, Darmstadt, Germany. His residencies include: Atlantic Center for the Arts, Florida; Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Nebraska; Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; Yaddo Colony, NY; and MacDowell Colony, NH. Yip's works have been performed in the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Israel, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Germany, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, and the Philippines. He has received several composition prizes, including the Haifa International Composition Prize; First International EPICMUSIC Composition Prize, Italy; International Biennial composition competition; the Debussy Trio Music Foundation; Molinari Quartet's Third International Composition Competition; the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Emerging Composers Prize; the ALEA III composition competition; the fourth NACUSA Texas Composition Competition; the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2010, by the National Academy of Music, Thessaloniki, Greece; and the 2010 Alvarez Chamber Orchestra Freestyle Composition Competition, London, England. His works are recorded in the ERM-Media, PARMA, Capstone, North South recording, Ablaze Records, ATMA Classique, and Beauport Classical labels. Yip is a member of the SCI, NACUSA, and ASCAP. Currently, he serves on the music faculty at Houston Community College and is a freelance composer.
Stephen Yip's website.
"Yûgen is a traditional Japanese aesthetic concept concerning the important interpretation of refined elegance and grace—"invisible beauty"—in Noh. Noh is a major form of classic Japanese musical drama dating from the 14th century. It can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty's Nuo, Wu and other various Chinese folk theatres in about the period of 618–907 in China. The meaning of the Chinese characters in the word of "Yûgen" are divided into two parts: "Yu" can mean dim, dark, deep or quiet; and "Gen" can mean subtle or profound. The combination of these two characters express profundity and evanescence detached from reality and indicates a mystical beauty in nature. Structurally, it was influenced by one of the most subtle elements of Noh, "Jo-ha-kyu" means "slow evocation (Jo), conflict (Ha), and resolution of the element with haste and suddenness (Kyu). There are three main sections in this piece. The first section shows different musical elements in different musical gestures and tone colors in a slow tempo and flowing pulse; the second section has several "breaking parts" from the first section. Those "breaking parts" are the existing elements for the previous section, with more detailed development; the tempo of the third section is rapid. This section reaches a climax by a fast process of transformation and expansion of the existing musical elements from the previous two sections."
The Thelema Trio promote and perform new music from the 21st century and use their unique instrumentation as a voice for contemporary composers. They offer a wide range of styles, new performance techniques, and a chance for each performer to really shine. The trio's sound comes from a unique combination of piano, clarinet and saxophone. The Thelema Trio has played at notable festivals and in notable concert halls in Belgium, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Peru and the United States.
Thelema Trio's website