Jeff Myers: "The Angry Birds of Kauai"
Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order):
Philip Brownlee: "Pariwhero"
Nikolet Burzyńska: "Orna-mention"
Tristan D'Agosta: "Piece for Violin and Piano"
Mark Gresham: "Café Cortadito"
George Kontogiorgos: "Before the Rain Starts"
Marius Felix Lange: "Nutcracker's Nightmare"
Garth Neustadter: "Volitation"
Aaron Severini: "Catch"
Rani Sharone: "Tick"
Octavio Vazquez: "NGC 6611"
Click the above image to watch Hilary Hahn interview the newest 'In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores' composer, Jeff Myers. Over the next two seasons, Hahn will interview one Encores composer a month on her popular YouTube Channel.
Since its inception, In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores has aimed not only to expand the violin repertoire, but to engage new fans and break down barriers between artists and audiences. In addition to commissioning 26 composers to write short-form pieces for acoustic violin and piano, Hilary Hahn put out an open call for submissions on her website. Over 400 composers of diverse ages and nationalities submitted works. Each entry was made completely anonymously. As Hahn says, "Reviewing the pieces, I was glad that everything about the scores and audio files was anonymous. All I had to go on was the music itself: no identifying titles, handwriting, or names. I was eager to open the files as they arrived. It was interesting to see how different composers interpreted the encore as a musical form." For every encore that was received, $2 has been donated to the music programs of Dramatic Need.
Today, Hahn is delighted to announce the winner: Jeff Myers. Due to an overwhelming number of wonderful encores, Hahn has also selected the works of Philip Brownlee, Nikolet Burzyńska, Tristan D'Agosta, Mark Gresham, George Kontogiorgos, Marius Felix Lange, Garth Neustadter, Aaron Severini, Rani Sharone, and Octavio Vazquez as Honorable Mentions.
Jeff Myers's work, "The Angry Birds of Kauai," will be performed on Hahn's 2012-13 recital program with 13 other previously commissioned works for the project and will be recorded for release during the 2013-14 concert season. The loudness and power of the native birds in Kauai, near his home in Honolulu, inspired Myers's encore. Of the new piece, Hahn writes, "It is smartly and efficiently structured, with soul and humor in the notes. The instruments are equals, and the violin's capabilities are exercised. There is tons to experiment with interpretively: the way the piano and violin trade ideas is something I had been curious to try in upcoming repertoire. I had been looking for a work like this outside of the contest without fully realizing it, and suddenly it dawned on me that that piece was right in front of me. It fits my technique really well. But not just mine: each musician who takes it on in the future will be able to put his or her stamp on it. And this encore was satisfying to work through in my head. It showed its character to me before I played even a phrase."
The music of Jeff Myers draws on preexisting musical works, styles and genres, as well as visual art and natural phenomena. Filipino kulintang music, works by M.C. Escher, overtone music, folk music, and animals have been a source for inspiration. Currently, Myers is working on an opera about 17th Century Norwegian witch trials (Maren of Vardø) with librettist Royce Vavrek for Center City Opera in Philadelphia, PA. Myers is also composing a one-act opera version of Edgar Allan Poe's "Premature Burial" (Buried Alive) with playwright Quincy Long for American Lyric Theater's "Poe" trilogy. Myers's music has been played by ensembles such as L’Orchestre National de Lorraine, American Composers Orchestra, New York Youth Symphony, New World Symphony, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, JACK Quartet and by violinist Yuki Numata. He has received awards from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, BMI, as well as fellowships from the Aspen Festival, Tanglewood, Festival Acanthes, and commissioning grants from institutions such as the Jerome Foundation, The Fromm Foundation and NYSCA. His music has been heard at Carnegie Hall, The Library of Congress, The Kimmel Center, Darmstadt, Gaudeamus, Symphony Space, and (le) poisson rouge. Myers holds degrees from San José State University, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan. His website is www.jeffmyers.info.
Honorable Mentions were awarded to 10 additional pieces that Hahn found compelling. These Honorable Mentions will be premiered by Hahn before the end of 2015. Hahn explains, "When I built the contest, I had intended for the Honorable Mentions to be listed on my site so that readers could look up the composers' work and keep their eyes out for those specific pieces once they might be available to the public. As I got to know these ten over the course of deciding the results, however, I discovered that they were such varied and appealing compositions that when it came to making my decisions, I didn't want to part with them! So, I have now committed to performing all of the Honorable Mentions by the end of 2015. How in the world I am going to learn so much music, I have no idea, but I can’t wait to get started."
The composers chosen for Honorable Mentions are a diverse group, from a conservatory student to an Emmy Award-winner to a former New York Ballet dancer to a bassist in an avant garde metal band. Their experience with Hahn's music is as equally diverse, ranging from devotee YouTube video followers, to sometimes radio listeners, to Carnegie Hall audience members. The inspirations for their encores, too, are scattered: the composer Ferruccio Busoni, the writer E.T.A. Hoffmann, the rocky hills of New Zealand, the economic situation in Greece. The composers hail from Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Pacific, North America, and the southern hemisphere. What unites them all is powerful work. As Hahn explains, "An encore has a complicated job to accomplish in a short period of time. If it is played at the end of a program, it has to capture an audience's attention after an evening of engrossing music, create and maintain an alluring aural atmosphere, and prove as evocative as good story-telling. It has to send people away with the feeling that they have just heard something extraordinary."
Top, from left to right: Philip Brownlee, Nikolet Burzyńska, Tristan D'Agosta, Mark Gresham, George Kontogiorgos
Bottom, left to right: Marius Felix Lange, Garth Neustadter, Aaron Severini, Rani Sharone, Octavio Vazquez
Philip Brownlee is a composer and sound artist based in Wellington, New Zealand. He composes for both instrumental and acousmatic media, and many recent works are concerned with the transference of compositional techniques between these two fields. In 2007, he completed a PhD in Composition at Victoria University of Wellington, with research into the structural functions of timbre centered on a body of his own creative work. His work with the Wellington performance group Amalgam has extended these explorations into cross-disciplinary theatrical collaborations and incorporated elements of free improvisation. He is currently pursuing an interest in points of contact between notated and improvised musics. He has worked with many of New Zealand's leading contemporary music performers, and has also collaborated with performers of taonga pŭoro (traditional Māori instruments). His music can be heard at soundcloud.com/philbrownlee. His encore is entitled "Pariwhero."
Nikolet Burzyńska is a Polish composer interested in micropolyphonic, oscillating textures, new combinations of the palettes of timbres, and a variety of manners to create "energy" in music. At the age of 22, she has written many pieces for a variety of of solo instruments and ensembles. Her work also often incorporates other art disciplines such as contemporary dance and film animation. She studies composition with Marcin Błażewicz in the Fryderyk Chopin Music University in Warsaw and is currently participating in an exchange program in France at Strasbourg Conservatory with Mark André. Burzyńska has received several prizes including 1st prize in the 1st International Composition Competition "Patri Patriae" for her piece "Flamma" for choir and orchestra and 3rd prize in the National Composition Competition for the 90th anniversary of the III Silesian Revolt for the piece "Silesian Pyromagma" for choir and orchestra. Burzyńska is a member of the Polish Society for Young Composers and the collective "L’état Latent." Her music has been played by, among others, New Music Orchestra and Krzysztof Lasoń, Choir and Orchestra of the Silesian Philharmonic, Orkest de ereprijs, Lietuvos obojų kvintetas, and the "Kwadrofonik" ensemble. She has participated in music festivals such as "Young composers meeting" in Holland, "La semaine du son" in France, "Druskomanija" in Lithuania, and "Biennale of art for children" in Poland. Her music can be found at http://www.myspace.com/nikoletburzynska. Her encore is entitled "Orna-mention."
Tristan D'Agosta is a self-taught composer and pianist. He grew up in a small fishing village in Maine, and attended high school in New Jersey. In 2009, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Rutgers University. D'Agosta has written several concert works, an opera, and scores for short films. Currently, he is working on a string quartet and another opera. In addition to composing, he also owns and runs Polonius Sheet Music, a small music publishing house that specializes in spiral bound editions of classical works. D'Agosta's work can be found at www.tristandagosta.com. His encore is entitled "Piece for Violin and Piano."
Composer Mark Gresham's music is rooted in the traditions of neo-romanticism, yet explores modern and eclectic influences with a lyricism that is sensitive to word, history and sense of place. His music has been performed in the U.S. by groups such as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Bent Frequency, San Francisco Symphony Chorus, National Lutheran Choir, New York Concert Singers, and the Emory University Concert Choir, among others. American artists who have performed his works include cello/piano duo Dorothy and Cary Lewis, cellist Karen Freer, percussionist Stuart Gerber, mezzo-soprano Maya Hoover, violinist Helen Hwaya Kim and clarinetist Ted Gurch. Internationally, his work has been heard in such far-flung places as Indonesia, Estonia, South Africa, Belgium, Hong Kong and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most recently, his piece for unaccompanied cello, "As Guilty as the Artist, No. 1," was premiered on May 11, 2012 by Sarah Kapps. In addition to being a composer, Gresham is a music journalist. He won an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for music journalism in 2003. He is currently a contributing writer for ArtsATL. His personal website is www.markgresham.com. His encore "Café Cortadito."
George Kontogiorgos was born in Lamia, Greece. He studied music theory with Alexander Aenian at the Conservatory of Lamia Municipality and later on, with the same teacher in Athens, in composition and orchestration. During the 60s and 70s, he wrote and recorded more than 70 ballads and popular songs. He arranged more than 250 songs by many other composers including the Oscar Award-winner Manos Hadjidakis. He also wrote music for the theater, the 3rd radio channel and soundtracks for the movies and TV series. His compositions have been performed by ensembles and orchestras, such as the New Hellenic String Quartet, the Camerata Orchestra and the Colour's Orchestra, the Patras' Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the International Doctor's Philarmonia, the Tapiola Sinfonietta, and soloists, such as percussionists Beverley Johnston and Daniel Pingrey, violinists George Demertzis and Sergiu Nastasa, pianist Maria Asteriadou, guitarists Paulos Kanellakis and Janne Malinen, and organist Paul Ayres. He is the recipient of several awards by International Composition Competitions, including the 1st Prize of the Classical Marimba League. His music can be found at www.myspace.com/georgekontogiorgos. His encore is entitled "Before the Rain Starts."
Berlin-born composer Marius Felix Lange is best known for his works for opera. In 2004, Lange was awarded first prize for his opera Das Opernschiff in the 1st International Composition Competition Cologne. This opera has remained in the repertoire of German opera houses since its premiere at the Cologne Opera House in 2004. His second opera, Snow White, for which he also wrote the libretto, was premiered in 2011 at the Cologne Opera House and will be performed as a new production in French next season at the Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg, Colmar, Mulhouse and Paris. Currently, he is writing an opera after Oscar Wilde's "The Ghost of Canterville," which will be premiered in November 2013 at the Zurich Opera House. His music to the audio book "Das Orchester zieht sich an" ("The orchestra gets dressed") was recorded by the Gürzenich- Orchester Köln under the direction of Markus Stenz. It received numerous prizes such as the "Leopold" and the "Auditorix Hörsiegel." Lange received his first violin lessons at the age of 8 and has since studied at the Julius-Stern-Institut, the Music Universities in Cologne and Klagenfurt, and received his music education degree from the Musik-Hochschule in Stuttgart. During his studies in Stuttgart Marius Felix Lange composed his first works and consequently enrolled at the Filmakademie Ludwigsburg to study film music and sound design followed by a Diploma course in composition with Ulrich Leyendecker at the Musik-Hochschule in Mannheim. His work can be found at www.mariuslange.de. His encore is entitled "Nutcracker's Nightmare."
Garth Neustadter is an Emmy Award-winning composer and multi-instrumentalist. He has composed feature-length scores for Warner Brothers, PBS, Turner Classic Movies, and China's CCTV. Active in composing for both the film and concert stages, his works have been heard in diverse venues ranging from Lincoln Center to Los Angeles' Nokia Theater. Neustadter has collaborated with directors including James Franco (TAR) and Catherine Tatge (John Muir in the New World). The Baltimore Sun says of his music, "The guy's a natural, as his soaring theme makes plain.” Neustadter gained early attention when he was selected by Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer as the First Prize winner of the Turner Classic Movies Film Composers Competition. His achievements have been profiled in USA Today, The Baltimore Sun, Variety, and NPR. Neustadter is a graduate of the Yale School of Music, where he studied composition on full scholarship under Christopher Theofanidis, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Martin Bresnick. His work can be found at www.garthneustadter.com. His encore is entitled "Volitation."
New York-based composer Aaron Severini was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts and is the recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award, in addition to multiple ASCAP Plus Awards. Severini danced with New York City Ballet for 11 years. He currently attends The Juilliard School, where he studies composition with Christopher Rouse. His recent work "Flit of Fury / The Monarch" was commissioned and performed by the New York City Ballet. The world premiere at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center and featured choreography by Adam Hendrickson and performances by pianists Steven Beck and Stephen Gosling. His piece "10" was commissioned by Pacific Northwest Ballet and had its world premiere at McCaw Hall in Seattle, WA with choreography by Kiyon Gaines. Severini's concert works have been performed at The National Arts Club and Lincoln Center. His film scoring credits include the PBS documentary A Ballet in Sneakers: Jerome Robbins and Opus Jazz (Directors Matt Wolf and Anna Farrell). More information can be found at aaronseverini.com. His encore is entitled "Catch."
Rani Sharone is a Los Angeles-based composer, multi instrumentalist, recent Sundance Film Composers Lab fellow, and member of the avant-garde art rock band Stolen Babies. For years, Sharone has had one foot firmly planted in the "rock" world as a recording artist and touring musician and another firmly rooted in the realm of film and contemporary classical music. The paradigm of those worlds remaining separate yet constantly influencing one another is a large part of Sharone’s compositional aesthetic and style. From a young age, he listened to film music that left an indelible impression on him and inspired him in countless ways, but it wasn’t until he heard Shostakovich's 5th Symphony, as a senior at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, that he realized his true calling was to be a composer. Sharone continues to push the envelope and tour internationally with his band, as well as score films. He lives with his wife and their three dogs just outside of Los Angeles. His personal website is www.ranisharone.com. His encore is entitled "Tick."
The music of Octavio Vazquez has been performed by conductors such as Carlos Kalmar, Hansjörg Schellenberger, Víctor Pablo Pérez, and Maximino Zumalave, and soloists as Dmitri Berlinsky, Ilya Finkelshteyn, Daniel Gaisford, Eldar Nebolsin, Adam Levin, Jonathan Gandelsman, Nurit Pacht, Eric Jacobsen and Cristina Pato. He has received commissions from Meet the Composer, Galicia Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Galicia Symphony Orchestra, Guernica Project, Via Stellae International Festival, Fulbright Commission, Chi-Mei Foundation, Barrie Foundation, and Xacobeo Classics 2010 among others. International composition prizes include the Prokofiev Award, the Andres Gaos Prize, and the Plathner's Eleven Competition. Festivals include the Kölner MusikTriennale, Camarissima International Festival, European Dream Festival and Southampton Arts Festival, AreMore, Via Stellae, Espazos Sonoros, and Música en Compostela International Festivals. Lectures and presentations include Hofstra University, Johns Hopkins University, The New School University, the XXXVII Congress of the International Viola Society, the Next Renaissance Conference, and Carlos III University and Complutense University. A Barrie de la Maza Scholar, Dr. Vazquez graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid, the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Maryland, College Park. Since 1999 he has resided in New York City. More information can be found at www.octaviov.com. His encore is entitled "NGC 6611."
Two-time Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn has gained international recognition for her probing interpretations, compelling stage presence, and commitment to a wide range of repertoire as well as newly commissioned music. Her extensive tours and dynamic recordings have made her one of the most sought-after artists of this era. Hahn appears regularly with the world’s elite orchestras and on prestigious recital series in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. In the fifteen years since she began recording, Hahn has released thirteen feature albums on the Deutsche Grammophon and Sony labels, in addition to three live performance DVDs, an Oscar-nominated movie soundtrack, and various compilations. She recently released an album of Tchaikovsky and Jennifer Higdon concertos; the Higdon concerto, which Hahn commissioned, won the Pulitzer Prize. This season, she released a disc of Charles Ives's sonatas for piano and violin, as well as a wholly improvised disc with prepared pianist Hauschka called Silfra. Known for her vivacious personality, Hahn keeps a collection of her writings at hilaryhahn.com. Her violin case Tweets from the road at @violincase.
For more information about In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores, or to obtain a review copy of Silfra, please contact: