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Artwork by Claudia Doderer  |   2 0 1 7 watercolor and pencil on paper These paintings are dedicated to Ashley Walters. They were created while listening to, studying, and watching her amazing playing of new, avantgarde cello music. For the past five years, I have followed her path as living composers write music for her and appreciated the extraordinary challenge she has taken on to send these very different compositions of sounds into the world. Her playing inspired me in two directions: the very dynamic and precise creation of sounds into living architecture and how colors and form follow an analytic path with unexpected motion. These impulses make the differences between these compositions appear in all their variety and diversity. Ashley Walters’ playing is just a great free inspiration! — Claudia Doderer

Claudia Doderer (b.1957) is a visual artist in the fields of staging, spatial and costume design. Since 1986, her work has concentrated on collaborations with contemporary composers, including Peter Ablinger, Gérard Grisey, Klaus Lang, and Lucia Ronchetti. It involves the creation of settings for new forms of music theater, musical installations, and abstract spatial context for music. She has been both a visiting professor and a guest lecturer at California Institute of the Arts and in 2012 she was awarded a fellowship at the Villa Aurora, Los Angeles. Doderer currently resides in Berlin. “...she composes the space, researches and tries out possibilities that enable the space to be experienced, by exposing its visual implications, for instance, or by translating specific perspectives and proportions through altered positioning. Every space that she designs, she shapes anew...” — Sabine Sanio www.claudiadoderer.com

populistrecords.com ashleywalterscello.com

© 2017

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A S H L E Y W A L T E R S     Sweet Anxiety


A S H L E Y WA LT E R S   Sweet Anxiety 1 / For Stephanie (on our wedding day) NICHOL AS DEYOE  | 2009 | 6:41

2 / Sequenza XIV

LUCIANO BERIO  | 2002 | 16:48

3 / Plainsound-Litany

WOLFGANG VON SCHWEINITZ  | 2004 | 20:04

4 / another anxiety

NICHOL AS DEYOE  | 2013 | 8:49

5 / Sweet Bay Magnolia with Berry Clusters WA D A D A L E O S M I T H   |   2 0 1 3   |   1 6 : 1 2

6 / Another Secular Calvinist Creed

A decade ago, I first performed Berio’s fourteenth and final Sequenza, a piece that has become a pillar of my repertoire and has inspired and informed this project in many ways. Written for virtuoso cellist Rohan de Saram, this piece stands as a testament to the limitless possibilities of composer/performer collaboration. It is in this spirit of cooperation, experimentation, and creativity that I present this album as a reflection of the enduring musical collaborations I share with these composers, whom I am proud to call mentors, colleagues, and — most of all — friends. I seek to challenge your perception of what the cello, a stereotypically gentle instrument, is capable of. Scordatura, microtonality, improvisation, and extended techniques transform the serene “swan” into a snarling, roaring creature, as sinister as it is beautiful.

ANDREW MCINTOSH  | 2011 | 9:47

— Ashley Walters Recorded at Warren Music Center Studios, 2011 and 2013 Recording Engineers: Clinton Davis (1,5,6) and Martin Hiendl (2,3,4) Mixing and Mastering: Nick Tipp Producers: Ashley Walters and Luke Storm with the composers Artwork: Claudia Doderer Graphic Design: Traci Larson


A S H L E Y WA LT E R S Cellist Ashley Walters has been described as performing “with the kind of brilliance that beckons a major new performer on the new music scene” (Mark Swed, L.A. Times). She has been praised for her “imposing talents” (Sequenza 21) and “impressive” (Pitchfork) and “beautiful playing” (All About Jazz). Walters maintains a uniquely diverse career, performing music that blurs the boundaries between classical, avant-garde, and jazz, breaking new ground in repertoire with microtonality, extended techniques, alternative tunings, and improvisation. As a solo artist known for tackling virtuosic, demanding works and collaborating with composers, Walters has been the dedicatee of significant additions to the cello repertoire and has appeared on concert series and venues throughout the United States, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, Spectrum (NYC), Center for New Music (San Francisco), Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, San Diego New Music soundON Festival, Nief-Norf (Knoxville), Tuesdays @ Monk Space (Los Angeles), wild Up’s WORK series (Los Angeles), REDCAT (Los Angeles), the wulf (Los Angeles), and wasteLAnd music (Los Angeles).

Photo Credit: Todd H Carlson

A frequent collaborator with Wadada Leo Smith, Walters joined his Golden Quintet in 2016, recording America’s National Parks the same year. The album was named Jazz Album of the Year in DownBeat Magazine’s 65th Annual Critics Poll and one of Nate Chinen’s Best Albums of 2016 in the New York Times. Dan McClenaghan of All About Jazz said about the album, “Ashley Walters’ cello paints the rich, beautiful hues that subtly enhance the entire proceeding — the most auspicious addition to a jazz ensemble since Chico Hamilton brought the instrument into his chamber groups in the late 1950s.” Walters is a member of the Formalist Quartet with Andrew McIntosh, Mark Menzies, and Andrew Tholl. Heralded as “superb,” “ferocious,” and “fabulous” by Mark Swed in the Los Angeles Times, the Formalist Quartet has established itself as one of the most innovative new music ensembles on the West Coast. Founded in 2006, the group has appeared in concert in Iceland, Austria, Italy, Germany, and throughout the United States. www.ashleywalterscello.com


For Stephanie (on our wedding day)  |   2 0 0 9   |   6 : 4 1   |   # 1 another anxiety  |   2 0 1 3   |   8 : 4 9   |   # 4 In the last decade, the most significant aspect of my compositional process has been the relationship between the performer(s) and myself. Ashley Walters has played a major role in this. At the beginning of this process, she was one of a few people whom I was beginning to work with on recurring projects. The two pieces on this album, For Stephanie (on our wedding day) and another anxiety represent two distinct phases of our collaboration. For Stephanie was composed as a surprise for my wife (Stephanie Aston) to be played during our wedding ceremony. Ashley and I collaborated secretly, sending score fragments and recordings back and forth to each other, while Stephanie believed that a Schubert arrangement would be played. Though Ashley and I had worked together in ensemble situations, this was the first solo we made together. I started to get to know her unique skill set, and the particular sound of her cello (Oscar). Ashley can shift on a dime from ferocious, biting intensity to finessed delicacy and subtlety, always with an incredible attention to detail. For Stephanie explores this territory with Ashley using a scordatura of F♯, G, C, A♭ (low to high), building unfamiliar scales from available harmonics within this tuning above the rich ground of the detuned fourth string. another anxiety, composed four years later, is the result of our continued friendship and projects together. I’ve gotten to know how Ashley likes to play and her amazing abilities. This piece is an expansion of the extremes worked with earlier, but places a microscope on her left hand. The material flies by quickly through continual contraction and expansion of rhythmic speed and micro-melodic contours. The boundary is similarly blurred between intentional percussive tapping on the fingerboard and a firmly placed fingering amidst a flurry of notes. It is a great honor to engage continued collaborations with Ashley Walters and to have had the opportunity to work with her on two solos, a concerto, and eleven chamber pieces.

N I C H O L A S D E YO E Nicholas Deyoe is a Los Angeles based composer, conductor, and guitarist, and is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the wasteLAnd concert series. His music has been called “intriguingly complex and excitedly lush” by the LA Times. Drawn to sounds that are inherently physical, Deyoe strives to create music that engages listeners intellectually and emotionally while appealing to their sense of physicality. His compositions combine uses of noise, delicacy, drama, fantasy, frustration, and lyricism to create a diverse sonic experience. He has received commissions from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Carnegie Hall, USINESONORE Festival, the La Jolla Symphony, Palimpsest, and several soloists. His music has been performed throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. He holds a Ph.D. in composition from UC San Diego where he studied with Roger Reynolds. Deyoe is currently on faculty at California Institute of the Arts where he conducts The Ensemble and teaches composition.

Excerpt from For Stephanie

—Nicholas Deyoe

Excerpt from another anxiety


Sequenza XIV  |   2 0 0 2   |   1 6 : 4 8   |   # 2 Luciano Berio (1925–2003) was born into a musical family: his father and grandfather were both composers and were his first teachers. Berio played piano from an early age and began producing compositions in his early teens before enrolling in the Milan Conservatory at the age of twenty. His studies focused on composition in part because of an injury sustained as a conscript in the army that prevented him from pursuing a career as a pianist. Berio forged many important intellectual and collaborative relationships throughout his life, including with Cathy Berberian, his vocal muse and first wife; Bruno Maderna, with whom he founded Studio di fonologia musicale di Radio Milano; and Umberto Eco, the novelist, literary critic, and thinker. Berio’s incredible reputation encouraged invitations to teach at Tanglewood, Dartington Summer School, Mills College, Harvard, and Juilliard. Luciano Berio’s fourteen Sequenzas span a forty-four year period. Each of these virtuosic pieces explores and exploits the timbres, colors, and sounds of a solo instrument and each is dedicated to a specific player — the fourteenth to the Sri Lankan cellist Rohan de Saram. Berio and de Saram’s collaboration was forged when de Saram appeared as the soloist for Berio’s work Ritorno degli Snovidenia. Taking a deep interest in the artist behind the cello, Berio became intrigued by the Kandyan drum, which de Saram played as a boy. Berio used the drum’s characteristic rhythmic cycles in the Sequenza, at times transforming the cello from a melodic instrument to a percussive one. During the compositional process, Berio and de Saram planned to review the score but Berio’s unexpected passing prevented this meeting. The published score we have today is, therefore, incomplete. At times, the notation contradicts itself and, because of the absence of any notes from the composer, much of the notation is not explained. Through research and interviews with de Saram I created my own performance edition of the score, which is recorded here. — AW


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Sweet Bay Magnolia with Berry Clusters  |   2 0 1 3   |   1 6 : 1 2   |   # 5 This music was written for Ashley Walters and the inspirational shape comes out of the idea or design of a flower. The whole piece should be thought of as the emergence of a flower, in this case, a magnolia flower. The music of Sweet Bay Magnolia is a meditative work where the focus or design are instructed as long sounds, with sustained harmonics. These long sonic sounds should be understood as elements on this sonic field. Also, these sounds are intended to generate horizontal motion, or flow. The melodic elements are constructed and intended to reveal an emotional range that the performer should feel and respond to. The improvisational sections are meant to create a dialogue between material, instrument, and performer. The energy should be rapid evolving moments that are connected in a way as to not disturb the idea of the central flow of the composition. — Wadada Leo Smith

WA D A D A L E O S M I T H Legendary trumpeter, composer, and improviser Wadada Leo Smith has been actively creating, sharing, and teaching music for more than five decades. An important early member of Chicago’s AACM, his unique musical language straddles the worlds of notated music, spontaneous creation, and visual art. Smith has been recognized numerous times by the DownBeat Critics Poll and his monumental work Ten Freedom Summers was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize. In 2016, Smith received both the Doris Duke Artist Award and the Mohn Award for Career Achievement. Smith’s recent recording projects, A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke with Vijay Iyer and America’s National Parks with Smith’s Golden Quintet, have been praised by critics around the world, the latter making Nate Chinen’s Best Albums of 2016 in the New York Times and DownBeat’s Album of the Year. Smith has inspired generations of creative musicians at the University of New Haven, Bard College, and CalArts.


ANDREW MCINTOSH

Another Secular Calvinist Creed  |   2 0 1 1   |   9 : 4 7   |   # 6 Another Secular Calvinist Creed, written for Ashley Walters in 2011, is the second in a series of three pieces that all use the same scordatura on stringed instruments and in which the sound and structure of the music is a direct reflection of a particular world-view. In the original program note, I described that as “commitment to an idealistic and perfection, a belief in and forabstract Ashley Walters love of human imperfection, a fascination with nature and thatCreed which is vast and Andrew Nathaniel McIntosh Another Secular Calvinist unknowable yet seemingly ordered — also,for a belief that the world in which we live solo cello e = 110 metal practice mute <4e 4 z does not fundamentally Inthis piece, the instruments   with < z n 4 n 6z  5 4 change much over5time. 4 z 5 n 5 4m  5 z nin  m <5but n 4  nare 5u zon  4re-tuned a just  tuning 11th partials, the intervals are used in 5 nbased I n I However, order and such a way that the IIharmonic function is mostly irrelevant. I I II I n I III IV n IV III IV III nII III II IV n  IV III IV nII  IV III IV uII<fIII n fIII oIInuIII u <fII f o  n prevail in the end.”n   wonder n



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LA-based composer/violinist/violist/baroque violinist Andrew McIntosh is known for writing music with “soundscapes rich and immersive” (San Francisco Classical Voice) and has a unique and multifaceted performance career spanning solo, chamber, and early music engagements. His compositions have been described as “a shining example of the extraordinary music that the youngest generation of American experimentalists has to offer” (TEMPO), and have been featured at major venues in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, Los Angeles, and New York, including several recent performances at the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series and at Miller Theatre in New York. McIntosh’s performance career often takes him across the US and Europe as well, either as a member of the Formalist Quartet, wild Up, various early music ensembles, or as a soloist — most recently at the San Francisco Symphony’s SoundBox series. He is currently based in the Los Angeles area where he teaches at the California Institute of the Arts.

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Ashley Walters - Sweet Anxiety booklet  

Ashley Walters - Sweet Anxiety booklet  

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