G Song for String Quartet
Terry was one of the style’s pioneers. His composition In C is often cited as the first minimalist composition. You can find it on YouTube under “Terry Riley In C”, but do not expect it to thrill you. Minimalism is definitely an acquired taste. But his interest in Minimalism did not last for long. Like the Beatles in the late 1960s, Terry discovered East Indian classical music. Beginning in 1970, he made numerous trips to India to pursue his passion for ragas and ceased altogether to compose in the European tradition, preferring instead to participate in live improvisational performances. Eventually he landed at Mills College in Oakland, California to teach Indian classical music. Other notables at Mills over the years were John Cage, Dave Brubeck, Merce Cunningham, and the avant-garde Kronos Quartet. Interested in everything but the standard repertoire, the tradition-shattering Quartet was intrigued by Terry’s eccentric style, and they convinced him to try his hand at a string quartet. He did, and this intriguing piece is the result. It fits perfectly into the Quartet’s commitment to reimagine the string quartet experience. The collaboration proved fruitful, and Terry has written many pieces for them over the years. One thing is for sure, it’s not your father’s Oldsmobile.
Afro-Cuban Concerto for Wind Quintet
As a premier flautist, Valerie has been featured as a performer and composer on many of the world’s great concert stages: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Walt Disney Hall, Wigmore Hall, and the Juilliard, Eastman, Curtis, and Peabody music schools.
Afro-Cuban Concerto for Wind Quintet is an inviting virtuoso tour de force in three roughly five minute movements: Afro (based on the Afro-Cuban clave rhythm), Vocalize (prayer evolving into a hot Havana day) and Dānza (quick rumba with variations). Valerie’s ingeniously varied instrumental combinations are deliciously spicy. French horn with oboe? Then with bassoon? Good stuff. Each player gets significant individual time in the sun, as well as on the dance floor. The Los Angeles Times called this work “An engaging showpiece featuring deftly woven polyrhythmic lines.” The New York Times described it as “skillfully wrought, buoyant music.”
About her music, Valerie says, “The human experience is something that is very important to the reason that I write. I also see writing as a means to create unity – creating love. When there is love on the stage, it just radiates out. Such music has the potential to change lives. It has the potential to create a sense of well-being in a person. It is almost therapeutic. I do not write for myself. It’s all about sharing the experience to make people around me better for it. Writing is connecting with something greater than yourself. It is a way of touching the divine.”
WRITTEN BY THE HONORABLE STEPHEN S. TROTT
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