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Composer Robert Paterson Announces Two New York Performances

Composer Robert Paterson's music will be performed at two concerts on Sunday, November 20 in New York. His new piece Forest Shadows will have its world premiere as part of a recital by marimbist Makoto Nakura at 2pm at Park Avenue United Methodist Church (106 East 86th St.). MAYA - John Hadfield, percussion; Bridget Kibbey, harp; Sato Moughalian, flute - will perform selections from Paterson's The Book of Goddesses during a 3pm concert at Temple Emanu-El, Beth-El Chapel (One East 65th St.).

Of his new marimba piece Forest Shadows, written for Makoto Nakura, Paterson says, "While hiking, I am always struck by the beautiful imagery created by shadows on the forest floor. In Forest Shadows, I evoke these images through the use of long tremolos and arpeggiated chords. The piece moves from pastoral sections that evoke nature scenes by nineteenth-century French painters such as Theodore Rousseau (for example, his painting The Forest in Winter at Sunset), to more powerful moments that might be compared to images in works by Romantic landscape painters such as Caspar David Friedrich." Nakura's recital will also include the world premiere of Jacob Bancks' The Trees Where I Was Born based on Walt Whitman's poem, plus music by J. S. Bach, C. P. E. Bach, and Villa-Lobos.

Paterson's The Book of Goddesses is inspired by a lavishly illustrated book of the same name by illustrator Kris Waldherr. The book contains descriptions and images of hundreds of female deities. Paterson chose nine goddesses from around the world to illustrate musically, drawing materials and styles from India, China, Greece, Ireland, North America, Nigeria, and Cuba. Paterson will be honored with a Composer of the Year Award from the Classical Recording Foundation on November 21 at Carnegie Hall for MAYA's recording of The Book of Goddesses (also illustrated by Waldherr), which will be released on December 6, 2011.

Paterson says, "Throughout The Book of Goddesses, I attempt to fuse my own sound world with the music of each culture. For example, the harp part in ‘Xi Wang Mu' is inspired by the Konghou, an ancient Chinese harp, and the solo bass flute movement, ‘Estanatlehi' is inspired by the sound of a Native American flute. Percussion instruments provide an earthiness, at least with regard to timbre, and each of the movements uses instruments that are not common in Western music, including an Indian Ghatam, a Middle-Eastern Dumbek, an Afro-Cuban Cajón and the Udu drum, an instrument traditionally played by Nigerian women."

MAYA's concert on November 20 will also include Yotam Haber's different voices with the composer performing live electronics, plus "Ruth" from Sacred Sisters by Victoria Bond; theoretical walls and Sisters by John Hadfield; Kamancha by Sayat-Nova, arr. by Alyssa Hess-Reit; and J. S. Bach's Sonata in G Minor, BWV 1020.

About Robert Paterson: Composer Robert Paterson's richly colorful, wildly eclectic and intensely rhythmic music is influenced by visual art, nature, machines, and more, and is inspired by everything from the changing seasons, crashing waves, and Dali's melting clocks to the life of New York Mets Baseball catcher Mike Piazza. From 2009-2012, he is the Music Alive composer-in-residence with the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association, sponsored by Meet The Composer and the League of American Orchestras. The residency will culminate in a commission for a major new work for orchestra and chorus. Other recent honors include winning the Cincinnati Camerata Composition Competition, the Copland Award, Louisville Orchestra Composition Competition, Brian Israel Prize, two ASCAP Young Composer Awards, and grants from Meet The Composer, the American Music Center, the American Composers Forum and ASCAP, as well as fellowships to Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts.

Born in 1970, Paterson was raised in Buffalo, New York, the son of a sculptor and a painter. Percussion was his first love, and an enduring one. Paterson pioneered the development of a six-mallet marimba technique presenting the world's first all six-mallet marimba recital at the Eastman School of Music in 1993. He discovered a passion for composition early in life as well, writing his first piece at age thirteen.

Recent and upcoming performances of Paterson's work include the European premiere and sixteen additional performances of Dancing Games by the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire (France); the premiere of a new work for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jaime Laredo; two new choral works for the Chamber Choir of Europe; an orchestral opera in two acts with writer and librettist David Cote, based on the award-winning British novel A Child Possessed by R.C. Hutchinson; Wind Quintet by the Philharmonia Quintet (Poland); Eternal Reflections, commissioned for the San Francisco-based Volti choir; Embracing the Wind by the Aureole Trio and New York Harp Trio; the Louisville Orchestra world premiere of Electric Lines, winner of the orchestra's new music competition, and a work previously selected for the Minnesota Orchestra and American Composers Orchestra New Music Readings; Enlightened City, commissioned for the 100th anniversary of the IHS Orchestra; and the world premiere of Crimson Earth by the University of Connecticut Wind Ensemble.

Ensembles that have performed Paterson's music include the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, New York New Music Ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, California EAR Unit, Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Aleph (Paris), Naiades Ensemble (London), Ensemble Nouvelles Consonances (Belgium), the Kairos String Quartet, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the MANCA Festival presented by the Centre National de Création Musicale (CIRM) and the June in Buffalo new music festival. Paterson appears on recordings for Mode Records, Centaur Records, Capstone, and Riax. Two new albums of his music will be released by American Modern Records, the label of American Modern Ensemble, in 2011.

Paterson has received degrees from Eastman (BM), Indiana University (MM), and Cornell University (DMA). He resides in New York City with his wife, Victoria, a violinist, and their young son Dylan.

About MAYA: MAYA, a trio of percussion, harp and flute, was founded in 2005 and performs new music, music of different world cultures, and incorporates improvisations into its performances. MAYA actively commissions music from a broad variety of composers with a special emphasis on emerging composers, receiving grants and awards from American Composers Forum, Argosy Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Spanish Ministry of Culture, and the Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation. MAYA In The Spirit (Perspectives Recordings) was released in December 2007. Of the trio's second recording featuring music of Neil Rolnick on his album The Economic Engine (Innova), The New York Times said: "The brightly spirited ‘Uptown Jump' (2006), a study in rich, tactile textures and inventive variation, juxtaposes jazz moves with ragalike percussion patterns. MAYA, a trio of flute, harp and percussion, plays it with grace and energy." A third CD, including Robert Paterson's The Book of Goddesses will be released in November by American Modern Recordings. MAYA has toured nationally and performs regularly in New York City.

About Makoto Nakura: Marimbist Makoto Nakura is a musician whose artistry and astonishing virtuosity mesmerize audiences. He creates innovative programs melding new music and traditional classical repertoire, revealing the versatility and expressive range of the marimba while enlightening and entertaining the listener. In 1994, Makoto Nakura was the first marimbist to receive First Prize in the prestigious Young Concert Artists International Auditions. He has also been honored by the Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs. In demand worldwide, he has performed in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, S?o Paulo and Buenos Aires. In America, the artist has performed in concert in 41 of the 50 states. As a recitalist, Mr. Nakura's long list of appearances includes Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall, the 92nd Street Y and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In addition, Nakura has performed chamber music and appeared at festivals nationwide. Nakura has established himself as a dedicated champion of the music of our time. The recent premiere of Forest Trilogy for choir and marimba garnered critical acclaim: "When this virtuoso moved to New York City from Japan, he also moved the marimba into the stratosphere. Long an instrument for popular music, in his hands, or rather, beneath his mallets, the instrument becomes a thing of wonder" ( Born in Kobe, Japan, Nakura began to play the marimba at the age of eight. He earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Musashino College in Tokyo. He continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. A network television portrait of Nakura was broadcast across the U.S. on CBS Sunday Morning. His recitals have been widely televised by KBS (Korea) and NHK (Japan).

2pm: World Premiere of Forest Shadows
Makoto Nakura, Marimba
Park Avenue United Methodist Church
106 East 86th St. | New York, NY
Tickets: $20 general admission, $10 seniors, $5 students at the door
Information: |

3pm: Selections from The Book of Goddesses
MAYA (John Hadfield, percussion; Bridget Kibbey, harp; Sato Moughalian, flute)
Temple Emanu-El, Beth-El Chapel | One East 65th St. | New York, NY
FREE admission. No reservations required.

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