Digital Playbill

Women’s Suffrage Centennial

Table of Contents
Premiering November 7, 2020
Music Director: Eric Garcia

Program

Rebecca Clarke
(1886 – 1979)
Comodo e amabile
from Two Movements for String Quartet

Stacy Garrop
(b. 1969)
Helios

Florence Price
(1887 – 1953)
String Quartet in G Major

Musicians

Kathy Stutzman, Violin

Molly McCallum, Violin
Sponsored by Ann Peterson

Marcia von Huene, Viola

Lisa Cooper, Cello

John Kilgore, Principal Trumpet
sponsored by mary Abercrombie

Drew Ziemba, Associate Principal Trumpet
sponsored by Vicki Kreimeyer

Sandon Lohr, Assistant/Utility Horn

Michael Maier, Principal Trombone

Adam Snider, Principal Tuba

Lauren Folkner, Violin
SPONSORED BY ANNE AND BOB HAY

Lauren Anderson, Violin

Jennifer Drake, Viola
Sponsored by Mikel and John Ward

Stephen Mathie, Cello
Sponsored by Carolyn and Charles Yochum


Kathy Stutzman

Molly McCallum

Marcia von Huene

Lisa Cooper

John Kilgore

Drew Ziemba

Sandon Lohr

Michael Maier

Adam Snider

Lauren Folkner

Lauren Anderson

Jennifer Drake

Stephen Mathie

Sponsors

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Program Notes
Women’s Suffrage Centennial

Rebecca Clarke / August 27, 1886 – October 13, 1979

Comodo e amabile

Rebecca Clarke was born in England in 1886 to a German father and American mother at a time when women had no legal rights and virtually no professional opportunities. Nevertheless, she attended both the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, emerging as a first-rate violist and budding composer. Unfortunately, her abusive father cut off all financial support and banished her from their family home because she openly criticized his extra-marital affairs. This turn of events prompted her to play the viola professionally. She quickly developed a reputation as an outstanding chamber musician.

In 1912 she became one of the first women to win a position in a major symphony, Henry Wood’s Queen’s Hall Orchestra. Queen’s Hall was London’s principal concert venue from 1895 until the Nazis destroyed it during the Blitz. It became known as the musical center of the British Empire. Major figures who graced the stage were Debussy, Elgar, Ravel, and Richard Strauss. Pretty good company.

Rebecca spent WWI in the United States. As a superb violist, she was always in demand for chamber performances, and she continued to compose music mostly for that intimate medium.

One episode illustrates the difficulties women composers had during the first half of the 20th Century.  In 1919 she entered her Sonata for Viola in a prestigious competition in New England. She won, but the Academy refused to believe that a woman could have composed it. For the rest of her life she battled a rumor that Rebecca Clarke was a pseudonym for someone else, most certainly a man.

Comodo means comfortable, accommodating, and amabile in music signifies tender and gentle. Rebecca wrote this piece in 1924 for string quartet. Clarke deftly treats her fluid and sensuous melody to polyrhythms, tonal harmonies, and contrapuntal writings.

Written by the Honorable Stephen S. Trott

Stacy Garrop / December 5, 1969

Helios

Stacy Garrop’s music tells dramatic and lyrical stories. Her tales are sonic journeys, some simple and beautiful, while others are complicated and dark depending on the need and dramatic shape of the narrative. In Greek mythology, Helios was the God of the Sun. His head wreathed in light, starting every morning he drove a chariot drawn by four horses across the sky. In some tales, the horses are winged, in others they are made of fire. At the end of each day’s journey, Helios slept in a golden boat that carried him on the Okeanos River, a freshwater stream that encircled the flat earth, back to the place where he would arise the next morning, bringing dawn to a new day. Helios’s cyclical journey is depicted in this short work for brass quintet. The first half is very fast-paced and energetic, while the second half is slow and serene, representing the contrast between day and night.
Written by the Honorable Stephen S. Trott

Florence Price / April 9, 1887 – June 3, 1953

String Quartet in G Major

Florence Price was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1887, just one generation removed from the Civil War. She was surrounded by racial animus and the extreme violence that followed that bloody conflagration. Recognizing her special musical talent, her mother sent her off at 14 to study music at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. To protect her from invidious discrimination, her mother enrolled her bi-racial daughter as “Mexican”, listing her hometown as Puebla, Mexico. And so it was for most of Florence’s life. She was a minority woman in a white male dominated space living in a society overtly practicing racial segregation. She returned to Little Rock upon graduation, but to flee the unrelenting violence, she moved to Chicago in 1927, joining the migration of former slaves to northern cities to escape the virulently Jim Crow South. She flourished in her new environment, becoming the first black woman composer to have her Symphony (in E minor) performed by a major American orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933. The Chicago Daily News declared it “A faultless work, a work that speaks its own message with restraint and yet with passion, worthy of a place in the regular symphonic repertoire.” Sometime after her death in 1953, much of her music was lost, and she lapsed for a time into relative obscurity. In 2009, however, a family moved into a house in St. Anne, Illinois that had been abandoned for fifty years. While rummaging around the attic, they found a dusty box full of hand-written music. It was Florence’s long-lost unpublished work. This discovery included scores for two violin concertos and her Fourth Symphony. The find sparked a new interest in Florence’s rich music and her most interesting life. And so today her legacy comes to Boise. Her Quartet in G Major is one of Florence’s most beloved pieces. It speaks for itself, but I must say that the second of the two movements is gorgeous, very songlike and spiritual. What a melody! To give you a taste of the tenor of the times in which Florence lived, here is an excerpt from a letter she wrote in 1943 to Serge Koussevitzky, the Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. “Dear Mr. Koussevitzky. To begin with, I have two handicaps – those of sex and race. I am a woman, and I have Negro blood in my veins.” Sad. One wonders how many other superbly talented individuals have not been permitted to share their gifts with us. Better late than never.
Written by the Honorable Stephen S. Trott

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