Picture of the Day – July 19, 2012

In addition to featuring a diverse array of musical styles, the Local Composers Concert also presents audiences interaction with the many composers living near Hartford. Here Tawnie Olson introduces her duo for bassoon and piano, À mon seul désir. Of the piece, Dr. Olson says:

This piece was inspired by Elizabeth Shoemaker, her skilled interpretation of Saint-Saëns’ Bassoon Sonata, and by an idea of marriage informed by my relationship with my own husband. At first the instruments seem to co-exist peacefully, but independently, but after a crisis material is passed back and forth between them. This dialogue incites the bassoon to jubilant virtuosity, and then the opening material returns; the piece has come full circle. The circle – the shape of a wedding ring and an ancient symbol of perfection – is also meant to be suggested by the piano part’s slow journey through its entire range. The title of this piece comes from the final Lady and the Unicorn tapestry, in the collection of the Musée de Cluny.

Recordings of Tawnie Olson’s music and updates on her projects can be found here.

Tawnie Olson presents her Music

Picture of the Day – July 18, 2012

An annual tradition for the festival, the Local Composers Concert displays the wide variety of musical styles and ideas present in just the tri-state area (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York). The following picture features Janet Jacobson and Han-Wei Lu performing the intricately microtonal “Five Vignettes” by Julia Werntz. A process of dividing the traditional Western scale, Julia describes her use of microtonality:

My method was just to seize the “new” pitches from in-between the “old” pitches of 12-note equal-temperament—60 new pitches in total—and to sing the intervals again and again until I had internalized a new microtonal, equal-tempered chromatic scale consisting of 72 pitches. Then I began developing a melodic technique, relying on certain aspects of my traditional musical training, while at the same time looking out for the peculiar new demands of the new intervals themselves, such as rhythm.

More info on Julia Werntz and her music can be found here.

Janet Jacobson and Han-Wei Lu

Picture of the Day – July 16, 2012

Though many of the pictures posted so far have shown the great music-making that takes place at the Festival each year, our events also serve as an important opportunity for composers to interact with each other and with audience members.  Most of the living composers programmed on the Festival attend, and we always look forward to meeting the women featured each year.

Two composers chat at the 2010 Local Composers Concert

In the photo above, composers Kate Swanson-Ellis (left) and Gale Gardiner (right) chat at the 2010 Local Composers Concert.

Picture of the Day – July 15, 2012

For the 2011 Festival, NYC-based composer and vocalist Gilda Lyons served as our Composer-in-Residence.  In addition to giving talks to local students and hearing WCF musicians interpret her works, Lyons also performed her extremely moving a cappella composition A Small Handful.  Though a video of the work is not currently online, you can check out her recent Songs from the F Train on Youtube.


Picture of the Day – July 11, 2012

Here’s a peek at the 2011 Festival’s opening concert:

HICO performs in 2011

The Hartt Independent Chamber Orchestra led by Erberk Eryilmaz performed works by 2011 Composer-in-Residence Gilda Lyons, Eunsook Baek, Jessica Rudman, and the winner of our inaugural Composition Competition, Sang Mi Ahn.

The Composition Competition was a new addition to the Festival in 2011, and the high quality of the submissions received in both the first and second years encouraged us to continue offering this award annually.  Each year, the prize involves the performance of a selected work by our featured ensemble – stay tuned to find out who it will be for 2013!