The work of Berkshire composers to be featured in Simon's Rock concert by the Walden Chamber Players; Elliot Carter's 100th birthday also celebrated
GREAT BARRINGTON, MA – The South Berkshire Concert Series will presents the Walden Chamber Players at Bard College at Simon’s Rock on April 12. The concert will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the great American composer Elliot Carter. The program will also feature three world premiers of works from the Berkshire composers in addition to works by Carter and others.
The concert will feature premiers of local composers Sheila Silver, Alice Spatz, and Larry Wallach. Their works were created for the Walden Chamber Players. The works are Azim’s Dance for oboe, violin, viola, cello, and harp by Silver; Meditations on Peace for oboe, violin, viola, cello, and harp by Spatz; and Forest Music II for oboe, violin, viola, cello, and harp by Wallach. In addition, the program also features Duo for cello and harp (1984) by Isang Yun, String trio (1984) by Alfred Schnittke, and Carter’s “Immer Neu” from Trilogy for oboe and harp (1992).
Born in Seattle, Washington, in 1946, composer Sheila Silver earned her bachelor degree at University of California, Berkeley. Upon graduation, she was awarded the George Ladd Prix de Paris for two years study in Europe where she worked with Erhard Karkoschka in Stuttgart and Gyorgy Ligeti in Berlin and Hamburg. She earned her doctorate from Brandeis University, where she studied with Arthur Berger, Harold Shapero, and Seymour Shifrin. Her opera, The Thief of Love, A Lyric-Comic Opera in Three Acts, was featured in New York City Opera’s Showcasing American Composers, May, 2000, and received its fully staged world premiere in March, 2001, by the Stony Brook Opera. A film of that production was recently released on DVD to critical acclaim, following its New York City premiere screening at Makor sponsored by American Opera Projects.
Alice Spatz is a composer, double bassist, and educator. For her original works, she has received numerous awards from organizations such as the Massachusetts Arts Lottery Grant, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the International League of Women Composers. Her compositions range in scope from educational pieces to concertos, opera and musical theater. Her works have been commissioned by the Karr-Lewis duo, the Atlantic Sinfonietta, and the Sage City Symphony. She says that the work to be premiered, Meditation on Peace, came from a reaction to the violence that is so prevalent throughout the world now. Writings from various sources such as Lao Tzu, Martin Luther King Jr., Black Elk, and the Bible provided inspiration for the music. The titles for each of the three movements are: I. The World is a Sacred Vessel, II. Darkness Cannot Drive Out Darkness, III. Heaven and Earth Will Rain Down Sweet Dew.
Larry Wallach is currently the Livingston Hall Chair in Music at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. He received his AB, MA, and PhD from Columbia University, where he studied music composition, piano performance, and musicology. He founded the baroque chamber ensemble, the Italian Connection, in which he performs on harpsichord. He is founding board member of the Berkshire Bach Society and performs with them regularly on harpsichord and organ. As a pianist, he collaborates on chamber music performances with numerous area musicians. Recent compositions include: "So Much Depends Upon Distance" for solo piano; "Canzona" for mixed chamber ensemble; "Berkshire Morris Madness" for woodwind quintet; "Hexagram: Wind Over Water" for flute, harp, vibraphone and piano; and "Pastorale Quartet" for strings. Since 1995, he has been on the staffs of early music weeks at World Fellowship Center, New Hampshire, and Camp Pinewoods, Massachusetts, as pianist and harpsichordist.
The Walden Chamber Players is comprised of 12 artists in various combinations of string, piano, and wind ensembles; five of them will perform. Founded in 1997, the group presents educational curricula and concerts in a format that highlights the belief that music is the human experience translated into sound. Their concerts present new concepts of a classical concert both in content and presentation – programs consist of rarely heard classical work and contemporary compositions, paired with the use of multi-media. Violinist Joel Pitchon, violist Christof Huebner, cellist Ashima Scripp, oboist Laura Ahlbeck, and harpist Franziska Huhn will perform.
The concert will take place at 8 p.m. in the McConnell Theater of the Daniel Arts Center. Tickets, available at the door, are $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors, and free to all students and to all members of the Simon’s Rock community. For information, call 413-528-7212.