The University of Washington Modern Music Ensemble (Cristina Valdés, director) joins with the UW Percussion Ensemble (Bonnie Whiting, director) to perform music by Oliver Schneller, Jason Eckardt, Eric Wubbels and Wang Lu—featured composers in the School of Music’s Spring Composers Colloquium—as well as "Artificial Life," by George Lewis.
alphabeta (2010) .................................................................................................... Eric Wubbels (b. 1980)
Aidan Gold, Mason Lynass: percussion
Tristan Greeno, Minsun Kim: piano
Superstructure (2013)........................................................................................ Oliver Schneller (b. 1966)
Aidan Gold, Cyrus Graham, Lynn Park: marimbas
Ed Cunneen, David Norgaard: vibraphones
David Gaskey, Mason Lynass: glockenspiels
Artificial Life 2007: Page 1 ..................................................................................... George Lewis (b. 1952)
Calib Byers, Edward Cunneen, David Gaskey, Aidan Gold, Courtney James, Mason Lynass,
Rhane Mallory, David Norgaard, Lynn Park, Sophia Schmidt: percussion
I N T E RMI S S I ON
Urban Inventory (2015) ................................................................................................. Wang Lu (b. 1982)
I. city park
II. once upon a time, in another life time
III. (dream of the) red detachment
IV. gifts of gab
V. two voices of the people
VI. tell you softly
Elise Kim: flutes
Caitlin Beare: clarinets
Emily Acri: violin
Chris Young: cello
Tristan Greeno: Piano, Keyboard, and Electronics
Mario Alejandro Torres: conductor
Aperture (2007) ..................................................................................................... Jason Eckardt (b. 1971)
Eliza Rodriguez: flutes Alessandra Barrett: viola
Caitlin Beare: clarinets Chris Young: cello
Emily Acri: violin Tristan Greeno: piano
Mario Alejandro Torres: conductor
ERIC WUBBELS (b. 1980) is a composer and pianist, and a Co-Director of the Wet Ink Ensemble.
His music has been performed throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and the U.S., by groups such as Wet
Ink Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, yarn|wire, Splinter Reeds, Kupka's Piano (AUS), SCENATET (DK), Hong Kong
New Music Ensemble, and featured on festivals including the Huddersfield Festival, Chicago Symphony
MusicNOW, New York Philharmonic CONTACT, LA Phil Green Umbrella Series, MATA Festival, and Zurich
Tage fu ̈r Neue Musik.
Wubbels has been awarded grants and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters,
Chamber Music America, ISSUE Project Room, MATA Festival, Barlow Endowment, Jerome Foundation, New
Music USA, and Yvar Mikhashoff Trust, and residencies at the MacDowell Colony (2011, 2016), Copland
House, L'Abri (Geneva), Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and Civitella Ranieri Center (Italy).
As a performer, he has given U.S. and world premieres of works by major figures such as Peter Ablinger,
Richard Barrett, Beat Furrer, George Lewis, and Mathias Spahlinger, as well as vital young artists such as Rick Burkhardt, Francesco Filidei, Erin Gee, Bryn Harrison, Clara Iannotta, Darius Jones, Cat Lamb, Ingrid
Laubrock, Charmaine Lee, Alex Mincek, Sam Pluta, Katharina Rosenberger, and Kate Soper.
He has recorded for Carrier Records, hatART, Intakt, New Focus, Spektral (Vienna), quiet design, and
Albany Records, among others, and has held teaching positions at Amherst College and Oberlin
alphabeta takes the shape of three introductions and three episodes. In each introduction, an “alphabet” is
defined by matching a limited number of percussion sounds with their piano “equivalents” (a low-resolution copy of the pitch content of the percussion sound, analyzed in software). This flattening out of the richness of the percussion timbres into equal-tempered piano chords is for me both reductive (due to the extreme loss of information) and illuminating (as the connection between the two is actually perceptible, even so). The episodes then string these basic units together in a series of increasingly elaborate contexts, built on abstracted metaphors of “song,” “speech,” and “music.” alphabeta was commissioned by and is dedicated to yarn|wire.
OLIVER SCHNELLER (b. 1966 in Cologne) grew up in Africa, Europe and Asia and studied in Germany and
the USA. After completing a MA in political science and musicology at the University of Bonn he worked for
the Goethe Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal (1990-91) on a project to support and sustain local forms of
traditional musical practice. In 1994 he moved to the USA, first studying composition at the New England
Conservatory in Boston, then at Columbia University New York as a student of Tristan Murail, where he
received his doctoral degree in composition (2002) with a thesis on music and space. At the City University
of New York he developed and expanded the CUNY Computer Music Studio. From 2000-01 he lived in Paris
as a participant of the cursus annuel de composition et d'informatique at IRCAM/Centre Pompidou. As an
assistant to Tristan Murail he taught composition and computer music at Columbia, and organized the
"Lachenmann in New York" Festival in 2001. Throughout his studies, masterclasses with Salvatore Sciarrino, Jonathan Harvey, Brian Ferneyhough, George Benjamin and Vinko Globokar provided important
Oliver Schneller's music has been performed at international festivals including Festival Agora Paris, Ars
Musica Bruxelles, Musica Strasbourg, Festival Présences Paris, Maerzmusik Berlin, Witten Tage für Neue
Kammermusik, Ultraschall, Tremplins Paris, Les Musiques Marseille, musique action Nancy, Wintermusic
Berlin, Karnatic Lab Amsterdam, Alternativa Moscow, the International Computer Music Conferences (ICMC) in Singapore and Göteborg, Musicaaoustica Beijing, Indaba South Africa, Aspen, Tanglewood Music Festival, "Frankfurt 2000" and the "Millenium Stage Series" at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.. His works have been performed by Ensemble modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, MusikFabrik, Ictus, Percussions de Strasbourg, Speculum Musicae, Court Circuit, Ensemble Mosaik, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, Ensemble Courage, Antares, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble.
From 2002 to 2004 he was a compositeur en recherche at Ircam working on "Jardin des fleuves" a work for
ensemble and live-electronic spatial processing. From 2006-07 Oliver Schneller was a fellow at the German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome, in 2010 he was the recipient of a Composers Award from the Ernst-von-Siemens Music Foundation. In 2011 he was a fellow at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation.
His works are published by Edition C. F. Peters and his music has been released on the Mode Records,
Wergo, Hathut, Telos and CPO Labels.
As a saxophonist, Schneller has performed with ensembles such as the George Russell Big Band, the
Gustav Mahler Youth Symphony under Seiji Ozawa, and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra as a soloist in Tan Dun's Red Forcast. He also worked with various jazz and improvisation ensembles in Cologne, Amsterdam, Boston and New York.
Oliver Schneller has taught seminars on music, acoustics, psychoacoustics at Cornell University, the
University of the Arts (UdK) in Berlin, the Norwegian Theatre Academy, and Kunitachi College of Music in
Tokyo. He has a continued interest in all aspects of interculturality in music. In 2004 he was the artistic
director of the "Tracing Migrations" Festival, featuring the works of contemporary composers from Arab
countries. In 2005 he was the curator of a project on Eastern and Western concepts of musical beauty at
Berlin's House of World Cultures involving composers Toshio Hosokawa and Helmut Lachenmann, as well
as a guest lecturer at the GLOBAL INTERPLAY project of Musik der Jahrhunderte Stuttgart.
In 2009 he designed a 48-channel sound installation as part of the exhibition TASWIR - Islamische
Bildwelten und Moderne, curated by Almut Bruckstein.
From 2009-10 Oliver Schneller held a professorship in composition at Stuttgart Conservatory of Music
(sabbatical replacement position for Prof. Marco Stroppa). In 2013 he was a co-curator at Berlin's
Maerzmusik Festival. From 2012-2015 he served as professor of composition and director of the Institute for Contemporary Music "Incontri" at the Conservatory of Music in Hannover.
In 2015 he was appointed professor of composition and director of the Eastman Audio Research Studio
(EARS) at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, where he lives with his wife, pianist Heather O'Donnell, and daughter. For the Fall semester 2018/2019 Schneller holds the 'Edgar-Varèse-Guestprofessorship' at the Technical University Berlin. Starting in 2019, he will be professor of composition at the Robert Schumann Conservatory in Düsseldorf.
Composer’s Notes on Superstructure:
This piece consists of 66 brief sections (which I call modules) each of which are grounded in a different
spectral "field". By "field" I mean a scale-like array of tones contained in the sound, supplemented by
artificial tones which have been added to densify the original spectrum, thus forming scale-like structures.
The fundamental tones of these spectra remain absent, as they belong to registers beyond the range of the instruments. Each player is assigned approximately 11 modules, which can occur in six different variants within the horizontal plane (sequentially) and vertical plane (simultaneously).
I met the challenge of projecting spectral material on tempered instruments through pitch quantification
and strategies of instrumentation. I think the idea of the piece stems from my interest in stratigraphy techniques in geoscience. It is about the "synchronization" (dating and correlation) of heterogeneous material that makes possible a reconstruction of the Earth's geological history. One could also formulate it poetically: the history of different times leads to the present. The title hence refers to the fact that in this piece only the highest overtones of the spectra are used, thus only hinting at structures that lie beneath.
GEORGE E. LEWIS is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University. A Fellow of
the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, Lewis’s
other honors include a MacArthur Fellowship (2002), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), a United States
Artists Walker Fellowship (2011), an Alpert Award in the Arts (1999), and fellowships from the National
Endowment for the Arts.
Lewis studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams at the AACM School of Music, and trombone with
Dean Hey. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971,
Lewis's work in electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, and notated and
improvisative forms is documented on more than 150 recordings. His work has been presented by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonia Orchestra, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Mivos Quartet, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, London Sinfonietta, Spektral Quartet, Talea Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Pamplemousse, Wet Ink, Ensemble Erik Satie, Eco Ensemble, and others, with commissions from American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Harvestworks, Ensemble Either/Or, Orkestra Futura, Turning Point Ensemble, Studio Dan, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympiad, IRCAM, Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, and others.
Lewis has served as Fromm Visiting Professor of Music, Harvard University; Ernest Bloch Visiting
Professor of Music, University of California, Berkeley; Paul Fromm Composer in Residence, American
Academy in Rome; Resident Scholar, Center for Disciplinary Innovation, University of Chicago; and CAC Fitt
Artist in Residence, Brown University. Lewis received the 2012 SEAMUS Award from the Society for Electro-
Acoustic Music in the United States, and his book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American
Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press, 2008) received the American Book Award and the
American Musicological Society’s Music in American Culture Award; Lewis was elected to Honorary
Membership in the Society in 2016. Lewis is the co-editor of the two-volume Oxford Handbook of Critical
Improvisation Studies (2016), and his opera Afterword (2015), commissioned by the Gray Center for Arts
and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, has been performed in the United States, United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic.
In 2015, Lewis received the degree of Doctor of Music (DMus, honoris causa) from the University of
Edinburgh. In 2017, Lewis received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (PhD, honoris causa) from New
College of Florida. In 2017 Lewis received the degree of Doctor of Music from Harvard University.
Professor Lewis came to Columbia in 2004, having previously taught at the University of California, San
Diego, Mills College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Koninklijke Conservatorium Den Haag,
and Simon Fraser University's Contemporary Arts Summer Institute.
Created for the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, Artificial Life is a schema for collective improvisation – and
collective silence. No musical material is prescribed; the principle is rather that of stimulus, and the medium that of verbal instructions that could give rise to radically different results, depending on the performers taking part. There are just two pages of these instructions, which may be followed separately, in either order, or together. Page 1 is to be read by musicians acting individually or in groups, and is the same for everyone: a set of sixteen words, some of them suggesting kinds of sound (“smooth,” “soli”), some having to do with how one soloist or group might respond to another (“end,” for example, asks for an imitative response to another group, starting immediately that other group has come to an end). Page 2 also consists of single words or very elementary directions, and proposes several groups (at least three), each creating its own pathway either in relation what is happening or independently. Lewis further suggests that moments of silence will be needed – not empty silence, but a silence filled with listening and decision making as the musicians prepare to contribute to the artificial life that is their joint creation. “The success of the performance,” the composer finally notes, “is not so much related to individual freedoms but to the assumption of personal and collective responsibility for the sonic environment.”
Composer and pianist WANG LU (born 1982, Xi’an, China) writes music that reflects a very natural
identification with influences from traditional Chinese music, urban environmental sounds, linguistic
intonation and contours, and freely improvised traditions, through the prism of contemporary instrumental techniques and new sonic possibilities. She is currently the David S. Josephson Assistant Professor of Music at Brown University, after receiving her doctoral degree in composition at Columbia University and graduating from the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. Wang Lu’s works have been performed internationally, by ensembles including the Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Alarm Will Sound, Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, Holland Symfonia, Shanghai National Chinese Orchestra, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Musiques Nouvelles, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, International Contemporary Ensemble, Third Sound, Curious Chamber Players, Ensemble Pamplemousse, Argento, and Momenta Quartet, among others. Her most recent works have been written for the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, violinists Miranda Cuckson and Jennifer Koh, pianist Joel Fan, the Aizuri Quartet, and the New York Virtuoso Singers. Wang Lu received the Berlin Prize in Music Composition (Spring 2019 residency) and was a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow. She won the first prize at Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne’s Young Composers Forum in 2010 and shared the Tactus
International Young Composers Orchestra Forum Award in 2008. She was selected for a Tremplin
commission by IRCAM/Ensemble Intercontemporain in 2010 and the International Composition Seminar
with the Ensemble Modern in 2012, and has also received two ASCAP Morton Gould awards.
Her music was programmed on festivals such as the 2014 New York Philharmonic Biennial, MATA
Festival, Cresc. Biennale in Frankfurt, Gaudeamus Music Week, Tanglewood, Cabrillo Music Festival, Beijing
Modern, Pacific and Takefu festivals in Japan, Mostly Mozart, Aspekte Festival in Salzburg, Mizzou
International Composers Festival, and the Havana New Music Festival. She has also been a resident at the
Civitella Ranieri Foundation. Collaborations have included an installation at Brown University’s Cohen
Gallery with artist Polly Apfelbaum and an evening of poetry and music with poet Ocean Vuong. Her
upcoming projects include a Miller Theater Portrait Concert in February 2019, a portrait concert with
Ensemble Recherche in Paris, and a concert in Berlin with Ensemble Mosaik and soloists Ryan Muncy,
Anthony Cheung, Wu Wei.
Of her portrait album Urban Inventory, released in March 2018, Alex Ross wrote in the New Yorker, “I’ve
listened at least a dozen times to the composer Wang Lu’s new album, “Urban Inventory” (New Focus
Recordings), and remain happily lost in its riotous maze of ideas and images. Every moment is vividly
etched, drenched in instrumental color, steeped in influences that range from ancient Chinese folk music to the latest detonations of the European avant-garde... The sense of loneliness that emerges at the end of
“Cloud Intimacy” lurks behind all of Wang Lu’s meticulous frenzies: it is of a piece with the essential solitude of composing, of sitting in silence and dreaming of a music that has never been heard.”
When the evening air finally overtakes the smog at day’s end, a city’s exhausted population comes out for
relief. Scenes of leisurely and nonchalant chatting, strolling, dancing, tai-chi, dog- and kid-walking. Sounds
of broken instruments, mixed with songs of praise to western and eastern gods. Historical and recent
memories creep back into consciousness: fantasies of early propagandist dance troupe goddesses, the
unmistakably beguiling voice of a 90s pop icon (杨钰莹), a peasant rap sensation clamoring for a
skateboard, the monotone of a rural poetess and her desire to escape her dreadful situation. And at dawn,
these suddenly animated voices retreat back into the minds of those who will return to the lifelessness of
their urban routine.
JASON ECKARDT (b. 1971) played guitar in jazz and metal bands until, upon first hearing the music of
Webern, he immediately devoted himself to composition. Since then, his music has been influenced by his
interests in perceptual complexity, the physical and psychological dimensions of performance, political
activism, and self-organizing processes in the natural world. He teaches composition at City University of
New York’s Graduate Center and Brooklyn College and lives in the Catskill Mountains.
"Aperture" refers both to openings/entryways and to degrees of focus.
Openings are referenced with respect to the ways in which a listener may enter into a musical
environment. By choosing a particular detail in an often dense whole, a listener can hear how this detail
develops, disappears, or is recontextualized as the work progresses. Listeners may choose different entryways throughout the piece and in repeated hearings.
The second metaphor is photographic in that I am interested in shifting levels of foreground/middle–
ground/background. In this work the "aperture settings" are more fixed in sections rather than slowly
shifting, as they are in some of my other works. The contrasts among sections bring into relief not only the
large-scale structural design but also different degrees of "sharpness" and "clarity" of musical texture. Within sections, the focus is subtly altered by manipulating individual musical dimensions.
Aperture was commissioned by the Tanglewood Music Center.
Pianist Cristina Valdés presents innovative concerts of standard and experimental repertoire, and is known to “play a mean piano.” A fierce advocate for new music, she has premiered countless works, including many written for her. She has performed across four continents and in venues such as Lincoln Center, Le Poisson Rouge, Miller Theatre, Jordan Hall, and the Kennedy Center. Ms. Valdés has appeared both as a soloist and chamber musician at festivals worldwide including New Music in Miami, the Foro Internacional de Música Nueva in Mexico City, Brisbane Arts Festival, the Festival of Contemporary Music in El Salvador, Havana Contemporary Music Festival, and the Singapore Arts Festival.
An avid chamber musician and collaborator, Ms. Valdés has toured extensively with the Bang On a Can “All Stars”, and has performed with the Seattle Chamber Players, the Mabou Mines Theater Company, the Parsons Dance Company, and Antares. Her performances on both the Seattle Symphony’s Chamber Series and [UNTITLED] concerts have garnered critical acclaim, including her “knockout” (Seattle Times) performance of Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, and her “arrestingly eloquent performance” of Dutilleux’s Trois Preludes (Bernard Jacobson/MusicWeb International).
Ms. Valdés has appeared as concerto soloist with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Philharmonic, the Lake Union Civic Orchestra, Johns Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, the Binghamton Philharmonic, NOCCO, Philharmonia Northwest, the Eastman BroadBand, and the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, amongst others. In 2015 she performed the piano solo part of the Ives 4th Symphony with the Seattle Symphony under the direction of Ludovic Morlot, which was later released on CD to critical acclaim and made Gramophone’s list of Top 10 Ives Recordings. Other recent recordings include Orlando Garcia’s “From Darkness to Luminosity” with the Málaga Philharmonic on the Toccata Classics label, and the world premiere recording of Kotoka Suzuki’s “Shimmer, Tree | In Memoriam Jonathan Harvey”. She can also be heard on the Albany, Newport Classics, Urtext, and Ideologic Organ labels.
In recent seasons she gave performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3, the world-premiere performance of Carlos Sanchez-Guttierez’s “Short Stories” for piano and string orchestra with the Orquesta de Cámara de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and the U.S. Premiere of “Under Construction” for solo piano and tape playback by Heiner Goebbels at Benaroya Hall. Last season she was the featured soloist with the Seattle Symphony on two of their “[untitled]” new music series concerts.
Ms. Valdés received a Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts from SUNY Stony Brook. She currently lives in Seattle where she founded the SLAM Festival, a new music festival dedicated to the music of Latin-American composers, and performs regularly as a member of the Seattle Modern Orchestra. She is an Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington, and is the Director of the UW Modern Music Ensemble.
Bonnie Whiting performs, commissions, and composes new experimental music for percussion. She seeks out projects involving non-traditional notation, interdisciplinary performance, improvisation, and the speaking percussionist. She lives and works in Seattle, WA, where she is Chair of Percussion Studies and an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington School of Music.
Her debut solo album, featuring an original solo-simultaneous realization of John Cage’s 45’ for a speaker and 27’10.554” for a percussionist, was released by Mode Records in April of 2017. Her sophomore album Perishable Structures, launched by New Focus Recordings in August of 2020, places the speaking percussionist in the context of storytelling and features her own music as well as works by Vinko Globokar, Frederic Rzewski, Richard Logan-Greene, and Susan Parenti.
Recent work includes performances as a percussionist and vocalist with the Harry Partch Ensemble on the composer’s original instrumentarium, and a commission from the Indiana State Museum’s Sonic Expeditions series for her piece Control/Resist (2017): a site-specific work for percussion, field recordings, and electronics. Whiting has an ongoing relationship as a soloist with the National Orchestra of Turkmenistan via the U.S. Embassy Cultural Affairs Office, playing concerti in Ashgabat in 2017 and 2018. She collaborates frequently with percussionist Jennifer Torrence, giving concerts of new experimental work for speaking percussionists throughout Norway and the US. Her collaboration with multimedia artist Afroditi Psarra generated the album < null_abc >, released on the Zero Moon label in 2018. Their current project with designer Audrey Desjardins on transcoding data from IoT devices as performance received a 2019/20 Mellon Creative Fellowship. This project was explored in a workshop at the 2020 Transmediale Festival in Berlin, and currently lives as an interactive net art installation. 2021 brings the premiere of Through the Eyes(s): an extractable cycle of nine pieces for speaking/singing percussionist collaboratively developed with composer Eliza Brown and ten incarcerated women, and the world premiere of a new percussion concerto by Huck Hodge with the Seattle Modern Orchestra.
Whiting has presented solo and small ensemble shows at The Stone in New York, the Brackish Series in Brooklyn, The Lilypad in Boston, The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, at Hallwalls in Buffalo, the Tiny Park Gallery in Austin, The Wulf in LA, the Carl Solway Gallery in Cincinnati, The Grove Haus in Indianapolis, on the Wayward Music Series in Seattle, on tour throughout New Zealand, and at colleges and universities around the country. Whiting has collaborated with many of today's leading new music groups, including red fish blue fish percussion group, (George Crumb’s Winds of Destiny directed by Peter Sellars and featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw for the Ojai Festival), eighth blackbird (the “Tune-in” festival at the Park Avenue Armory), the International Contemporary Ensemble (on-stage featured percussionist/mover in Andriessen’s epic Die Materie at the Park Avenue Armory, and the American premiere of James Dillon’s Nine Rivers at Miller Theatre), Bang on a Can (Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians for the LA Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series) and Ensemble Dal Niente (the Fromm Concerts at Harvard.)