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COMPOSERS     

 

COLLINS, Philip

NEWMAN, Anthony

ORTIZ, Pablo Victor

ÖZGEN, Mesut

PRATORIUS, Christopher

STRIZICH, Robert

VEES, Jack

Philip Collins

COLLINS, Philip
Philip Collins (b. 1951), composer, music director, conductor, guitarist, teacher, and arts administrator, is co-founder of the contemporary music concert series, New Music Works (NMW) of Santa Cruz, California (est. 1979). As Artistic Director for the organization and conductor of the NMW Ensemble, Collins has maintained an explorative agenda that builds upon the intersections and divergences of contemporary music's infinite paths. Collins' programs will often juxtapose today's most challenging repertoire with simple music of primitive means, or vibrant, dust-gathering works of the past one hundred or so years.

Collins writes for orchestra and chamber groupings of numerous types. His works have been performed throughout the U.S. and abroad by groups including the Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music, Contemporary Music Ensemble Korea, the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, the Santa Cruz Symphony, and the Parallèle Ensemble. He has composed a great deal for musical theatre, and in recent years has supplied scores for a number of classic silent films, including, most recently, Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" and Thomas Edison's "Frankenstein." Collins has composed scores for over 20 music theatre productions, including five critically acclaimed revivals of classic Grecian plays, commissioned by translator Mary-Kay Gamel.

Collins was the recipient of the 2011 Santa Cruz County Artist of the Year Award, and the Bay Area Dramalogue Award. His compositions placed first at the L'ARCIM Festival in Montreal and the International Clarinet Society Composition Competition. He has served in residence at Vassar College, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and in 2007 was a featured lecturer at the Asian Composer League Conference in Wellington, New Zealand.

Collins studied composition with Lou Harrison, Edwin Dugger and Henry Onderdonk, and conducting under Nicole Paiement. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Composition (San Francisco State University) and a Masters in Conducting (UC Santa Cruz).


NEWMAN, Anthony
For over 26 years, the multifaceted Anthony Newman (b. 1942) has been in the public eye as one of the country's leading organ virtuosos and as a prodigiously active harpsichordist, fortepianist, conductor, composer, writer and recording artist. Time magazine described him as the “high priest of Bach.” As a composer, his works have been heard in such cities as Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow, Warsaw, New York, and London. His compositions include five concertos, three orchestral sinfonias, numerous choral works, a complete set of piano preludes and fugues in every key, and a variety of works for organ and guitar, as well as chamber music for strings, winds and brass.

Anthony Newman’s prodigious recording output numbers more than 140 CDs, covering a full range of styles from the 17th century to the 20th century, on such labels as CBS, Sony, Deutsche Grammophon, and Vox Masterworks. Many of his recordings have been singled out for excellence, and his 1989 fortepiano performance of Beethoven's Third Concerto was chosen by Stereo Review as "Record of the Year". A frequent collaborator with many notable artists, Newman recorded “In Gabriel’s Garden” with Wynton Marsalis and the English Chamber Orchestra on Sony Classical, which was the best-selling classical CD in 1997.

Newman has guest-conducted many of the world’s greatest chamber orchestras, including those of Los Angeles, the 92nd Street Y in New York, the New York Chamber Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. A series of orchestral conducting triumphs with the Seattle Symphony, San Francisco Baroque, and New York Chamber Orchestra during the 1997-98 season raised him to the top ranks of Baroque and Classical specialist conductors. At Lincoln Center alone, he has appeared more than 50 times as soloist during his career. His duo appearances with flutist Eugenia Zuckerman at the New York Public Library are now in their 15th year. Among his more unusual European appearances are the first performance of Hindemith’s Sancta Suzanna in chamber version. In East Germany, he conducted the first performance of Cesar Franck’s Chasseur Maudit and Liszt’s Les Preludes since the end of World War II.

Born in Los Angeles, Newman studied in Paris with Alfred Cortot, Nadio Boulanger and the famed organist Pierre Cochereau. He received a Diplome Superieur from the Ecole Normale de Musique with a special commendation from Cortot. In the United States, he trained with pianist Edith Oppens and composers Leon Kirchner and Luciano Berio, and served as choral assistant to New York Pro Musica Director Noah Greenberg.

Newman's own teaching career has included positions at the Juilliard School and Indiana University, and he currently heads the graduate music program at Purchase College of the State University of New York. He also serves as director of music for St Matthew's Church in Bedford, NY. He is the founder and administrator of Hands On Outreach, an organisation that provides food to shelters and the indigent in White Plains, New York, and is a member of Hospice, a national organisation dedicated to providing comfort to the terminally ill. In Europe, he has served as Dean of the European Mozart Academy in Krakow, Poland.


ORTIZ, Pablo Victor
Pablo Ortiz (b. 1956) is a Guggenheim Fellow, Charles Ives Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and recipient of Fromm Foundation and Koussevitzky Foundation Commissions. He was first trained in his native Buenos Aires, where he received a degree from the Universidad Catolica Argentina. At 27, he moved to New York to study at Columbia University. He studied composition with Mario Davidovsky, Chou Wen Chung, Jack Beeson, Jacques Louis Monod, Fred Lerdahl, Gerardo Gandini, and Roberto Caamano. At present, he is Professor of Composition at the University of California, Davis. He taught composition and was co-director of the Electronic Music Studio at the University of Pittsburgh from 1990 to 1994.

Among those who have performed his compositions are the Buenos Aires Philarmonic, the Arditti String Quartet, Speculum Musicae, the Ensemble Contrechamps of Geneva, Music Mobile, Continuum, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and the Theatre of Voices. His music has been heard at international festivals in Salzburg (Aspekte), Geneva (Extasis), Strasbourg (Musica), Havana, Frankfurt, Zurich, Sao Paulo and Mexico City.

Ortiz was a fellow at the Composers' Conference at Wellesley College in 1986 and 1988, and he was commissioned by the Fromm Foundation in 1992. In 1993, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1996 he received the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1997 and 1998, Ortiz was commissioned two chamber operas, Parodia and Una voz en el viento, by the Centro Experimental Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. In 1999 he was commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation to write a piece, Raya en el mar, for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. In 2000 he received a grant from Fideicomiso para la cultura Mexico-US to write children's songs based on poems by Francisco Alarcon, renowned Chicano poet and Mission artist. In 2003, he was commissioned by the Gerbode Foundation to write a piece for Chanticleer and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, premiered in March 2004. His works include chamber and solo music, vocal, orchestral, and electronic compositions, and music for plays and films.


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ÖZGEN, Mesut
Guitarist-composer Mesut Özgen (b. 1960) has performed and taught master classes throughout the United States, Spain, and Turkey and has been a guitar faculty member at the University of California, Santa Cruz since 1998. In addition to being a prizewinner in the International Portland Guitar Competition, he has performed as featured soloist in many festivals, including the International Paco Peña Guitar Festival in Cordoba/Spain, Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, Yale Guitar Extravaganza, Healdsburg Guitar Festival, April in Santa Cruz: Contemporary Music Festival, Cabrillo College Distinguished Artists Series, Istanbul CRR concert series, and UCSC Arts & Lectures Series.

Özgen's compositions are mainly based on or influenced by traditional Turkish music. Among his other influences are Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo's use of flamenco music and Turkish scholar/composer Yalç¦n Tura’s harmonization techniques. His unique style is comprised of dissonant harmonies - evoking microtones of traditional Turkish music, tonal folk-like melodies, and irregular rhythms. Özgen has also long been a strong advocate of new music for guitar and frequently collaborates with other composers. Composers who have written solo, concerto, and various ensemble music for Özgen include Anthony Newman, Anthony Gilbert, Pablo Victor Ortiz, Benjamin Verdery, Deepak Ram, Christopher Pratorius, Robert Strizich, Charles Nichols, Paul Nauert, Yalç¦n Tura, Jack Vees, David Cope, and Philip Collins.

Özgen's solo CD "Troubadour" on Golden Horn Records feature classical guitar works inspired by Turkish, Spanish, Argentinean, and American folk traditions and was reviewed by the Acoustic Guitar magazine as " stunningly versatile and expressive throughout." He was also described as a “highly accomplished and exciting player who gets the most out of the music he plays”by the Classical Guitar magazine of England. His award-winning multimedia concert DVD "New Dimensions in Classical Guitar" on Turquoise Guitar Editions includes premiere performances of new guitar works with visual accompaniments comprising video, interactive computer images, and particularized lighting design. It was reviewed by the Classical Guitar magazine of England as "the finest music DVD ever to have come my way, remarkable achievement."

Website: mesutozgen.com


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PRATORIUS, Christopher
Christopher Pratorius (b. 1974) is a Santa Cruz composer with over 20 premieres to his credit. He received both his B.A. and M.A. in Music from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is currently a lecturer there teaching theory and group piano. His compositional interests include modern modal theory including modal chromaticism and synthetic modes, setting Spanish-language poetry using varied art-song forms, incorporating modern dance rhythms into concert music and creating music that speaks to multiple audiences.

His compositions include many pieces for solo voice with varied accompaniment, chamber music including solo guitar music, large ensemble pieces and original songs in both English and Spanish. "By the Sea", composed for the UCSC Orchestra was premiered under the direction of Nicole Paiement in 2001. "Madrigal: Neruda‚s Poema 20" for soprano, cello, alto flute and piano won the 2001 Sound Horizons competition and was programmed on New Music Works Greatest Hits concert celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2004. "Sonata: Ondas do Mar de Vigo" for guitar was recorded by Mesut Özgen on his CD Troubadour and premiered as part of the multimedia "New Dimensions in Classical Guitar" concert series. "Mañana, tan linda", an original Spanish language song was recorded by Nova Trova on their CD "Agua".

Commissions include "Cantigas de mi Amigo Martin" for the UCSC Women‚s Chorale conducted by Lucik Aprahamian, "Federico Canta" for soprano and clarinet commissioned by Laura Anderson, and most recently "Snapshots by the Bay" for the UCSC Guitar Ensemble directed by Mesut Özgen. Current projects include another guitar sonata for Mesut and a song-writing collaboration with local Latin American folk music singer Melinda Velasco-Martinez. In addition to composing and teaching, Chris is the accompanist for The Studio School of Classical Ballet.


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STRIZICH, Robert
Robert Strizich (b. 1945) studied music at the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a B.A. in music and an M.A. in composition. A Hertz Fellowship from UC Berkeley enabled him to spend several subsequent years in Switzerland, studying at the Musikakademie in Basel. After returning to the USA, he completed a Ph.D. in composition at the University of California at San Diego, where his principal teachers were Robert Erickson, Will Ogdon, Bernard Rands, and Roger Reynolds. During the 1996-97 academic year, he was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).

Strizich has composed a variety of works for instrumental, vocal and electroacoustic media, many of which are published by Fallen Leaf Press (Berkeley), Drake Mabry Publishing (San Diego and Paris), and Bèrben Editore (Ancona, Italy). He has fulfilled commissions from various performers, ensembles, arts organizations and dance companies, and his music has been performed in the United States, Europe, and South America. His work has also been recognized by grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Wellesley College, and the Universities of California at Santa Cruz and Berkeley (including UCB's Eisner and Nicola de Lorenzo Prizes).

Strizich's music has been presented on the West Coast by both Earplay and Composers Inc. in San Francisco, the Festival of New American Music at California State University in Sacramento, and in Santa Cruz by New Music Works and the new music festival April in Santa Cruz. His works have also been performed by Ensemble Nova, the new music ensemble at UC Santa Cruz, who have recorded his Tombeau, Fantasia and Aphorisms on a CD of new music for early instruments that was recently released by Musical Heritage Society. Another of his works for early instruments -- his Contreparties for baroque lute and harpsichord -- appears on a recent Wildboar CD.

Strizich's "still and still moving..." for large chamber ensemble was premiered in 1998 by the American Composers' Orchestra at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, and then performed again the following year by Música Aperta in Washington, D.C. His "look(ing)..."/five poems of e. e. cummings for soprano, clarinet and piano was recently premiered by the ensemble "Schwungvoll" in San Francisco. La Guitarra, a work based on poetry of Federico García Lorca for soprano and guitar, was commissioned by the Porter College Hitchcock Poetry fund and written for guitarist Mesut Özgen.

The author of various papers on music theory and performance practice, Robert Strizich has also taught composition, music theory, music history and performance at Wellesley College, Trinity College (Hartford), the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco State University, University of California at Santa Cruz, and California State University at Fresno.


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VEES, Jack
Jack Vees was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1955. His early musical training was in piano and tuba, but he soon switched to the electric bass guitar. He attended Glassboro State College and went on to receive his M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts, where he studied music composition with Morton Subotnick, Stephen Mosko, Louis Andriessen, Vinko Globokar, and Bernard Rands.

Vees's works have been performed throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe by numerous ensembles and soloists for whom he has written, including Ensemble Modern, the California Ear Unit, Zeitgeist, Hemispheres, Jeffrey Krieger (electric cello), and Amy Knoles (electronic percussion). He performs his music with his own ensemble Chez Vees, which consists of electric oboe, percussion, computer/midi electronics, and Vees on bass and electric guitars. His mastery of extended techniques on the bass led him to write the Book on Bass Harmonics (Alfred Music Publishers, 1981) which has become a standard reference on the subject. Vees is currently operations director and instructor of electronic music at Yale University's Center for Studies in Music Technology.

Major performances of Vees's works include New Music America, Neue Musik New York/Cologne, Bang On A Can, and Soundings. He has been commissioned by Ensemble Modern, Music In Motion (with the California Ear Unit), the Minnesota Composers Forum, Zeitgeist, and Corn Palace Productions among others, and has been in residence at Duke University (with Chez Vees) and the Yellow Springs Institute (with oboist Libby Van Cleve and composer Eleanor Hovda). Vees has also participated in numerous collaborations with choreographers and video artists.

The Music of Jack Vees

Jack Vees has developed a particularly distinctive and personal musical style that is instantly recognizable. Starting out as an electric bassist in his early teens, he went on to study composition with some of today's most provocative composers, including Louis Andriessen and Vinko Globokar. His music un- selfconciously combines rigorous formal thinking with the raw energy of rock and roll. His manic bass solo John Henry has the distinction of being the only piece at the Bang On A Can festival to literally bring the house down (little pieces of it anyway).

Technology is an integral part of much of Vees's work, and he elegantly combines electronics with acoustic and electric instruments. His own touring ensemble Chez Vees includes oboist Libby Van Cleve, Jack's basses and guitars, and computer-driven midi electronics. But Vees is not dependent on technology to realize his ideas. Stigmata Non Grata, for four hand bell players, uses these rather clumsy traditional instruments in surprising and beautiful ways.

Jack Vees writes serious, challenging music, yet he always seems to find a way of exercising his irreverent, acerbic wit, if only in his program notes (e.g. the Secret Notes of Tattooed Barbie). At times the humor is a by-product of a novel musical or theatrical idea. Child Bride requires the cellist to finger with both hands while four assistants bow the strings with strands of fishing line.


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