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Press Release




Wayne Peterson at 80

Thursday, September 20, 7 pm
Knuth Hall, San Francisco State University

Tickets: 415/338-2467; www.ticketweb.com
INFO: http://creativearts.sfsu.edu, 415/338-1431

The Earplay Ensemble
Mary Chun, conductor
Tod Brody, flutes  •  Peter Josheff, clarinets  •  Karen Rosenak, piano
Terrie Baune, violin  •  Ellen Ruth Rose, viola  •  Thalia Moore, cello

Guest Artists
Ann Moss, soprano  • Karen Gottlieb, harp  •  Dan Kennedy, percussion Jim Kassis, percussion
* * *

Duo (1993)
Terrie Baune and Karen Rosenak

Colloquy (1999)
Tod Brody and Karen Gottlieb

Antiphonies (1999) 
Daniel Kennedy

Peregrinations (1997)
Peter Josheff

Freedom and Love(2004)
Ann Moss and Jim Kassis

A Three Piece Suite (2003)
(Earplay Commission, Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation, premiered 2004)

Mary Chun, Tod Brody, Peter Josheff, Terrie Baune, Thalia Moore,
Karen Rosenak, Jim Kassis

Out of the Blue
The Sunlight Thins, the View Empties (Han Yu, 824)


* * *

Program Notes

DUO (1993)violin, piano

I. Toccata (poco agitato)
II. Adagio
III. Scherzo (light and jazzy)

There are three interconnected movements played without pause: a Toccata (poco agitato); Adagio; and a Scherzo (light and jazzy). The nervous, highly charged and technically challenging opening sets the tone for the Toccata. Eventually the impetuous nature of this music succumbs rather prematurely to the full-blown lyricism of the Adagio.  As the violin brings to ultimate fruition its sustained ideas a brief transition, begun by spiky, irregular rhythms in the piano, serves to shatter the calm and proceed to the final movement. Beginning with jazz motifs (quotes from Bebop standards, Bill Evans and Errol Garner) the spirit is now light and buoyant. Gradually the music intensifies, taking on an ever greater urgency as material returns from the Toccata and undergoes further development. After a furious climax an accelerating coda brings the DUO to a resounding close. ----W.P.


Colloquy (1999)
flute and harp

COLLOQUY begins with sustained, lyric passages which increasingly alternate with those of a more animated and fragmentary nature. Midway in the piece a fast scherzo emerges and builds inexorably to an exciting climax. There follows a gradual reduction of both tension and pace, terminating with a quiescent reference to the opening statement.—W.P.


Antiphonies (1999)
solo percussion

Antiphonies (1999) was written in response to a commission by the brilliant percussionist, Dan Kennedy. As the title suggests, there is a continual interplay between the two instruments that takes full advantage of their differences in timbre and methods of playing. Indeed, rapid exchanges often create an illusion that is not unlike that of a duo.

Antiphonies is essentially a multi-sectional fantasy that is played without pause. Its quiet, mysterious beginning gradually defines motifs and gestures that are subsequently developed and varied throughout the piece. As tensions increase, the pace quickens, leading to a virtuosic, climactic scherzo. An extensive transition follows which serves to dissipate the agitation. With calm restored, the piece concludes with a broadening elaboration of its opening phrase.


*   *   *

Peregrinations (1997)
clarinet solo

PEREGRINATIONS (1997) was commissioned by clarinetist, Allen Blustine. This single movement draws upon almost all the multi-faceted resources of the clarinet. Its moods are highly volatile. The motifs and rhythmic gestures presented in a quiet, somewhat tentative opening statement are germane to all that follows. Sustained, lyric moments emerge from time to time only to be unexpectedly shattered by menacing figures that coalesce into rapid, irregular passages that demand utmost virtuosity. Eventually their energy flags. The phrases disintegrate and are gradually overtaken by a series of closing, chorale-like tremolos based on the tranquil beginning.

--- W.P.


*   *   *

Freedom and Love (2004)
soprano and percussion
(Text by Thomas Nash) World Premiere

While recently perusing an old anthology of English verse, I was beguiled by a poem written during the Elizabethan Period, Freedom and Love, by Thomas Nash.  The gentle, warm and witty text immediately suggested its suitability as a companion piece for my Tympan Alley.  Using the same voice-with-percussion accompaniment, I endeavored to capture its more varied and subtle moods.  Like its predecessor, the treatment is essentially straight-forward and clear.  The attentive listener should have no difficulty following its course.

Freedom and Love

Thomas Nash (1777-1844)

How delicious is the winning
Of a kiss at love's beginning,
When two mutual hearts are sighing
For the knot there's no untying?

Yet remember, 'midst your wooing,
Love has bliss, but Love has ruing,
Other smiles may make you fickle,
Tears for other charms may trickle.

Love he comes, and Love he tarries,
Just as fate or fancy carries;
Longest stays, when sorest chidden;
Laughs and flies, when press'd and bidden.

Bind the sea to slumber stilly,
Bind its odour to the lily,
Bind the aspen ne'er to quiver,
Then bind Love to last for ever.

Love's a fire that needs renewal
Or fresh beauty for its fuel:
Love's wing moults when caged and captured,
Only free, he soars enraptured.

Can you keep the bee from ranging
Or the ringdove's neck from changing?
No! nor fett'rd Love from dying
In the knot there's no untying.

*   *   *

A Three Piece Suite (2003)
(Earplay Commission, Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation, premiered 2004)

A Three Piece Suite was commissioned by the Serge Koussevitzky Foundation in the Library of Congress and the Earplay Ensemble of San Francisco. The movements are titled Out of the Blue; The Sunlight Thins, the View Empties; and Gauntlet.
Out of the Blue is a joyful reminiscence of my youthful experience as a Bebop pianist. The emerging music of that period made an indelible impression upon me with its unprecedented—indeed eruptive—expansion of melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, and technical vocabulary. Its mercurial nature was surely reflective of the volatile times brought about by World War II. This piece is not a typical 32-bar jazz tune followed by improvised variations. It is rather a work that treats Bebop material in a manner consistent with my own style. The music pursues no preconceived form. It emerges in a stream of consciousness. Recognizable motifs and rhythmic gestures, nevertheless, do recur and, as the pace increases, combine to produce a brilliant climax. There follows a gradual reduction of tempo that brings the movement to a tranquil conclusion.

The Sunlight Thins, the View Empties is a title chosen from a poem by Han Yü, a Chinese poet of the late Tang period. It seemed an appropriate verbal summary for what I had endeavored to express in music: the gradual ebbing of one’s vital forces as the years pass. This movement is contained in a large tripartite form. It opens mysteriously with a somewhat fragmentary but colorful dialogue between the alto flute and the bass clarinet. As the other instruments join in participation, the music becomes more sustained, leading directly to a middle section—a buoyant dance in triple time. Vacillating between contrapuntal and homophonic textures, a development of the dance motifs culminates in a resounding, fortissimo high point. An ensuing transition serves to dissipate the tension, gradually returning to the opening mood. This time the material is initially expanded only to fade away with progressively smaller fragments.

The final movement, Gauntlet, is essentially a programmatic conception that needs no technical or formal commentary. It deals with a frantic chase between a predator and its victim. The music is relentless in its intensity save for a few brief respites when the quarry mistakenly imagines that secure cover is at last acquired. These illusions, however, are abruptly shattered, and the pursuit resumes with renewed ferociousness until the inevitable moment when the victim stumbles and meets its demise in the clutches of the predator. —W. P.


Wayne Peterson (b. 1927) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1992 for the San Francisco Symphony commission, The Heart of Dark, crowning a distinguished career which includes a catalog of more than 60 works and numerous fellowships and awards. He has been honored by the Guggenheim, Koussevitzky, Fromm, and Gerbode Foundations in addition to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Peterson has been a Professor of Music at San Francisco State University for more than three decades and has also been active as a guest composer at universities across the country. He was guest Professor of Composition at Stanford University from 1992-1994; other guest teaching positions have included those at Indiana University, Brandeis University, and the University of Minnesota. The Wayne Peterson Prize, which is awarded annually for outstanding musical excellence in composition, was established in his honor by San Francisco State University in 1998.


Guest Artists

Ann Moss (Soprano) enjoys an active vocal career in both the Bay Area and her hometown of Boston. She holds a Post Graduate Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music in Voice from Longy School of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College. Teachers include Sheri Greenawald, Wendy Hillhouse, Anna Gabrieli and Rodney Gisick. Ann's stage roles include Blondchen (Die Entfuhrung, Berkeley Opera) Nannetta (Falstaff, Berkeley Opera), Despina (Cosi fan tutte, UMASS Opera Theater), Patience (Valley Light Opera) and Dew Fairy (Hansel and Gretel, SFCM Opera Theater). Recent concert appearances include Bach Magnificat, Fauré Requiem, and Mendelssohn Lauda Sion in Boston, and Bach St. Matthew Passion, Cantata BWV 51, and Harbison Mirabai Songs in San Francisco. Ann holds a special interest in song recital design and performance, and is co-founder of Boston Art Song Collective which showcases innovative concert programming for diverse audiences. Recognized as a champion of contemporary music, she is frequently sought out by composers to co-create new works, and takes immense pleasure in the construction of first performances. She has collaborated with such composers as Jake Heggie, John Harbison, Eric Sawyer, Graham Hair, Vartan Aghababian and Ruth Huber, as well as with students of Howard Frazin, Paul Brust, David Conte, Elinor Armer and others. Recent engagements include the world premiere of Eric Sawyer's Itasca, concerts of new music for vocal quartet and strings in collaboration with the Ives String Quartet, a program of music by living American composers for the San Francisco Song Festival, and the cycle On Love by U.C. Berkeley faculty member John Thow, with Earplay's Karen Rosenak at the piano.

Karen Gottlieb (Harp) harpist since 1985. She has toured extensively with them on their USA, European and Asian tours as well as performed on many of their recordings. She is  principal harpist with the California Symphony and Skywalker Recording Symphony. Ms. Gottlieb received her Bachelors degree at the University of Washington in Seattle and her Masters in Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She is on the faculty of San Franciso State University, Mills College and the San Domenico School. 

Jim Kassis (Percussion) moved to California in 1985 from Boise, Idaho, to study percussion with Tony Cirone at San Jose State University. He maintains an active performing career with the Monterey Symphony, San Jose Symphony, New Music Works, Cabrillo Music Festival, Opera San Jose, and Tin Hat Trio, as well as with Will Bernard and Gene Harris. He has recorded with performance artist Rinde Eckert, Indian singer Shweta Javeri, and clarinetist Beth Custer. He teaches percussion at Santa Clara University and at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View.

Daniel Kennedy (Percussion) is a specialist in the music of the twentieth century, and is a member of Earplay and the Empyrean Ensemble. He received his M.F.A. degree from the California Institute of the Arts and his D. M. A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Mr. Kennedy, who has recorded widely, is both Instructor of Percussion and former Artistic Director of the Festival of New American Music at California State University, Sacramento.



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