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Marsyas Productions to Celebrate Composer Chou Wen-Chung's 90th Birthday, 2/20

Marsyas Productions to Celebrate Composer Chou Wen-Chung's 90th Birthday, 2/20

Marsyas Productions honors master composer Chou Wen-chung with a very special 90th birthday tribute concert featuring Boston Musica Viva, Talujon, flutist Jayn Rosenfeld and pianist Christopher Oldfather on Thursday, February 20th at 8pm.

Chou Wen-chung searched the Far East for clues about the nature of Chinese music; in the end he emerged as a highly distinguished International voice.

On the Program:

Echoes from the Gorge


Twilight Colors for six instruments

Boston Musica Viva

Cursive for flute and piano

Jayn Rosenfeld & Christopher Oldfather

It all takes place at Merkin Concert Hall, 129 W. 67th Street, New York, NY. For more information, call (212) 501-3330. Subway: 1 to 66th St./Lincoln Center; 2 & 3 to 72nd St. General Admission Orchestra/Balcony: $30/$20; Student/Senior Admission: $10. Tickets and info:

About Marsyas Productions: Marsyas Productions is the production unit of the Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music (RSF). Established by composer/pianist Dina Koston, who named the endowment after her husband, psychiatrist Roger Shapiro, the Roger Shapiro Fund is a new fund for the commissioning, performance and recording of contemporary classical music with special emphasis given to music in the Western modernist tradition.

Chou Wen-chung, Composer: Chou Wen-chung's earliest work, Landscapes for orchestra (finished in 1949 and premiered by Leopold Stokowski with the San Francisco Symphony in 1953), is often cited as the first composition that is independent of either Western or Eastern musical grammar. Subsequently, his research for integration of musical concepts and practices led to his ever-evolving theory on his pien (variable) modes, influenced by concepts found in yin-yang and I Jing theories, Dao philosophy, brush calligraphy, and qin (Chinese zither) music, as well as early and modern European theories. It began with two works for wind orchestra, Metaphors (1959) and Riding the Wind (1964), but evolved steadily through such works as Pien (1966) for chamber ensemble, Echoes from the Gorge (1989) for percussion quartet, the Cello Concerto (1992), and most recently, the two string quartets, Clouds (1996) and Streams (2003).

Chou was introduced to Edgard Vare?se by Colin McPhee in 1949, and became Vare?se's student and assistant during the years when Vare?se was composing his last works, including De?serts (1949-1954), the manuscript of which is, in fact, in Chou's handwriting. His decades-long task of editing and correcting Vare?se's scores began under Vare?se's supervision, but was mostly undertaken after his death, including both versions of Ame?riques. [sic] Chou has also completed two of Vare?se's unfinished scores.

Chou's ambitious goal has been the revival the polyphonic style in contemporary music. His revival attempt is based not on influences but on confluences of music. His concept of "re-merger" is to view one's own heritage as the source of creativity and that the future of human civilization will entirely depend on the interaction and synthesis of Eastern and Western civilizations.

Chou's style is refined, transparent, melodious, and highly emotional. His inventive and unique melodies combine the finest of European polyphony with cursive brush calligraphy. As a result, his countrapuntal writings are among the most thoughtful and detailed and yet the most expressive in the contemporary music.

As Varese's literary executor, he not only completed Nocturnal and Tunning up but also edited almost all the Varese works, and orchestrated Etude Pour Espace. As a distinguished professor for nearly thirty years at Columbia, he has taught more than sixty young composers around the world and has inspired many of them to search beyond European traditions. Chou served as vice dean of the School of the Arts (1976-1987) and Chairman of its doctoral composition program (1969-1989) of Columbia. He was responsible for setting up the first Asian humanities course at Columbia. Under his presidency (1970-1975), Composers Recording, Inc. was brought into financial solvency. Guided by his belief in the confluence of music, he founded the Center for U.S.-China Arts Exchange at Columbia University (1978) "with the acknowledgement of both governments immediately before the revival of diplomatic relations." The Center subsequently launched many far-reaching projects to promote cultural and educational exchange in Pacific Rim area. (written by Dr. Shyhji Pan-Chew)

Boston Musica Viva: Music Director Richard Pittman founded Boston Musica Viva in 1969 as the first professional ensemble in Boston devoted to contemporary music. Through the years, BMV has become one of the most highly respected ensembles of its kind, with an international reputation for innovation and excellence. Andrea Musso of the Corriere di Torino praised "the superb versatility of the ensemble," and Tim Page of The New York Times wrote that BMV is "justly celebrated as one of the finest new music ensembles in the United States."

The strength of premiere performances by the ensemble has helped many pieces enter the modern repertoire. BMV is particularly proud to have been an early champion of composers

such as Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, John Harbison, Joseph Schwantner and Steven Stucky, each of whom later went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. BMV is unique in its consistent support of composers of challenging music, assuring that their works will receive top-level premieres. With rare exception, a new work, often by an American composer, is premiered at each concert. In its 44-year history, BMV has performed more than 600 works by over250 composers. These include over 150 works written specifically for BMV, over 160 world premieres, and over 75 Boston premieres.

Praised for performances demonstrating "consummate virtuosity" and "commanding skill," the professional ensemble shares the latest musical innovations with New England audiences in a four-concert annual series at the Tsai Performance Center in Boston. BMV further engenders appreciation for contemporary music through recordings; family concerts; educational workshops; and local, domestic and international tours. U.S. tours have brought the ensemble to Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress, Carnegie Recital Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Tanglewood, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and numerous other concert halls, colleges, and universities. BMV has toured Europe nine times, most recently a three-concert series at Kings Place in London.

BMV is also the Northeast regional partner in the nationwide Rapido!® Composition Contest, conducted in collaboration with founding partner Atlanta Chamber Players and Fifth House Ensemble of Chicago, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble of San Francisco, and Voices of Change of Dallas.

BMV has recorded for Albany, Neuma, Delos, CRI, Nonesuch, Newport Classic and Northeastern Records.

Talujon: Described by The New York Times as an ensemble possessing an "edgy, unflagging energy," Talujon has been mesmerizing audiences since 1990. Talujon is thoroughly committed to the expansion of the contemporary percussion repertoire as well as the education and diversification of its worldwide audience. Over the past 20 years, Talujon has commissioned dozens of new works for percussion quartet.

Recent Talujon commissions include quartets by Alvin Lucier, Henry Threadgill, Ralph Shapey, Wayne Peterson, Julia Wolfe, Ushio Torikai, Louis Karchin, Eric Moe, Steve Ricks and Chien Yin Chen. Based in New York, the group's performances have included collaborations with Steve Reich, James Tenney, Chou Wen Chung, The Brooklyn Philharmonic, Meredith Monk and Tan Dun at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Symphony Space, The Kitchen and the Knitting Factory. Talujon has appeared in universities and concert halls throughout the US, and at such festivals as Taipei's Lantern Festival, BAM's Next Wave Festival, Muzik3 Festival, Chautauqua, Festival of New American Music and a recent European tour with Steve Reich and Bang on a Can. For the Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts series, Talujon developed the program "A World of Influences", which incorporates Talujon group compositions featuring homemade instruments and traditional instruments. The group has also given master classes/workshops at institutions such as the Juilliard School, Stanford University, University of Virginia, State University at Buffalo, Harvard University and the University of Oregon.

The group, while maintaining a respectable touring history, always produces adventurous programs in New York City. Tajujon has presented these programs in the past to great praise, including first prize in the Chamber Music America Adventurous Programming Award. Talujon chooses its performing venues in order to maximize exposure to as broad an audience as possible. Talujon's upcoming 20th season will feature past compositions written for the group as well as new works by Eric Moe, Steven Ricks, Christian Wolff, Ross Bauer and other American composers. These performances will take place at venues such as Symphony Space, Roulette, Merkin Hall, St. Peter's Church and LeFrak Hall.

Jayn Rosenfeld, Flutist: Jayn Rosenfeld, flute teacher, chamber music specialist, and champion of contemporary music, has advanced the technique and interpretation of flute playing for the present generation, and been a major stimulus for developing new repertory for flute and for small ensemble. With The New York New Music Ensemble, she has commissioned, performed and recorded many significant 20th and now 21st century works. Her many recordings include concerti by Domenico Cimarosa, Dinos Constantinides, Rand Steiger and Leo Kraft, solo works by Ruth Crawford Seeger, Leon Kirchner, John

Anthony Lennon, Robert Erickson and David Froom, more than sixty works of contemporary chamber music, many with The New York New Music Ensemble, and a recording of the flute chamber music of Albert Roussel (Centaur).

Ms. Rosenfeld was the flutist and executive director of The New York New Music Ensemble for over thirty years and was the first flutist of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra for the same period. A graduate of Radcliffe College and the Manhattan School of Music, her teachers were James Pappoutsakis, William Kincaid and Marcel Moyse. She was first flutist in the American Symphony Orchestra when it was conducted by Leopold Stokowski and won a National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Grant in 1986. Currently, she plays with the Orchestra of the League of Composers, the Richardson Players at Princeton University, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, and the Manchester (VT) Music Festival, while concentrating on teaching, coaching, and master classes. Ms. Rosenfeld teaches flute and coaches ensembles at Princeton University, and at Greenwich House, NYC, where she gives a flute workshop for amateurs.

Christopher Oldfather, Pianist: Christopher Oldfather has devoted himself to the performance of twentieth- century music for more than thirty years. He has participated in innumerable world-premie?re performances, in every possible combination of instruments, in cities all over America. He has been a member of Boston's Collage New Music since 1979, New York City's Parnassus since 1997, appears regularly in Chicago, and as a collaborator has joined singers and instrumentalists of all kinds in recitals throughout the United States. In 1986 he presented his recital de?but in Carnegie Recital Hall, and since then he has pursued a career as a freelance musician. This work has taken him as far afield as Moscow and Tokyo, and he has worked on every sort of keyboard ever made, even including the Chromelodeon. He is widely known for his expertise on the harpsichord, and is one of the leading interpreters of twentieth-century works for that instrument. As a soloist he has appeared with the MET Chamber Players, the San Francisco Symphony, and Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, Germany. His recording of Elliott Carter's violin-piano Duo with Robert Mann was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 1990. He has collaborated with the conductor Robert Craft, and can be heard on several of his recordings.

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