March 3rd, 2020
With special thanks to
Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church
In this interactive program, tap on any red and underlined text for more information.
by Karl Stockhausen
2. SET SAIL FOR THE SUN
by Sarah Perske
Tune adapted from Fole acostumance/Dominus (anoynymous, 13th century)
by Alvin Lucier
arr. Stephen Bailey
by Ron Coulter
Excerpts from, From the Seven Days
by Karl Stockhausen
Originally composed in May of 1968, From the Seven Days is a collection of 15 text compositions. Stockhausen refers to this kind of music as “intuitive music” as it calls more on the musical intuition rather than the intellectual knowledge or skill of a performer.
Each composition presents the performer with a text that they use to realize that piece. Usually quite simple, and never more than a page, other than the text, no other instructions are given, apart from a notation that each piece is “for ensemble,” “for speaker or choir,” or “theater piece.”
While some of the compositions call for somewhat esoteric performance techniques -
movement fourteen, for example, asks the performer to “live completely alone for four days without food in complete silence, without much movement; sleep as little as necessary, think as little as possible…” - many of the other movements provide a simple framework for improvised music that requires performers to be deeply mindful and listen intently. Two such pieces, It and Set Sail for The Sun, both “for ensemble,” are presented on tonight’s concert. While generally unpredictable, the results from these meditative pieces during rehearsal has been thought-provoking.
Super Mario Variations
Complexity. This is a word that is often associated with contemporary classical music. But, what makes a piece of music complex? Is a big, loud, physically demanding piece more complex than a quiet, avant-garde, aleatoric one? Composer and pianist Nahre Sol answers this question in a YouTube video where she rewrites "Happy Birthday" sixteen times, each variation growing more complex. The most simple, as you can guess, is a version with just the melody and no accompaniment. Next, a bass note can be added to create supporting harmonies. Maybe after that, you change the time signature, or invert parts of the melody, or add new rhythmic elements, or play the melody backwards. As you listen to the variations on the classic theme from video game "Super Mario Bros.," pay attention to how each variation grows more complex. In this way, my piece, "Super Mario Variations," emulates the experience playing the original video game; each "level" grows in complexity. Except, tonight, for the audience, the game is to follow along with the music and figure out how each variation changes. GLHF! (Good luck and have fun!)
For more music by Jasper George, visit jasper-george.com.
You, our audience, took the first creative step in bringing this fun remix to life by choosing Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy" as the hit song you wanted us to remix. We then took several micro-samples from "Bad Guy" and used them as the basis of a successively remixed piece of electronic music in which each Nebula composer built on the work of the previous Nebula composer in a fun digital twist on the surrealist "Exquisite Corpse" game (an early 20th-century art game that resembles "Mad Libs"). Here's how it worked: the first composer in the sequence (Sarah) started with the original "Bad Guy" samples, and used them to create a 1-minute piece of electronic music totally unrecognizable from the original. She then sent that 1-minute piece on to the next composer (Josh), who sampled from her unrecognizable remix to create his own remix, which he sent on to the next composer, and so on, creating a chain of remixes that each derive from the previous remix. We hope you enjoy this unique electronic piece that you helped to create!
walking home at sunset
by Sarah Perske
One upon a time, an anonymous 13th century composer took a chunk of a Gregorian chant and used it as the basis of a motet with a Latin text on a sacred subject. Then another composer of the same century took the tenor part from this new work, re-worked the form, and added a new secular Latin text.Then that new piece was re-worked by another poet of the same century who gave it a French text to create the motet Fole acostumance/Dominus, a bitter commentary on the corrupt politics of the time. Finally, a 21st century composer heard the beautiful melody of Fole acostumance/Dominus, re-cut it to create a strophic form, juxtaposed melodic fragments that were separate in the original, added some new harmonies, and wrote a new English text that takes inspiration from the "cult of the Magdalene" popular at the time of the original motet's composition.
....A remix of a remix of a remix of a remix!
Sitting in a Room
by Alvin Lucier
arr. Stephen Bailey
Alvin Lucier’s 1969 audiovisual work I Am Sitting in a Room is well known and revered by most in the electronic music world. An example of process music, in the vein of Steve Reich’s Come Out, Lucier’s work uses the sonic characteristics of spaces, and their activation and amplification through looping, to generate music.
I happen to get a lot of enjoyment out of process music, and Lucier’s piece demonstrates principals that I am well familiar with through my career as a live sound engineer. It is also a piece that is virtually made for the kind of space that Nebula generally performs in (large, highly reflective and reverberant halls).
For this arrangement, the ensemble plays a transcription of Lucier’s speech along with the looped speaking voice, following instructions for how and when to enter with different portions of the recording at different times. The transcription is intentionally sloppy, and instructions given to the performers are intentionally convoluted, the result being a performance that begins clearly together, and slowly degrades over time as players lose their way, mimicking the process the original work undergoes.
by Ron Coulter
Bo Medley (2019) is my distillation of Bo Diddley’s music. His music strikes me as strange, simple, modular...beguiling. It somehow sounds to me like cheap, plastic, Chinese-made knockoffs and expertly carved wooden puzzles at the same time – simultaneously genius and garbage.
The lyrics range from folksy naivety to abstract poetics, often sung to nursery-rhyme melodies, or the story-telling recita- tive of Italian opera, or the call and response of African music; all backed by the omnipresent sound of maracas and the Bo Did- dley Beat (3-2 Cuban Son clave) relentlessly beaten out by loose drums and a twangy, out-of-tune, effects-drenched guitar. Bra- vado and self-deprecation are presented side by side from the concurrent character of a country simpleton and all-knowing sage. Appropriation is center stage in the recombinator, Bo Did- dley's music.
I like Bo Diddley’s music and I hope this composition pro- vides the listener with a weird, humorous view on what I find unique and interesting about it.
MEET THE ENSEMBLE
electronics, operations director
Stephen Bailey is a Colorado-based composer, improviser, electronic musician, and sound engineer. His compositional output rejects stylistic constraints in favor of expressive efficacy, diversity, and fluidity and incorporates a wide variety of compositional innovations from the last century. With a strong emphasis on electronic and electro-acoustic music, his works focus on the interaction between humans and the world around them, including machines, science, nature, and each other.
Stephen’s music has been performed extensively locally and internationally, in Denver, Brazil, New York, St. Louis, and Casper. He has presented, performed, and been programmed at The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Electronic Music Midwest, Casper New Music Days, The Classical Salon at Dazzle Nightclub, The VU Symposium, and The Aspen Composer’s Conference, among others. He has been performed and commissioned by The Playground Ensemble, Nebula Ensemble, the Metropolitan State University of Denver and University of Denver Men’s choirs, The Lamont Symphony Orchestra, The Modern Hue Ensemble, as well as other musicians from Denver and the west.
Stephen is the current Director of Operations for Nebula Ensemble, holds faculty positions at The University of Denver, and The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and is the chief sound engineer at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church. He received a Bachelor’s of Music from Metropolitan State University of Denver, and a Master’s of Music from The University of Denver.
Known to be a versatile musician, flutist Catherine Flinchum has been able to create music through her instrument and with her pen. As an active performer in the Denver area, Ms. Flinchum performs with the Arapahoe Philharmonic. Other performances include the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra and the Stratus Chamber Orchestra, as well as Atlanta performances with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra and American Patriot Winds. Ms. Flinchum’s avid interest for contemporary music has led her to become a member of Nebula Ensemble, the Flinchum/Herring Guitar and Flute Duo, and the HPF Project (harp, percussion and flute). Highlights include the U.S. premiere of Song Without Words: for flute and guitar by Japanese composer Noriyasu Tanaka, and the winnings of the Bronze Medal for the Global Music Awards and First Prize with The Music of the 20th Century (Great Composers Competition) with Robert Paterson’s, The Book of Goddesses.
As a soloist, Ms. Flinchum performed André Jolivet’s Suite en concert for solo flute and percussion with the Lamont Percussion Ensemble in May 2018. Other solo achievements include the selection as a concerto competition finalist for both the KSU School of Music (performing, Georges Hue’s Fantasie in 2013) and the Lamont School of Music (Jacques Ibert’s Flute Concerto in 2016).
Her musical endeavors has allowed Ms. Flinchum to travel new places, meet phenomenal musicians, and perform a wide range of genres to the public. In 2011, she completed a three-concert tour in China with the Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra, performing at the Beijing Conservatory, Jiao Tong University and Xi’an Concert Hall. Other tours include the 2011 Collegiate Symphony tour with the band KANSAS, and the 2018 tour with Thee Phantom and the Illharmonic Orchestra.
As a composer, Ms. Flinchum’s music presents a unique voice, reflecting elements of nature (A Sparrow’s Rain Song, for flute, cello and marimba), improvisation (The Cereal Diaries: OPERATION COCOA PUFFS, for solo percussion), mixtures of repetition and funk (Hiccup-pated Groove for flute, clarinet and bassoon), and imitation between players (Shadowplay for bass flute and guitar).
Ms. Flinchum completed a performance certificate and master’s degree at the Lamont School of Music, studying under Julie Thornton of the Colorado Symphony and bachelor’s degree at Kennesaw State University, under Christina Smith of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Other teachers include Cecilia Piehl Price and Anna Hobgood. Her instrumental performances include flute, piccolo, alto and bass flute.
At the tender age of 16 Russ sold a pig to buy his first guitar. A Texas native transplanted to Colorado, Russ actively performs and teaches in the Denver metro area. Since earning his Master’s Degree, Russ has explored contemporary guitar music in his duo Derelict Hands with Scottish guitarist Calum Borthwick. In July 2016, Derelict Hands recorded their debut album after a tour of Scotland, available here. In May 2017 Russ premiered his project Solazur with cellist Katie Burns, including the premiere of a large new work 'Azur' commissioned for the ensemble. In 2018 the duo traveled to the Cote d’Azur, France to participate as ensemble-in-residence at the Zodiac Chamber music Festival. As a dynamic instructor Russ actively expands his teaching studio and currently teaches guitarists of all ages and skill levels, ranging from classical to pop music.
Russ attended the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music where he earned his Master’s degree under the tutelage of internationally acclaimed performers and pedagogues, Ricardo Iznaola and Jonathan Leathwood. His final recital at DU was recognized as one of the university's Outstanding Recitals in May 2015, and shortly after Derelict Hands took top prize in the ensemble division of the Southern Guitar Festival.
violin, website manager
Arlo Adams is a classically trained violinist, performing as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player in Denver and throughout the Colorado area. Along with performing in the Fort Collins Symphony, he has performed with the Greeley Philharmonic, Boulder Chamber Orchestra, and many Colorado based chamber groups including the Lyric Ensemble, Playground Ensemble, Sphere Ensemble, Con Brio Trio, and ARTsemble.
Mr. Adams began his studies in Flagstaff Arizona at the age of 9 under the Suzuki method. From there, he moved to the Tucson area to study with Professor Mark Rush at the University of Arizona for two years before coming to Colorado to continue his studies at the University of Denver, where he received a Bachelor’s of Music in Violin Performance, and a Performance Certificate.
During his studies, he became very interested in modern music, and since then has premiered orchestral works by Shafer Mahoney and Glenn Stallcop, the chamber work Deux pas de Deux for violin and piano by Charles Zoll, winner of the 2013 “Rapido!” composition contest, and was the violin soloist with the Lamont Symphony Orchestra in the premier performance of Sarah Perske‘s Therese’s Elevator.
In addition to classical music, Mr. Adams enjoys other genres including pop and jazz, and performing with a looper to create unique music. He also performs in musical theatre pits around the country, and as a session violinist in recording studios.
He has held a studio of ~15 students in the Denver area since 2014, and works with Manifest String Studio and City Strings to bring the joy and excitement of music to kids and adults alike throughout Denver. When he is not performing or teaching, he is likely enjoying what Colorado has to offer and building small electronics projects.
Boulder-based cellist Julia Emery greatly enjoys collaborating and performing with a variety of artists and ensembles in the Denver-Boulder area, spanning a wide range of artistic interests, backgrounds and mediums. Her love of both traditional and nontraditional musical and artistic styles has led her to collaborate with a variety of ensembles, including Sound Circle a capella Ensemble, Briah Danse, Sound Circle Eurythmy, and Nebula Ensemble.
Julia graduated in 2013 from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music with a Bachelor’s degree in Cello Performance, under the primary tutelage of Professor Richard Slavich, followed by a continuation of private study with Boulder-based cellists Elle Wells, and Dr. Charles Lee. Julia also completed a Performance Certificate in 2016 at the Lamont School of Music, under the guidance of Professor Matthew Zalkind.
Beyond playing music in the concert hall, Julia has also been deeply involved for many years in both music education and using music as a means of both communal and social outreach and connection. These interests have led to participation and collaboration with the Denver-based Playground Ensemble’s Educational Outreach Program, as well as the cultivation of a private studio spanning both the Denver and Boulder areas. She has also been actively involved in performing for communities of elders, as well as for individuals who are sick and dying. These communities have included the Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital Oncology Wards in Denver, the Boulder Senior Center, and clients of Windhorse Elder Care.
Ultimately, Julia aspires to use her love and knowledge of music as a way to help others through difficult times in their lives, and as a means of bringing artists and communities together from a variety of traditions and backgrounds.
mezzo-soprano, public relations director
Sarah Perske is a modern-day troubadour with a mystic bent whose haunting works blend elements of avant-garde classical, early music, folk, rock, and electronic music. Classically trained as a composer, guitarist, and vocalist, Perske is active in the Denver area as a founding member of Nebula Ensemble. As a solo artist, she is currently working on her debut singer-songwriter album Ancient Dreams and Visions, which she describes as “what would happen if Hildegard von Bingen played guitar, listened to both Gérard Grisey and Joni Mitchell, and knew her way around a DAW.”
A prolific and versatile composer, Perske is frequently sought out by performers who share her interests in expanding the boundaries of classical music-making through the integration of performance art and cross-disciplinary collaboration. She has been commissioned to write music for such groups and individuals as Playground Ensemble, the Keith/Larson Duo, classical guitarist Laura Husbands, percussionist Kyle Hughes, and virtuoso saw player Caroline McCaskey, among many others. Perske is the recipient of several awards and recognitions for her work, including first prize in the Colorado Clarinet Days Composition Competition (2014) and The Playground Anne Culver Commission Prize (2013).
Perske holds a Bachelor of Music degree in guitar performance and a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, and is currently pursuing private studies in classical voice. When not composing or performing, Perske can be found hunting down obscure music scores in her role as a music librarian, transcribing Renaissance lute tablature for the fun of it, and blogging about new music at DeformingPrisms.
To learn more about her music, visit http://www.sarahperske.com.
piano, artistic director
Jasper George (@thelivelyrobot) is a composer and visual artist from Northern Colorado. Through his music and art, he seeks to better understand himself & the world. Every Friday, Jasper posts music-related videos (newly composed songs, musician interviews, & community song collabs) on YouTube. Find him on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Twitch under thelivelyrobot. Subscribe & follow for weekly updates on Jasper's musical journey.
For more music by Jasper George, visit jasper-george.com.
digital marketing director
Josh Goo is a versatile musician with a strong commitment to new music. Though primarily a clarinetist, Josh also dabbles in jazz saxophone, mallet percussion, and composition, and has even played trombone in the past . As an undergraduate at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, Josh has become extremely passionate about new music, with his first introduction to the genre coming from a performance by The Playground Ensemble in 2012. Since then his interest in composing has led to a greater understanding of and fascination with music in general.
As a performer Josh has studied a wide array of solo pieces from Mozart to the works of 20th-century composers Carl Nielsen and William O. Smith. Unaccompanied clarinet pieces are his specialty, but he is equally skilled as a chamber and orchestral musician, and has played in all types of ensembles including wind quintet, orchestra, and more unusual combinations including his debut with Nebula Ensemble in 2015 in a group of 14 different orchestral instruments.
Josh currently studies clarinet with Dr. Jeremy W. Reynolds, and has attended the Domaine Forget, Rocky Ridge, and Aspen Music Festivals where he studied, performed in master classes, and played with Dr. David Shea, Charles Neidich, Romain Guyot, Marie Picard, Jean-Francois Normand, Michael Rusinek, and Joaquin Valdepeñas.
director of finance and development
Marilyn Brock is a Denver-based Realtor® working with Keller Williams DTC. In addition to always providing excellence in helping her clients in their homeownership goals, Brock deeply cares about using her role in the Denver real estate industry as an opportunity to give back to our community.
Prior to her real estate career, Brock worked for various performing arts organizations, including Seattle Opera, Canto Deo Choirs, the Boulder Philharmonic, and others. With an MBA, an MA in Musicology, and a BM in Vocal Performance, Brock’s career has encompassed a diverse range of nonprofit, academic, for-profit, and performance roles. As a soloist and choral singer, Brock has performed in venues across the United States and Europe, including New York City’s renowned David Geffen Hall, formerly known as Avery Fisher Hall.
With a passion for expanding access to the arts, Brock volunteers with several arts organizations in the Denver Metro Area. In addition to her role as Director of Finance and Development for Nebula Ensemble, Brock regularly volunteers with the Denver Young Artists Orchestra and Opera Colorado.
DONATIONS AND MORE
Thank you to all of our contributors!
These gifts allow us to continue creating thrilling, inspiring new music for the greater Denver community through concerts and educational outreach. Thank you for your support!
Bob & Martha Moody
Solar System ($100+)
Richard and Jane Perske
Dobroslav and Mariana Znidarcic
Nebula Insiders (Recurring Monthly Contributions of $10+)
Dobroslav and Mariana Znidarcic
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