Other Minds Festivals ➔ Other Minds Festival: OM 5: Concert 2, 1 of 10

Digital Audio

Event Type
Other Minds
Program Series
Other Minds Festival
Program Length
77 min
1 of 10
| broadcast
| 1999-03-26 | created
Other Minds, Inc., in association with the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, presented Other Minds Festival V at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, March 25-27, 1999.

The fifth Other Minds festival featured composers Linda Bouchard, Mary Ellen Childs, Luc Ferrari, Alvin Lucier, António Pinho Vargas, Julian Priester, Sam Rivers, Errollyn Wallen, and special guest artist Margaret Leng Tan. Each concert was preceded by a panel discussion with the evening’s artists, moderated by Other Minds’ Executive & Artistic Director, Charles Amirkhanian.
The second concert continued the exaltation of the toy piano with more performances by Margaret Leng Tan. Following was Errollyn Wallen’s duo for piano and viola, “Rapture” and António Pinho Vargas’ “Mirrors” performed by Gloria Cheng. The concert concluded with four improvisations by multiinstrumentalist Sam Rivers and trombonist Julian Priester, joined by Tucker Martine on electronics.

Concert 2, Friday, March 26 1999

Stephen Montague: Mirabella (A Tarantella) (1995; written for Margaret Leng Tan) (West Coast Premiere)
Margaret Leng Tan, toy piano

Stephen Montague was born and educated in the U. S. but has been living in London as a freelance composer since 1974. Montague wrote for Tan's toy piano sight unseen (sound heard over the phone) with strict admonitions not to exceed its three octave compass. - MLT

John Lennon and Paul McCartney: Eleanor Rigby (1966; arranged by Toby Twining for Margaret Leng Tan) (West Coast Premiere)
Margaret Leng Tan, toy piano

Alvin Lucier: Nothing Is Real (Strawberry Fields Forever) (1990) (West Coast Premiere)
Margaret Leng Tan, piano & teapot with miniature sound system
[Teapot by Ragnar Naess]

In the Spring of 1990, Aki Takahashi asked me to write an arrangement of a Beatles song for her. She had just finished recording the complete piano music of Satie for Toshiba-EMI, the success of which had prompted them to ask for a collection of Lennon and McCartney tunes. She agreed, on the condition that she could invite composers of her own choosing to write the arrangements. Not wanting to pin myself down to a specific song, memory or feeling, I asked her to choose one for me. She selected “Strawberry Fields Forever”. When I asked why she chose that particular song, she replied that the line, “nothing is real”, reminded her of my music.

During this work, fragments of the melody are played and sustained as clusters. The performance is recorded on a cassette tape recorder. After the last fragment has been played, the tape is rewound and played back through a small loudspeaker hidden inside a teapot. During the playback, the lid of the pot is raised and lowered, changing the resonance characteristics of the pot. Twice during the performance the pot itself is lifted off the lid of the piano, causing the resonance to disappear completely.

Nothing Is Real was commissioned by Toshiba-EMI Ltd., Japan, and is included in their Eastworld Compact Disc, TOCE-6655, HYPER BEATLES 2. It was written expressly for Aki Takahashi.
- Alvin Lucier

Conlon Nancarrow: Three 2-Part Studies (1942; arr. by Margaret Leng Tan) (West Coast Premiere)
Margaret Leng Tan, two toy pianos

The published score of the Three 2-Part Studies bears the following 1990 dedication:
"For Jürgen, a dearest friend, who found this score, forgotten in the dust of my studio."

When I first embarked on my career as a toy pianist in 1995, I was ferreting around for pieces that would lend themselves to the toy piano. I had always thought Nancarrow would be a good bet given the toy piano's aggressively percussive nature. When I acquired two toy pianos with distinctly separate personalities, it seemed inevitable that the Three 2-Part Studies had to be heard on them. Even more formidable than the task of transcribing them was the feat of mastering the transcription. I would long ago have given up had I not been goaded on by the ultimate challenge – to render on a toy instrument the kind of virtuosity and precision that would lead Nancarrow to bypass the uncertainties of human execution and invest his energies in the player piano's unfettered possibilities.

The year before his death, I sent Nancarrow a garage recording of the Three Studies. His wife Yoko informed me that Nancarrow had thoroughly enjoyed them in their toy incarnation. - MLT

Errollyn Wallen: Rapture (1998) (United States Premiere)
Ellen Ruth Rose, viola; Michael Seth Orland, piano

I was commissioned to write this piece by Malcolm Allison and the Cockermouth Music Society. It was premiered by Malcolm Allison and pianist Tim Lissimore in December 1998 and recorded by BBC Television for broadcast in a new music series starting in May. Malcolm played on my album “Meet Me at Harold Moore’s” so I got to know him and his musical personality very well.

“Rapture” is in one continuous movement preoccupied with the idea and expression of expansion, stretching upwards and flying. At one point in the piece there is a reference to Celtic music, and it was only on the day of the première, which took place in Cumbria, that I discovered that on a clear day, one could look over the horizon and see the hills of Scotland. - EW

António Pinho Vargas, Mirrors (1989) (United States Premiere)
Gloria Cheng-Cochran, piano

“Mirrors” was written in Amsterdam while I was studying with Klaas de Vries. The title being in a language other than Portuguese is related to this fact.

In “Mirrors” I made use for the last time of a twelve-note series, but with what lack of discipline! So it is a musical gesture of a very un-German kind.

In the second of the three pieces, perhaps the strictest piece I have so far written, I used a color of ten chords and a talea of eight durations, three registers and three different speeds to develop the same material.

In the third piece, similarly strict, but with one of the three voices freely composed, I employ octatonic scales, which I knew well from jazz, and a polyrhythm of accents within a regular beat which I was able to use for the first time. - APV

The presentation of this work was made possible with the support of the Gulbenkian Foundation, with additional support from Nina & Claude Gruen.


Julian Priester & Sam Rivers: Selections to be Announced

Julian Priester, trombone
Sam Rivers, saxophone
Tucker Martine, electronics

The presentation of this appearance of Julian Priester, Sam Rivers, and Tucker Martine was made possible with the support of Mr. & Mrs. Jim McElwee.

About The Composers

Sam Rivers is one of the major figures in contemporary jazz: a brilliant improviser and one of the defining influences of multi-instrumentalism in jazz, performing on tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, and piano. For decades the leader of his own small groups, Rivers has also performed and recorded with artists of such diverse styles as Miles Davis, Cecil Taylor, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, McCoy Tyner, Max Roach, Andrew Hill, J.C Higginbotham- with blues masters; T.Bone Walker, Jimmy Witherspoon, B.B. King and performances with symphony orchestras including the San Francisco Orchestra with Seiji Ozawa. He is a prolific composer of songs, melodies and compositions for large and small ensembles, jazz, and symphony orchestras.

As a catalyst for the recognition of a generation of avant-garde and free musicians, he established with the help and cooperation of his wife Bea, Studio RivBea, a workshop, rehearsal and performance space. Many of the talented creative performers have since become renown on the international scene. He is a former faculty member and visiting artist at Wesleyan University, Dartmouth College, Cornish Institute and the New School of Music in New York.

The career of trombone legend Julian Priester has included contributions to jazz, blues, as well as Latin jazz, over practically the last half century. Between the early 1950s and through the 1970s, he worked with such notables as Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Max Roach, Lionel Hampton, Dinah Washington, Muddy Waters, and Bo Diddley. In the 1980s, he joined the faculty of Cornish College in Seattle, Washington, and during that decade his collaborators included those with Sun Ra and Clifford Jordan. At that time he also toured extensively with Dave Holland's Quintet, and began his own group, Quartett, whose debut recording No Secrets was critically praised.

Julian Priester has worked with Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, with which he toured Europe, and Lester Bowie's New York Organ Ensemble. As a composer he has contributed to recordings by Reggie Workman, including his Summit Conference, and by Jerry Granelli. His newest release (at the time of this festival) is Hints on Light and Shadow, with Sam Rivers and Tucker Martine. During his years at Cornish College, he immeasurably enriched the Seattle music scene.

About the Performers

Gloria Cheng-Cochran has appeared as a soloist and chamber artist at major festivals worldwide, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival (Finland), Ars Musica Brussels, Tanglewood, Ojai Festival, Aspen Music Festival, and Festival der Kunste Bad Gleichenberg in Austria. As a favorite guest artist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its New Music Group, Ms. Cheng-Cochran has been featured in concerts honoring Elliott Carter, Gyorgy Ligeti, Toru Takemitsu, Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Adams, Witold Lutoslawski, and many others. She has twice been featured with the New Music Group at Alice Tully Hall, and appeared with the L.A. Philharmonic in December, 1998, performing Messiaen's Oiseaux exotiques and Couleurs de la cité céleste under the direction of Zubin Mehta.

In 1987 Ms. Cheng-Cochran was one of three finalists in an international competition for the Paris-based Ensemble Intercontemporain. This led to her engagement at the 1989 Ojai Festival, and again in 1992 and 1996, as a featured soloist at the special request of Music Director Pierre Boulez. Her critically acclaimed New York solo debut took place at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in February 1993. The composers who have written works for her include John Adams, Pierre Boulez, Don Davis, Joan Huang, David Raksin, Terry Riley, Chinary Ung, and Andrew Waggoner.

Ms. Cheng-Cochran's first solo CD of music by Olivier Messiaen was released in 1995 by Koch International Classics, and her second, Piano Works Of John Adams andTerry Riley (featuring the world premiere recording of Riley's The Heaven Ladder, Book 7), was released by Telarc in June, 1998. She has an Economics degree from Stanford University, and graduate degrees in Music from UCLA and USC. Her major teachers were Isabelle Sant'Ambrogio, Aube Tzerko, and John Perry.

Tucker Martine was born in 1972 in Greenwich, Connecticut, but moved shortly thereafter to Nashville, Tennessee, where he was raised. He studied at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, CO, with Steve Tibbets and Allen Ginsberg, then moved to Seattle, where he now is active as a recording engineer, record producer, jazz drummer and electronic music improviser. He performs with Mount Analog and has recorded with the Wayne Horvitz and the Four + One Ensemble (Intuition, 1998). He played live processors for the duo recording of Sam Rivers and Julian Priester on the Postcards label (1997), in which he sampled live instrumental sounds and looped, layered and modulated them with an array of commercial signal processing devices.

Ellen Ruth Rose relocated to the Bay Area after having spent several years in Cologne, Germany where her performing interests gradually led her towards experimental contemporary music. As member of the contemporary and experimental ensembles Musik Fabrik and Thürmchen Ensemble and as frequent guest with Frankfurt's Ensemble Modern, she premiered countless works and performed and recorded extensively as a chamber musician and soloist throughout Germany and Europe. Her appearances have included soloing with the West German Radio Chorus in Morton Feldman's Rothko Chapel and performances at the Cologne Triennial, Berlin Biennial, Salzburg Zeitfluß and Brussels Ars Nova festivals.

On North American soil, she has performed more traditional chamber music repertory at the Marlboro Music Festival and the Banff Center for the Arts and has also appeared with the Sacramento Chamber Music Society, the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players, and the Empyrean Ensemble, of which she is a member.

Ellen received a B.A. with honors in history and literature from Harvard University, a Masters of Music degree in viola performance from the Juilliard School, where she was a full scholarship student, and an artist diploma in viola from the Northwest German Music Academy in Detmold, Germany. Her viola teachers have included Heidi Castleman, Nobuko Imai, Marcus Thompson and Karen Tuttle.

Michael Seth Orland studied piano with Margaret Kohn and is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where he studied harpsichord with Davitt Moroney and composition with Gerard Grisey. He later continued his composition studies with David Sheinfeld. Orland has appeared extensively in the Bay Area as a chamber musician, playing with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Earplay, the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players, New Music Theater, and in the San Francisco Symphony's New and Unusual Music Series. He has performed modern works at UC campuses in San Diego, Davis, and Santa Cruz, in Sacramento at Sacramento State University and the Crocker Gallery, and at Cal Arts. Orland has played often as a freelance symphony musician, and has performed many times as a pianist in vocal recitals, as well as in vocal master classes given by Frederica von Stade and Sanford Sylvan. He is on the UC Berkeley music faculty and also teaches in the Young Musicians Program.

[Notes taken from the original printed program.]
Unconventional instruments
Musical Selections
Mirabella (A Tarantella) (3:08) / Stephen Montague [West Coast premiere]
Margaret Leng Tan, Schoenhut toy piano
Unconventional instruments
Toy piano music
Related Event
Other Minds Festival 5
Related place
San Francisco (Calif.) (was recorded at)
Related Entities
Other Minds Festival
Tan, Margaret Leng
Montague, Stephen