David Crumb, composer

David Crumb’s music has been performed throughout the United States and abroad. His dramatic compositions are richly tonal, and intensely coloristic. Among numerous awards, he has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the Fromm and Barlow Foundations. Crumb has accepted commissions from the Los Angeles Symphony New Music Group, the Chicago Civic Orchestra/ASCAP Foundation, and the Bowdoin International New Music Festival. He has held residencies at the Yaddo and MacDowell artist colonies and participated in a variety of new music festivals. His work has been released on Bridge, Albany, C.R.I./New World, Innova, and Equilibrium. Crumb joined the faculty at the University of Oregon School of Music in 1997, where he continues to serve as a member of the composition department.

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David Finko, composer

DAVID FINKO was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), in the former Soviet Union, to the family of a famous mathematician and a submarine designer. In the early 1950s, talented young men were pressed into military service. Finko was selected to follow in his father’s footsteps, and became a submarine engineer. He graduated from the Leningrad Institute of Naval Architecture in 1959. He was appointed as a submarine design engineer in 1960 at the Submarine Design Bureau in Leningrad.

Finko had also studied piano, violin, and music theory since childhood. He graduated from the Rimsky-Korsakov School the Performing Arts in 1958, and while working at the Submarine Design Bureau, graduated from the Leningrad Conservatory in 1965. That same year, Finko’s Sonata for Piano #1 was awarded the first prize in the Conservatory New Compositions Contest. He left his engineering career to become a full-time composer in 1966. He was a member of the Union of Soviet Composers, wrote many works on commission from the Soviet Ministry of Culture, and served as an editor of the state music publishing house Soviet Composer until 1979.

David Finko has been a US citizen 1986. Since his emigration to the USA in 1979, he has taught music at numerous universities including Yale University and the Universities of Pennsylvania and Texas. Finko has written eleven operas, seventeen concerti, three tone poems, two symphonies and a number chamber compositions. His music has been performed and recorded in Europe, the USA, South America, Israel, and Russia, and has received awards from the Fromm and Fels Foundations, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts,
ASCAP, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, and others.

David Finko’s music is very emotional, expressive, often disturbing and soul-shuttering. His double, triple and quadruple concerti in which solo instruments “act” as humans are unique. His one act operas are based on exciting and striking plots, and are easy to stage.

Gilbert Kalish, piano

gilbert-kalish-colorA native New Yorker and graduate of Columbia College, Kalish studied with Leonard Shure, Julius Hereford, and Isabella Vengerova. He was the pianist of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players for 30 years and was a founding member of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, a group devoted to new music that flourished during the 1960s and 70s. He is a frequent guest artist with many of the world’s most distinguished chamber ensembles. His 30-year partnership with the mezzo-soprano Jan DeGaetani was universally recognized as one of the most remarkable artistic collaborations of our time. He maintains longstanding duos with the cellists Timothy Eddy and Joel Krosnick, and he appears frequently with soprano Dawn Upshaw.

Kalish is Distinguished Professor and Head of Performance Activities at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. From 1969 to 1997, he was a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Center and served as the “Chairman of the Faculty” at Tanglewood from 1985 to 1997. He often serves as guest artist at distinguished music institutions such as The Banff Centre, and the Steans Institute at Ravinia, and the Marlboro Festival, and is renowned for his master class presentations.

Gilbert Kalish’s discography encompasses classical repertory, 20th-century masterworks, and new compositions. Of special note are his solo recordings of Charles Ives’s Concord Sonata and the sonatas of Joseph Haydn, as well as an immense discography of vocal music with Jan DeGaetani and landmarks of the 20th century by such composers as Carter, Crumb, Shapey, and Schoeberg. In 1995, he was presented with the Paul Fromm Award by the University of Chicago Music Department for distinguished service to the music of our time.

TWO LEGENDARY PHILADELPHIA PIANISTS, CHARLES ABRAMOVIC AND MARCANTONIO BARONE, WITH ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JAMES FREEMAN, IN WORKS FOR SOLO PIANO BY FIVE LEGENDARY PHILADELPHIA COMPOSERS. AND MOZART!

CHAMBER ORCHESTRA FIRST EDITIONS PRESENTS:
PHILADELPHIA LEGENDS

Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, 7:30pm, Settlement School, Queen Street, Philadelphia 

Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, 3pm, Marshall Auditorium, Roberts Hall, Haverford College 

Pianists Charles Abramovic and Marcantonio Barone
Artistic Director: James Freeman

W.A. MOZART, Fugue in g minor, for piano, four-hands, K. 401
RICHARD WERNICK, “Pieces of Eight,” for solo piano
VINCENT PERSICHETTI, “Poems for Piano,” Op. 4
SAMUEL BARBER, “Nocturne,” Op. 33, for solo piano
GEORGE ROCHBERG, “Four Short Sonatas,” for solo piano
Celebrating the composer’s 100th birthday
GEORGE CRUMB, “A Little Suite for Christmas, A.D. 1979,” for solo piano
W.A. MOZART, “Theme and Variations in G Major,” K. 501, for piano, four hands

A half-hour onstage discussion with the musicians will precede each concert.

All COFE concerts and masterclasses are free and open to the public.

MOZART THE ROMANTIC, AT AGE 17 and 29 WITH PIANIST GILBERT KALISH, AND TWO NEW COMMISSIONED WORKS

Sunday, January 27, 2019, 3pm, Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College

PIANIST GILBERT KALISH

W.A. MOZART, Symphony no. 25 in g minor, K. 183 (1773)
DAVID FINKO, “Glory,” new commissioned work
DAVID CRUMB, “Vocalise,” new commissioned work
W.A. MOZART, Piano Concerto no. 20 in d minor, K. 466 (1785)

A half-hour onstage discussion with the musicians will precede each concert.

All COFE concerts and masterclasses are free and open to the public.

Mr. Kalish will offer a piano masterclass on Saturday, Jan. 26, 4pm, at Lang Concert Hall.

Two Premieres and Early Mozart Magic, with Cynthia Raim and Natalie Zhu

Two beloved Philadelphia-based pianists share the stage for our second concert series of the 2017/18 season.  New commissioned works by RICHARD DANIELPOUR and JAN KRZYWICKI will be surrounded by Mozart’s only two Rondos for Piano and Orchestra.  Ms. RAIM and Ms. ZHU  will then join with the orchestra in Mozart’s only concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra.

Saturday, February 17, 7:30 PM

Haverford College’s Roberts Hall, Marshall Auditorium

Sunday, February 18, 7:30 PM

Trinity Center, 22nd and Spruce Streets

James Freeman, conductor
Heidi Jacob, Associate Conductor

A Simple Prayer

“A Simple Prayer” was composed in the winter of 2017 in New York. It was composed with an idea in mind, which is that in spite of our differences we are, as my dear friend Maya Angelou would say, “more alike than unalike.“ This work is a plea and prayer for unity. It is a prayer without words, and it is especially pertinent today at a time when there seems to be so much divisiveness, hate and polarity within our country.

For several months in 2017 I had been focused on what is wrong with our country that the fire of divisiveness could be fanned so nonchalantly and carelessly.  A wise yogi once said that we only get into trouble when we forget who we are. I ultimately came back to the fact that we all belong to the same human family which is the human race. It is upon that belief and with that thought in mind that “A Simple Prayer” was written.  –Richard Danielpour

Mozart’s Rondo in D for Piano and Orchestra, K. 382

Mozart wrote the Rondo in D (more a set of variations than a true rondo)  shortly after arriving in Vienna in 1782, following his bitter departure from his family in Salzburg,  He used it immediately as a replacement for the original final movement of his Concerto in D, K. 175, written nine years earlier in 1773. We can only guess why he did this.  Possibly he was anxious to charm his new audiences with a finale that was more straight froward and less “learned” than the somewhat contrapuntal original finale of K. 175.   Combined with the first two movements of K. 175 and also as an independent piece, he played it often in Vienna and elsewhere, and it quickly became one of his most popular pieces.  It was in fact one of the very few works that was published during his lifetime.

The K. 175 concerto  – for which Mozart apparently wrote the Rondo  K. 382 – is now usually numbered as his 5th piano concerto.  It was actually his first original piano concerto. Nos. 1-4 are all arrangements of pieces for solo keyboard by other composers, probably intended as preliminary exercises in the art of writing concertos, and very likely under his father’s watchful eye.  The fact that this concerto written at age 17, combined with the K. 382 Rondo, became one Mozart’s most well known and admired works during his lifetime is yet another reminder of the remarkable genius that lies behind so many of his early works – works that like K. 382 and 386 are now rarely performed.
–James Freeman

Mozart’s Rondo in A for Piano and Orchestra, K. 386

The Rondo In A, K. 386, like K. 382, is one of Mozart’s early gems that is rarely heard.  It may be a replacement for the finale of another concerto (in this case, K. 414, performed in October by COFE with soloist Andrew Hauze).  It might also be the  original version of K. 414’s finale. Or it may always have been intended as a completely independent piece, unrelated to K. 414 or any other concerto.

Until more evidence is uncovered, we can only guess as to its true origins.

If the origins and intent of K. 386 are obscure, the autograph manuscript and its history are even more bizarre, complex, and fascinating.  The manuscript was sold in 1799 by Mozart’s widow Constanza to the music publisher J.A. Andre, but with the end of the piece missing.  Somehow, still without an ending, it found its way to London in the 1830s, where it was auctioned off page by page (some pages even ripped in half) to many different people.  A reduction of the piece, for solo piano, however, had been made by the Englishman CiprianI Potter (1792-1871), with his own ending.  It was in this form that the piece was known for some 150 years.

During the last 60 years, scholars have discovered various pages and parts (but unfortunately not all) of Mozart’s manuscript in various places.  And in 1980 the English scholar Alan Tyson discovered the ending!  With the ending found but a few other parts of the piece still missing, Tyson, the Australian conductor Charles Mackerras, and the Viennese pianist Paul Badura-Skoda (one of my own pianistic mentors) collaborated on publishing a performing edition of the piece.  It comprises more than 90% of Mozart’s original music, and it includes Mozart’s own ending! Our performance of K. 386 this evening is based on this edition.  –James Freeman

Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, K. 365

Frustrated and feeling isolated in Salzburg, Mozart (now age 21) set out in 1777 with his mother to Mannheim, Paris, and Munich in the hope of finding for himself a more significant court position. It was a devastatingly unhappy trip. Not only was he turned down at all three courts, but his mother died unexpectedly while they were in Paris. Disappointed and still grieving, he returned to Salzburg early in 1779, resigning himself at least for the time being to his position there as court organist. Soon thereafter, he wrote the Two-Piano Concerto, presumably for himself and his sister Nannerl.

Though there are certainly moments of darkness in all three movements, the piece overall is an expression of great joy, delight in the possibilities of pianistic virtuosity, and exuberance. As with so many other composers, sad times do not necessarily produce sad music!

The two solo parts are absolutely equal, sharing the dialogue between them in countless different ways, and placing the orchestra more as accompaniment than in Mozart’s concertos for solo piano.

The equality of the two solo parts surely demonstrates that Nannerl must have been every bit as virtuosic a pianist as her brother. Later in Vienna, Mozart played the piece several times with one of his students, Josepha Barbara Auernhammer. It was with her in mind, too, that he later wrote the Two-Piano Sonata in D, K. 448, perhaps as a companion piece to K. 365. When we consider the list of people for whom Mozart wrote piano concertos – Countess Antonia Lodron and her daughters Aloisia and Josepha (the Concerto for Three Pianos, K. 242); Louise Jenomy (K. 271); Barbara Ployer (K. 449 and 453); Maria Theresia Paradies (K. 456) – it is clear that both Salzburg and Vienna could boast of any number of first-rate women pianists.
–James Freeman