Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Comment of IYWO concert

Dwayne Corbin

The International Youth Wind Orchestra (IYWO) was comprised of fifty students ranging in age from 18 to 25 from thirteen countries: Australia, Canada, Colombia, Estonia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the UK, and the USA. They were led by two conductors, Glenn Price from the University of Calgary, Canada, and Gerhard Markson, Principle Conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony in Dublin, Ireland. The choice of enlisting Markson was a strategic one of the WASBE board in order to build more connections between the wind ensemble “bubble” and the larger community of classical music.

The IYWO played remarkably. The repertoire presented was immensely challenging, and they had very little time to prepare it: just one week of rehearsals. The group sounded professional in all respects. I am certain that the students has a remarkable time working with two outstanding conductors, a world-famous soloist, and two composers, one of which was commissioned to write for the IYWO.

The highlight of the concert for me was Schwantner’s Percussion Concerto, transcribed for band by Andrew Boysen Jr., and performed by Dame Evelyn Glennie. I have heard this work before, but Glennie’s performance brought the piece to a new level through her commanding performance that clearly communicated the essence of the work. Through this she was able to connect the more unusual elements of the piece into a logical whole.

The piece has two elements that are most unusual for a concerto. First is the fact that the soloist plays from the back of the orchestra for the first and third movement, coming to the traditional front of stage for the second movement only. This, according to Glennie, was due to the fact that the work was composed for Christopher Lamb, principle percussionist for the New York Philharmonic. Schwantner wanted to showcase not just the soloist, but also how the soloist works within the section. This is the second unusual aspect of the work: the soloist often plays ensemble passages, whether unison mallet parts in the first movement, or simple triangle and metallic percussion gestures in the second movement. Glennie used stage lighting and tall risers in order to create a more vibrant back-stage solo area, as well as spot lights to highlight her movement from one set-up to another. She had purple lights on her second-movement set-up, which is musically more reflective. Her body language helped the audience understand how her parts fit in, as ensemble or solo passages. Glennie played with great passion, grace, and fire, including a lengthy cadenza on drums in the final movement, and the audience received her very well.

The other four pieces on the program suffered by comparison to the Schwantner and each other. The works were in many ways too similar: rhythmic, well-crafted, post-tonal color-oriented works that would sound refreshing next to Grainger, Ives, Maslanka, Mendelssohn, or pieces in other styles, but began to sound dull when programmed together. In addition, after all the excitement that Sir Simon Rattle generated by his fresh interpretations of Grainger wind works, I was hoping to see a similar event with Markson. However, Markson chose or was assigned three contemporary pieces, eliminating this possibility.

John Estacio’s Frenergy opened the concert, a fast energetic work that still retained a nice sense of melody and lightness. It was performed with pleasant character, and was precise technically.

Resonance, by Christopher Marshall, opened the second half. It is one of the many pieces commissioned by Tim and Hilary Reynish in memory of their son, William. The work employs a variety of styles and sounds: gentle passages, a street march, dark—almost eerie—melodies, then closes with a chorale from which most of the earlier sections were derived. A listener could see it as either oddly fragmented or as a refreshing post-modern work, mixing styles without necessarily ascribing value to them. This work definitely merits further listening and study.

Ian Wilson was present for the première of his work Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel. He gave a pre-concert talk where he discussed his experiences writing the piece, his first for wind ensemble. The work was inspired by and named after the moons of Uranus, whose individual characters shaped the form or compositional ideas for each movement. The result was a complex, thick piece, dense with counterpoint and disjointed melodies. It was highly dissonant, and was difficult to grasp in the first hearing. This work was rehearsed by Markson in an open rehearsal, where he stripped the opening down to each individual line. These sections made much more sense to the listener, leading me to believe that, while difficult at first, Wilson’s work might come alive through multiple exposures.

Richard Rodney Bennett’s Morning Music was the final piece on the concert. As with all of Bennett’s work, Morning Music is superbly orchestrated, contains interesting harmonic structures, and keeps the listener’s attention. This work, based on the poetry of Wordsworth, contains seven movements: a prelude, five variations, and a finale. The IYWO performed it wonderfully.

from wasbe.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

WASBE conference photos!!

Here are some photos of me and people I've met in WASBE conference this month! I will write more about music in my next post. I met many more people, but I don't have photos of everyone. Here are just few...

Dennis Beck, me, Crystal Lee

Dennis Beck - Mr. Beck is active as an adjudicator, guest conductor, and clinician, both in Canada and the United States. A chapter past president of Phi Beta Mu and a member of the College Band Directors National Association, he is also the Canadian chairman of the international Tri-M Honour Music Society. He served as a vice-president of the Alberta Band Association, was a founding director of the Ontario Band Association and is now the past president. His articles on music education have appeared in several professional journals including The Instrumentalist. He is a regular contributor to the highly regarded series of music texts, Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, published by GIA in Chicago.
I've met Dennis on the train towards the Killarney. Amazing man, very kind, joker! I am so happy to know him!

Crystal Lee - Trombone player from Hong Kong. She was the first IYWO member I've met. Great girl!

Martin Ellerby, me, John Alden Stanley

Prof. John Stanley told me about WASBE conference about 2 years ago. He conducted our Idrija wind band, when we had 340 years anniversary. He conducted Irish tune from County Derry. He was the one and the first one who encouraged me for IYWO orchestra! We stayed in touch all the time. He is one of the greatest man I know!

Martin Ellerby, is a composer of international standing, whose works have been performed, broadcast and recorded to critical acclaim across Europe, Asia and the USA. His catalogue comprises compositions spanning a diverse range of media, including orchestral, choral, concert band, brass band, ballet, instrumental and chamber, together with a substantial number of commercial orchestrations and arrangements. Ellerby’s works are published extensively and recorded on over 75 commercial CDs to date. Key performances include the BBC Promenade Concerts, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Barbican Centre, Royal Albert Hall, South Bank Centre and many major international festivals, including Edinburgh, Harrogate, Zurich and Kuhmo Chamber Music ( Finland).
Amazing composer! He (actually John did) gave me his invaluable gift - Tuba concerto (Piano reduction). It means very much to me! He also wrote the dedication for me!

Me and Dr. Glenn D. Price

Glenn Price- Dr. Price has an international reputation as one of the leading conductors of his generation. An active conductor on the international scene, Price has conducted professional and student orchestras and wind ensembles through out North America as well as in Europe, the United Kingdom, South America, the Middle East and Asia. He is the appointed Artistic Director for the International Youth Wind Orchestra, conducts the IMC Concert Orchestra and serves as the Principal Conductor for the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain. In addition to his appearances as a conductor, Dr. Price serves extensively as a prominent music educator, clinician, guest lecturer and speaker for a variety of professional organizations around the world.
One of our two conductors! Great man!!!

Me and Timothy Reynish
Timothy Reynish (with his wife Hilary) - I'm without words! Legend!! http://www.timreynish.com

Me and composer Oliver Waespi.

Oliver Waespi, the composer, was born in Zurich/Switzerland in 1971 and studied composition at the Musikhochschule Zurich and the Royal Academy of music in London. He received several composition awards, including the International George Enescu Composition Prize for Symphonic Music in 2003. He is a SPNM-shortlisted composer. Recent performers of his works include soloists like Oliver Darbellay or Pedro Meireles, the London Sinfonietta, the Landesblasorhester Baden-Wurttemberg, the Sinfonisches Blasorchester Bern, the YBS Band of brass players of the RNCM (Manchester), the Berne Chamber Orchestra and many others in numerous countries.
I was extremly impressed by his 25 minutes long work "Temples" composed in 2007!!!

Me and Juan Guillermo Ramirez -
Yamaha sales & Marketing Manager and big musician from Panama. Great man!! He gave me 2 Yamaha T-shirts and some more stuff!!

Me and Humberto Pailos from Spain who plays an Euphonium. He is crazy with it!! One of best friends I've met in IYWO! We both like Guinness!

Me and Aaron Yong, extremly good tuba player from Singapour (IYWO member)!

My roomate Mateusz Lupinski from Poland. Almost an IYWO member :) Pssst...

Me and Antonio Lajara Angel - He is excellent clarinet player and conductor from Spain (IYWO member).

Me and Josh van der Maaten from USA. Very good IYWO trombone player!

Low brass section!(We drink the most!) Sergio Camargo Pardo (bass trombone) is great man and good friend from Columbia!

Me and Pink! (almost)

Girls from Pink concert, which happened near the conference place.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Being in Killarney

I am currently in Ireland at WASBE conference! It is amazing!!! I will write news when I will come back!! And I will publish photos! Hear ya!