Cleveland Chamber Symphony
Edwin London, Conductor
The New American Scene II
5 Distinguished African American Composers
Dolores White, composer, pianist and educator, is assistant professor of music at Cuyahoga Community College. She received a bachelor's degree in piano performance from the Oberlin Conservatory and a masters in piano performance and composition from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Major teachers have included Ruth Edwards, William Kurzban and Eugene O'Brien at CIM, James Friskin at the Juilliard School, Cecil Cohen at Howard University, Robert Pace at Columbia Teachers College, Thomas Wells at Ohio State University and James Waters at Kent State University.
Her compositions include art songs, piano music and choral and instrumental pieces. Her Celebration was performed by the Detroit Symphony at a subscription concert and heard nationally on the orchestra's syndicated broadcast series. It has also been performed by the Columbus Women's Symphony. Other ensembles that have performed her music include the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Cleveland Women's Orchestra and the Robert Page/Cleveland Singers. Her music has been published by Ludwig Music and the Boston Music Company. A solo violin piece of hers will be included on a forthcoming compact disc of music by African-American women composers. As a writer, she has contributed to Black Women in America, an Historical Encyclopedia, published in 1993. She participated in a panel on women and minorities in performance and composition at Cleveland State University's Sound Encounters festival in 1993. She has received a grant from the Bascom Little Fund to write two programs of brass and percussion music.
This work was commissioned by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and premiered in 1994. Its single movement explores, in the composer's words, "the world of crystal making, crystal gazing and the psychic state of mind while crystal gazing."
The composer adds that the piece combines traditional and nontraditional elements. It is based on three chords containing six pitches, and the orchestration features the lighter-textured percussion instruments. Three coloristic ideas are orchestrated: crystallium, solidification, and psychic state.
Inspiration for the piece came from a poem by Sara Teasdale:
The Crystal Gazer
I shall gather myself into myself again,
I shall take my scattered selves and make them one,
Fusing them into a polished crystal ball
Where I can see the moon and the flashing sun.
I shall sit like a sibyl, hour after hour intent,
Watching the future come and the present go,
And the little shifting pictures of people rushing
In restless self-importance to and fro.
— from Dark of the Moon
a collection of poems by Sara Teasdale
Leroy Jenkins (b. 1932)
Leroy Jenkins is a virtuoso violinist, composer, arranger and educator. Born in Chicago, he earned a music degree at Florida A&M University and studied baroque and classical masters while also developing an interest in improvised music. Under the spell of jazz greats like Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane he returned to Chicago and became a charter member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, an organization in which he is still active. He made his first recordings in the 1960s with Anthony Braxton and Leo Smith. In the late 1970s he moved to New York where he founded the Revolutionary Ensemble, which toured North America and Europe and recorded five albums. Since then, while continuing to work in jazz, he has written also for chamber ensembles, orchestra, dance band and theater ensemble and given solo violin recitals. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Atlanta Center for the Arts and been featured in the American Composers Series at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. In 1990 he completed a "dance opera," The Mother of Three Sons in collaboration with choreographer Bill T. Jones on a commission from the Munich Bieienniale Festival. This work was staged by the New York City Opera in 1991. Another stage work, Fresh Faust, was commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Boston. He has received five grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Recent recordings include Leroy Jenkins Live (1993) and Themes and Improvisations of the Blues (1994). Current projects include a cantata for the Ebony Opera Company of New York and a multimedia theater piece based on the story of Willie Horton.
This work was premiered by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony in 1988 under a different title, Rushing Towards the Madness. It was commissioned by the orchestra with funds provided by the Ohio Board of Regents.
The composer states that the piece is about "the polarization of blacks and whites, rich and poor, the homeless, as well as the ecological destruction of the planet and the poisoning of the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe." It is written for soloist-improvisers and chamber orchestra, and improvisation is an important element in its structure, in both free expression and parts written out for the ensemble. The mood changes are varied and come without warning. Tempi are accelerated and slowed down from one measure to another. Rubato (flexibility of rhythmic pulse) is used to get full value from a melody.
Wendell Logan (b. 1940)
Wendell Logan, composer and soprano saxophonist, was educated at Florida A&M University, the American Conservatory, Southern Illinois University and the University of Iowa. He is presently chairman of the department of jazz studies at Oberlin Conservatory. His music reveals an equal interest in both improvised and written-out idioms, and touches on a wide variety of styles ranging from jazz to electronic media and the symphony orchestra. Among agencies that have given him awards and grants are the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, ASCAP, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has received a number of commissions for compositions and his works have been performed in this country and abroad by such organizations as Boston Musica Viva, Synchronia, Tharnyris, the Center for New Music at the University of Iowa, the Dallas Symphony, members of the Atlanta and Saint Louis Symphonies, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Black Music Repertoire Ensemble and numerous others. His works have been recorded on the Orion, Golden Crest and Argo labels.
Roots, Branches, Shapes and Shades (of Green) (Collard Series #2)
This work was also commissioned by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony with funds provided by the Ohio Board of Regents Academic Challenge III program. It was premiered by that orchestra in February of 1991. The composer states that he wrote it "for my colleague and friend Neal Creque, whose work as a performer and composer I have greatly admired over the years." This is the second work in Wendell Logan's Collard Series, the first of which was Return of the Collard People, for electronic media and dancers.
The composer says that Roots, Branches, Shapes and Shades (of Green) is "definitely not a program piece, but some of its main concerns are about maintaining and reaffirming 'roots.' In this case this refers to the actual music and the spirit of the music that I learned as a child: long meter hymns, spirituals, blues and jazz. Although the piece is actually none of these things, its spirit is about all of them. From a technical standpoint many of the melodic/harmonic ideas are derived from the opening chord which is played by the entire ensemble." The work is in one movement with several contrasting sections, the duration of several of which is open."
T.J. Anderson (b. 1928)
Thomas Jefferson Anderson is Fletcher Professor of Music emeritus at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. He holds degrees from West Virginia State University, Penn State and the University of Iowa, and has a number of honorary degrees. His teachers have included Scott Huston, Philip Bezanson and Darius Milhaud. Works have been commissioned from him by Fisk University, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Berkshire Music Center, Fromm Foundation, Cleveland Chamber Symphony and Indiana University, for which he composed an opera, Soldier Boy, Soldier. He has received numerous awards from such organizations as the American Music Center and the Rockefeller, Guggenheim, Danforth, Mellon and Copley Foundations. Among his best-known works are Squares, an essay for orchestra; Recreation, the chamber opera Walker, Intermezzi, and Bahia, Bahia for chamber orchestra. He is also known for having orchestrated Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha in 1972 and for a recording he conducted for the Smithsonian Institution entitled Classic Rags and Ragtime songs. He has served as composer-in-residence for the Atlanta Symphony. His works are published by American Composers Edition,
C.F. Peters, Carl Fischer and Bote and Bock (Germany). His works are recorded on the Columbia, CRI and Nonesuch labels.
Chamber Concerto (Remembrances)
This piece was premiered by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony in 1988. It was commissioned by the orchestra with funds provided by the Ohio Board of Regents. The composer has provided the following notes:
"Chamber Concerto has the subtitle Remembrances because of its diversity. The music represents a variety of sources. Most obvious will be the language of Broadway and popular music which fades in and out throughout the piece. The influence of jazz may come into focus for certain listeners. However, the music is a combination of gestures which appear to be disconnected fragments that feature solo performers with their own satellite tempos, notated and improvisational passages from stations within the ensemble and a theme with variations which forms an aggregate of the work and is presented by the group. In a concerted style I have chosen to pay tribute to the diversity of American music of the past."
David Baker (b. 1931)
David Baker was born in Indianapolis. He is now professor of music and chairman of the jazz department at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. A virtuoso performer as well as a teacher, he has taught and performed throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, New Zealand and Japan. He is also conductor and musical director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.
He received bachelor's and master's degrees from Indiana University. His teachers have included J.J. Johnson, Janos Starker, William Russo, Bernard Heiden and Gunther Schuller. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 and for a Grammy Award in 1979. Downbeat magazine has honored him as a trombonist and for his lifetime achievement, and has inducted him into its Jazz Education Hall of Fame. He has received numerous other awards. Organizations and individuals that have commissioned pieces from him include Josef Gingold, Ruggiero Ricci, Janos Starker, Harvey Phillips, the New York Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Beaux arts Trio, Fisk Jubilee Singers, Louisville Orchestra, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, Audubon String Quartet and the International Horn Society. His catalog lists over 2,000 compositions in a wide variety of genres. As an educator he has been active on the National Council on the Arts, American Symphony Orchestra League, Arts Midwest and the Afro-American Bicentennial Hall of Fame and Museum. He is a past vice-president of the National Jazz Service Organization and a senior consultant for music programs at the Smithsonian Institution. He has written 70 books and some 400 articles, and is represented on 65 recordings.
The composer states that the titles of the three movements of this piece Mirror, Mirror, A Crystal Tear and Doppelgänger "were conceived to provoke and evoke flights of fancy. They are designed to provide the listener with a starting point for this musical journey. Just as each movement takes me in a separate direction, it is hoped that each listener will travel a different path.
The piece was commissioned and premiered by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony with funds provided by Cleveland State University's Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President.
Edwin London, music director of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, has served living music throughout his distinguished career. He has formed two highly acclaimed ensembles: Ineluctable Modality, a new music choral ensemble, in 1968, and the award-winning Cleveland Chamber Symphony in 1980. He has earned the Letter of Distinction from the American Music Center, the ASCAP-John S. Edwards Award and the Laurel Leaf Award from the American Composers Alliance.
Born in Philadelphia in 1929, London began his career as a horn player in both symphony orchestras and the Oscar Pettiford Jazz Band. After graduation from the Oberlin Conservatory, he received a doctorate from the University of Iowa. Subsequent teachers have included Luigi Dallapiccola, Darius Milhaud and Gunther Schuller. He taught at Smith College, the University of Illinois and the University of California at San Diego before becoming a professor at Cleveland State University in 1978.
Cleveland Chamber Symphony
The Cleveland Chamber Symphony is a professional ensemble-in-residence at Cleveland State University whose mission is to present new American music. Since its founding in 1980, the orchestra has performed the world premieres of more than 135 works, 74 of which were commissioned by The Cleveland Chamber Symphony. The Cleveland Chamber Symphony has received repeated national recognition for its strong commitment to new American music.
Howie Smith, saxophone soloist, is also a noted composer and has been coordinator of jazz studies at Cleveland State University since 1979. He has presented concerts and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe and Australia and was a featured performer at the Kiev Music Fest 95 in the Ukraine. He has received many awards, including the 1985 Cleveland Arts Prize and three Ohio Arts Council Fellowships. His recordings are available on the Phillips, Outrageous, Polydor and Optimism labels and his jazz works are published by Dough Beach/KJOS Music, C.L. Barnhouse Co., and Otama Music. He holds music degrees from Ithaca College and the University of Illinois and has been an artist/clinician for Yamaha since 1971.
Neal Creque, pianist, is well known as a jazz performer throughout northeast Ohio. He currently teaches at both the Oberlin Conservatory and Cleveland State University. He has worked as music director, arranger and/or pianist for Carmen McRae, Mongo Santamaria and Leon Thomas, and he has performed and recorded with Quincy Jones, Sarah Vaughan, Melba Moore, Oliver Nelson, Grant Green, Pharaoh Sanders, Diane Shur and others. He performed at the Governor's mansion in Columbus, Ohio, and has appeared with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and the Canton Symphony. He was a featured performer at the Kiev Music Fest 95 in Ukraine and has served as clinician and adjudicator with the Tri-C Jazz Fest. His compositions have been recorded by Ramsey Lewis and are available on the Muse label.
Recorded in Drinko Recital Hall, Cleveland State University
Recording Engineer: Bruce Gigax
Cover Art: Frank Cucciarre
Roots, Branches, Shapes and Shades (of Green) (11:37)
Neal Creque, piano
Chamber Concerto (Remembrances) (17:04)
Wonder Lust (14:54)
Leroy Jenkins, violin · Howie Smith, saxophone
Crystal Gazing (7:30)
Parallel Planes (20:03)
I. Mirror, Mirror (6:24)
II. A Crystal Tear (6:23)
III. Doppelgänger (7:19)
Howie Smith, saxophone
Cleveland Chamber Symphony
Edwin London, Music Director & Conductor
Total Time = 71:29