November 15th, 2019

Expressions of the Human Voice

Presented by

Nebula Ensemble

With special thanks to

Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church

In this interactive program, tap on any red and underlined text for more information.

Tonight's Program

Program Notes

Meet the Ensemble

Donations and More

Visit the Full Nebula Website

 

PROGRAM

The Legend of the Troubadour's Guitar

     by Sarah Perske

 


Sing (audience participation)

 


The Voice of the 21st-century Composer
     by Jasper Schmich Kinney

     1. Salsa Fresca

     2. Le mystère s'intensifie

     3. Yukiyama Hime

     4. Heldengedicht

Speak (audience participation)

 


Waiting Booth

     by Katerina Therianos

Whistle (audience participation)

 


A Window Opens

     by Edmund Scott Miller

Shout (audience participation)

 


Willow

     by Stephen Bailey

 

PROGRAM NOTES

 

For the audience:

     Tonight’s concert involves four audience participation pieces: Sing, Speak, Whistle, and Shout. You may sit, stand, or walk around the concert hall during these pieces. Your instructions for each piece are printed below, and will be projected on the screen.

The Legend of the Troubadour's Guitar

     by Sarah Perske

     Long ago, a would-be troubadour discovered a magical guitar buried in the ground, but was too fearful to play it, and covered it over again with sand. As punishment, the troubadour's soul remains trapped on the earth until someone finds the guitar again and helps the ghost to sing its forgotten songs. 

You have a voice. Will you let it be heard? If your neighbor feels silenced, will you help them to sing?

Text

In the sands, beneath the stars 

I found an instrument

of unpolished wood, 

with strings of silver light. 

I dug it out with care, 

but dared not play it

and I reburied it in the dust 

under a darkening sky. 

 

Will no one dig it out again and wake me?

Will no one dig it out again and wake me?

Will the earth wait

bound in centuries of silence?

 

I saw the souls 

who'd bravely uttered all their songs, 

and were prepared to go

out of the mountain's depths, 

and into a brilliant expanse of gold. 

But I was not among the spoken; 

I was left in darkness

to remain a thousand years or more. 

 

Will no one dig it out again and wake me?

Will no one dig it out again and wake me?

Will the earth wait 

Til I break my silence?

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Sing (audience participation)

     Sing a melody inspired by one or more of the shapes on the screen. Listen to others around you. Continue for as long as the musicians continue to play. Stop when they stop.

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The Voice of the 21st-century Composer

     by Jasper Schmich Kinney

     1. Salsa Fresca

     2. Le mystère s'intensifie

     3. Yukiyama Hime

     4. Heldengedicht

 

     Instagram models, Hong Kongese anti-facial-recognition masks, and electric scooters (seemingly everywhere)--the 21st-century is a time of futuristic technology and rapidly changing social structures. Music is no exception. Unlike the great composers of the past, a live orchestra is no longer necessary to write, create, and perform orchestral music. Additionally, with the rise of globalism and overlapping cultures, we are exposed to a multitude of musical styles and expressions. Now it is easy to listen to Arab Rap, Japanese Jazz from the 1930's, South American 8-bit Music, and everything in between. With all of this music and changing technology, what is the voice of the 21st-century? Well, in 4 orchestral laptop tunes, this is my voice. - Jasper

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Speak (audience participation)

     When the musicians start to play, introduce yourself to a stranger. Ask them their impression of the concert so far. Stop when you hear the flute.

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Waiting Booth

     by Katerina Therianos

 

     When I first stumbled upon Thomas Hardy’s poem “Waiting Both”, I was enchanted by the exchange between the speaker and the star. The piece quickly blossomed into its musical form, revealing the harmonies and melody to me as I ruminated on the text. Hardy juxtaposes man against nature, exposing in a way the insignificance of man in the grand scheme of things. The poem ends in a somewhat open ended manner, though. What is it the speaker awaits? Is it his time, as in death? Or is it something else, some sort of metamorphosis? In a hopeful, joyous spirit, my piece portrays that the speaker patiently awaits this time of renewal and looks to see what this change brings.

Text

Waiting Both 

A star looks down at me

And says: “Here I and you

Stand, each to our degree.

What do you mean to do,--

Mean to do?” 

I say: “For all I know,

Wait, and let Time go bye,

Till my change come,”--”Just so.”

The star says: “So mean I;”

So mean I.”

- Thomas Hardy

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Whistle (audience participation)

     When the musicians start to play, whistle your own tune to go with the text of the song you just heard (printed below). Try to blend with another person near you. Stop when the musicians stop.  

Waiting Both 

A star looks down at me

And says: “Here I and you

Stand, each to our degree.

What do you mean to do,--

Mean to do?” 

I say: “For all I know,

Wait, and let Time go bye,

Till my change come,”--”Just so.”

The star says: “So mean I;”

So mean I.”

- Thomas Hardy

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A Window Opens
    
By Edmund Scott Miller

     “A Window Opens” for solo violin is a score that invites the performer to collaborate. This piece takes advantage of the freedom provided by solo instrumental music: the sole performer, free from the expressive constraints of ensemble playing, is able to navigate the score through either a pre-planned or completely spontaneous route. The score freely flows from a single line of music into stacks of two to six options for the performer to choose from and move between. As the piece progresses, the musical ideas that began as fragments begin to stretch out, being lengthened and elaborated. I imagine the performer gathering their thoughts like papers scattered by a gust of wind. Thus, as listeners we must practice a radical patience as we listen to the performer finding their voice, and a profound empathy as they share their personal journey through the narrative. 

     Edmund Scott Miller is a composer, educator, and bassist in New York, NY. His visceral music is concerned with memory, thought, and the passage of time, expressed through unconventional performance techniques, evocative microtonal harmonies, and a constantly-evolving approach to timbre and melody. Whether writing instrumental or vocal music for forces large or small, a primary concern is to establish a sound world unique to each composition. Miller is a graduate of Peabody Conservatory and SUNY Fredonia. He is currently a Ph.D. student at CUNY Graduate Center and teaches harmony, musicianship, and counterpoint at College of Staten Island. [musicmiller.com]

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Shout (audience participation)

     Choose one of the three pulses on the screen to follow. Each time you see your pulse, shout any of the following syllables. Pause to breathe if needed. Stop when the musicians stop.

ha  na  sa  ka  wa  ya  mi  ki  gi  i  oh  nu  ku  ru

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Willow

     text by Kaga no Chiyo (1703-1775), music by Stephen Bailey

     I still find haiku a captivating medium. That this form can express so much with so few words is inspiring and leads to a depth of interpretability and mystery that persists across generations.

     This piece is a setting of a haiku by 18th century poetess Kaga no Chiyo, largely considered one of the greatest haiku authors of all time, and one of the earliest documented female haiku writers. Her life was somewhat tragic: both her infant son and husband died within a few years of each other. These deaths are, ultimately, the subject of the haiku set in this piece.

    

     After her son and husband passed, a friend sent Chiyo the following haiku, offering condolences: “with no flowers / one leads as peaceful a life / as the willow.” Chiyo sent a reply, with an important alteration: “with no flowers / one leads as free a life / as the willow.”

    

     The distinction between “free” and “peaceful” was significant to Chiyo, and remains significant in the interpretation of this haiku. Scholars generally tend to believe that Chiyo’s alteration serves as a rebuke of some kind, but disagree on what is specifically meant by the distinction itself. Is Chiyo rejecting the implication that her life can will be that of a boring, old woman by implying that a willow is free to toss and blow in the wind without concern for shedding its flowers? Is Chiyo rejecting the comfort offered by her friend by ironically implying that, since a willow is rooted to the ground, it is not, in actuality, free?

 

     The multiple possible meanings behind the word “free” is the point at which my piece engages with this poem, setting each stanza in halves, with alternatingly consonant, and dissonant harmonies and timbres and ending with a cadenza on the final word of Chiyo’s haiku, “kana,” which is a word commonly used to indicate contemplation in haiku, similar to the English words “alas!” or “oh!”

Text (translation amalgamated from various translators and google translate):

はなさく

みは黒井ゆき

柳かな

Hana sakanu
mi wa kurui yoki
yanagi kana

With no flowers
One leads a life as free
As the willow

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MEET THE ENSEMBLE

 

Stephen Bailey

     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.

 

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Catherine Flinchum

     flute

     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.

 

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Russ Callison

     guitar

     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.

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Arlo Adams

     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.

 

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Julia Emery

     cello

     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.

 

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Sarah Perske

     mezzo-soprano, guitar, public relations director

     Sarah Perske is a composer and classical guitarist whose music reflects her interests in crafting odd and unwieldy forms, exploiting found object sound sources, and combining musical performance with the visual and literary arts. Perske’s works emphasize collaboration with artists in other disciplines, and her music is frequently inspired by images, words, and physical gestures.

     Perske’s works have been performed by The Playground Ensemble, Nebula Ensemble, classical guitarist Laura Husbands, the Keith/Larson Duo, and virtuoso saw player Caroline McCaskey, among many others. In 2014 Perske won first prize in the Colorado Clarinet Days Composition Competition, and in 2013 Perske was winner of The Playground Anne Culver Commission Prize. Perske received a Bachelor of Music degree in guitar performance from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of music in 2012, where she studied guitar with Ricardo Iznaola and Jonathan Leathwood. She has studied composition with Chris Malloy, William Hill, and Leanna Kirchoff, and holds a Master of Music degree in composition from the Lamont School of Music. Perske also enjoys writing about music, and is founder and editor of the new music blog DeformingPrisms

 

To learn more about her music, visit http://www.sarahperske.com

 

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Jasper Schmich Kinney

     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.

 

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Josh Goo

     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.

 

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Marilyn Brock

     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.

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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!

Moon ($5+)

Arlo Adams

Julia Emery

Meg Parish

Sarah Perske

Brad Temaat

Andrew Whisenand

 

Planet ($25+)

Norma Brechbill

Catherine Flinchum

Maria Souliotis

Solar System ($100+)

Marilyn Brock

Loretta Notareschi

Richard and Jane Perske

Dobroslav and Mariana Znidarcic

 

Nebula Insiders (Recurring Monthly Contributions of $10+)

Karen Abbott

Stephen Bailey

Bryan Callison

Nathan Cornelius

Julia Emery

Sarah Perske

If you are interested in donating to Nebula Ensemble, please visit: nebulaensemble.com/donate

Join our newsletter mailing list: nebulaensemble.com/contact-us


Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nebulaensemblecolorado


Want to volunteer for Nebula Ensemble? Email us at: nebulaensemble@gmail.com

Visit the full Nebula website at: nebulaensemble.com

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