The concept for this recital is to pay homage to the wonderful place that has become my home while I pursue a doctorate at Stony Brook University. I am overwhelmed by this vibrant place and the incredible people I have met here. Reflecting on these characteristics, I chose a series of pieces by living composers, each with a unique connection to New York. I am especially thrilled to premiere two works by Chiayu Hsu, who was once my teacher and is now a great mentor and colleague. I am honored to perform her music.
Born in Taiwan, Chiayu was the winner of Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composer’s Awards, 2013 IAWM Search for New Music, Copland House Award, the Sorel Organization’s 2nd International Composition Competition, the 7th USA International Harp Composition Competition, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer’s Awards, the Maxfield Parrish Composition Contest, the Renée B. Fisher Foundation Composer Awards, Brown Foundation Fellowship, Camargo Foundation Fellowship among others. Her work has been performed by the London Sinfonietta, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Nashville Symphony, the Toledo Symphony, the American Composers Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan, Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, Ciompi Quartet, and Prism Quartet. She has received her Ph.D. at Duke University, Master of Music at Yale University School of Music, and Bachelor of Music at the Curtis Institute of Music.
More information: www.chiayuhsu.com
John Corigliano’s Clarinet Concerto, one of his most distinguished works, is the result of a commission by the New York Philharmonic. As a child, Corigliano had the unique experience of attending many rehearsals and meeting the musicians of the Philharmonic, as his father was concertmaster. The Concerto is dedicated to Stanley Drucker and Leonard Bernstein, and the profound second movement is in remembrance of his father, who died two years before this piece was composed.
New York Counterpoint is the staple of minimalism for the clarinetist. The soloist pre-records ten clarinet and bass clarinet parts and performs the final 11th part live against the tape. Steve Reich captures the unyielding energy of Manhattan in three continuous movements which relate to each other in tempo by a ratio of 1:2. The bass clarinet is of particular interest in the third movement, as it functions to alter the listener’s perception of time (meter).
Chiayu Hsu’s Summer Night in a Deep Valley is a brilliant new work for the solo clarinet. The combination of Chinese elements and western techniques is a hallmark of Hsu’s music, and this piece is no exception. In this work, the outer sections depict the meditative and calm emotion of the Chinese literati who play the vertical bamboo flute. The middle section portrays insects as they join the literati and make music together. This occasion at Stony Brook University is the world premiere performance.
Urban Sketches brings new context to the idea of expressing the vitality of Manhattan through music, as in New York Counterpoint. The listener encounters a diversity of styles, as Hsu draws influence from Chinese bamboo flute music, salsa, and jazz. The electronics bring a more literal vernacular to this piece, including whistles, sirens, brakes, and more. Hsu completed this colorful work in residence at the Copland House in Cortlandt Manor, New York.