The North Carolinians



Robert Ward received his musical education at the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard Graduate School. He has been on the faculties of the Juilliard School, Columbia University, Queens College and Duke University. Dr. Ward has also been the managing editor of Galaxy Music Corporation and Director of the Third Street Music School Settlement in New York. He has been the Chancellor of the North Carolina School of the Arts and has done considerable conducting. He has also served on many boards and committees in the service of American music. He is the retired Mary Duke Biddle Professor of Music.

Robert Ward's numerous compositions include seven operas, six symphonies, chamber music, cantatas, band music, and songs. In 1962 he received the Pulitzer Prize for his opera The Crucible. The recipient of three Guggenheim Fellowships, he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. North Carolina has honored him with its Award in Fine Arts, and in 1983 he was given the Morrison Award from the Roanoke Island Historical Society. He holds an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University as well as honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Duke University. In June, 1993 the University of North Carolina at Greensboro gave him an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree. At present he is on the board of the American Symphony Orchestra League and on the Alice M. Ditson Advisory Committee of Columbia University.

Most important, he continues to write music, including The Scarlet Letter, a new ballet which was performed in 1993 by the Dance School of the North Carolina School of the Arts and the Winston-Salem Symphony and a new one-act opera, Roman Fever, based on a short story of Edith Wharton, premiered by the Triangle Opera Theater. At present he is working on a violin concerto and a large choral work.

Robert Ward's Concertino for String Orchestra is perhaps the best example of his neo-classicism in which 20th-century rhythm, harmony and melody are cast in forms from the baroque or classical periods. In the Introduction and the Siciliano, the juxtaposition of concertino (string quartet) and tutti (full orchestra), typical of the baroque concerto grosso, is fully exploited. The Scherzo, originally the 3rd movement of Ward's first string quartet, is a lively dance, full of asymmetric rhythm. The concluding March also borrowed from the same string quartet, is by turn energetic and sardonic, with a mellifluous fugato as its trio. The Concertino received its premiere by the Piedmont Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Nicholas Harsanyi on April 4, 1973.


Walter Ross, whose works have been performed in 24 countries, is perhaps best known for his compositions featuring brass and woodwinds. Raised in Nebraska, he became a professional orchestral French horn player by the age of seventeen and went on to gain more performance experience in college as a member of the University of Nebraska symphonic band, and as a double bass player in a polka band and a flute player with a baroque ensemble. After four years of engineering and astronomy, he switched to music, receiving much of his early compositional training under Robert Readell. While working on his doctoral degree at Cornell (where he studied under Robert Palmer and Karel Husa), he received an Organization of American States Fellowship to study composition privately under Alberto Ginastera in Argentina.

The influences of his own extensive performance background and his musical training under composers who stressed bright orchestration and rhythmic excitement can be seen in many of Ross' over ninety works including the Piano Concerto. He likes to write music that musicians enjoy performing as well as audiences enjoy hearing. The Piano Concerto, like other recent works are representative of his current interest in neo-modal pandiatonic composition.

Ross has already written a number of major orchestral concertos including ones for oboe, bassoon, flute and guitar, trombone, and tuba, and he is currently working on a clarinet concerto and one for violin. This concerto, however, is the first he has written for piano. Ross prefers the concerto form to that of the symphony because of its more varied possibilities for artistic expression in contrasting the solo against the orchestra. The Piano Concerto was requested by Marjorie Mitchell, the internationally known American pianist, who wanted a substantial piece featuring the piano with full orchestra.

Ross has received a number of awards and prizes and many significant grants and fellowships. his work is widely performed, and many of his compositions have been published and recorded. Currently a resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, he has served as president of the Southeastern Composers League and served as a judge at international composition symposia. He has been a visiting composer at the Aspen Music Festival and a featured composer at several universities and forums and on national and international radio broadcasts.

Walter Ross' piano concerto, Mosaics is in three movements. The first opens with a lively fanfare followed by the principal theme presented by the piano. Ragtime and Charleston rhythms are prominent. The second movement, in ABA form, begins with a rather languid theme which is interrupted by a dance section in the middle. The last movement begins with a misterioso which soon becomes an energetic devil's dance and the concerto ends in a whirlwind finish.


Hunter Johnson (b. 1906, Benson, North Carolina) has composed extensively for piano, various chamber ensembles and orchestra. He is perhaps best known for his much-performed piano sonata and two ballets commissioned by Martha Graham, Letter to the World and Deaths and Entrances, each of which has had hundreds of performances world-wide by the Graham Dance Company. His many awards and honors include the Rome Prize (1933), two Guggenheim Fellowships (1941 and 1954), and the 1958 award of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

A 1929 graduate of the Eastman School Johnson had advanced composition with Bernard Rogers and later received helpful criticism from Alfredo Casella in Rome. Throughout his career he has been deeply involved in teaching, having taught advanced theory and composition at Cornell University and at the Universitites of Michigan, Manitoba, Illinois and Texas. He is presently Composer Laureate of North Carolina. A disc of Mr. Johnson's chamber music has been released by Albany Records (TROY061).

Of the many artistic homages that have been paid to the spirit and poetry of Emily Dickinson, one of the finest tributes is Martha Graham and Hunter Johnson's collaboration, Letter to the World. Premiered in 1940, this synthesis of dance, music and poetry soon became an established modern dance classic. In the early 1950's Mr. Johnson extracted the present concert suite from the full score. It "is a wonderful blend of melodic eloquence, harmonic richness and extraordinary rhythmic variety." The music (and dance) describe the legend of Emily Dickinson and the world of her imagination rather than the actual facts of her real life. There are five main sections to the suite, each divided into a small tableaux headed by a line of Dickinson poetry. The poems were selected to give each main section an overall tone. Hunter Johnson, Composer Laureate, native of North Carolina, resides in Benson, North Carolina. Besides several chamber music compositions, he has written orchestral and theatre pieces. In all of his music two elements are always present: a uniquely integrated and personal musical idiom and an elegant attention to detail.


Richard Rendleman, Jr. was born in 1949 in Salisbury, North Carolina and holds an A.B. in accounting from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he currently serves as Professor of Finance. He has also taught at Duke University, DePaul University and Northwestern University. In 1981 he began composition studies with Robert Ward.

Dr. Rendleman's other musical works include piano compositions, choral works, an organ processional, chamber works, and several orchestral compositions. His orchestral works have been performed by the North Carolina Symphony, The South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, The St. Stephen's Chamber Orchestra, The Knoxvillle Symphony Orchestra, The Bellevue (Washington) Symphony Orchestra, The Salisbury (North Carolina) Symphony Orchestra, The Elon College Community Orchestra, and the Tar River Orchestra.

Dr. Rendleman has provided the following notes about the Concertino for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra.

Richard Rindleman's Concertino for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra was commissioned by saxophonist James Houlik and premiered by the Elon College Community Orchestra in September, 1991. Written in two movements, the Concertino combines classical, jazz and pop elements reflecting, perhaps, my early exposure to popular and jazz forms prior to my classical studies with Robert Ward. The first movement, written in slow tempo, is an outgrowth of a jazz ballad entitled "Anytime" that I began writing for piano around 1987. Although I have written in a number of different styles, the slow jazz style of the first movement is, perhaps, the style in which I feel most comfortable as a composer. The second movement, written primarily in a fast 3/8 tempo, is also based on an idea that I had sketched out several years earlier. When I had the opportunity to write for tenor saxophone and orchestra it became immediately obvious that both ideas could be used as the primary themes for the concertino.


The St. Stephen's Chamber Orchestra, Lorenzo Muti, Artistic Director, debuted in 1988-89. The ensemble, formed by an elite core of professional musicians from the Triangle Area (Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, North Carolina) has drawn immediate critical acclaim for its refined musicianship and unusual repertoire. This recording marks the orchestra's second appearance on compact disc performing contemporary American repertoire.

Lorenzo Muti, a native of Spoleto, Italy, received his education at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School and the Accademia Chigiana, Siena. In addition to his post as Artistic Director of the St. Stephen's Chamber Orchestra he is Artistic Director of the Tar River Orchestra in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and the Orchestral Director at Duke University. Muti has conducted both concerts and operatic productions in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Milan, Washington, Philadelphia, etc.


Concert saxophonist James Houlik has been critically acclaimed around the world as the preeminent performer on his instrument. As the premiere performer on the tenor saxophone, over seventy works by prominent composers have been written for him, thus providing the largest addition to the instrument's repertoire since its invention.

James Houlik made his New York City recital debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1978 to wild enthusiasm. Joulik's performances have literally taken him around the world: Tokyo, Warsaw, Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Toronto, and throughout North America. He was selected as soloist for the Charlotte Symphony's first European tour, and has been soloist with the North Carolina Symphony.

In addition to two solo recital albums, Houlik made his recording debut as soloist with orchestra, recording Robert Ward's Concerto with the North Carolina Symphony, and Russell Peck's Upward Stream with the London Symphony Orchestra, both for Albany Records. Houlik serves as Professor of Saxophone at the North Carolina School of the Arts and he is a Yamaha Performing Artist.


Marjorie Mitchell, pianist, studied in New York City at the Institute of Musical Art under meritorious scholarships and then fellowships at the Juilliard Graduate School. She won a Fulbright Scholarship and continued her studies abroad at the Vienna Academy of Music.

Ms. Mitchell has been playing recitals and orchestral concerts in Europe and America since 1953, appearing as soloist with major orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphoniker, the New York Philharmonic, and the National Symphony. She has been a regular performer on the BBC and in Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Zurich with the Radio Symphony orchestras. She has recorded for Decca, Vanguard, Musical Heritage, CRI, and Ariola.

Marjorie Mitchell performs on a Falcone piano.

Recorded on February 14, 1993 in Baldwin Auditorium, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Recording Engineer: Dwight Robinet

Editing Engineer: Michael Lowell

The Ward and Johnson pieces are published by Highgate Press, Sole Agent Galaxy Music Corporation/E.C. Schirmer, Boston, Massachusetts.

The St. Stephen's Chamber Orchestra

Lorenzo Muti, conductor

Robert Ward

Concertino for Strings

Largo (1:19)

Scherzo (grazioso) (4:05)

Siciliano (Larghetto) (4:02)

Finale (Allegro marziale) (4:46)

Time = 14:12

Walter Ross

Mosaics Piano Concerto

Festivo (8:57)

Largo malinconico (8:04)

Allegro misterioso (5:54)

Marjorie Mitchell, piano

Time = 24:55

Hunter Johnson

Letter to the World, Suite for Orchestra

I. Because I See New Englandly

Introduction (:28)

Not knowing when the dawn will come (1:01)

I open every door (1:08)

II. Ancestress

I'm sorry for the dead today (1:09)

It's coming, the postponeless creature (1:04)

Drums of the phantom battlements,

Cornets of Paradise! (3:12)

Gay, ghastly holiday! (1:18)

III. The Little Tippler

Leaning against the sun! (1:51)

Nature, the gentlest mother (1:53)

Party scene: Let us play yesterday (2:04)

IV. Not with a club the heart is broken

There came a day at summer's full (2:28)

I thought that such were for the saints (:52)

Soul, wilt thou toss again (:56)

V. Coda: this is my letter to the world (1:32)

Time = 21:30

Richard J. Rendleman, Jr.

Concertino for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra

Affectionately (5:20)

Lively (4:17)

James Houlik, saxophone

Time = 9:37

Total Time = 69:01