TURNING POINT ENSEMBLE
Saturday October 17, 2015 at Betty Oliphant Theatre
Vancouver’s Turning Point Ensemble
Owen Underhill, conductor
Introduction 7:15 | Concert 8:00
Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis Street [MAP]
$35 regular | $25 seniors / arts workers | $10 students
Ana Sokolović (Serbia/Canada 1968) - ...and I need a room to receive five thousand people with raised glasses or
What a gorious day, the birds are singing "Alleluia” (2014)
Jocelyn Morlock (Canada 1969) - Luft Suite (2011/15)
Dorothy Chang (USA/Canada 1970) - Three Windows (2011)
Linda Catlin Smith (USA/Canada 1957) - Gold Leaf (2010)
Alexina Louie (Canada 1949) - A Curious Passerby At Fu's Funeral (2015)
Serbian-born, Montreal-based composer Ana Sokolović studied composition at university under Dusan Radić in Novi Sad and Zoran Erić in Belgrade, then completed a master’s degree under the supervision of José Evangelista at the Université de Montréal in the mid-1990s. Her work is suffused with her fascination for different forms of artistic expression. Both rich and playful, her compositions draw the listener into a vividly imagined world, often inspired by Balkan folk music and its asymmetrical festive rhythms.
Over the years, Ana Sokolović has earned a steady stream of commissions and awards. Today, her repertoire includes orchestral, vocal, chamber, operatic and theatrical pieces. In 2009, she won the prestigious National Arts Centre Award, which included commissions, residencies and teaching positions over a five-year period. Ana Sokolović just received a prestigious commission from the Canadian Opera Company for a main-stage opera that will be premiered during the 2019/20 season. The libretto La Reine-Garçon, originally written as a theatre play by one of the most important and talented Quebec play writers Michel Marc Bouchard, will be adapted by the author. Ana Sokolović teaches composition at the Université de Montréal.
Ana Sokolović: …and I need a room to receive 5000 people…or what a glorious day, the birds are singing “halleluia” (2014)
This piece is inspired by the musical elements of two songs from the Serbian rock band EKV / Ekatarina Velika. It is comprised of 3 movements : fast-slow-fast. This piece is dedicated to the Belgrade urban generation of the 80s and to Owen Underhill and his fantastic Turning Point Ensemble. — Ana Sokolovic
The music of composer Dorothy Chang has been described as “evocative and kaleidoscopic” (Seattle Times) and praised for its colourful scoring and range of dramatic expression. Her music is rooted in the Western art music tradition but often reflects the eclectic mix of musical influences from her youth, ranging from popular and Western folk music to elements of traditional Chinese music.
Chang’s catalog includes over sixty works for solo, chamber and large ensembles as well as collaborations involving theatre, dance and video. She has several works written for Chinese and Western instruments in combination, refelecting a recent and developing interest in her music. Projects from the past year include Invisible Distance, a cello concerto premiered by cellist Ariel Barnes and the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra, Of Fragments and Dreams for string orchestra premiered by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, a collaborative adaptation of Gertrude Stein’s play White Wines for four vocalists and percussion, and a new chamber work for the Nu:BC Collective to be premiered in 2016. Chang joined the music faculty at the University of British Columbia in 2003 where she currently serves as a Professor of Music.
Dorothy Chang: Three Windows (2011)
I. Streams and Strata II. Soft and silent, encircling high III. Metal on Wood
Three Windows (2010-11) is one of several of my works inspired by geography, place and time. This particular work takes its inspiration from the furthest western point of the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia, where my home has been since 2003. Here, an open stretch of sky meets the vast ocean waters, and the coastline is defined by groups of towering pines and firs that are steadily giving way to massive highrise construction. Looking out toward the Pacific, one’s eye might catch in a single glance the striking juxtaposition of nature, man and machine. Each of this work’s three movements isolates a specific element of this multi-dimensional panorama.
The opening movement “Streams and Strata” is a musical exploration of the constantly shifting layers and patterns of clouds, light, sky and water stretched in parallel streams across the expansive horizon. The middle movement “Soft and silent, encircling high” is inspired by the slow, unhurried and wide spiraling patterns of an eagle in solitary flight, as often observed over this coastal area. Similarly, the music features a series of repetitive patterns that first survey then gradually move from one musical terrain to the next. The final movement, “Metal on Wood” is a twisted scherzo of sorts. Brief, energetic and at times explosive, the movement combines the driving rhythms of urban life with dark, unsettled undertones. Simple musical motives are introduced, then quickly distorted, layered and stacked into excessively dense masses of sound. Three Windows was commissioned by the Turning Point Ensemble with assistance from the Arts Partners in Creative Development. — Dorothy Chang
Linda Catlin Smith grew up in New York and lives in Toronto. She studied music in NY, and at the University of Victoria (Canada). Her music has been performed and/or recorded by: Tafelmusik, Other Minds Festival, California Ear Unit, Kitchener-Waterloo, Victoria and Vancouver Symphonies, Arraymusic, Tapestry New Opera, Gryphon Trio, Via Salzburg, Evergreen Club Gamelan, Turning Point Ensemble, Vancouver New Music, and the Del Sol, Penderecki, and Bozzini quartets, among many others. Her work Ballad (for Eve Egoyan, piano and Andrew Smith, cello) was released as a solo CD on the World Editions label. She has been supported in her work by the Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council, Chalmers Foundation, K.M. Hunter Award, Banff Centre, SOCAN Foundation and Toronto Arts Council; in 2005 her work Garland (for Tafelmusik) was awarded Canada’s prestigious Jules Léger Prize. In addition to her work as an independent composer, she was Artistic Director of the Toronto ensemble Arraymusic from 1988 to 1993, and she was a member of the ground-breaking multidisciplinary performance collective URGE from 1992-2006. Linda teaches composition privately and at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada. A new CD of her piano music, performed by Eve Egoyan, has just been released.
Linda Catlin Smith: Gold Leaf (2010/2015)
In this work, I was exploring a variety of sound colours one can find in the rich combination of instruments of the chamber orchestra. The work seemed to me like a painting, where some parts of it are thickly layered with colour, other parts are thin and almost transparent. The percussion adds a shimmer here and there, like applying a bit of gold leaf to the surface. I was also thinking of this as a metaphor for harmonic colour – adding in pitches to harmonies and changing the lightness or darkness of the harmonic palette. I finished the work at the end of August, when the first leaves started to turn gold. The piece was commissioned by the Glenn Gould School’s New Music Ensemble, directed by Brian Current, through the generosity of the Ontario Arts Council. My thanks go to Owen Underhill and the Turning Point Ensemble for this performance. — L.C. Smith
Juno-nominated composer Jocelyn Morlock is one of Canada’s most distinctive voices. She is currently the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Composer in Residence and recently completed a term as inaugural Composer in Residence for Vancouver’s innovative concert series, Music on Main. Morlock’s music has received numerous accolades, including: Top 10 at the 2002 International Rostrum of Composers; Winner of the 2003 CMC Prairie Region Emerging Composers competition; winner of the Mayor’s Arts Awards in Vancouver (2008); two nominations for Best Classical Composition at the Western Canadian Music Awards (2006, 2010) and a Juno Nomination for Classical Composition of the Year (2011, Exaudi.) Her first full-length CD release, Cobalt, was nominated for two Western Canadian Music Awards, for Classical Composition (Oiseaux bleus et sauvages) and Classical Recording of the Year.
Jocelyn Morlock completed a Bachelor of Music in piano performance at Brandon University, studying with pianist Robert Richardson. She received both a Master’s degree and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of British Columbia. Among her teachers were Gerhard Ginader, Pat Carrabré, Stephen Chatman, Keith Hamel, and the late Russian-Canadian composer Nikolai Korndorf.
Jocelyn Morlock: Luft Suite (2011/15)
The music for Luft was originally written as a 35-minute ballet, choreographed by Simone Orlando and danced by Josh Beamish and his MOVE: The Company. Luft was inspired by the enduring theme of quest within Firebird folklore. This short suite from Luft adapts music from three of the original six sections. The music of the prologue starts with a gently surreal, delicate ticking like a tripwired music-box waiting, perhaps, to explode. In the second section dizzy chromatic motion evokes energy, flight, and attempts at escape which ultimately end in failure. The final section builds from nervousness into a panicked, wild battle...at its conclusion, the music becomes more relaxed and buoyant. — Jocelyn Morlock
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell, quoted by choreographer Simone Orlando as the note for Luft’s premiere.
Alexina Louie is one of Canada’s most highly regarded and most often performed composers. Her desire for self-expression, her recognizable sound world, as well as her explorations of Asian music, art, and philosophy have contributed to the development of her unique musical voice. Louie’s work is communicative and highly dramatic, and it pushes the boundaries of convention and tradition. Her orchestral works have been performed by such esteemed conductors as Sir Andrew Davis, Leonard Slatkin, Kent Nagano and Charles Dutoit.
Louie has been commissioned to compose for all musical genres including solo, chamber, orchestra, ballet, and opera. Her music has been performed in many important international centres including Beijing, Tokyo, Vienna, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Sydney and New York. Her major theatrical works include The Scarlet Princess, a full-length opera with libretto by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) commissioned by the Canadian Opera Company and works for The National Ballet of Canada. In 2006, her filmed comedic opera Burnt Toast (librettist Dan Redican, director Larry Weinstein) was awarded the prestigious International Golden Prague Grand Prix (147 films from 28 countries). The team’s ground-breaking six minute opera film Toothpaste has been twice shown in the Louvre.
An Officer of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Order of Ontario, and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, Louie received an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary in 2002. She has twice won the JUNO Award in the category of Best Classical Composition. Louie is also an award-winning composer for film and television.
Alexina Louie: A Curious Passerby At Fu's Funeral (2015)
I. A Curious Passerby at Fu’s Funeral
II. An Incident in The Night
III. Staring Down The Demon
This multi-movement work for large ensemble is a dramatic composition that inhabits a highly charged emotional landscape. Commissioned by Owen Underhill and The Turning Point Ensemble, it explores extreme ranges of heightened activity. The first movement surges forward with virtuosic exchanges between the piano and the percussion. This eventually develops into sections characterized by relentless repeated chords and gestures (“cortège” and “dirge”).
The second movement begins with solo utterances in the oboe which serve as the introduction to a series of haunting shō-like chord clusters. I have been inspired by this beautiful multi-reed Japanese mouth organ’s unusual manner of sound production, where the performer inhales and exhales through the instrument, resulting in a cloud of sound. The unusual technique required for playing the shō, as well as its colourful array of pitches, have served as a key element in several of my compositions. In the second movement, the calmness of the shō-like section is interrupted by a forceful musical ‘incident.’ The movement ends with a peaceful musical moment that suggests a night sky filled with stars.
The final movement brings A Curious Passerby at Fu’s Funeral to a propulsive conclusion with its inspiration taken from Asian drumming. This piece is inspired by my own imagined scenario that traverses the path between mysterious and explosive elements. A Curious Passerby At Fu’s Funeral was commissioned through the assistance of The Canada Council. — Alexina Louie
Turning Point Ensemble
The Vancouver-based Turning Point Ensemble, founded by its musician members in 2002, is dedicated to the performance of extraordinary music for large chamber ensemble from the early twentieth century through to the present day. Programming directions include music of time and place (composers banned by the Third Reich), rediscovery of forgotten repertoire (first professional production of Barbara Pentland’s 1952 opera The Lake), masterworks of the early twentieth century including original arrangements (Stravinsky Firebird Suite, Debussy Jeux), genre experimentation crossing jazz and new music, cross-cultural collaboration (Westbank and Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations), and links of music crossing centuries. As part of a yearly subscription season, the ensemble has regularly initiated and participated in innovative cross-disciplinary collaborations, including dance, film, theatre, and the visual arts. Such productions have included a rare remount of Erik Satie’s last experimental work Relâche, complete with newly created dance, and live synchronization to René Clair’s surrealist film Entr’acte; and in 2015, an international production air india [redacted] by Irish composer Jürgen Simpson based on poetry by Renée Sarojini Saklikar.
The Turning Point Ensemble commissions leading Canadian and international composers including Dorothy Chang, Dave Douglas, Anthony Genge, Farangis Nurulla-Khoja, Rudolf Komorous, Alexina Louie, Michael Oesterle, John Oliver, Linda C. Smith, Rodney Sharman, Ana Sokolović and Owen Underhill. The ensemble’s discography includes discs featuring the music of Barbara Pentland and Rudolf Komorous, a recording featuring clarinetist François Houle as soloist, and a new release with musica intima of music by Ana Sokolovic and Julia Wolfe. The ensemble is the winner of the prestigious 2011 Rio Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award in Music, and has been named one of Vancouver’s best classical musical ensembles.
Owen Underhill, Artistic Director and Conductor
Composer and conductor Owen Underhill has been a leading figure in development of new music on the west coast. His two decades with Vancouver New Music, including serving as Artistic Director from 1987 – 2000, were a period of growth and diverse programming. He is one of the co-founders of the Turning Point Ensemble, and has enjoyed the opportunity to be part of such a distinctive and innovative ensemble. Underhill has premiered more than 250 works as a conductor, and has worked directly with leading international composers including Louis Andriessen, Gavin Bryars, Sofia Gubaidulina, Giya Kancheli, James MacMillan, Toru Takemitsu, and Judith Weir.
As a composer, Underhill writes for diverse combinations including chamber music, orchestra, voice, and music for dance. He has composed recent commissions for percussionist Daniel Tones, the Novo Ensemble, Vancouver New Music, and the clarinet and piano duo Sea and Sky comprised of Jane Hayes and François Houle. He is currently at work on a cello concerto for Ari Barnes and TPE, and a piece for solo sheng and the Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra.