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Yoon Pin Leong (music) / Du Hong (lyrics)
Yoon Pin Leong is one of Singapore’s pioneering composers. He completed his graduate and higher degree studies at the Guildhall School of Music and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne respectively and later studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He was conferred the Cultural Medallion in 1982, Singapore’s highest arts award for his contribution to the local cultural and musical scene. Known for his choral and symphonic compositions, his writing fuses local culture and twentieth century compositional techniques. Spring Cleaning is one such example.
This is a traditional Sichuan folksong and is probably one of the most well-known Chinese folk tunes. Its strophic simplicity and haunting lyricism with the onomatopoeic breeze-like quality of the words “liu liu” has made it one of the most widely-recorded and widely-arranged folk tunes. The song is a reflection of how young men take the chance to court the lovely maidens during the annual horse-racing festival on Pao Ma (Horse-racing) Mountain.
The Jordanian-Palestinian composer, Abdel Hamid Hamam (b.1945) is one of the very few current Jordanian composers. He is considered one of the most respected and well known composers and pedagogues across the Arab world. Through his compositions, publications, and researches he has largely contributed to the development of music in Jordan and the Middle -East.
Piano Sonata No. 1, written in the early 1970s, is one of Dr. Hamam’s cross cultural compositions where both elements of Eastern music and Western music are found. The first movement presents two themes; the first influenced by the folkloric dance ‘Dabkah’, and the second theme influenced by traditional city songs. The second movement is also composed in two sections; the first section is based on a style of Arabic chant ‘Mawwal’, which is usually slow and ad-libbed, the second section is based on the popular Middle-Eastern dance.
The Sonata is in three movements, though only 2 movements will be performed here.
Antonín Dvořák was a Czech composer of the Romantic era. “Dobrú noc, má milá” (“Good night, my darling”) is from his song cycle V národním tónu (In the folk tone). Dvořák was for a few years the director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City. The Conservatory had been founded by a wealthy and philanthropic socialite, Jeannette Thurber; and was located at 126-128 East 17th Street, but was demolished in 1911 and replaced by what is now a high school. He came to New York to teach young American composers how to use national music in their own pieces. The cycle In the folk tone sounds like beautiful Czech folksongs, although Dvořák only used the lyrics from famous folksongs, and the melody is completely different. This is a song about two lovers saying good night, but knowing they will be dreaming about their love, and they will see each other again.
Sergei Rachmaninoff, arr. Taddes Korris
The slow 18th variation from A Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 for solo piano and orchestra is one of Rachmaninoff’s best known melodies. It is based on an inversion of the melody from Paganini's famous 24th violin caprice. The Paganini theme in A minor is basically played "upside down" in D-flat major with some modifications. Rachmaninoff himself recognized the appeal of this variation, saying "This one is for my agent."
In L'Invitation au Voyage, Henri Duparc sets one of Baudelaire's most beautiful poems in which he describes his vision of a future life as one of order, beauty, luxuriousness, calm, and sensuous delight. This is one of Duparc's best loved melodies for its vivid imagery and compelling melody.
“Apparition” comes from Debussy's Quatre Chansons de Jeunesse, written when he was just seventeen years old. Mallarmé's poem was a wedding present for a friend in which he describes the apparition of a dreamlike female figure, intangible and unidentifiable, appearing out of the night sky.
Eugen Suchon, a remarkable Slovak composer, was one of the founders of modern Slovak composition. He was inspired by both classical works and trends of his era. Of course he was greatly inspired by Slovak folk songs. Toccata is a short virtuoso piece for solo piano, composed in 1978. This piece contains a lot of dissonance and is full of rapid temperament and wild energy.
The Ariettes oubliées are a collection of 6 songs that marks Debussy’s transition from a traditional French style to a more inventive and individual one. They are based on poems that Paul Verlaine wrote while he was on the road with his young lover, Arthur Rimbaud, for whom he left his wife and his family. The texts are full of recurrent themes such as the melding of a perfect intellectual and physical love (In the first song: "This deploring soul is ours, isn't it? Mine, say it! and yours!), the spleen, a feeling of sadness and melancholy with no understandable reason for it and the constant fear of abandonment by the loved one, something that finally happened to Verlaine a couple of years later when Rimbaud left him.
Cyrus von Hochstetter
On a Bridge was composed after crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on foot where you
can see cars, buses, bikes, people, trains, planes, streets, bridges, helicopters, birds and ships all at the same time.
My Train Ain’t Coming was written after humming the title words over and over again while waiting for the 1 train at 168th street.
Audrey Abela graduated from the Conservatory of Boulogne-Billancourt in France, where she studied with Marie-Paule Siruguet. She then pursued post graduate studies with Hortense Cartier-Bresson before moving to New York in 2007. She is currently a sophomore at Manhattan School of Music where she is studying with Nina Svetlanova. She has participated in master classes with Alexander Ghindin, Jean-Phillipe Collard, Xavier Gagnepain, Tuja Hakkila and Denis Pascal. She has attended festivals in France, Spain and Finland, and has performed as a chamber musician and soloist in her home country of France.
Yasmin Alami, a Jordanian pianist, recently graduated from Manhattan School of Music with a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance, New York in the studio of Phillip Kawin. She studied at the Conservatoire National de Région de Tours in France where she obtained ‘Certificat de Perfectionnement’ for solo piano as a student of Phillipe Lefevre. While pursuing her studies in Chamber Music, under the coaching of Xavier Richard, she obtained the ‘Certificat de fin d’étude’. Yasmin is also a holder of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Musicology from the ‘Université Francois Rabelais de Tours’ France.
As a soloist and chamber musician, she has performed extensively in Jordan, France, and the United States. In 2005, was awarded First Prize at the Annual Regional Competition held in Orléans, France for solo Piano Performance, and in 2004 she was awarded First Prize in solo Piano and in Chamber music from the ‘Conservatoire National de Tours’.
In 2006, Yasmin was invited to perform a private recital to Her Royal Highness Princess Wijdan Ali, and was awarded a full scholarship towards her musical education. In 2008, she was invited to perform with the National Symphony Orchestra in Amman. She was the first female Jordanian pianist to perform with the orchestra.
Yasmin has presented solo recitals in various venues; Steinway Hall (New York), Salle Ockeghem (France), Espace Malreaux (France), Conservatoire d’Orleans (France), Conservatoire de Tours (France), Universite Francois Rabelais de Tours (France), Manhattan School of Music (New York), Univeristy of Jordan, Yarmouk University, and Khalid Shoman Foundation Darat Al Funun (Jordan).
She is currently the only Jordanian pianist concertizing in North America. In September 2009, she will be on the Piano Faculty of the Music Department at the University of Jordan in Amman.
Bridget Best, a Canadian soprano, is finishing her first year in the Masters program at the Manhattan School of Music where she studies with Joan Patenaude-Yarnell. She sang the role of Mimi in La Boheme in Positano, Italy and this fall sang the role of Zerlina in Don Giovanni in New York City. She has also given recitals in Austria, Canada, Italy, and the United States. Bridget holds a Bachelors degree in Political Studies from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.
Ted Boasso was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He began to take a serious interest in jazz guitar while attending the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. After Hurricane Katrina, Ted relocated to NYC to finish his senior year of high school at LaGuardia Arts and is currently studying at Manhattan School of Music in jazz guitar. Ted has performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, The Schloss Velden A Capella Hotel in Velden, Austria, and a variety of NYC venues such as Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Fat Cat, Fat Baby and The Zipper Factory.
Kerong Chok was born and raised in Singapore, and has performed as a jazz pianist and organist at events/venues such as the Esplanade Mosaic Music Festival, the Chijmes Jazz Festival and local jazz club Jazz@Southbridge. He has also performed with such jazz artists as Eugene Pao and Eli Degibri. A law graduate from the National University of Singapore, Kerong was awarded the Singapore National Arts Council Arts Scholarship (Overseas) in 2008 to pursue a Master's degree in Jazz at the Manhattan School of Music. He currently studies with Phil Markowitz.
Camille Dereux began singing in the children’s choir of the Paris Opera at age 11. After receiving a concert diploma in Switzerland, she came to Manhattan School of Music where she is pursuing her Master of Music degree, studying with Patricia McCaffrey. She has appeared in master classes with great artists such as Edda Moser, Sherill Milnes and Catherine Malfitano. Last year, she was part of the summer program IVAI with Joan Dorneman. This summer she will be performing the role of “Susanna” from Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart in Belgium.
Angelo Di Loreto was born in Buffalo, New York, and is currently a freshman at the Manhattan School of Music and a member of the studio of Ted Rosenthal. He has been studying classical piano since the age of 12 and jazz since the age of 15. Angelo has been active in the orchestral field as well, as he held the title of principal percussionist/pianist of the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra from 2004-2008. In 2006, the orchestra premiered Angelo’s arrangement for jazz quartet and orchestra entitled A Music Supreme, dedicated to the legendary saxophonist John Coltrane. The piece won a DownBeat magazine award for best arrangement. In 2008, Angelo was a winner of the orchestra’s senior concerto competition and performed Alan Hovhaness’ Fantasy on Japanese Woodprints for marimba and orchestra. Angelo hopes to pursue a multi-faceted career in jazz and classical piano, composition, and whatever else may come.
Peter Fancovic studied at the Bratislava Conservatory with Peter Cerman, and has performed with the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra and Bratislava Chamber Orchestra. He won 1st prize in the National Conservatory competition and participated in international piano masterclasses in Bad Aussee, Austria and Dolny Kubin, Slovakia. After his studies at the Conservatory, he became a student of Marian Lapsansky at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. While studying in Prague, he won 1st prize in the International Music Competition Beethoven’s Hradec (Czech Republic) where he was give praise of “the best performance of Beethoven’s composition”. Peter has participated in master classes with Matti Raekallio. Willem Brons, Boris Berman, Arie Vardi, Klaus Hellwig, and Jan Marrise Huizing. He was selected for the “New Masters On Tour” recitals in the Netherlands for the 2008-2009 concert season. Peter has been awarded the Edith Kriss scholarship and is pursuing his Bachelor of Music degree at Manhattan School of Music, studying with Solomon Mikowsky. In February of 2009, he won the School Concerto Competition for which he will be performing with the orchestra in the next concert season.
Pavlína Horáková is a mezzo-soprano from Prague, Czech Republic. She is currently in her first year of graduate studies at Manhattan School of Music, studying classical voice with Arthur Levy. She first received a Master of Business Administration at the University of Economics in Prague and she graduated at the Prague conservatory. In addition to classical singing; Pavlína sang for two years with a Czech rock band, Checkpoint, and released a CD Ruzny svety. She performed as a soloist with the choir Mladi and Musica Economica Pragensis and also with the orchestra of the University of Economics. She sang at the European project EMSO 2003 with an international orchestra under the direction of Australian conductor, Dr. David Banney and won third prize in the Czech National Vocal Competition. Pavlína has performed in Germany, Belgium, Slovakia and in the United States, and has been chosen to participate in the outreach program at MSM, performing for kids in New York City public schools.
Carla Jablonski, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, moved to New York in 2002 pursuing music and theatre. She performed at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center and with African jazz artist Hugh Masekela and Paul Simon at Carnegie Hall. At 16 Carla began to write her own music and taught herself to play the guitar. Carla started performing at smaller venues in Manhattan and began actively pursuing her love of jazz. Currently she is completing her last year at Manhattan School of Music where she studies classical voice and opera. Intent on never limiting herself musically, Carla is active both in the classical world as well as the jazz and experimental realms and plans to keep it that way as long as she can.
Taddes Korris, an undergraduate student at the Manhattan School of Music, currently studies with David Grossman of the New York Philharmonic. At 16, Taddes began to study the double bass with Jan Urke, Principal Bass of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. He also completed a year at McGill University under Brian Robinson, principal bass of the Montreal Symphony, before transferring to the Manhattan School. Taddes recently played with a chamber group performing the work, Sweet Talk, written for Jessye Norman by the distinguished and award winning American composer, Richard Danielpour. In May, 2007, in cooperation with the Lithuanian Society of Edmonton, Taddes recruited 66 young Canadian musicians to record the rare works of Lithuanian composer Mikalojus Ciurlionis. As a result of this project Taddes was one of the recipients of the Top 20 Under 20 Award and was also awarded a mentorship with Order of Canada recipient George Zukerman through the Governor General's office.
Leslie Tay is a Singaporean tenor whose operatic roles include “Don Basilio / Don Curzio” with Brooklyn Repertory Opera, “Alfred” with Opera Manhattan, “Monostatos” with Bronx Opera, “King Kaspar” (cover) and Beppe with Eastern Festival Opera, “Boy 1” (Trouble in Tahiti) and “Witch” (Hansel and Gretel) with Singapore Lyric Opera and “Bastien” with Artyfakt (Singapore). His interest in contemporary opera has seen him perform roles in Gregg Wramage’s Death in Summer, Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness in a workshop with director Jonathan Miller and in Jack Perla’s Love/Hate. Leslie is currently pursuing graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music in the studio of Arthur Levy.
Abdiel Vazquez is regarded today as one of the leading musicians of his generation in Mexico, enjoying equal success as a concert pianist, solo recitalist and vocal accompanist all over his home country and abroad. He has been soloist with all the major Mexican orchestras, and recently toured South America performing Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto. This year he became the founder and director of the orchestra Symphonic Youth of Monterrey. Besides being recipient of many awards in national and international piano competitions, the Mexican President granted him the National Youth Award in 2006.
Cyrus von Hochstetter was born in Zurich, Switzerland and started playing classical piano at the age of 6. After discovering jazz as a teenager, he soon played in several local bands and led his jazz piano trio. After winning an award at the Young Lions Swiss Jazz Festival, he was able to perform at the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival in 2004 and was then asked to play for the Montreux Jazz Chrysler Award the next year. Cyrus moved to New York City in 2004 where he attends Manhattan School of Music and studies jazz piano. Cyrus has performed as a featured performer in several venues such as the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, Moods Jazz Club in Zurich and has performed on a regular basis at The Garage, NYC.
Samir Zarif is an extraordinary tenor saxophonist hailing originally from Houston, Texas. Samir made his debut as a jazz artist in New Orleans and moved to New York City shortly thereafter. Samir's discography ranges from Jill Scott's "Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds, Vol.2" to his debut as a Fresh Sounds recording artist on his CD entitled "The Paislies." He performed and recorded with musicians and groups like Jason Marsalis, Roland Guerin, Nick Payton, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Irvin Mayfield, Aaron Neville, Jill Scott and James Westfall.