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Robert Aitken, artistic director

CONDUCTING THE ETHER



Saturday January 7, 2017
Carolina Eyck theremin | Penderecki String Quartet
Gregory Oh piano | James Mason oboe | D. Andrew Stewart karlax
Introduction @ 7:15: The story of the Theremin with Carolina Eyck
Concert 8:00 | The Music Gallery, 197 John Street [MAP]


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Programme:

Carolina Eyck (Germany 1987) – Fantasies (2016)
Nº1 Oakunar Lynntuja (Strange Birds) Nº2 Leyomi (Luminescence) Nº5 Dappa Solarjos (Dappled Sunlight)
(Carolina Eyck performs her work “Leyomi” from Fantasies on our Videos page)
D. Andrew Stewart (Canada 1970) – Working song and the last dead leftover (2016)
Maurice Ravel (France 1875-1937) – Kaddish (1914)
Bohuslav Martinů (Czechoslovakia 1890-1959) – Fantasia (1944)
Omar Daniel (Canada 1960) – Regarding U.S. Patent 1,661,058 Method of and Apparatus for the Generation of Sound (2016)


PROGRAMME NOTES
:

Bohuslav Martinů (Czechoslovakia 1890-1959) Fantasia (1944)

Bohuslav Martinů studied briefly at the Prague Conservatory. He left Czechoslovakia for Paris in 1923, but when the German army approached Paris early in the Second World War he fled to the United States in 1941 where he settled in New York with his French wife. In New York, he composed a piece for theremin for Lucie Bigelow Rosen who premiered the Fantasia as theremin soloist in 1945, along with the Koutzen Quartet and Carlos Salzedo.

Omar Daniel (Canada 1960) Regarding U.S. Patent 1,661,058... (2016)

Omar Daniel received his DMA from the University of Toronto and currently is professor of composition at Western University. His composition prizes include the CBC Young Composer’s Competition, the SOCAN Composer’s Competition and the 1997 Jules Lèger Award for New Chamber Music for Zwei Lieder nach Rilke commissioned by New Music Concerts. Concerning his work he notes that “I wanted to pay homage to one of the great archetypes of classical music (the string quartet), as well as two iconic electronic instruments that were developed at the beginning of the 20th century: the electronic organ and the theremin. My work explores possible interactions between the electronic and the acoustic, with the goal of creating both ‘points of contact’ and contrast.”

Carolina Eyck (Germany 1987) (selections from) Fantasias (2016)

Carolina Eyck composed these Fantasias specially for the 12’’ vinyl LP format, a practice reminiscent of early-60s Nonesuch releases. The quartet parts are composed, and Eyck improvises on the theremin over these. The result is an organic virtuosity that leads the listener through a wide range of sonic environments across the piece. Eyck’s Fantasias range from slow- evolving arpeggiations reminiscent of Reich and Glass, to alternative bowing and fingering techniques that achieve an ethereal ambience, to athletic explorations reminiscent of Bartók’s String Quartets. The titles were devised by Eyck and Butterscotch Records producer/label-head Allen Farmelo by scanning multiple Scandinavian languages for pleasing lingual combinations. Conceptually, Eyck has located all of this music within her vivid childhood memories of the woods of northern Germany where she grew up. However, Eyck remains pointedly cognizant that this setting acts as a metaphor for the context and mental state one needs to sustain creative presence. In a sense, the Fantasias stand as a metaphor for the very thing that made them possible.

D. Andrew Stewart (Canada 1970) Working song and the last dead leftover (2016)

Since 2000, D. Andrew Stewart has been pursuing a career in live electronics, after developing his own sensor-suit while living in Paris. He studied at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague, Holland and holds degrees from Laurier University, UBC, and McGill University. Stewart currently teaches music and digital audio arts at the University of Lethbridge. The composer writes, “The karlax is manufactured by Da Fact (Paris, France) and consists of a sensor-based control surface that drives musical parameters of a sound synthesizer in real time. The gesture of tilting the karlax in the lateral and frontal planes leads to changes in timbre and abrupt thrusts of the karlax result in a noticeable ‘sound-exertion.’ The aspect of ‘working song’ can be understood as both implementing and exploiting features of musical song and music for singing while working (e.g., work chant). The two primary materials are brought together in an effort to showcase a perpetual melody and evoke the sonic environment of repetitive, mechanical labour. With respect to the ‘last dead leftover,’ I take a philosophical viewpoint regarding the present-day global population movements. Through my art, I wish to highlight the importance of recognising the humanity of migrants who are labouring to escape civil unrest.”

Maurice Ravel (France 1975-1937) Kaddisch from Deux mélodies hébraïques (1914)

These two songs by Maurice Ravel were written at Saint-Jean-de-Luz. The first song, Kaddisch, uses an Aramaic text from the Jewish prayer book; L’Énigme éternelle is based on a traditional Yiddish verse.


PERFORMERS:

At the age of 7 Carolina Eyck got her first theremin lessons from Lydia Kavina. Since her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in 2002 she has given concerts worldwide and collaborated with such artists as Heinz Holliger, Robert Kolinsky, Gerhard Oppitz, Andrey Boreyko, Michael Sanderling, Gürer Aykal and John Storgårds. From 2011 an increasing number of pieces have been written for the theremin, very often composed specifically for Carolina Eyck beginning with the concerto Air by Andrew Norman. In 2012, Carolina played the theremin solo at the world premiere of the two symphonies Mesopotamia and Universe by Fazil Say. That same year Finnish composer Kalevi Aho dedicated the theremin concerto Eight Seasons to Carolina and her performance of it went on to receive the ECHO-Klassik “Concert Recording of the Year (20th/21st century music). In 2016 she and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) released Eyck’s Fantasias for Theremin and String Quartet, on Butterscotch Records.

Carolina Eyck has conducted workshops, lectures and master classes worldwide, e.g. at the Juilliard School New York and Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Leipzig. In 2006, she published the first extensive Theremin method book entitled The Art of Playing the Theremin. Since 2010 she is the artistic director of the Theremin Summer Academy in Colmar (France) and beginning in 2013 the director of the Theremin Spring Academy in Leipzig. Carolina formed a duo with the pianist and composer Christopher Tarnow in 2013 and in October 2015 they published a CD of recent compositions for theremin and piano, the Theremin Sonatas on the GENUIN label. An active improviser, through the Carolina Eyck Band with Lukas Rabe (piano/electronics), Jacob Müller (bass) and Philipp Scholz (drums), she is developing a new approach to music which encompasses various styles of electronics and jazz-related standards.

The Penderecki String Quartet, approaching their third decade create performances that demonstrate their “remarkable range of technical excellence and emotional sweep” (Toronto, Globe and Mail). Their schedule has included concerts in New York (Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall), Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), Los Angeles (REDCAT at Disney Hall), St. Petersburg, Paris, Prague, Berlin, Rome, Belgrade, Zagreb, and Atlanta. They are presently in their 25th year as Quartet-in-Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

James Mason is highly regarded as one of Canada’s most prominent oboists. Since 1979 he has been the Principal Oboe of the KitchenerWaterloo Symphony. He has recorded most of the standard chamber music and solo oboe repertoire, along with several new works written specifically for him. Mr. Mason has appeared as guest Principal Oboe with the Boston Symphony and Montreal Symphony, along with the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

Pianist and conductor Gregory Oh holds degrees from the University of Toronto and University of Michigan and has performed at the National Arts Centre, the legendary techno club Berghain in Berlin, Victoriaville, and Lincoln Centre to name a few. He is artistic director of Open Ears Festival, the new music group Toca Loca and has been a contemporary curator at Toronto’s Music Gallery. He has also worked for Canadian Opera Co., San Diego Opera, and Banff Opera program. He teaches at University of Toronto, the National Youth Orchestra, and is resident artist at Soulpepper Theatre.