Suzanne Greer, piano
Dance of Spring by Yi-Qiang Sun (1945- )
Dance of Spring was written in 1980 by Yi-Qiang Sun, a Chinese American composer who was born in Shanghai in 1942. Sun Yi-Qiang was inspired to write Dance of Spring while he was collecting folk tunes in Xinjiang, an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China, located in the northwest of the country. Being the largest province-level division of China and the 8th-largest country subdivision in the world, it is known for its beautiful scenery, delicious fruit, and wide range of ethnic diversity. During his trip, he saw the people singing and dancing from dusk until dawn while picking grapes in the grape valley. Dance of Spring is an image in sound of a day in life of the Uyghur teenagers picking grapes. The Uyghur speak Turkish and are the largest ethnic group in Xinjiang. Singing and dancing are a very important aspect of their culture. Yi-Qiang Sun weaves elements of the Uyghur drum rhythms and other native instruments into this colorful and enjoyable piece.
Nina Olsen, bass clarinet
Cinco Bocetos, movements 1-4, by Roberto Sierra (1953- )
Roberto Sierra was born in Puerto Rico in 1953. He did his undergraduate work at the Puerto Rico Conservatory and the University of Puerto Rico. Later studies were in London, Utrecht and Hamburg. Following his graduate work, Sierra returned to Puerto Rico and worked in the fields of arts administration and higher education. His work in composition brought him to the US, and he has been on the faculty of Cornell University since 1992. The following description of Sierra’s style comes from a 2008 doctoral thesis by Alejandro Lozada. “The compositional style of Roberto Sierra combines European modernism with elements of Puerto Rican and Latin American folksong, jazz, salsa, and African rhythms…Although the clarinet is a single-line instrument, Sierra utilizes it as a polyphonic instrument and writes compound melodies, often in different registers, within the solo clarinet line.”
Nina writes, “I was attracted to the piece immediately when I heard it, and it’s been on my wish-list of things to perform at MacPhail for many years.”
Mike Alexander, horn
Miryana Moteva, piano
Sonata for Horn and Piano by Trygve Madsen (1940 – )
At the behest of the French government, Norwegian composer Trygve Madsen composed his Sonata for horn and piano in 1978 in honor of the 150th anniversary of Franz Schubert’s death. Dedicated to pioneering horn player Frøydis Ree Wekre, this work combines obvious allusions to jazz harmonies, while remaining firmly rooted in the romantic language of Strauss, Schumann, and Shostakovich. A prolific composer of over 150 published pieces, Madsen has written numerous works for horn including a sonata, concerto, and several chamber works.