photo by Joe Mabel

Tuesday Night New Music is a student-run, faculty-supervised concert series that offers the opportunity to hear music by the next generation of composers: current NEC composition students. The series is directed by Katherine Balch '14 Tufts/NEC and Sonnet Swire ’16, under the supervision of composition chair Michael Gandolfi.

The notes on these works were written by the respective composers, all of whom are graduating next month.

Dominic Turchi Dispersing Transience
Actuation - Elusiveness - Displacement
Adrian Sanborn, flute, alto flute
Hunter Bennett, clarinet, bass clarinet
Matthew Vera, violin
Daniel Parker, cello
Bryce Leafman, percussion
Yijuan Geng, piano
Krysten Keches, harp
Kristo Kondakci, conductor

Dispersing Transience is my first multi-movement work for a chamber group, demonstrating a significantly more developed compositional style still true to my earlier jazz and improvisatory experiences.

The title was considered well into the genesis of the piece. Much of the pitch material is derived from a single collection, the augmented scale, which was filtered through various compositional processes to create the variety of timbres that exist throughout the work. I found this reminiscent of how a prism disperses white light as a rainbow. In addition, each movement is a synonym for movement—more specifically, each title a synonym for transience—carefully chosen on the basis of how I felt the music unfolded within the respective movement.

Actuation sets the piece into motion with a driving yet fluid pulse that cross-fades immediately into the tarnished impurity of Elusiveness. The third movement, filled with gliding melodies and shifting textures and composed almost entirely of golden proportions and formulas for form and rhythm on both macro and micro levels, is a Displacement from the first two movements. Each movement is a unique entity on its own, but is also part of a web of tightly latticed ideas integrated throughout the entire work. The result is a unified over-arching structure of Dispersing Transience.

Musa Qubailat DES
Tara Mueller, violin
Alexandra Simpson, viola
Daniel Parker, cello

David Stenson Five Fragments
Lautaro Mantilla, electronic guitar, lap

memory, logarithmically damped

Katherine Balch Iaspis
Robert Anemone, violin

Iaspis is named after a type of sparkling quartz, one of the stones found in the Garden of Eden. In this piece, I explore different types of sparkling textures by focusing on the harmonic partials created by an imaginary D major chord. The violin’s G string is tuned down to an F-sharp to enhance the resonance of this D major sound world. In Iaspis, there are three distinct elements—an open string pedal tone, a short chorale, and a harmonic arpeggio or tremolo. These elements are the opening gestures of the piece, and intertwine and take up more developed identities of their own as the piece progresses. When I first began writing this piece, I was spending some time with Eugene Ysaÿe’s sonatas for solo violin. The three elements I use in Iaspis are similar to those used in the opening of Ysaÿe’s Fifth Violin Sonata, which begins with a pedal tone, a slow chorale, and a tremolo that turns into rapid arpeggios. This piece is written for and dedicated to Robert Anemone.

Borey Shin the aging seamstress of khoymi
Allison Poh, Taekjoon Kim, flute
Daniel Pencer, clarinet
Daniel Parker, cello
Evan Allen, piano
Borey Shin, electronics

Aaron Muesing Five Pieces for Woodwind Quintet

Jae-Hyun Hong The Falling of Blossoms
Wesley Chu, piano

When life gets us down, we fall. We fall into the deep bottom of our hearts. Sometimes the fall is so slow that we don’t even notice we’re actually going down, just like we usually don’t notice that cherry blossoms are withering every day by falling in the late spring. Those blossoms are ourselves. They fall because it’s time to fall, but they look breathtakingly beautiful.

This solo piano piece has a reflection of the procedure of falling which I usually experience when I’m depressed. In this piece, the layers of the piano’s wide register represent the deep depths of our hearts. The twinkling tones float freely on every register like flower leaves. With these twinkling tone colors, the figure moves slowly to the bottom. Once it reaches, it struggles to get out of there, but it can’t. The harder it tries, more quickly it gets to come back to certain repeating melodies and figures on a certain register for being caged. And then, it plunges to the bottom again. But slowly, it learns how to overcome this beautifully desperate situation.

Mattia C. Maurée String Quartet Number One
Natalie Calma, Ryan Shannon, violin
Lu Yu, viola
Sonia Mantell, cello

Both the working title and name of each movement have changed at least twice between the first draft and this premiere. While it is highly narrative, the work is not programmatic. Entrada opens with a heartbeat, and small gestures bloom into the contrapuntal material that pervades the later movements. Prestississimo opens with the creepily out of tune melody from an antique musical samovar. It establishes its own pulse, but the cello quickly takes over and leads the eventual collapse into an out-of-control free-for-all on the original theme. Elegy attempts to pick up the pieces, but can’t seem to find a resting place without at least one dissenting voice. After Fugue’s fugue runs most of its course, it tries to regain some of the energy of the second movement, and this time it achieves a sort of synthesis. The final three chords are as if to say, yes, I meant to say that.

John Heiss’ Spring 2014 Composition Seminar participants:
Derek David, Benjamin Woo, Niki Harlafti, Aaron Muesing, Stephanie Ann Boyd, Chuchu Wen, Yeeray Low, Binna Kim, Mark Goldstein, Jiyoung Ko, Namhoon Kim, Dana Kaufman Stay or Go
Benjamin Woo, piano

This piece was written by the students of John Heiss's graduate composition seminar, with five measures being written each week by one student and brought into class, where, working with our pianist Benjamin Woo, we would workshop that music for a while, and then the score would be handed to another student for the next five measures for the next week.

Date: April 22, 2014 - 8:00:PM
Price: Free
Location: NEC’s Jordan Hall


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SOMETIMES IT'S TO YOUR ADVANTAGE FOR PEOPLE TO THINK YOU'RE CRAZY. THELONIOUS MONK