Composer Edward Gregson

Edward Gregson

Edward Gregson is an English composer of international standing, and one of the leading composers of his generation, whose music has been performed, recorded and broadcast in many countries. He has written orchestral, chamber, instrumental, vocal and choral music, as well as music for theatre and television, with his contribution to the wind and brass repertoire being of particular significance worldwide. He has been commissioned by many leading orchestras and ensembles, including the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and Halle orchestras, and has been nominated for both a British Composer’s Award and an Ivor Novello Award. (from www.edwardgregson.com)

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His The Sword and the Crown is a highlight of the final program of our 62nd season. Mr. Gregson’s work evokes the image of an early Renaissance court, viewed through a modern lens. It was written to accompany productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company depicting the reign of Henry IV – one of the most turbulent periods of the British monarchy.

Edward Gregson had this to say about our June 17, 2018 concert:

I send my very best wishes to the NCB and the conductor [Dr. Mallory Thompson] for a successful performance!

A LONG TIME AGO…concludes our season of Sonic Stories.  This lively program includes music that draws inspiration from ages past. The following are Edward Gregson’s program notes on The Sword and the Crown.

In 1988 I was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company to write the music for The Plantagenets trilogy, directed by Adrian Noble in Stratford-upon-Avon. These plays take us from the death of Henry V to the death of Richard III. Later, in 1991, I wrote the music for Henry IV parts 1 and 2, again in Stratford. All of these plays are concerned with the struggle for power (the crown) through the use of force (the sword) and they portray one of the most turbulent periods in the history of the British monarchy.

This work quickly became established in the mainstream repertoire and has received performances worldwide as well as five commercial recordings and many broadcasts. In 2002 I was approached by the Parc and Dare Band regarding their summer festival and commissioned to do a version for brass band. This was given its first performance in Treorchy Hall by the combined bands of Black Dyke and Parc and Dare conducted by Nicholas Childs.

When the Royal Air Force Music Services commissioned me to write a work especially for their British tour in 1991 I immediately thought of turning to this music and transforming some of it into a three-movement suite for symphonic band.

The first movement opens with a brief fanfare for two antiphonal trumpets (off-stage), but this only acts as a preface to a Requiem aeternam (the death of Henry V) before changing mood to the English army on the march to France; this subsides into a French victory march, but the English army music returns in counterpoint. Finally, a brief reminder of the Requiem music leads to the triumphal music for Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, father of Edward IV and Richard III (the opening fanfare transformed).

The second movement takes music from the Welsh Court in Henry IV (part 1) which is tranquil in mood; distant fanfares foreboding battles to come are heard, but the folktune is heard three times in different variations and the movement ends as it began with alto flute and gentle percussion.

The final movement starts with two sets of antiphonally placed timpani, drums and tam-tam, portraying the ‘war machine’ and savagery of battle. Trumpet fanfares and horn calls herald an heroic battle theme which, by the end of the movement, transforms itself into a triumphant hymn for Henry IV’s defeat of the rebellious forces.


We hope that you can join us for the final program of our 2017-2018 season.

A LONG TIME AGO…

June 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.


Thank you to Edward Gregson for giving us permission to reproduce materials from his website.

 

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Composer Michael Gandolfi

Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme by composer Michael Gandolfi is a highlight of our Summer 2018 program.

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Mr. Gandolfi describes this work:

‘Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme’ is a set of fantasy-variations, on an anonymous Renaissance lute piece titled ‘Spagnoletta’ that I played on my guitar for decades throughout my youthful years. I chose to write this piece upon being commissioned by the President’s Own United States Marine Band, directed by Michael Colburn, at the time of composition. I intended it to be a showpiece for that ensemble.

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A self-taught guitarist, Michael Gandolfi began playing rock and jazz at age eight and eventually began formal instruction in composition during his teens. He earned his bachelor and master of music degrees from the New England Conservatory and studied with Oliver Knussen at the Tanglewood Music Center. He currently serves on the composition faculty at both institutions. Gandolfi has collaborated with many important figures in contemporary American music, participating in the Composers Conference at Wellesley College with Mario Davidovsky and Ross Lee Finney and teaching composition at Tanglewood with Osvaldo Golijov. His catalog contains several works for orchestra, including Impressions from “The Garden of Cosmic Speculation,” which has been championed by conductor Robert Spano, with recent or upcoming performances by the New World Symphony and the symphony orchestras of Atlanta and Houston. Gandolfi has also written for chamber, theater, and jazz/funk ensembles.

We contacted Mr. Gandolfi and asked him to share with us his journey in music, musical influences and inspirations, and words of advice that he has for young musicians.

Please tell us a bit about your journey in music and in life.  I was fortunate to have been born into a musical household, with my two older sisters studying classical piano. There were two pianos in the house where I was born and lots of music making there. However, I was more interested in the Beatles than Beethoven, Bach or Brahms in those days. I taught myself to play the guitar and formed rock bands in grade school, blues bands in junior high school and jazz bands in high school. I loved to improvise (and still do). I sought formal lessons in junior high school and was fortunate to find a guitar teacher in my town of Reading Massachusetts, Edward Marino, who was also a composer. He introduced me to music theory and 20th-century music (Bartok, Stravinsky, Hindemith, Schonberg, et al). I always sought the most cutting-edge music then. In high school I met William Thomas McKinley, a fine composer, pianist, and professor of composition at the New England Conservatory of Music. I had lessons with him, became his assistant, and eventually enrolled in the New England Conservatory of Music after briefly studying at the Berklee College of Music. My other mentors were Donald Martino, John Heiss. Malcolm Peyton (all of whom I met at NEC), Ross Lee Finney, Mario Davidovsky, and Oliver Knussen (all of whom I worked with as a fellow at various Summer programs – Yale, the Composers’ Conference, Tanglewood, etc.). After graduation from NEC my musical life revolved around New York City, where groups such as Speculum Musicae, Parnassus, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra commissioned and performed works of mine. I survived in those days on a few commissions and a healthy dose of part-time teaching at Phillips Academy – Andover. I took my first college teaching appointment at Harvard University in 1996 and later joined the faculty at the New England Conservatory. I also joined the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center in 1997, having been a visiting composer and performer at Tanglewood every year (except one) following my 1986 fellowship year. I was fortunate to have had so many fine musicians and ensembles commissioning, performing and recording my music, starting with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in 1988 and continuing to this day with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. I have had too many fine affiliations to list them all, but I will also credit the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Musica Viva, the Melrose Symphony Orchestra (I also have had very fruitful creative collaborations with community orchestras), The New England Philharmonic, the Grant Park Orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Houston Symphony, the New World Symphony and the Cabrillo Festival, as among those with whom I have had a lasting relationship. Oddly, I did not write my first wind ensemble or concert band piece until my mid-career. That piece, ‘Vientos y Tangos,’ was commissioned in honor of Frank Battisti’s 70th birthday and received its premiere under the baton of Michael Colburn and the United States marine Band. They subsequently recorded it and toured with it, and on the success of that piece, the President’s Own USMB commissioned what became ‘Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme. As for my non musical life, I have a very keen interest in astronomy, physics, mathematics, and all things technology related. I am an avid baseball fan, love to read (mostly on Kindle these days, which has solved my bookshelf-space problem), and I continue to gain from teaching my students.

What have been some of your musical influences?  The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Allan Holdsworth, Van Halen, Sting, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, John Schofield, Pat Metheny, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Mike Stern, J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, Shostakovitch, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Ives, Harbison, Bolcom, Knussen, Ruth Crawford- Seeger, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Boulez, Schuller, Joan tower, Donald Martino, Babbitt, Carter, Reich, Glass, John Adams, John Corigliano, Sofia Gubaidulina, etc., etc. I have eclectic tastes, far too numerous to indicate in this short list.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory?  I had a masterclass with Leonard Bernstein while I was a fellow at Tanglewood in 1986. It was surreal. It was a pot-luck masterclass, nine fellows, a visiting composer (Robert Saxton) and Oliver Knussen as host. The ‘class’ started at 5:00 PM and was still going-strong at 2:00 AM when I left. The following day I learned that it concluded at 3:00 AM! Later that morning, 10:00 AM to be precise, Maestro Bernstein conducted ‘The Rite of Spring’ with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. Amazing! I learned a great deal that evening and at that rehearsal.

What’s on your iPod?  All of the Haydn symphonies (they’re ALL good by the way – no weak ones), all of the symphonies of Nikolai Myaskovsky, and all of the Shostakovich, Bruckner, and Prokofiev symphonies, as well as Alfred Brendel’s complete Beethoven piano sonatas. I place these giant oeuvres on my iPhone and listen to them in a loop whenever I am out-and-about. I rotate the list to other repertoire as time progresses.

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?  J.S. Bach. My all-time favorite.

What inspires you?  Notes! Physics. Structure. Beauty (defined as anything that creates goosebumps)

What do you do to relax?  ? I’m not sure that I ever do. I love exercise and long vigorous walks that I do on a daily basis. I used to find playing golf relaxing, but then I got too score-conscious and I no longer found it relaxing so I stopped playing. I do go to the range in the summertime at Tanglewood. I find that relaxing.

Do you have any advice for young musicians?Work hard but engage your mind in whatever takes you beyond the ordinary.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band.  I have known the Northshore Concert Band to be one of our nation’s finest community concert bands. They set the best example of the heights that can be achieved by applying hard work and dedication to the art of music-making. They also show other concert bands the riches and rewards of performing challenging and wide-ranging repertoire.

Please add anything else that you would like our audience to know about youThat I love life, music, and storytelling. I believe that storytelling is the principal expression of being human. It is what separates us from the rest of the work and art (especially music) is the pinnacle of this story-telling.

A special thank you to Mr. Gandolfi for speaking with us and giving permission to reproduce this material.  Please visit his website www.michaelgandolfi.com to learn more about this great composer.

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A Long Time Ago…

Sunday, June 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University

50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at www.northshoreband.org

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Composer Frank Ticheli

Sanctuary is a highlight of our spring 2018 program.  Written in 2005, Sanctuary was composed for conductor H. Robert Reynolds.

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Composer Frank Ticheli’s thoughts on this beautiful piece:

sanctuary_smI composed Sanctuary for Bob Reynolds. I wanted Sanctuary to be stylistically far removed from Postcard, which I had composed for Bob many years prior. I wanted something more soulful, more lyrical, more langorous. The first idea for Sanctuary came to me while improvising at the piano: a simple three-chord progression. The melody did not come right away, but slowly blossomed out of the improvised chord progression. I love the way it gradually and beautifully revealed itself to me.”

We contacted Mr. Ticheli and asked him to share with us his musical influences and inspirations and words of advice that he has for young musicians.

What have been some of your musical influences?  My earliest influences were New Orleans traditional jazz and Cajun folk music. I grew up near New Orleans. From there my influences broadened significantly as I developed as a musician. My greatest influences were composers and conductors: Bill Bolcom, Leslie Bassett, Bob Reynolds, Carl St. Clair.

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?  I’d like to sit down with Richard Wagner, to try to convince him as lovingly as possible to see the wrong-headedness of his views about people based on their ethnicity.

What inspires you?  Love.

What do you do to relax?  Run, hike, bicycle. I like to move. Sitting does not relax me because I already sit too much in life and work.

Do you have any advice for young musicians?  Keep reminding yourself that all the hard work is still supposed to be fun.

_mhd9535 copyFrank Ticheli’s music has been described as being “optimistic and thoughtful” (Los Angeles Times), “lean and muscular” (New York Times), “brilliantly effective” (Miami Herald) and “powerful, deeply felt crafted with impressive flair and an ear for striking instrumental colors” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel).  Ticheli (b. 1958) joined the faculty of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music in 1991, where he is Professor of Composition.  From 1991 to 1998, Ticheli was Composer in Residence of the Pacific Symphony.

Ticheli is well known for his works for concert band, many of which have become standards in the repertoire. In addition to composing, he has appeared as guest conductor of his music at Carnegie Hall, at many American universities and music festivals, and in cities throughout the world, including Schladming (Austria), Beijing and Shanghai, London and Manchester, Singapore, Rome, Sydney, and numerous cities in Japan.

Frank Ticheli is the recipient of a 2012 “Arts and Letters Award” from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, his third award from that prestigious organization. His Symphony No. 2 was named winner of the 2006 NBA/William D. Revelli Memorial Band Composition Contest. Other awards include the Walter Beeler Memorial Prize and First Prize awards in the Texas Sesquicentennial Orchestral Composition Competition, Britten-on-the-Bay Choral Composition Contest, and Virginia CBDNA Symposium for New Band Music.

Ticheli was awarded national honorary membership to Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, “bestowed to individuals who have significantly contributed to the cause of music in America,” and the A. Austin Harding Award by the American School Band Directors Association, “given to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the school band movement in America.” At USC, he has received the Virginia Ramo Award for excellence in teaching, and the Dean’s Award for Professional Achievement.

Frank Ticheli received his doctoral and masters degrees in composition from The University of Michigan. His works are published by Manhattan Beach, Southern, Hinshaw, and Encore Music, and are recorded on the labels of Albany, Chandos, Clarion, Equilibrium, Klavier, Koch International, Mark, Naxos, and Reference.

A special thank you to Mr. Ticheli for generously speaking with us and for giving permission to reproduce this material.  For further information about Frank Ticheli and his music, please visit the composer’s website at www.FrankTicheli.com


Please join us on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 3:00 pm at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University; 50 Arts Circle Drive in Evanston, Illinois for REBELLIONS ARE BUILT ON HOPE…,  conducted by Artistic Director Mallory Thompson.

Ticket Information:
Individual concert tickets are $20 each, seniors $15, students/children $10.

To make these unforgettable performances accessible for music lovers of all ages we offer special group rates to groups of 10 or more.  Call us at 847-432-2263 or email info@northshoreband.org  to customize your group ticket package today!

Tickets are available in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert.
The box office opens at 2:00 pm on the day of the concert.

For More Information:
Visit www.northshoreband.org or call (847) 432-2263.

 

Rising Star Andy Hudson

On Sunday, November 5, 2017, the Northshore Concert Band begins it’s 62nd season of musical excellence with Star Wars: A New Hope.  This premiere program will feature Andy Hudson, a virtuosic rising star on clarinet.  He will be featured on Michael Daugherty’s Brooklyn Bridge, a thrilling aural depiction of the New York landmark.

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Performances by clarinetist Andy Hudson have been hailed as “a treat for the listener” and praised for “an uncommon singularity of purpose, technical virtuosity, youthful vigor and a mature sensitivity.” Based in Chicago and active internationally, Andy has performed at the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest, the World Congress of the International Alliance for Women in Music, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Music Teachers National Association Conference, Constellation Chicago, and regional gatherings of the College Music Society, the Vandoren Clarinet Ensemble Festival, and the North American Saxophone Alliance. A frequent soloist,

Andy has recently performed concerti of Weber, Gandolfi, Mozart, David, and Copland among others. Andy has received invitations to perform at the Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Hot Springs Music Festival, and the Belgian Clarinet Academy. Andy was the grand prize winner at the 2008 MTNA National Senior Woodwind Competition, and has also won the Sewanee Summer Music Festival Concerto Competition, the MTNA Southern Chamber Music Competition, and both the Columbus State University and Northwestern University Concerto Competitions.

A fierce advocate for new music, Andy presented at the 2017 New Music Gathering, has premiered and commissioned dozens of works to date, and has performed with Chicago Symphony Orchestra MusicNow, F-PLUS, a.pe.ri.od.ic., earspace, 10th & Broadway, and the Zafa Collective. Andy is currently an Instructor of Music at Northwestern University, where he teaches courses in Music Theory, Aural Skills, and 21st Century Music, and a Lecturer in Music at Lake Forest College. Additionally, each summer he joins the Artist-Faculty of the Tennessee Valley Music Festival in Huntsville, AL. Andy is a current DMA Candidate at Northwestern University, where he also earned the Master of Music degree. He previously earned the Bachelor of Music degree from Columbus State University. Andy’s primary teachers have included Steve Cohen, J. Lawrie Bloom, and Lisa Oberlander.

 

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We know that you will enjoy this exclusive NCB interview with Mr. Hudson.

Please tell us a bit about your journey in music and in life.  I was born into a family with a Choir Director for a mother and a recovering-hippie Bass Guitarist for a father. Because of this, I learned to love a wide variety of musical styles from an early age, and I still maintain a deep love for both the classical and popular music realms! I took up the clarinet and the guitar in elementary school, and I can honestly say I never dreamed I would be lucky enough to still be performing.

What have been some of your musical influences?  I think most often of those who have poured themselves into me throughout the course of my career. I’ve had so many great mentors, people like Mallory Thompson, Steve Cohen, Lisa Oberlander, Eric Mandat, and Lawrie Bloom. I feel a deep desire to honor their investments in me and to pay it forward by empowering future generations of musicians to realize their potential.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory?  There are too many to count! However, one recent performance I found very meaningful was Northwestern SWE’s performance at the CBDNA National Convention in Kansas City. We performed a powerful program of repertoire that dealt with themes of identity, love, loss, hope, and innocence. To share this moment in a beautiful concert hall, surrounded by people I love, was truly stirring.

What’s on your iPod?  A little bit of everything! Recently, I’ve been listening to Bartok, Bon Iver, Kendrick Lamar, Debussy, Brand New, Caroline Shaw, and The War on Drugs. I also love folk music and Americana, but I’m always looking for something new to inspire me. New music is like fresh air!

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?  Igor Stravinsky. As far as I can tell, The Rite of Spring is musical perfection, and The Soldier’s Tale is one of my all-time favorite pieces. Stravinsky worked in a vocabulary wholly distinct from his contemporaries, and his music still feels remarkably fresh to this day.

What does music mean to you?  Music is not meant to terminate on itself, but rather it must be leveraged to enact as much good in the world as it can. While I take tremendous joy in my own practicing and performance, I feel that music is something I can offer the world. It can bring peace or beauty into a world that desperately needs it, or it can provide a vessel for interacting with and processing the pain we encounter. Music can be a tremendous force for healing and for good. As the saying goes: “Perhaps it is music that will save the world.”

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What do you do to relax?  I love to bicycle, run (distances from 5k to the Marathon), and hike whenever possible. I find that enjoying a physical hobby allows me to channel the intensity of the music process in a way that energizes and refocuses me. I also try to spend as much time as I can with my wife and two kids! Together, we love to listen to records, cook, and watch movies – especially Finding Dory.

Do you have any advice for young musiciansLearn to love the grind! Music is a process, and even as we progress, we never really arrive. Each day we must strive to be better than the day before, and if we can learn to love the process – not just the results – then we have a real shot to love and make music for our whole lives.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band.  The Northshore Concert Band is amazing! During my Master’s Degree at Northwestern many years ago (I won’t tell you just how many!), we had the opportunity to perform a side-by-side of “Dionysiaques” with SWE and NCB. The love of music, excellence in performance, and community dynamic that NCB embodied have made that performance a treasured memory. I’m simply delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Mallory Thompson & the NCB for this upcoming concert!


A special thank you to Mr. Hudson for generously sharing with us his thoughts and experiences! Please visit his website at www.theandyhudson.com to learn more about this rising star!


Don’t miss Andy Hudson’s solo clarinet performance during Star Wars: A New Hope, 3:00 pm November 5, 2017 concert at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the beautiful Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Illinois.  Reserve your seat today!

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Musicians & Music

Meet the extraordinary men and women of Northshore Concert Band who have dedicated their lives to making music!

JASON LUCKER

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Jason Lucker plays the Trumpet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2015. He is a Musician with the Navy Band Great Lakes and lives in Waukegan, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started playing in 6th grade because all my friends were joining band, so obviously I went along with them. I chose trumpet because lf the very first note in my favorite movie at the time: Star Wars.

What do you enjoy most about playing? I love trying to evoke a real emotional response from the people who here me (hopefully a positive one, if everything goes well). Whenever I hear a great performance that truly means something to me, I am inspired to try to make my next performance of whatever I’m playing, whether it’s Sousa or Husa, just as meaningful to the audience.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  I will never forget playing for what seemed like 2000 children at a school in Manila, Philippines. We played a mix of pop tunes, jazz, classical pieces, and American marches, as well as a couple of Tagalog songs. But no matter what we played, the kids and their teachers gave a great response, smiling, clapping along, cheering, etc. It took a full two hours to get to our changing room after the concert because they all wanted pictures and signatures afterward. The whole experience was incredible.

What are your musical influences? I have many musical influences, but two stand out. First, I absolutely adore Chris Martin and everything that comes out of the end of his bell. I think his sound is the most beautiful trumpet playing I’ve ever heard. The first time I heard him play, I was in a rut when it came to my instrument, and I was entirely ready to give up and move on to other things. But Chris’s sound with the CSO brass section inspired me to get back in the practice room and never turn back. And having gotten to meet him after a NCB concert, he’s a great guy in person, too. Second is one of my best friends and my personal mentor, a middle/high school band director in a small school in Indiana. I’ve never met anyone who cared about or put so much of themselves into their daily job as her and if I can reach even a fraction of that amount of dedication to my instrument and my career, I will consider my efforts a success.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Dr. Robert Grechesky, former director of bands at Butler University. Not only did I learn a great deal about conducting from him, but I learned how to love band music under his baton. Before studying at Butler, I was very much an orchestra snob and thought little of wind bands and wind band music. But it’s literally impossible to dislike band working with a man like Dr. Grechesky and I’m very grateful for getting to work with him.

Does anyone in your family play music? Not in my immediate family. I have a cousin with a doctorate in church music who plays organ very well, but I don’t see him much.

What’s on your iPod? Literally everything from Ludacris to to Sibelius. Because I’m required to play a wide range of musical styles for work, I listen to just about everything so I can have a good grasp of what I should sound like. Plus, it’s easier to like what I’m playing if I can learn to find something to like when listening to it.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? You do not have to practice on days that you do not eat. That is not an excuse to choose not to eat.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? Everyone in the group is there because they want to be. And because the musical expectations are set high by Dr. Thompson, everyone works hard to be prepared for our rehearsals and concerts.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Fun. Dedicated. Engaged.

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews of Northshore Concert Band members in this Musicians & Music series!