CCCC: Grossman Ensemble Program Book June 2019

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Grossman Ensemble David Dzubay, conductor Friday, June 7, 2019 / 7:30pm Logan Center Performance Hall Grossman Ensemble June 2019 | 1


Welcome to the final concert in the inaugural season of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition’s Grossman Ensemble! This has been a season of excitement and astonishment.

We’ve witnessed new music coalesce before our ears, a result of the cooperative efforts of worldclass performers, conductors, and composers.

Attending these concerts has got me to wondering: Why do we humans attend live music concerts? And especially, why new music? Classical music lovers often attend concerts and recitals featuring repertoire they know and love. Even if they’ve yet to know a particular piece, its sound-world is likely familiar. It is called music of the “common practice” era for a reason: tonal music shares an orientation toward melodic unfolding, fairly predictable harmonic and metric practices, and a concern for shape or form. Popular music lovers, too, often attend concerts of their favorite artists, hoping to hear live performances of both hits and deep cuts, to compare them against the album versions, and of course, to sing along. New music attenuates many of these supports: as we listen to the Grossman Ensemble tonight, we will hear music that is wildly contrasting from composer to composer. We will have to learn each composer’s melodic/harmonic/rhythmic/ formal commitments anew, piece by piece. Rather than a shared common practice, 21st century music is characterized by a plurality of practices. Brand-new music audiences cannot benefit from the repetition and familiarity that knit classical and popular music audiences together again and again. Why do we embrace the challenge?

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What is shared here in this hall is the experience itself. We may not know ahead of time how the piece will sound (though we could, if we attended the open rehearsals!). We may not know ahead of time what will resonate with us, what will excite us, and what will leave us cold. This is actually what we are here for, though: to stoke our sense of discovery, and especially, to embrace conversation with each other about what we’ve just heard. So in addition to absorbing the incredible playing of these performers, and contemplating the aesthetic and technical prowess of tonight’s composers, I invite you to talk with those around you. What we’re building here at the CCCC is not just incredible music, but a sense of community: a community of listeners who are excited by challenge, who are capacious and curious, and who are committed to knowing one another. Sharing new experiences together is of great value, and I’m so happy to be here tonight with you.

— Jennifer Iverson and the entire CCCC Team


The Grossman Ensemble Anthony Cheung, Sam Pluta, Augusta Read Thomas, Co-Directors David Dzubay, Conductor This is the world premiere of each work on tonight’s program.

JOUNGBUM LEE condensed serenity b. 1986 STEVE LEHMAN La Vida Es Sueño b. 1978 KATE SOPER Missing Scenes: Lost Greek Tragedies b. 1981 DAVID DZUBAY PHO b. 1964

The program is performed without an intermission, although there will be brief pauses for resetting the stage. Please hold your applause for a moment of silence after each piece, for everyone’s enjoyment. Please join us for an after-party in the Gidwitz Lobby with the artists. The Grossman Ensemble is made possible thanks to generous support from the Sanford J. Grossman Charitable Trust.

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JOUNGBUM LEE – CONDENSED SERENITY Condensed serenity is inspired by a peculiar reoccurring dream of mine in which I see dozens of abstract images. Unlike my usual dreams that have some kind of narrative or based on my experience, this reoccurring dream has nothing but just a series of slightly vibrating and morphing images. Most of the images have a feeling of being observed from multiple bodies as if the dream is shared by others. It is a foreign sensation but there is strong calmness at the same time. Some of the images are thick and horizontal strips of gray and light blue rendered as fuzzy, hazy forms. Even though there seems to be no connection between successive scenes, I sense a sort of inevitability that unites individual images together. Within the dream some of the images remind me of the sound that I have forgotten. I do not remember what that sound was after I wake up. But I am inspired by the illogical sequence of images and sounds in this reoccurring dream and this piece is a reflection of my search for the forgotten sound. 4 | Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition

Joungbum Lee is a Chicago-based composer of chamber, electronic, film and orchestral music. Poetry, visual art, nature and Eastern/Western philosophy are all elements that influence Lee’s works. He completed a Bachelor Degree at Eastman School of Music and Masters at Rice University. His main composition teachers have been Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, David Liptak, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Pierre Jalbert, ShihHui Chen, Shulamit Ran, Anthony Cheung, and Augusta Read Thomas. Joungbum’s music has been commissioned nationally and internationally by world– renowned individuals and groups such as Amy Briggs, Kay Kim, Rochester Chamber Music Society, Musiqa Modern Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, Eighth Blackbird, Quince Vocal Ensemble, Imani Winds, Spektral Quartet, Ensemble Suono Giallo, Ensemble Composit, and Ensemble Dal Niente. Lee’s work has received awards and recognitions such as 1st and audience prize for Sorodha Société Royale d’Harmonie composition competition 2019 (Belgium), 1st prize in Rochester Chamber Music composition competition 2009, prizewinner of the 23rd IBLA Grand Prize 2014, and Sejong International composition competition 2014. Lee’s works have premiered at numerous music festivals such as SoundSCAPE (2016), VIPA

(2016), June in Buffalo (2016), ilSuono Academy in Italy (2017), and Composit new music festival in Italy (2017). Recently his work was selected for The Keyboard in the 21st Century 2019—an international conference for composers in Hong Kong. Also his work, TAE (2019) for chamber orchestra and multi media will be premiered by Avanti! chamber orchestra in Finland. Joungbum is a current PhD candidate at University of Chicago.

STEVE LEHMAN – LA VIDA ES SUEÑO La Vida Es Sueño—named in homage to Calderón de la Barca’s celebrated play from 1635—is a work inspired by the nature and the structure of dreams. What is the sound of an imaginary landscape? Or the feeling of a mythological folk music? This piece explores these questions and seeks to create a sequence of otherworldly sonorities through the use of scordatura (non-standard) tunings in the harp and the vibraphone. Sonic objects and instrumental gestures are introduced,

re-introduced, and juxtaposed in new ways throughout the piece, in an effort to evoke a non-linear, dreamlike structure that eschews any true teleology.

He is currently Professor of Music at The California Institute of the Arts, and lives in Los Angeles.

........... Described as “a state-of-the-art musical thinker” and a “dazzling saxophonist,” by The New York Times, Steve Lehman is a composer, performer, educator, and scholar who works across a broad spectrum of experimental musical idioms. Lehman’s pieces for large orchestra and chamber ensembles have been performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, So Percussion, American Composers Orchestra, the JACK Quartet, the PRISM Saxophone Quartet, and the Talea Ensemble. His recent recording, Mise en Abîme (Pi, 2014) was called the #1 Jazz Album of the year by NPR Music and The Los Angeles Times. And his previous recording, Travail, Transformation & Flow (Pi, 2009), was chosen as the #1 Jazz Album of the year by The New York Times. The recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, Lehman is an alto saxophonist who has performed and recorded nationally and internationally with his own ensembles and with those led by Anthony Braxton, Vijay Iyer, Bennie Maupin, Jason Moran, Georgia-Anne Muldrow, George Lewis, and Meshell Ndegeocello, among many others.

Excerpt sketch from Steve Lehman’s La Vida Es Sueño

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be different about our lives if more of these stories had survived? Thank you to David Dzubay and the members of the Grossman Ensemble for your creativity, expertise, and patience during this rehearsal process! Kate Soper requested texts for her work not be printed.

KATE SOPER – MISSING SCENES: LOST GREEK TRAGEDIES Spoken text by Kate Soper; sung text by Achaeus, Aristarchus, Carcinus the Younger, Critias, Ion, Philocles, and Phrynichus, trans. Matthew Wright (© Matthew Wright, 2016, The Lost Plays of Greek Tragedy Vol. I, Bloomsbury Academic, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc). “Lost Greek Tragedies” is the first part of a planned series of explorations into missing scenes—i.e., those inferred conversations, implied actions, and hinted-at events that are withheld from us by an author, director, editor, or simply by fate. In the case of Greek Tragedy, the missing scenes far eclipse the surviving ones. But the bits and pieces of lost plays that have washed up over the centuries are irresistibly poignant. What can be recovered from a mangled paragraph, a broken phrase, or even a single word? Real meaning, or just a shiver of sense? And given how foundational the stories of Greek Tragedy are to our culture, what would 6 | Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition

Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies. Soper is a co-director and performer for Wet Ink, a New York-based new music ensemble dedicated to seeking out adventurous music across aesthetic boundaries, and is the Iva Dee Hiatt Professor of Music at Smith College. Upcoming projects include more missing scenes, a program of works for voice and electronics, and The Romance of the Rose, a full-length opera to premiere in April 2020.


Kate Soper is a composer, performer, and writer whose work explores the integration of drama and rhetoric into musical structure, the slippery continuums of expressivity, intelligibility and sense, and the wonderfully treacherous landscape of the human voice. She has been hailed by The Boston Globe as “a composer of trenchant, sometimes discomfiting, power” and by The New Yorker for her “limpid, exacting vocalism, impetuous theatricality, and mastery of modernist style.” A Pulitzer Prize finalist, Soper has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Koussevitzky Foundation, among others, and has been commissioned by ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, and Yarn/Wire. Praised by The New York Times for her “lithe voice and riveting presence,” Soper performs frequently as a new music soprano. As a non-fiction and creative writer, she has been published by Theory and Practice, the Massachusetts Review, and the

DAVID DZUBAY - PHO Rather than the delicious Vietnamese broth, this title refers to Potentially Hazardous Objects; that is, asteroids or comets with orbits dangerously close to earth and large enough to cause significant damage upon impact. A broader view of PHOs in our sky might include ballistic missiles or as we know too well, airplanes. One can imagine many different perspectives on objects hurtling through the sky or deep space, from a largely imaginary close-up view of a fiery machine or threatening asteroid, to a distant

gaze during night of a meteor shower or in late afternoon of the gradually disintegrating contrails left by airliners criss-crossing an otherwise blue sky. In 1860, Walt Whitman wrote about a “year of meteors,” concluding the poem with lines likely inspired by both the Great Comet of 1860 and a rare occurence the same year of a “meteor procession”—a phenomenon when a meteor grazes the Earth’s atmosphere and fragments into smaller meteors all traveling in the same path. (The latter is depicted in a contemporaneous painting by Hudson Valley artist Frederick Edwin Church.) ... Nor the comet that came unannounced, out of the north, flaring in heaven, Nor the strange huge meteor procession, dazzling and clear, shooting over our heads, (A moment, a moment long, it sail’d its balls of unearthly light over our heads, Then departed, dropt in the night, and was gone;)—Of such, and fitful as they, I sing—with gleams from them would I gleam and patch these chants; Your chants, O year all mottled with evil and good! year of forebodings! year of the youth I love! Year of comets and meteors transient and strange!—lo! even here, one equally transient and strange! As I flit through you hastily, soon to fall and be gone, what is this book, What am I myself but one of your meteors? Whitman references the tension of the times;

earlier, he notes ships arriving in New York, some with immigrants, some with gold; all, amid the unrest prior to the Civil War. Comparing himself to a meteor at the poem’s end suggests our rapid flight through life. Somehow, many of these elements have an unfortunate and timely relevance. Our country and world are threatened by conflicting forces and ideologies and an ever-increasing number of PHOs, both cosmic and earthly. With my music, I don’t pretend to specifically describe, let alone propose solutions to, our political and social turmoil; rather, this piece tries to find an abstract beauty in examination of aspects of these various phenomena traveling through space and time. The score begins with the performance suggestion: “dangerously fast; transient and strange—of unearthly light...”


of Composers Orchestra in New York, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Music from China, Voices of Change, among other groups. From 1995 to 1998 he served as ComposerConsultant to the Minnesota Orchestra, helping direct their “Perfect-Pitch” reading sessions, and during 2005-2006 he was Meet The Composer “Music Alive” Composer-in-Residence with the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra. Since 2011, Dzubay has spent three weeks each summer at the Brevard Music Center teaching composition and conducting composer readings with orchestra and band. In May, Dzubay was guest composer and had orchestral works performed at the Beijing Modern Music Festival and at the China-ASEAN Music Festival in Nanning. He returns to China in July to teach at the Beijing International Composition Workshop. Other premieres in 2019 include works for the Pacifica String Quartet and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra.

David Dzubay’s music has been performed by orchestras, ensembles and soloists in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Mexico, and Asia. Recent honors included a 2015 Fromm Commission, Guggenheim, Bogliasco, MacDowell, Yaddo, Copland House and Djerassi fellowships, and a 2011 Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Dzubay is currently Professor of Music, Chair of the Composition Department and Director of the New Music Ensemble at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington. He has conducted at the Tanglewood, Aspen, and June in Buffalo festivals. He has also conducted the League Grossman Ensemble June 2019 | 7


The newly formed Grossman Ensemble is a key component of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition’s performance series. The ensemble comprises 13 of the nation’s leading contemporary music specialists. Members of the Grossman Ensemble include:

Tim Munro, flute Ben Melsky, harp Andrew Nogal, oboe Daniel Pesca, piano Katherine Schoepflin Jimoh, clarinet Taimur Sullivan, saxophone Matthew Oliphant, horn

Greg Beyer, percussion John Corkill, percussion Spektral Quartet Maeve Feinberg, violin Clara Lyon, violin Doyle Armbrust, viola Russell Rolen, cello

Over the course of each season, the ensemble performs three times at the Logan Center for the Arts, each with a focus on the process of creating new work. There are eight rehearsals leading up to each performance, enabling composers to write, workshop, and review new works in close collaboration with the ensemble. The public is invited to attend an open rehearsal prior to each concert, allowing them unprecedented access to the creative process. The ensemble workshops and performs 12 world premiere works by University of Chicago faculty, students, and guest composers in this inaugural season. The Grossman Ensemble is made possible thanks to generous support from the Sanford J. Grossman Charitable Trust.

“The musicians themselves are tied in diverse ways to music’s cutting edge, bursting with new vocabularies of improvisation and expression.” — Classical Voice North America

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The Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition’s inaugural concert season saw the premiere of 43 new works across 10 concerts, with the Grossman Ensemble premiering 12 works (7 commissions). We look forward to an exciting season ahead with 12 more Grossman Ensemble world premieres!

WORLD PREMIERE COMPOSERS Ashkan Behzadi Rodrigo Bussad Chen Yi Anthony Cheung Zosha Di Castri David Dzubay Jack Hughes Alison Yun-Fei Jiang Tonia Ko Joungbum Lee Steve Lehman Tania León

Paula Matthusen David Clay Mettens Will Myers Sam Pluta David Rakowski Shulamit Ran Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez Kate Soper Stephen Andrew Taylor Jay Alan Yim Du Yun

Sam Pluta, Anthony Cheung, Augusta Read Thomas, Co-Directors

2019-20 GROSSMAN ENSEMBLE SEASON PREVIEW 12 world premieres with 6 commissioned works. The full concert season will be announced in August. Friday, December 6, 2019 / 7:30 pm Logan Center for the Arts Michael Lewanski, conductor World premiere works by composers Anthony Cheung, Tania León, Will Myers, and Alison Yun-Fei Jiang.

Friday, March 13, 2020 / 7:30 pm Logan Center for the Arts Jerry Hou, conductor World premiere works by David Clay Mettens, Paula Matthusen, Stephen Andrew Taylor, and the CCCC 2019-20 postdoctoral researcher Ashkan Behzadi.

Friday, June 5, 2020 / 7:30 pm Logan Center for the Arts Oliver Hagen, conductor World premiere works by Zosha Di Castri, Jay Alan Yim, Du Yun, and more.

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The Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition at the University of Chicago is a dynamic, collaborative, and interdisciplinary environment for the creation, performance and study of new music and for the advancement of the careers of emerging and established composers, performers, and scholars. Distinguished by its formation within an uncompromising, relentlessly searching, and ceaselessly innovative scholarly environment that celebrates excellence and presents new possibilities for intellectual dialogue, the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition is comprised of ten integrated entities: an annual concert series with the resident Grossman Ensemble, CHIME (Chicago Integrated Media Experimental Studio), visiting ensembles, distinguished guest composers, performances, recordings, research, graduate student-led projects, workshops, and postdoctoral research positions. FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR Augusta Read Thomas ADVISORY BOARD Seth Brodsky Anthony Cheung Jennifer Iverson Amy Iwano Travis Jackson Sam Pluta Barbara Schubert STAFF & PARTNERS Reba Cafarelli, Manager Claire Snarski, Graphic Designer Margo Strebig, Director of Communications Christopher L. Willis, Recording Engineer Amy Iwano, Executive Director, UChicago Presents Landon Hegedus, Communications & Production Assistant, UChicago Presents Daniel Meyers, Marketing Coordinator, UChicago Presents Hugo Seda, Director of Production, UChicago Presents

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The Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition relies on the financial support of its patrons and friends to present world-class contemporary music programs. You, and other supporters like you, are at the core of the CCCC. Please consider sharing your love of contemporary music by making a contribution. Visit to donate. CCCC COMMISSION CLUB We are committed to creating new works by a variety of composers, from senior luminaries in the field of new music to exceptional junior composers. You can help create new music and support a composer by joining the CCCC’s Commission Club. Leave a legacy in the form of music, or honor a special person or event in your life. Partner with us today! SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS CCCC is sponsored in part by generous gifts from Carolyn (Kay) Bucksbaum, Gay Stanek, and the Sanford J. Grossman Charitable Trust.

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Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition

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