10/14/12 – Soaring!
Dr. Robert Ambrose
by Jonathan Dagernais
by Ryan George
by Frank Ticheli
by Dana Wilson
Overture from “Dancer in the Dark”
by Björk, orch. Vince Mendoza
The Firebird  Suite from the Ballet
by Igor Stravinsky, trans. Randy Earles, ed. Frederick Fennell
1 – Introduction – L’oiseau de feu et sa danse – Variation de l’oiseau de feu
2 – Rhonde des Princesses
3 – Danse infernale du roi Kastchei
4 – Berceuse
5 – Finale
Canadian composer Jonathan Dagenais holds a Masters degree (M.Mus) in Wind Orchestra Conducting from McGill University and a Bachelor’s degree in Composition from the Université de Montréal. Since 2005, Dagenais has been the conductor and artistic director of the Orchestre à Vents Non Identifié (OVNI), a Montreal wind orchestra he founded. This ensemble is dedicated to collaborative and active listening, orchestral tone quality, and refined interpretation with a humoristic approach. He is currently the conductor and artistic director of the McGill Wind Symphony. About Symbiopholie!, the composer writes (rough translation from French):
In August 2008, Jade Piché, musical director of the l’Harmonie de Saint-Jérôme approached me to compose a work, more specifically, a march to celebrate the 160th anniversary of l’Harmonie de Saint-Jérôme (the oldest in Canada!) and I was immediately captivated by the project.
After a few months of work, Symbiopholie! emerged! The title contains two terms; symbiosis and folie (madness). l’Harmonie has existed for so long, owing to a symbiosis of the musical passion of members, a spirit of brotherhood and a strong sense of belonging and pride. And, meeting every Monday evening to play together for two hours requires a certain amount of madness, a musical delirium!
Ryan George graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in music education. While a student Ryan sat principal horn for 4 semesters in the wind ensemble, was a drum major for the Wildcat Marching Band and also performed with various other ensembles including the UK orchestra. He resides in Austin, Texas where he is active as an arranger and composer. His work, ranging from music for the stage to music for the football field, has been performed throughout the United States as well as in Asia and Europe.
He describes his inspiration for Café 512:
As I was beginning to brainstorm ideas for this piece [in 2010] I stumbled across the title of a piece by famed Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla called “Café 1930”. I found the title immediately intriguing and in wanting to write a piece that tipped the hat heavily towards a specific style, the mood and intensity found within tango seemed to be the right fit. The similarities between Piazzolla’s work and the one I was looking to write pretty much end at the title. Whereas Piazzolla’s work is intimate, slow, and melancholy (as well as being a true tango), I wanted to write something more dance-like and energetic.
Frank Ticheli is well known for his works for concert band, many of which have become standards in the repertoire. In addition to composing, he has appeared as guest conductor of his music at Carnegie Hall, at many American universities and music festivals, and in cities throughout the world.
Composed in 2010, Rest is Ticheli’s concert band adaptation of his choral work, Let There Be Rest. He writes:
In making this version, I preserved almost everything from the original: harmony, dynamics, even the original registration. I also endeavored to preserve carefully the fragile beauty and quiet dignity suggested by Sara Teasdale’s words.
However, with the removal of the text, I felt free to enhance certain aspects of the music, most strikingly with the addition of a sustained climax on the main theme. This extended climax allows the band version to transcend the expressive boundaries of a straight note-for-note setting of the original. Thus, both versions are intimately tied and yet independent of one another, each possessing its own strength and unique qualities.
Dana Wilson holds a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music, and is currently Charles A. Dana Professor of Music in the School of Music at Ithaca College. He is co-author of Contemporary Choral Arranging, published by Prentice Hall/Simon and Schuster, and has written articles on diverse musical subjects.
The works of Dana Wilson have been commissioned and performed by such diverse ensembles as the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Formosa String Quartet, Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Buffalo Philharmonic, Xaimen Symphony, Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Syracuse Symphony, and Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra.
Colorado Peaks was composed in 2010 for wind ensemble and commissioned by St. Vrain Valley Honor Band, Colorado.
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (1882–1971) was a Russian, and later French and American composer, pianist and conductor. He is considered by many to be one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th-Century.
Stravinsky’s compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. He was a young, virtually unknown composer when Diaghilev recruited him to create works for the Ballets Russes. The Firebird (l’Oiseau de Feu) (1910) was his first project. Originally, Diaghilev approached the Russian composer Anatoly Lyadov, but later hired Stravinsky to compose the music. The ballet has historic significance, not only as Stravinsky’s breakthrough piece — “Mark him well”, said Sergei Diaghilev to Tamara Karsavina, who was dancing the title role: “He is a man on the eve of celebrity…” — but also as the beginning of the collaboration between Diaghilev and Stravinsky that would also produce Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913).
Stravinsky’s “Russian phase” was followed in the 1920s by a period in which he turned to neoclassical music. The works from this period tended to make use of traditional musical forms (concerto grosso, fugue and symphony) and often paid tribute to the music of earlier masters, such as J.S. Bach and Tchaikovsky.
The Firebird is based on Russian folk tales of the magical glowing bird of the same name that is both a blessing and a curse to its captor. The ballet was first performed on June 25, 1910, to critical acclaim.