Classical Guitar Magazine
This award-winning DVD features guitarist Mesut Özgen's multimedia concert performances of music by Anthony Newman, Pablo Ortiz, Robert Beaser, Benjamin Verdery, Anthony Gilbert, Robert Strizich, and Deepak Ram.In March 2004, a multidisciplinary artistic team from the film and digital media, theatre, and music departments in the Arts Division of University of California, Santa Cruz, led by guitarist Mesut Özgen, had launched the premiere performances of the multimedia concert series “New Dimensions in Classical Guitar.”
A multicamera video production crew, directed by Mark Plummer, captured these premiere performances together with the beautiful acoustics of the UCSC Recital Hall. A delightful set of new guitar music is presented skillfully and artfully combined with visual accompaniments, comprised of lights, video, and interactive digital images. A one-hour selection from this DVD program was broadcast nationwide on UCTV and won a 2006 Telly Award for outstanding music/concert production.
These visually enhanced performances will thrill guitar fans and enlighten a new audience to the unbound dimensions of classical guitar.
PROGRAM NOTES (from the DVD Menu)
ABOUT THE VISUALS
The video images support the music in various ways, setting an emotional mood through an abstract use of landscapes, animate and inanimate objects. Gustavo Vazquez prepared the video footage exploring the relationship of sound as vibration and image as color.
Peter Elsea creates animated digital image patterns and manipulates them during the performance. His "Visualizations Project" is an exploration of methods to make visual images and performed music cohesive by generating and modifying images with the sound. A computer program analyzes the sound of the performer for volume, pitch, and timbre during the performance. This information is then used to produce the projected images.
The scenery and lighting design also set the mood of each piece and support the music by transforming the stage subtly during the performance according to the changing musical content, both between and within the same piece. David Lee Cuthbert's interest in multimedia as a theatrical device for story telling for years has led him to develop new design approaches for "New Dimensions in Classical Guitar."
This interdisciplinary collaboration between music, visual arts, digital media, and theatre arts aims to push the traditional boundaries of these art forms to explore visually enhanced stage presentations in classical music.
I have been so lucky to have this opportunity to collaborate with such a talented artistic team. Each one of them brought their expertise generously from their respected art to this special presentation of classical guitar performance. I would like to thank Gustavo, Peter, and David for contributing tremendously to this project with great dedication and artistry.
This disk presents performances from the premiere concerts in March 2004. Since then, the project has been continuing with new repertoire and visual designs.
As an image maker in this collaboration, I was inspired both by Mesut's precise gift as a guitarist and his sensibility in interpreting the composer's work on stage. The composer's notes were pivotal when I considered the type of images I would create for this piece. I have attempted to link a visual association germane to the origins of each piece of music. This project has offered me the opportunity to bring together my interests and training in painting, photography, and filmmaking.
The visualization techniques used here are in two styles. In most of them, you will see images generated from some aspect of the sound, which are then processed in various ways. This is similar to what happens in iTunes and MediaPlayer with a very important difference: the process is under the control of a human being at all times. So, the graphics do not change randomly but are shaped to follow and fit the performance. Depending on the skill of the "visualizer," the images will react to tempo, form, and mood in a way that supports rather than distracts from the music.
For "Stars," I have taken a different approach. Just as the composition is based on the composer's impressions of the Escher's woodcut, the graphics are my own interpretation or gloss on the picture. For the technology addicted, all of my visualizations are produced in real time using the program "Jitter" by Joshua Kit Clayton and David Zicarelli.
I am dedicating my work in this project to my father, Carl A. Elsea, who lived a life of frugality and sacrifice so that I could indulge in artistic nonsense.
Note: See below to read more specific descriptions of the visual accompaniment for each piece.
ABOUT THE MUSIC
1. Gigue (from "Suite for Guitar") by Anthony Newman
Published by T.D. Ellis Music Publishing
The Gigue is part of a larger suite, neo-baroque in style [commissioned by luthier Thomas Humphrey and written for Benjamin Verdery]. My system of harmony is to use older background harmonic motions and then fill them in with added notes, which either spice the harmony, or all right replace them. This is how music gradually progressed through Brahms and Wagner, and later Stravinsky. Besides the "spiked" harmonies, rhythmic substitutes abound, much more so than in
the works of Bach, they are more like raga substitutes.
Visuals for Gigue: digital images
This is a feedback visualization technique produced in real time using the program "Jitter," also used in two other pieces, Shenandoah and Be Kind, though different patterns and designs are used for each piece. For Gigue, a circular flower-like pattern is used. These digital patterns are generated by the “Jitter,” responding to each note during the live performance, depending on the volume, pitch, and timbre, but also manipulated by Peter Elsea to transform the overall shape and colors, according to the musical form and the mood of each section.
2. La Guitarra for soprano, guitar, and percussion
(on poetry by Federico García Lorca) by Robert Strizich
Published by Turquoise Guitar Editions (ASCAP)
I first encountered Federico García Lorca’s evocative poem La Guitarra when I was an undergraduate music student at the University of California at Berkeley. The poem was displayed in a coffee and sandwich shop I used to frequent on the north side of the Berkeley campus, elegantly inscribed on the stucco wall in the original Spanish. In the course of my regular visits to this coffee shop I became intimately familiar with the poem, and resolved that some day I would set it to music. However, the idea for this project lay dormant for many years. But some reason, when invited recently by guitarist Mesut Özgen to write some music for a series of new works he was planning to perform, it seemed, finally, like just the right time to set Lorca’s poem to music.
La Guitarra appeared originally as one section of a longer poem entitled “Poema de la siguiriya gitana,” which appeared in 1921 in a collection of Lorca’s poetry entitled “Poema del cante hondo.” All the works in this collection were inspired by flamenco music and dance, subjects about which Lorca was extremely knowledgeable, and which influenced much of his creative output. In my setting of the poem for soprano and guitar, I have tried to combine some of my current compositional interests with references to the flamenco styles that inspired Lorca’s poetry. In fact, the piece is cast in the form of a seguiriya, which - with its regular alternation between 3/4 and 6/8 meter - is one of the most venerable and profound forms of cante hondo.
The inclusion of wine glasses, to be played as a percussion instrument by the soprano, seemed like an obvious, but nevertheless necessary and inevitable, contribution to the setting.
Visuals for La Guitarra: video
Gustavo Vazquez prepared the video for this piece based on Lorca’s poetry, as well as his own personal connection with classical guitar. The actual text of the poem is featured in the video, as well as Gustavo’s visit with an old classical guitarist Don Baltazar, who was a miner in the mountains of Mexico.
3. Shenandoah for guitar by Robert Beaser
Published by Helicon Music Corporation (BMI) (European American Music Distributors LLC)
"Shenandoah" is based on the popular American folk tune of the same name. The original work chant, in the age-old tradition of the 'sea song', evokes the power of the mighty Missouri River. A popular folk tune is interleaved with original melodies, harmonies and counterpoint to form an entirely new hybrid. Still, for the player, the spirit and power of the traditional tune should guide interpretation of the music.
The original tune “Shenandoah” was popular on American sailing vessels in early New England. Later the regular cavalry carried the song west. Shenandoah is the name of an Indian chief who lived along the Missouri River. The singer portrays a man who has fallen in love with the chief 's daughter. It is thought that the song originated with the loggers or rivermen who taught it to sailors in port. The sailors took the song to sea and used it as a shanty, or work song, while loading cargo.
Beaser’s Shenandoah is not a set of variations or a typical guitar arrangement, but comprises various sections in an arch-like form, reflecting the musical equivalent of the song’s story from his point of view. The original tune can be heard sometimes in part, and sometimes complete, in arpeggio, chord, and tremolo sections on the trebles or bass, and sometimes disguised in a contrapuntal texture. When I worked with Beaser in preparation for the premiere, he gave me a lot of room not only to discover the most effective fingering, timbre, and idiomatic positions, but also to explore various textures, especially in chordal sections, by providing as many as ten notes and allowing me to choose the the ones that I felt most appropriate to the particular context. During the several months of work, Eliott Fisk provided many valuable fingering suggestions and added beautiful harmonics in the lyrical sections.
Visuals for Shenandoah: digital images
As for the Gigue and Be Kind, the feedback technique is used to produce digital images. The snow flakes appear from the top of the screen, responding to each note, and falling downwards. The direction and speed of the snow flakes are controlled and guided by Peter Elsea, who changes them in different sections of the music.
4. Stars for recorder and guitar (after Maurits Escher) by Anthony Gilbert
Published by The University of York Music Press
The piece takes as its point of reference a wood-engraving by Maurits Escher in which a number of single, double and triple geometrical solids float through space around a giant central composite of interlocking stars imprisoning two dragons or chameleons. The music has nine such elements, related but extremely contrasted. Strictly speaking, the elements should float freely around each other in any order, but for practicalities of performance I have been obliged, like Escher, to fix them in a specific relativity to each other, some recurring, some interlocking. Some of the elements tax the players’ capabilities to extremes: these are the dragons!
Visuals for Stars: digital animation
This piece is one of the rare musical examples written based on a visual graphic. Both the composition and animated graphics are based on the artists' impressions of the wood-engraving. It begins with a sketch drawing of Escher. Each geometrical shape is introduced as an animated form. When the music progresses, the floating shapes are presented in various designs, following the mood of different sections. Finally, the original graphic of Escher appears in the very last measures.
5. Sortija for guitar by Pablo Victor Ortiz
Published by Turquoise Guitar Editions (ASCAP)
Sortija is a large ring used in Argentinean merry-go-rounds. The kids try to grab the Sortija out from a pear-like wooden container. The person holding this container alternatively prevents or facilitates the children's grabbing efforts. Whoever gets the Sortija is eligible for a free ride. The piece was written for Mesut Özgen, who kindly helped me sort out some of the mysteries of his fascinating instrument.
Pablo Victor Ortiz
When I first heard Pablo's music, I was immediately attracted to the energy and original harmonic language of his music; particularly his solo cello works sounded very guitaristic to me. Our collaboration process on Sortija took about nine months, during which Pablo allowed me to create all the voices in multiple layers and make necessary changes appropriate to idiomatic guitar writing. I feel honored and lucky to collaborate with such a creative, inventive, and open-minded composer.
Visuals for Sortija: video
Gustavo Vazquez created the video based on both the mood of the music, which is joyous and mostly in a perpetual motion, and the meaning of the title. The background moving images of a carousel reflects the kinetic energy of the music, and this is balanced visually with the forefront still images of various paintings, thus creating an abstract and colorful visual design.
6. Surya for bansuri and guitar by Deepak Ram
Published by Seher Music Publishing (ASCAP)
While I have written a few works based on elements of Indian music for western classical musicians, this is the first work that includes myself as a performer. I am thrilled to perform this with guitarist Mesut Özgen. The guitar part is all through-composed, while the bansuri part, with the exception of the main melody, is all open for improvisation, which is the quintessence of North Indian Classical music. To create open spaces for me to improvise and have meeting points to synchronize with the guitar was an interesting challenge. This piece, therefore would be different each time its performed, and at some point I would score the improvised bansuri part, making it available to be performed by a western flute or oboe, also a new version for string orchestra, concert harp and bansuri. The work is based entirely on a south Indian raga known as Kirwani which has a scale comparable to the harmonic minor scale E F# G A B C D# E, and has seven short movements, each emulating an element of Indian music, such as alap, jor, jhala, gat, and taan. It also uses three time signatures: 4/4, 7/8 and 6/8.
As a performer I am constantly influenced and inspired by my teacher, the great master Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, and as an aspiring composer my greatest influence is great master Pandit Ravi Shankar. I humbly dedicate this piece to him. I decided to call this piece Surya, which is one of the many names of the sun, Ravi being another.
Visuals for Surya: video photomontage
Gustavo Vazquez’s visual work aimed at resembling a tapestry and not distracting the attention from the musicians. His visual collage includes various still images from different cultures, interlocking and moving very slowly.
7. Be Kind All the Time for electric classical guitar, loops, delay, and prepared guitar by Benjamin Verdery
Published by Verdery Music (BMI)
The idea of people from the past, present and future crying out for peace was the inspiring emotional theme while writing this work. It is scored for electric classical guitar and includes a looping section, prepared guitar with paper clips and chopsticks, volume pedal and slide bar. It is in three sections with first section having a brief looping passage and the middle one being "prepared." The delay which lasts three measures also begins in this section and continues until the end. Each three measures are repeated, creating at times two to four voices.
Be Kind All the Time was written for my dear friend, Mesut Özgen, and is dedicated to His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama.
Visuals and electronics for Be Kind All the Time:
As for the Gigue and Shenandoah, the feedback technique is used to produce digital images, this time originating from a linear pattern, which begins with a simple form and develops into more complicated multilayered and colored forms.
“Electric classical guitar” means here a regular classical guitar made by Gil Carnal with two-transducer pick-up system built by Rick Turner, which is connected to a mixer (D-TAR Solstice Mixing/Blending System) with a stereo cable in order to control under-nut and under-saddle transducer volume levels separately. The mixer then directs the sound to the D-TAR digital modeler called Mama Bear (developed by acoustic researchers Rick Turner and Seymour Duncan) to produce a more natural sound, which is connected to a digital loop (Line 6 delay modeler), and a digital delay (Boss DD-20 Giga Delay). I used pedals to control them during the performance.
Amplification for "New Dimensions in Classical Guitar"
by Rick Turner
When Mesut Özgen approached me to amplify his new Gil Carnal guitar for Ben Verdery’s new piece with electronics as part of the New Dimensions in Classical Guitar, I saw this as a great opportunity to take classical guitar amplification to a new level. I have been working for many years on guitar amplification, and a couple of years ago I co-founded a new company, D-TAR (Duncan Turner Acoustic Research), to be an outlet for my own ideas and those of my associates in this arena. Working closely with artists like Mr. Özgen is absolutely essential in the R&D process of a company like ours; only by subjecting ourselves to the constructive critical ears of the finest guitarists will we able to make advances to the state of the art of guitar amplification.
My choice of pickups for the Carnal was a D-TAR Timberline coaxial undersaddle unit mated to a high-headroom 18 volt preamp designed by D-TAR’s Kevin Beller. I had successfully installed Timberlines into my own Ramirez 1a, a Paul McGill classical owned by Muriel Anderson, as well as several of Kenny Hill’s instruments. I feel this pickup delivers the most complex, and thus most interesting signal of any undersaddle device, and retains the excellent feedback resistance inherent with this type of transducer.
The basic sonic problem with any pickup, and what I believe has made the classical guitar community so resistant to them, is that the best still deliver an oversimplified version of the true sound of the classical guitar. Because the full character of a guitar doesn't really coalesce until you get at least a couple of feet away from the instrument, a highly localized pickup only gets a portion of what goes into tone. So as good as the Timberline sounds by itself, there is still more to be done to achieve the goal of the true sound of the guitar at a volume which can compete with orchestral instruments and reach the back of a concert hall.
This brings us to the component of Mr. Özgen’s stage system that has the potential to finally deliver on the long time promise of classical concert quality amplification: a digital signal processor named “Mama Bear” (a project code name which stuck)! Mama Bear uses a 32 bit DSP chip programmed to neutralize anomalies in pickup response and then overlay a digital sonic signature incorporating the wood and air sound of recorded instruments onto the string sound coming from a pickup in a guitar. Using an approach we call “3-D-EQ,” we can overlay the complexities of the phase and frequency relationships inherent in a miked guitar signal onto the flattened pickup signal, giving us the best of both worlds: the feedback resistance and mounting convenience of an undersaddle pickup with the kind of sonic warmth you get from a well placed microphone. The guitarist’s touch on the strings and the attack, decay, and sustain characteristics of the guitar being played are not altered by Mama Bear, but the pickup signal now has the desirable characteristics of wood and air added to it.
Mama Bear has two 16 position switches, one for input correction algorithms and one for target output signal. A blend control allows panning from pure unmodified pickup signal to completely digitally processed or using any ratio between extremes. A bypass switch enables one to hear the unmodified signal or the effect at the push of a button, and a phase switch allows reversing absolute phase which can be helpful in high gain situations to null feedback. A mute switch makes for silent tuning when using an electronic tuner, and input gain and output volume controls set ideal operating levels. Outputs include 1/4” for preamps and guitar amplifiers and a 3 pin XLR for direct connection to a PA system or recording console.
We still have much to learn about fine tuning Mama Bear for classical guitar, but with Mr. Özgen’s adventurous help, we feel that we have a way to deliver the kind of tone rightfully expected by classical guitarists at volume levels which will enable the nylon strung guitar to take its place in any context from chamber ensemble to full symphonic glory.
Rick Turner, Santa Cruz, CA
For over three decades, the multi-gifted Anthony Newman has been in the public eye as America’s leading organist, harpsichordist and Bach specialist. No less prodigious as a composer, his works have been heard in Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow, Warsaw, New York, and London.
His compositions include sonatas for piano, concerti, choral works, a complete set of piano preludes and fugues in every key, five guitar works and others. His guitar works include Suite, Prelude & Contrapunctus, Ride the Wind Horse, and From the Major Arcana for solo guitar, as well as Passacaglia, Sarabande, and GIgue for guitar and harpsichord (published by TGE). In 2000, Albany records released a recording of Anthony Newman’s first opera “Nicole and the Trial of the Century,” on the subject of the infamous O.J. Simpson trial in Los Angeles in 1995.
His most recent major composition “Requiem” for chorus, vocal soloists, orchestra, and organ was released by Khaeon Klassical in 2001. Time magazine described him as the “high priest of Bach.” His prodigious recording output numbers more than 150 CDs on Sony Classical, Deutsche Grammophon, Vox, and Khaeon Klassical.
Mr. Newman has also guest-conducted many of the world’s great chamber orchestras, including those of Los Angeles, the 92nd Street Y in New York, the New York Chamber Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. A whole series of orchestral conducting triumphs with the Seattle Symphony, San Francisco Baroque, and the New York Chamber Orchestra raised him to the top ranks of Baroque and Classical specialist conductors.
Robert Strizich studied music at the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a B.A. in music and an M.A. in composition. A Hertz Fellowship from UC Berkeley enabled him to spend several subsequent years in Switzerland, studying at the Musikakademie in Basel. After returning to the USA, he completed a Ph.D. in composition at the University of California at San Diego, where his principal teachers were Robert Erickson, Will Ogdon, Bernard Rands, and Roger Reynolds. During the 1996-97 academic year, he was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).
Strizich has composed a variety of works for instrumental, vocal and electroacoustic media, many of which are published by Fallen Leaf Press (Berkeley), Drake Mabry Publishing (San Diego and Paris), and Bèrben Editore (Ancona, Italy). His most recent guitar works La Guitarra, a work based on poetry of Federico García Lorca for soprano, guitar, and percussion and Meditation on "Down by the Riverside" for solo guitar are published by Turquoise Guitar Editions.
He has fulfilled commissions from various performers, ensembles, arts organizations and dance companies, and his music has been performed in the United States, Europe, and South America. His work has also been recognized by grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Wellesley College, and the Universities of California at Santa Cruz and Berkeley (including UCB's Eisner and Nicola de Lorenzo Prizes).
Strizich's music has been presented on the West Coast by both Earplay and Composers Inc. in San Francisco, the Festival of New American Music at California State University in Sacramento, and in Santa Cruz by New Music Works and the new music festival April in Santa Cruz.
His works have also been performed by Ensemble Nova, the new music ensemble at UC Santa Cruz, who have recorded his Tombeau, Fantasia and Aphorisms on a CD of new music for early instruments that was recently released by Musical Heritage Society. Another of his works for early instruments -- his Contreparties for baroque lute and harpsichord -- appears on a recent
Strizich's "still and still moving..." for large chamber ensemble was premiered in 1998 by the American Composers' Orchestra at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, and then performed again the following year by Música Aperta in Washington, D.C. His "look(ing)..."/five poems of e. e. cummings for soprano, clarinet and piano was recently premiered by the ensemble "Schwungvoll" in San Francisco. The author of various papers on music theory and performance practice, Robert Strizich has also taught composition, music theory, music history and performance at Wellesley College, Trinity College (Hartford), the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco State University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Robert Beaser is often cited as an important figure among the "New Tonalists"--composers who are adopting new tonal grammar to their own uses--and through a wide range of media has established his own language as a synthesis of European tradition and American Vernacular.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1954, Beaser studied literature, political philosophy, and music at Yale College and earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Yale School of Music. His composition teachers have included Jacob Druckman, Earle Brown, Toru Takemitsu, Arnold Franchetti, Yehudi Wyner and Goffredo Petrassi. Currently, he is Professor and Chairman of the Composition Department at the Juilliard School in New York. Beaser's compositions have earned him numerous awards and honors. In 1977, he became the youngest composer to win the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. In 1986, Beaser's widely heard Mountain Songs for flute and guitar was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Contemporary Composition.
He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Fulbright Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Charles Ives Scholarship, a Nonesuch Commission Award and a Barlow Commission.
In 1995, when the American Academy of Arts and Letters honored him with their lifetime achievement award, they wrote: "His masterful orchestrations, clear-cut structures, and logical musical discourse reveal a musical imagination of rare creativity and sensitivity...and put him in the forefront of his generation of composers."
Beaser's music has been performed and commissioned with regularity both in America and abroad. He has received major commissions from the New York Philharmonic (150th anniversary commission), the Chicago Symphony (Centennial commission), the Saint Louis Symphony, The American Composers Orchestra, The Baltimore Symphony and Dawn Upshaw, The American Brass Quintet, Chanticleer, New York City Opera, Glimmerglass, and WNET /Great Performances.
Shenandoah for solo guitar was commissioned by Rodrigo Riera International Guitar Composition Contest held in Caracas, Venezuela in August 1995. It was premiered by Mesut Özgen at Yale Guitar Extravaganza in November 1995.
Anthony Gilbert is a London-born composer whose early studies were with Matyas Seiber and Alexander Goehr. He came to prominence in the 1960s with a series of brilliant virtuoso chamber works performed at the international festivals. Larger works followed: in particular a Symphony, premièred at the Cheltenham International Festival, attracted wide public interest. Soon after that, he commenced his long and fruitful period here: 25 years interrupted only by spells in Australia, a country he has grown to love greatly.
He has now written some 80 works in a wide range of genres, most recently a series of virtuoso recorder works for John Turner in all shapes and sizes from concerto to tiny miniature, and a violin concerto "On Beholding a Rainbow" for the BBC. Among larger works are an acclaimed symphony, "Ghost and Dream Dancing" for orchestra, and two operas: "The Scene-Machine" for Staatstheater Kassel and "The Chakravaka-Bird", a BBC Jubilee commission. His latest guitar work "Verse Preverse", written for Mesut Özgen, is based on Eschers' woodcuts and a Turkish musical form pesrev.
Special interests include the classical music of Northern India, Balinese music and Korean music. Anthony Gilbert was Director of Composition Studies and Contemporary Music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester until his retirement in 1999.
PABLO VICTOR ORTIZ
Pablo Victor Ortiz was first trained in his native Buenos Aires, where he received a degree from the Universidad Catolica Argentina. At 27, he moved to New York to study at Columbia University. He studied composition with Mario Davidovsky, Chou Wen Chung, Jack Beeson, Jacques Louis Monod, Fred Lerdahl, Gerardo Gandini, and Roberto Caamano. At present, he is Professor of Composition at the University of California, Davis. He taught composition and was co-director of the Electronic Music Studio at the University of Pittsburgh from 1990 to 1994.
Among those who have performed his compositions are the Buenos Aires Philarmonic, the Arditti String Quartet, Speculum Musicae, the Ensemble Contrechamps of Geneva, Music Mobile, Continuum, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and the Theatre of Voices.
His music has been heard at international festivals in Salzburg (Aspekte), Geneva (Extasis), Strasbourg (Musica), Havana, Frankfurt, Zurich, Sao Paulo and Mexico City. He was a fellow at the Composers' Conference at Wellesley College in 1986 and 1988, and he was commissioned by the Fromm Foundation in 1992. In 1993, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1996 he received the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and
In 1997 and 1998, Ortiz was commissioned two chamber operas, Parodia and Una voz en el viento, by the Centro Experimental Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. In 1999 he was commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation to write a piece, Raya en el mar, for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.
In 2000 he received a grant from Fideicomiso para la cultura Mexico-US to write children's songs based on poems by Francisco Alarcon, renowned Chicano poet and Mission artist. Recently, he was commissioned by the Gerbode Foundation to write a piece for Chanticleer and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, to be premiered in February 2004. His works include chamber and solo music, vocal, orchestral, and electronic compositions, and music for plays and films.
Deepak Ram, senior disciple of world renowned bansuri maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, is a master of the bansuri (Indian flute) and composer whose foundation is in North Indian classical music. In 2000, Ram won the South African Music Awards for Best Instrumental Album, for his album, Searching for Satyam.
He collaborated with numerous musicians of various genres, including jazz pianists Darius Brubeck and Bheki Mseleku, Tunisian oud player and vocalist Dhafer Yousseff, and the popular South African band Tananas.
Recently, Ram performed with South African musicians like Sibongile Khumalo and Rwandan diva Cecile, on Robben Island in South Africa's millennium concert hosted by presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Ram earned a Master's degree in Music (MMus) from Rhodes University, South Africa, in 1996 for his thesis, "Exploring syncretism between Indian and western music through composition."
His compositions combine Indian and western traditions, and include works for chamber groups with flute and strings, choir, ballet, and orchestra. He was named as “Distinguished Artist and Lecturer” by UCSC Porter College in 2003-04 academic year.
Benjamin Verdery has been described by Guitar Review Magazine as "An American original; an American master." He has performed and taught masterclasses throughout Europe, Mexico, Canada, Cuba, Japan and South America, and has recorded and performed with such diverse artists as Frederic Hand, Leo Kottke, Anthony Newman, Jessye Norman, Paco Peña, Hermann Prey and John Williams.
He regularly gives flute and guitar concerts with the Schmidt/Verdery Duo and with his ensemble Ufonia. Since 1985, he has been the chair of the guitar department at the Yale University School of Music. He has recorded numerous CDs on GRI, New World Records, Sony Classical, and Windham Hill labels.
His most recent CDs (both on Mushkatweek Records) are Start Now , featuring his own compositions, and Soepa: American Guitar Music, which is a follow up to Ride the Wind Horse (Sony Classical) and features innovative new music by Ingram Marshall, Jack Vees, Daniel Asia, John Anthony Lennon, and Van Stiefel, aswell as his own.
As a composer, Benjamin Verdery does do not see such a clear division between popular music and classical music, between chamber and ethnic music or jazz, further developing the American music tradition. Many of his compositions have been performed and published in recent years.
Workshop Arts published the solo works from his recording Some Towns and Cities (Sony Classical). The recording includes fifteen original compositions, and won the 1992 Best Classical Guitar Recording in Guitar Player Magazine. In 1996, John Williams recorded Mr. Verdery's duo version of Capitola, CA for Sony Classical.
Benjamin’s Scenes from Ellis Island, for guitar orchestra, has been extensively broadcast and performed at festivals and universities in America, Canada, New Zealand and Europe and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet performs it on their CD Air and Ground (Sony Classical).
His Pick and Roll for guitar ensemble, two violins, soprano sax, and basketball, written for Mesut Özgen, was premiered by the UCSC Guitar Orchestra in “April in Santa Cruz: Contemporary Music Festival” in 2001.Workshop Arts (distributed by Alfred Music) has released Mr. Verdery’s book, Easy Classical Guitar Recital as well as his instructional video The Essentials of Classical Guitar (nominated for Best New Instructional Video by Music and Sound Retailer, 2000). He most recent work is a series of compositions for solo guitar, entitled Eleven Etudes and published by Les Éditions Doberman-Yppan.
Mesut Özgen has performed concerts and taught master classes throughout the U.S., Spain, and Turkey. After seven years of medical practice as an M.D. in his native Turkey, he studied guitar with Benjamin Verdery at Yale School of Music, where he earned Master of Music and Artist Diploma degrees. He was also the first guitarist to be awarded the "Dean's Prize" at Yale School of Music. He later studied with Frank Koonce at Arizona State University, where he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Özgen has been a guitar faculty member at UC Santa Cruz since 1998.
In addition to being a prizewinner in the International Portland Guitar Competition, he has performed as featured soloist in the International Paco Peña Guitar Festival in Cordoba, Spain, Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, Yale Guitar Extravaganza, and Santa Cruz Contemporary Music Festival.
Frequently collaborating with other composers, Özgen has long been a strong advocate of new music for guitar. Composers who have written solo, concerto, and various ensemble music for Özgen include Anthony Newman, Anthony Gilbert, Pablo Ortiz, Christopher Pratorius, Benjamin Verdery, Deepak Ram, Robert Strizich, Paul Nauert, Yalçin Tura, Charles Nichols, and David Cope.
Özgen's pedagogic research interest has been on how to design technical training programs based on exercise physiology principles and his guitar training guide book will be published in 2008. Besides teaching, he has been giving solo recitals regularly and writing solo and ensemble music for guitar and other instruments based on or influenced by traditional Turkish music.
Gustavo Vazquez, film/video maker originally from Tijuana and now living in San Francisco, is an assistant professor in the Film and Digital Media Department at UC Santa Cruz. He holds an MA in Film from S.F. State University (1991) and a BFA from the S.F. Art Institute (1979). He has directed over thirty productions, including documentaries, video installations, and dramas. Vazquez was commissioned to produce and direct a video installation, "Who Am I?", for "Chicano Now," an interactive, multimedia exhibit currently touring museums in the United States. Recently he won two major awards for his achievements in film: The Rockefeller Media Fellowship Award and the Eureka Visual Artist Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation.
Peter Elsea began working in music technology in the early 1970's as a graduate student at the University of Iowa, where he studied with Lowell Cross and Peter Tod Lewis. After earning an MA in 1974 he joined the U of I staff as electronic music studio engineer. In this position, he worked on development of Cross's Laser projection systems as well as several innovative analog audio and video synthesis systems.
In 1980, he joined UCSC as director of the Electronic Music studios, a job title he still occupies, although the work has changed considerably. Elsea's creative field is development of tools for electronic musicians. This ranges from studio design to creating software for algorithmic composition. He has a large body of compositions, which are proving grounds for techniques he develops and teaches, and his "Lobjects" software has become standard in EM studios around the world. The visualization series is typical of that work. Combining the experimental ideas of John Whitney and Lowell Cross, the ultimate goal of visualizations is a tool kit that will allow musicians to integrate responsive computer generated images into live performances.
DAVID LEE CUTHBERT
David Lee Cuthbert has designed lighting in the Bay Area for the Magic Theatre, Center Rep, Foghouse Productions and San Jose Repertory Theatre. He has designed two National Tours for The New Pickle Circus.
Regional credits include I Think I like Girls, A Feast of Fools, and Diva for the La Jolla Playhouse, Faith Healer for The Globe Theatres, The Universal Monster Show Richard III and The Ghost Sonata for Sledgehammer Theatre, Jaywalker and Zoot Suit for San Diego Rep, The Piano Lesson and Art for San Jose Rep, The Summer Moon and Tally's Folly for A Contemporary Theater, The Countess at South Coast Rep, and Billy Crystal's Broadway blockbuster 700 Sundays.
Internationally, Cuthbert designed the 25th anniversary tour of Terminal, directed by Joseph Chaiken, which had its world premier in Belgrade. For Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure Theme Park in Orlando, he is Associate Lighting Designer for The Adventures of Spider-Man, The Ride.
He has been Director of Lighting for The Globe Theatres and a resident artist at Sledgehammer Theatre, where his designs include The Chairs, Frankenstein Project, Ghost Sonata (2000 KPBS Patte), Phenomenal Acceleration, Alice in Modernland. His educational video series, Conducting Light, is available through Theatre Arts Video Library. Cuthbert is an assistant professor in the Theatre Arts Department at UCSC.
Annette Bauer, a native of Germany, studied medieval and renaissance music at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland, specializing on recorder techniques with Conrad Steinmann (2001). She holds an MA in music from UC Santa Cruz (2004), and has been a student at the Ali Akbar College of Music in California since 1998, where she studies North Indian classical music on sarode. As a recorder player, Annette regularly performs with Istanpitta medieval music ensemble, and has appeared at the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, the Carmel Bach Festival, with Chamber Music San Francisco, and the California Bach Society.
She has served on the faculty for several of the San Francisco Early Music Society summer workshops, as well as for the Texas Fall Toot 2006. Annette currently also teaches music at a K-8 school in Oakland, CA, and regularly conducts recorder workshops and classes in medieval notation in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Lauren Rasmussen, soprano, received her Bachelor of Music in 2000 and her M.A. in the fall of 2003 from the music department at UCSC where she studied voice with Patrice Maginnis. Previous roles include Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart (UCSC), Serpina and artistic director in La Serva Padrona by Pergolesi (Master's Recital in Voice UCSC), Nella in Gianni Schicci by Puccini (UCSC), Cinderella in Into the Woods by Sondheim (Mountain Community Theater), Frasquita in Carmen by Bizet, and First Lady in The Magic Flute by Mozart (UCSC). She has also been featured as a soloist with UCSC's Chamber Singers, Women's Choir, and numerous student recitals. Being that her interests in performance are varied, she has been working on early music, new music, oratorio, music theater, and opera, as well as directing and teaching.
The "New Dimensions in Classical Guitar" concerts were partially funded by grants from
University of California Institute for Research in the Arts
UCSC Music Department
Porter College Hitchcock Poetry Fund
UCSC Arts & Lectures
Pajaro Valley Performing Arts Association
UCSC Professional Development Fund
And the following donors:
Richard Josephson and Staff of Life
Leah and Necdet Erez
Ongun and Serap Alsaç
Linda and Ronald Hardert
Rolf S. Augustine
Steve Reed and Laurie Kiguchi
Zeynep K¦l¦ç and Ali Akoglu
Edip and Zeynep K¦rdar
Donna and Olaf Schiappacasse
John and Nancy Lingemann
Marty Kendall and Joe Weed
Nicholas and Ruth Royal
Gil Carnal Classical Guitars
Rick Turner & D-TAR/Duncan-Turner Acoustic Research
Steve Palazzo and Amy Haberman
Sabri Oguz & Güray Özbek/Nomadic Arts Home Furnishings, San Francisco
Richard Gellis, Union Grove Music and Line 6
Colleen and Dan Clark
Special thanks to
David Kaun for his very generous support and encouragement
Many thanks to
UCTV and Lynn Burnstan for the video support
Recital Hall Manager:
Video Production Assistant:
Postcard Design & Mailing:
Project Fiscal Officer:
Audio Recording Engineer:
Video Production Director:
Assistant Video Editor:
Listen Audio Samples
Watch Video Samples