NEC Composers' Series: Jiang, Vetterlein, Heiss, Richardson, Nez, Minakakis

NEC: Jordan Hall | Directions

290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA
United States

Please join us for an evening of music that features composers who have been connected with NEC in a variety of ways.

Tonight's concert is curated by Stratis Minakakis.


This is an in-person event with a private stream available to the NEC community here

  1. Xiaofeng Jiang '25 DMA | I drift off to a lucid dream...(2023)

    Program note

    The ethereal sensation of being in a dream often arises during the state of semi-awakening, where consciousness and subconsciousness engage in a constant interplay of interaction and conflict.
            In a lucid dream, our inner voice and narrative have the power to materialize as vibrant, sensory experiences that seem external, blurring the line between reality and imagination.     
    – Xiaofeng Jiang

    • Chihiro Asano, mezzo-soprano
    • Abby Reed and Tara Hagle, violin
    • Philip Rawlinson, viola
    • Austin Topper, cello
  2. Kurt Vetterlein | Divine Transcience (2023)

    Program note

    Divine Transience is a meditation on the fleetingness of time. It expresses the way in which our perception of time changes throughout our lives. Composed during the summer of 2023, I was interested in exploring the frantic feeling of one trying to savor all the joyous moments of summer before they slip away. Divine Transience is composed around several small motivic cells. These cells evolve, fade away, and return at various moments throughout. The listener’s perception of the cell structures represents the way in which we live our lives; reaching out at moments in attempt to hold onto the memories left behind. These memories we hold shape who we are and how we continue to perceive the world. At its core, the piece is a celebration of the moments we get to spend with friends and loved ones and the lasting memories they create.                                                                                                               
    – Kurt Vetterlein

    • Caroline Smoak, violin
    • Kei Otake, cello
    • Yuhang Nan, piano
  3. John Heiss | Four Lyric Pieces

    Andante rubato
    Allegro scherzando
    Lento rubato

    • Amelia Libbey, flute
  4. Sid Richardson | from Tide Tiding Time

    IV. Sand & Surf

    Program note

    Tide Tiding Time is a rumination on time and structure that was inspired by the Penobscot Bay in Maine. The tide there changes by about twelve feet between low and high tide, which makes for an ever-shifting seascape. The music of Tide Tiding Time is informed by activities that I engaged in on those shores growing up: swimming, skipping stones, collecting sea glass, piling together driftwood, seeking out crabs, periwinkles, and other crustaceans. Like the tide, the work follows a rigorous structure: the same proportions are applied to each movement (and to each section and sub-section, respectively), but they unfold within their own characteristic sound world. Sand & Surf, the fourth movement,strives to capture the exuberance of playing by the water side.                                                                              
    – Sid Richardson

    • Lilit Hartunian, violin
  5. Ketty Nez | from 5 Fragments for 3 (2023)

    I. in the rain, an introduction
    III. calling lost sheep
    IV. dance steps            
    V. postlude, a horn call

    Program note

    Written in the summer of 2022, 5 fragments in 3 are musical “reflections” of Romanian violin and “fluer” tunes recorded in the 1910s by composer and ethnomusicologist Béla Bartók.  in the rain, an introduction, serves as an improvisatory introduction to organum, and a dance, inspired by a dance melody recorded with 2 violinists, the accompanying performer playing an instrument with only 3 strings tuned to allow close position chords (nb: not performed tonight).  calling lost sheep is a category of tunes performed by shepherds who have either lost or found their sheep, performing a “fluer,” a notched flute which sounds like a small recorder.  In dance steps, the saxophone (or clarinet) repeats and modifies fragments of the original dance tune in continuous variation, mirroring the restless piano arpeggiation.  postlude, a horn call recalls fragments of former folk melodies of the set, and ends with a fluer melody “in imitation of an alphorn” (an actual genre of tunes).  This version was soon after expanded into a trio version to include viola, entitled 5 fragments for 3.  Saxophonist Jennifer Bill, violist Daniel Doña, and the composer, gave the premiere February 9, 2023, at Boston University.                  
    – Ketty Nez

    • Jennifer Bill, saxophone
    • Daniel Dona, viola
    • Ketty Nez, piano
  6. Efstratios Minakakis | Ek Vatheon, Ekekraksa Soi (2023)

    Program note

    Ek Vatheon, Ekekraksa Soi (“Out of the depths I have cried to thee”, Psalm 129) is inspired by the performance tradition of Northwestern Greek lamentations called “Moirologia”. The piece reveals a fragile “inner voice” that moves between expressive extremities. The cello imitates three Greek instruments typical of Greek folk ensembles: the traditional clarinet and its characteristic glissandi, the ‘laouto’ (a string lute), and the ‘lyra’ (a three-stringed chordophone). The combination of these different timbral roles suggests an element of instrumental polyphony within a single instrument.                                                                                             
    – Stratis Minakakis

    • T. J. Borden, cello