The CONCERTed offering 2001

In this issue:

  • CFAMC plans national conference in Indianapolis for Spring 2002
  • 2002 CFAMC Scholarship
  • News of Note: Activities of CFAMC composers
  • Welcome new members
  • From the editor

CFAMC PLANS NATIONAL CONFERENCE IN INDIANAPOLIS FOR SPRING 2002

After a very successful and exciting year of regional conferences and CFAMC appearances at other events, we are embarking on another national CFAMC conference in the spring of 2002. Indianapolis is the location and Frank Felice our host, but the dates and other details are still in the works. We covet your prayers for the needs of this undertaking: willing, qualified performers, a concert venue and meeting place, good publicity opportunities, ancillary funding, etc. These are the things the Lord will work out for us, if only we seek Him! As with each conference, we are also considering whether to invite a special guest composer. The Board welcomes your ideas (and willingness to work) on any of these issues.

Score submission, presentation opportunities, and other logistical details will be sent to all current members as soon as possible.

Finally, if you are associated with a college or conservatory music program in the US, be on the lookout for the cool new CFAMC poster, which should be arriving in music department mailboxes in September or early October. We pray that the poster will be an effective witness to these musicians, and a chance for more Christian art music composers to learn of CFAMC.

2002 CFAMC SCHOLARSHIP

Applications are invited from Christian composers born on or after February 4, 1967 for a one-time scholarship award of $500 for use during the summer of 2002 or academic year 2002-2003. The scholarship must be used specifically for art music composition study in either a preparatory or collegiate music program, or an approved summer music program. Appropriate use will be determined by a CFAMC Executive Committee, and funds will be sent directly to the account of the winner at the educational institution or festival designated by her or him (i.e., a cash award will not be made directly to the winner). By applying, the winner agrees to be identified as the recipient of the 2002 CFAMC Scholarship in any and all publicity materials as determined by CFAMC.

Applicants automatically become student composer members for one year in the Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers. There is no application fee. Application postmark deadline is November 1, 2001. The award will be announced no later than February 4, 2002. Incomplete, late, or unofficial applications will not be accepted. For further information, please contact: CFAMC, Dr. Mark Hijleh, School of Music, Houghton College, Houghton NY 14744, (716)567-9424, *protected email*. To expedite your request, please provide your name, mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address when contacting CFAMC.

PAST RECIPIENTS

  • 2001 – Ewan Clarke (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
  • 2000 – No winner
  • 1999- Daniel Kellogg (Curtis Institute, Yale University; 1998 ASCAP winner)
  • 1998 – Andrew Dionne (Indiana University; 1999 BMI winner)

APPLICATION

A complete, official application consists of the following:

1) Two letters of recommendation, one from a pastor and one from a composition teacher. These should be sent by the applicant, together with all other application materials in one package and not separately by the recommenders.

2) A brief Christian testimony (no more than one typed page).

3) A brief (no more than one typed page) response to the following essay question: “How are your compositional activities and Christian life related?”

4) At least one, but no more than two scores of art music composed for voice(s), instrument(s), and/or electronic media. Tapes of the music submitted are recommended, but not required (please do not send tapes of scores not submitted). A self-addressed envelope of sufficient size and with sufficient postage attached for return of scores/tapes MUST be submitted as well. Reasonable care will be exercised in the handling and return of scores and tapes, but in no way will CFAMC, the judging panel, or Houghton College be liable for any direct or indirect damages resulting from lost or damaged materials. Therefore only copies of scores and tapes should be sent.

5) A complete curriculum vitae/resume, including the name, address, phone number and e-mail address (if any) of the applicant.

6) A one-paragraph professional biographical sketch.

7) A detailed explanation of how the award will be used specifically for art music composition study in either a preparatory or collegiate music program, or a summer music program. (Appropriate use will be determined by the CFAMC Executive Committee, and funds will be sent directly to the account of the winner at the educational institution or festival designated by her or him (i.e., a cash award will not be made directly to the winner)).

Send all application materials (including recommendations) in one package to: 2002 CFAMC Scholarship, Dr. Mark Hijleh, School of Music, Houghton College, Houghton NY 14744. PLEASE NOTE: The judges decisions are final. The panel may also declare “no winner” at its discretion. The winner will be contacted first, after which materials will be returned to all other applicants along with information about the winner. Other publicity about the winner will follow, at the discretion of the CFAMC Board of Directors. Please do not contact CFAMC concerning the status of the award.

NEWS OF NOTE: ACTIVITIES OF CFAMC COMPOSERS

Last December (2000) LARRY MUMFORD’s orchestral piece “A Western Christmas” was performed by the Carson City (NV) Symphony.

MICHAEL YOUNG has retired from teaching at Whitworth College in Spokane WA. A gala program of his pieces, composed over a period of more than 40 years and including the world premiere of his “Mountain Sketches, set 11”, was given in his honor by the College’s Music Department in February. Michael plans to compose more and pursue traveling and his passion for mountain-climbing.

J. RYAN GARBER has been appointed Assistant Professor of Music at Carson-Newman College in Tennessee.

CFAMC Honorary member CHARLES WUORINEN is composer-in-residence at Tanglewood this summer. Also, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival mounted an all-Wuorinen performance in August.

Recently returned from the National Taiwan College of Arts, Panchiao/Taipei Taiwan, ROC, LYNN JOB has received the ASCAP Standard Award for composition for this award period. Also, her “Eulogy for St. John” (12 trumpets) which won the Jory Copying Assistance Award from the American Music Center for a College Music Society premier, made the editor’s cut for “premiers” on p. 49 of ASCAP’s Playback Magazine (May-June 2001).

The new documentary “Korean War Stories”, with music by JOHN KELTONIC, premiered in May on PBS. The film, narrated by Walter Cronkite, looks at the Korean War through the eyes of the soldiers, pilots, and nurses who actually lived through this war.

MICHAEL TIMPSON has been appointed assistant professor at Rhodes College in Memphis where he will head the music theory program and start curriculums in music composition and music technology. He recently won 2nd place in the Music from China premiere works competition, 2nd place in the NACUSA composition competition, honorable mention in the NFMC Beyer competition, and was a finalist in the Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation composition awards. Last November, his “Chasin’ Bill” for Chinese silk and bamboo ensemble was premiered by Music From China in NYC and his “Songs of Existence” was performed by the UNC at Greensboro New Music Ensemble. Last December, he put on a full-length composition recital at the University of Kansas featuring his works “Manhattan Fanfare”, “Mirrors of the Psyche”, “SURFACE MUSIC”, “Synsacrony”, “R I P”, “Four Poems of Dorothy Parker”, and “Chasin’ Bill” (western instrument arrangement). Last January, his “Refracting Timbre” for Chinese zheng was premiered in Taipei, Taiwan, his “Anthem” for choir and organ was premiered at the CFAMC conference in Santa Barbara, his “Chasin’ Bill” was performed in the Spencer Art Museum in Lawrence, KS, and his “Lip-Burner” for brass quartet was performed at the SCI III conference in Norfolk, VA. In March, his “R I P” was selected for the CMS conference composition concert in Manhattan, KS, and his “Techno Meso-Morph” was performed by the University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra. In April, his “Symphony No. 3” was premiered by the Lynn University Conservatory Orchestra in Coral Springs, Fl with Arthur Weisburg conducting and his “Chasin’ Bill” was performed by the University of Kansas New Music Ensemble. In the coming year, his “Pursuing the Emerald Scintillate” for alto sax, violin, and marimba, will be performed in Los Angeles, and a new commission for Chinese yanqin will be performed in Taiwan. He has also been featured on radio shows in Beijing, China, Boca Raton, FL, and two radio stations in Lawrence, KS. His music will be featured on three different CD releases in the coming year. He and his wife, composer Chihchun Chi-sun Lee are expecting their first child this December.

TONY K.T. LEUNG’s electroacoustic composition “When light first shone” was included in the “31st Festival Synthèse Bourges 2001” in June, hosted by the Institut International de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges. Tony writes, ‘All electroacoustic music composers, sound creators and soundsculptors internationally were invited to realize a specific work on a common theme. This year’s theme was “The creation of the world.” The following is a quote from the call for works: “It may be treated on a scale as large as possible since it is a topic universally treated at all times and in any culture. In these circumstances, you may either choose the event aspect, the scientific one, the historical one, the cultural one, the religious one, the philosophical one or decide to treat it like a concept, or a reality, or a fiction, or an imaginary. So a large kaleidoscope of pieces about the origins of the world such as the Man may imagine it at the beginning of the 3rd Millennium, will be constituted.” The creation passages have been on my mind especially this year, ever since I was asked by my Church to write some accompaniment to a narration about creation during Easter of 2000. It has led me to write a 14 minute work for Chinese Orchestra that explores the 7 days of creation.’ The following is Tony’s programme note for “When light first shone”: The focus of this piece is on the passage “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). Prior to this event, “the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Samples of thunder, string harmonics, pizzicati, crystal glasses, wind chimes, bowed crotales and vibraphone, are orchestrated to depict the interplay of light colors, reflections, and intensities on an earth that has never been lit.’

RUTH GRAY writes that she enjoyed the CFAMC conference at Westmont in January immensely, and has been meeting on a regular basis with fellow CFAMC member, Kelly Whitworth, who she met at the conference. The Women’s Choir from The Master’s College in Santa Clarita CA, performed Ruth’s piece, “No Thank You, John”, at their Spring Concert in May. The piece, with text by Christina Rossetti, is being published by Treble Clef Music Press.

Pieces by FRANK FELICE, PAT KAVANAUGH, and MARK HIJLEH were featured in a composition presentation to students and faculty of the MasterWorks Festival in Houghton NY in July. The three composers also participated in an audience-initiated dialogue on Christianity and new music.

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS

SANDRA GAY is organist at Webster Presbyterian Church and choral accompanist at Webster United Methodist Church in New York. Her training included composition studies with Samuel Adler at the Eastman School of Music. Sandra is also a member of the Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Composers (CPCC); her compositional activities can be viewed at www.under.org/cpcc/sgay.htm. Sandra can be reached at 1595 Plank Rd., Webster NY 14580, (716)671-0364, *protected email*.

PHILIP JOHNSTON writes, “With your permission, I’d like to become a member of CFAMC simply to express my support and affirmation of the principles you stand for. I am not a Christian art music composer by any means, but I AM a Christian physician strongly committed to transformational living out of my faith and to the nurture and performance – and therefore the encouragement of composition – of excellent Christian Art Music (CAM). I have devoted a considerable amount of my avocational life to appreciation and performance of CAM and have observed with dismay its insidious decline in the last decade. John Nelson’s effort with Soli Deo Gloria gave me cause for hope and your organization even more so. There are still “pockets” of us in the evangelical church who believe in the virtue of music which has both distinct artistic value and the unique stamp of an origin in the creative, grateful heart and mind of a person transformed and committed to Christ.” Dr. Johnston can be contacted at 7280 Whitehall Dr., Indianapolis IN 46256, *protected email*.

(N.B. – Praise the Lord for the encouragement of Christians like Dr. Johnston! We certainly welcome him warmly into CFAMC.)

FROM THE EDITOR

I must begin with a heartfelt apology for the lateness of this issue. I could make excuses, but I’ll spare myself the embarrassment! I will admit, however, that I have been having a tough time of it, personally, spiritually, and compositionally. There are no doubt some who would look at my life and exclaim “He’s got it made! A cushy, tenured college music job, a loving family, a supportive community, a steady (if thin and often little-noticed) string of new pieces and performances…” etc. However, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 5:12 NIV).” In other words, everything can seem hunky-dory on the outside, but inside the battle rages. And let me tell you, the unseen rulers, authorities, powers and spiritual forces have been relentlessly after me of late. We are citizens of two worlds (for now), and sooner or later there comes a time (maybe in cycles) when we are forced to stop and evaluate what we are doing as children of light. What things that I spend my time on really matter to the kingdom of Christ? More sobering still, am I (as C.S. Lewis might put it) becoming more fit for heaven? And is my compositional life merely a diverting add-on to my Christian walk, or is it an integral part of my life in Christ, my place in the Body? Out of my own ongoing struggle, let me simply encourage all of you not to avoid these difficult questions, but rather “by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Phil. 4:6).” Indeed, let us pray for one another, that we will “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of [us] (Phil. 3:12).” Dare I say, press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us as composers?


Spring 2001

In this Issue:

  • Regional and national conferences 2001-2002
  • New Members
  • News of Note: Activities of CFAMC composers
  • Peer Review: “Gethsemane”, by Ewan Clark; reviewed by Mark Hijleh
  • From the Editor

REGIONAL AND NATIONAL CONFERENCES 2001-2002

This year CFAMC has been focussed on two particular strategies for advancing our ministry: regional CFAMC conferences and appearances by CFAMC at various other music conferences. We began with a CFAMC booth at the College Music Society millennial conference in Toronto, followed immediately by a North Central meeting at Northwestern College in Iowa, both late in November (both of these events were reported in the last newsletter).

Our strategy continued with a Western regional conference hosted by Steve Butler at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California January 25-26, 2001. Some 15 CFAMC composers and spouses attended the event, which featured an appearance by film and video composer Kevin Manthei. Manthei’s credits include music for well-known computer game series, as well as an upcoming series for Nickelodeon television and a recently released feature film. A number of peer sharing sessions included live and taped music composed by participants. The conference concert featured music by Steve Butler, Walter Saul, Michael Sidney Timpson, Jan Mittelstaedt, Tony K.T. Lueng, Larry Mumford, and Larry Warkentin.

The latest regional conference took place February 9-10 at Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina, hosted by Mark Chambers. Presentations were given by Andy Sauerwein on C.S. Lewis, beauty, and truth; by Scott Robinson on some spiritual implications of the creative compositional act; and by Mark Hijleh on portions of his new book, “The Music of Jesus.” Particpants were also treated to a tour of one of the world’s most impressive collections of sacred art at nearby Bob Jones University. The conference ended with a concert of works by Scott Robbins, Frank Felice, Dwight Gustafson, Mark Hijleh, and Scott Robinson.

Finally, the Lord has blessed us further with opportunities to have CFAMC brochures and CDs available at the national Society of Composers Inc. conference in Syracuse, New York, and the SCI national student composers conference at Indiana University, both in March.

As with all our national conferences, the emphasis of regional conferences continues to be on Christian fellowship and the sharing of the “new song” God has given us. Many thanks go to Donald Wilson, regional events coordinator, for such a successful beginning to our regional efforts.

A Mid-central regional conference is planned for early in the fall, hosted by Frank Felice in Indianapolis, Indiana. The next national CFAMC conference has also been tentatively scheduled for the spring of 2002, with the same location and host. The Lord continues to bless our plans and efforts to spread the mission of CFAMC. Praise to Him!

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!

SARAH GEORGE, a student at Westmont College, can be reached at 5654 Terrace Drive, Rocklin CA 95765, 916-624-7231, *protected email*

RUTH GRAY can be contacted at 1950 Smokewood Court, Thousand Oaks CA 91362 805-493-5139, *protected email*.

LYNN JOB holds a DMA in composition from the University of North Texas, and currently serves there as staff member for concert and recital scheduling. Lynn is also the composer member of the board for the South Central chapter of the College Music Society, and director of Buckthorn Studios. Lynn can be reached at 516 W. Oak St., #22, Denton TX 76201-9070, (940)566-0315, *protected email*, http://buckthornstudios.com.

JOHN KELTONIC is a professional film and media composer. His credits include numerous programs for PBS, music for the Christian singing group GLAD, and commissions from the Atlanta and Oregon Symphonies. John’s contact information: JDK Music, *protected email*.

The following persons became new student members as part of their participation in the 2000 CFAMC Scholarship applications last fall. We apologize for not including them in the winter issue:

MATTHEW BRAZOFSKY, 44 Greenfield St., Tiffin OH 44883, (419)448-2774, *protected email*.

ELIZABETH CRAMER, W622 Danes Rd., New Holstein WI 53061, (920)898-4927, *protected email*.

JOANNA HASTINGS, 2338 Scarlett Walk, Stone Mountain GA 30087, (770)270-0724, *protected email*.

DAVID RIVAS, 692 SE 33rd Ct., Hillsboro OR 97123, (503)693-0922, *protected email*.

TIM TOLLEFSON, 830 Collett Ave., Apt. C, Terre Haute IN 47804, (812)466-7878, *protected email*.

NEWS OF NOTE: ACTIVITIES OF CFAMC COMPOSERS

JOHN AKINS’ multipercussion piece commissioned by the Missouri Music Teachers Association last fall, was performed at the Society of Composer’s Inc. national conference in Syracuse, NY at the end of March. The composer’s son, Christopher, was the soloist. John also represented CFAMC at the event by handing out brochures and CDs.

MARK HIJLEH’S new book “The Music of Jesus: From Composition to Koinonia” is now available for online purchase at Barnes and Noble (bn.com) and Amazon.com (the book is not available on any store shelves, but can be ordered by ISBN # 0-595-17259-8 at any bookstore).

LYNN JOB’S “Eulogy for St. John” for 12 trumpets was recently played by Christian performers at the University of Central Oklahoma.

In March The Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble premiered LANSING McLOSKEY’S “breake, blowe, burn” at I.U. Bloomington. The work is a setting of two of John Donne’s “Holy Sonnets” and Psalm 54 for SATB & 2 percussionists, and was commissioned by ASCAP & SCI. In February the vocal trio Liber unUsualis premiered McLoskey’s “Solsange” at 5pm, King’s Chapel, Boston. It was commissioned by King’s Chapel for the ensemble. In January The New Millennium Ensemble premiered McLoskey’s “Requiem, ver.2.001” in New York City and Chapel Hill, NC. It was commissioned by MATA for the ensemble, and is an instrumental “requiem for a millennium.” McLoskey’s “Non avra ma pieta…” for SATTBB was recently released on a Capstone Records CD of American choral music, “Cultivated Choruses.” Also included is a wonderful work by CFMAC member FRANK LaROCCA. February also saw the release of McLoskey’s “Theft” for solo piano on a Wergo Schallplatten CD entitled “60 Seconds.”

GREG PASCUZZI’S “Easter Prelude” was performed by the All Souls Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall, London, in March.

JOHN RICHARD’S “Sousarean Sections” was premiered at the Huntington College BandFest 2001 in March.

PEER REVIEW: “Gethsemane”, by Ewan Clark; reviewed by Mark Hijleh

“And going a little farther, he fell on his face and prayed, saying ‘O my Father if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as thou wilt (Matthew 26:39).’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven strengthening him. And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down on the ground (Luke 22:43-44).

“It was the night of the Jewish Passover feast, and a full moon shone over Jerusalem. Beyond the walls, a steep ravine separated the city from the Mount of Olives. Across the brook Kidron stood a secluded olive grove: a favorite meeting place of Jesus and his disciples, soon to become a meeting place of profound sorrow and love: a garden of tears known as Gethsemane.

“It was the night of the Last Supper shared by Jesus and his disciples on the eve of his sacrificial death, and the night of his eventual betrayal, arrest and trial. At the supper not long before, Jesus had put new significance on the symbolic Passover cup, saying of the wine ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’

“In the garden of Gethsemane, the bitter reality of this ‘cup’ slowly began to consume him, and anguish became almost more than he could bear. The urge he must have felt to flee is unfathomable, and the one motivation he had to stay and accept the task before him was his undying love for humanity.

“What can possibly express the mind-bewildering paradox that took place in that garden? Vulnerability, yet power; agony, yet beauty; brokenness, yet purity; imminent death, yet ultimate triumph; betrayal, yet love. If I have been enabled to even hint at these things in my music, and people are moved, then my hopes and prayers for this work have been fulfilled.

“What can I do now but give all worship and praise to this alive and ever-compassionate Messiah, who is the Author of all Creation; the very Giver of Life?”

Thus stands the preface to ‘Gethsemane’, an extraordinary new 11-minute work for four solo violins and string orchestra by 2001 CFAMC Scholarship winner Ewan Clark. And, indeed, the listener is not disappointed; the passion of this music reflects fully the passion of the composer’s words. But this is no quadruple concerto. In performance notes, Clark makes clear that “these are not solos in the usual sense of the word, i.e., a superior line accompanied by the orchestra. Rather, these four simply form a second musical element with an equal but different role to the rest of the orchestra…”. This is an important distinction, for it reveals a critical aspect of the composer’s mindset, a white-hot and slow-burning kind of passion rather than any flashy dazzle. One must be very patient to listen to Gethsemane. This is meant as a high compliment, for I believe that patience is one of the most virtuous characteristics of true art music.

The ‘two elements’ of which Clark speaks are the rich chords played by the full string group, coupled with the poignantly high harmonics and fingered notes of the four solos, all mildly pandiatonic within A natural minor. Indeed, the work is extraordinary in its complete lack of chromaticism, a feature which can also be seen in many works of the ‘Holy Minimalists’ Pärt, Tavener, and Gorecki, by whom Clark seems to have been influenced. And yet there is a kind of Romantic richness in the harmonic choices and scoring here that reminds one more of MacMillan than of Pärt, and identifies Clark with an earthiness not found in the cool ‘tintinabulatory’ sound of the latter. This seems theologically important to the Incarnational aspects of Clark’s communicative aim: Christ’s sufferings here are all too human. The subtle but powerful conflict between the two layers (solos and tutti) successfully conveys the programmatic elements of the piece.

The work unfolds at an agonizingly slow (and delicious) pace; each measure consumes six seconds, according to the composer’s metronome marks. A wide variety of metric divisions and syncopations within the six-four time signature are explored, and indeed, the music comes across as completely unmetered, lending it a ‘timelessness’ not unlike that of Messiaen. Clark builds the pandiatonic undulation to fever pitch quite late in the piece, which then ends with relatively uncomplicated (and blessed) relief. But it is still a relief tinged with the Cross yet to come. To his credit, Clark thus avoids the temptation to tie up too many loose ends dramatically. This is, after all, deeply theological music. Still, the choice to end with an open A-E tonic fifth in the entire ensemble, and in particular the way it resonates, seems just a bit too neat to my ears (the overtones tend to reinforce the unplayed C#). And I am left with a feeling of remorse that the post-Gethsemane Christ does not appear somehow changed (in Clark’s work) by his transcendent struggle. Clearly, the composer was faced with the ever-difficult musical choice of how to end such a dramatically and theologically focussed piece. Perhaps this merely points to the limitations our art has: at some point words, sounds, and images are simply not enough to convey the whole Truth. But we must try. Kudos to Ewan Clark for an impressive and moving piece. May he be filled with the Holy Spirit as he continues to offer the Lord (and us) more wonderful pieces far into the future.

FROM THE EDITOR

Last year during Lent and Holy Week, I did nothing to prepare myself for Easter celebration. As a result, I missed out completely on any special joy or meaningful word God would have given me. So this year, with the encouragement of my wife Kelley, I determined not to make the same mistake. While I am a bit ashamed to admit that I did nearly nothing to observe Lent this year, I can at least say that I took Holy Week much more seriously. And the Lord, as He is wont to do in these cases, provided my a truly blessed Easter weekend. One small example: I found myself sitting in a Maundy Thursday service with my wife and four-year-old daughter Hannah, after having spent the day shopping and (yes) buying a new car. We arrived a little late to the service. My mind was on the vast sum I had just agreed to pay for our new vehicle. Still, the Spirit got through. My daughter, sitting happy as a clam during the long and grave service, took little colored clips out of her hair, handed them to me and said, “Daddy, these are to remind you that Jesus loves you.” Such grace is profoundly unwarrented. Yet He rewards it freely to the least of our little efforts. In Jesus name, may we be conduits (musical and otherwise) through which such love may flow.

-Mark Hijleh


Winter 2001

In this Issue:

  • Ewan Clark named 2001 CFAMC scholarship winner
  • CFAMC intiaties regional meetings and nationwide poster
  • New Members
  • News of Note: Activities of CFAMC composers
  • A Note About CFAMC Finances
  • From the Editor

NEW ZEALANDER EWAN CLARK NAMED 2001 CFAMC SCHOLARSHIP WINNER

Ewan Clark, a student at Otago University and Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) is the recipient of the 2001 Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers Scholarship. The purpose of the annual award is to recognize and support Christian student composers who demonstrate both excellence in their Christian testimony and acheivement and potential in art music composition. Applicants for the 2001 scholarship also included talented students from music schools across the United States. The award of $500 will be used by Mr. Clark for study in composition during the 2001-2002 academic year. The judges included CFAMC president Mark Hijleh and composer George Arasimowicz, Dean of the Division of Arts, Media & Communications at Wheaton College (IL).

A native of Dunedin, New Zealand, Mr. Clark has studied composition with Peter Adams and Karen Knudson, and plans further study with Jack Body and Ross Harris. He will complete the Bachelor of Music degree at Victoria University of Wellington during the next year. Mr Clark is also a trombonist. One of his newest works, a piece for string orchestra and four solo violins entitled Gethsemane, was rehearsed and recorded on 27 November, 2000 by the Auckland Philharmonia, New Zealand’s leading regional orchestra. In speaking of his work as a composer, Mr. Clark says, “my goal in life is to use this medium to the best of my ability to glorify Christ. Surely as ambassadors of the all-powerful and all-creative God, Christians should be the people who are most likely to take art seriously, and whole-heartedly embrace quality and enduring power in whatever they do! I wish to develop a compositional method in which every aspect is justified by, and more importantly, born as a result of my Christian world view. I have not yet fully discovered the ways in which this will come about, but as yet, my ideals can be summed up by words such as purity, freshness, and accessibility. My belief in the necessity of freshness is based on a belief in the general need for true creativity, in imitation of the ultimate Creator. Creativity cannot possibly be true when it is merely a re-hashing of the creations of others by working within their pre-conceived frameworks. My belief in the importance of accessibility is justified by the attitude Christ himself displayed towards those to whom he wished to communicate. He took into account where the people were at, and built upon what they already knew, understood and valued. He built upon it, he didn’t merely repeat it, and he definitely didn’t ignore it, or contradict it for the sole purpose of being radical. It is my endeavour as a composer that the accurate judgement of this crucial balance between backward-glancing accessibility and forward-pushing freshness, combined with a conscious attempt at formal purity, will allow my music to move people towards a closer understanding of Christ himself. Without God’s help in this, however, all efforts of my own are in vain.”

CFAMC INITIATES REGIONAL MEETINGS AND NATIONWIDE POSTER

On Monday, 27 November 2000, the NorthCentral Chapter of the Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers held its inaugural meeting, hosted by Greg Scheer at Northwestern College in Iowa. This ground­breaking event marked the first­ever regional chapter meeting in the six­year history of CFAMC. Members present were Rick Harris, Mark Hijleh, Greg Scheer, Donald Wilson and Marc Wooldridge. One of the highlights of the meeting was the interaction of CFAMC members with Northwestern students at several events throughout the day, including two chapel talks (with original music) by Mark Hijleh, a panel dialogue between students and CFAMC attendees on the integration of art and faith, a presentation entitled “Compositional Excellence in an Unexamined Age” by Rick Harris, peer review sessions, and a unique event dubbed a “Coffee Chorale” in which choral works by CFAMC composers were read by local musicians at a nearby public coffee house. We eventually hope to have texts and music from this and other regional events posted to the CFAMC website for all to peruse.

This semester brings three more regional events. The first took place January 25-26 at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA, hosted by Steve Butler. The second will be February 9-10 in Greenville, SC, hosted by Mark Chambers. The third will take place in Indianapolis, IN March 23-24, hosted by Frank Felice. Members living in these regions have been (or will be) informed of registration procedures. We look forward to the fellowship these new regional conferences will add to our ministry! For any questions or comments on regional meetings contact Donald Wilson (*protected email*), coordinator of regional activities.

Finally, CFAMC is pleased to announce that we will be sending a new, beautifully designed poster advertising the fellowship to every college/conservatory music department in the United States. The poster was made possible by a generous grant from Houghton College. Please pray that this poster will speak boldly for our commitment to compositional excellence in Jesus Christ.

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!

JERRY CASEY can be contacted at 330 Lambourne Ave., Worthington OH 43085-2438, *protected email*.

HAROLD COWHERD is putting the finishing touches on his PhD degree in theory and composition at Michigan State University, and is also looking for a full-time, tenure-track college teaching position. He can be reached at E-409 Owen, Michigan State University, East Lansing MI 48825, *protected email*.

JENECE GERBER is a graduate student in composition, ethnomusicology, and voice at Bowling Green State University. She was winner of the 1995 National MTNA CPP/Belwin Student Composition Competition. Jenece can be contacted at 818 Second St. #A7, Bowling Green OH 43402, *protected email*.

FRANK LaROCCA (b. 1951, Newark, New Jersey) earned his B.A. in Music from Yale University, and the M.A. and Ph.D in composition from the University of California at Berkeley. The recipient of several awards including an NEA Composer’s Fellowship, a California Arts Council Artist’s Fellowship and a Young Composers’ Award from the ASCAP Foundation, Mr. LaRocca has been a leading figure in the San Francisco Bay Area new music scene as a founding member and Artistic Director of COMPOSERS, INC. as well as in his work as a composer and teacher. His music has been performed in major cities throughout the United States and in countries on six continents, recent performances having been heard in Japan, South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong, Austria, Italy and Colombia. Among the ensembles who have performed and commissioned works are the California Symphony, Marin Symphony, Redwood Symphony, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Indiana University Chamber Orchestra, Northern Illinois University Wind Ensemble and the Alexander String Quartet. Last March, “Strata” premiered his trio, IN THIS PLACE and the current season will see premieres of two new choral works, CREDO and IN THE BEGINNING, and a work for soprano and chamber orchestra, VENI SANCTE SPIRITUS. Capstone Records released a CD of EXAUDI in December 2000. He is published by Fallen Leaf Press and Right Road Music, and has been recorded on CRI (String Trio, Secret Thoughts), ME Digital Recordings (No Strings) Johnson Digital (No Strings), CRS (Canti d’Innocenza) and Capstone Records (Exaudi). Frank writes: “While my walk with Christ began only a short time ago, its impact on my work was immediate and profound. Since my 1998 choral work “Exaudi,” all my music has been settings of sacred texts or has been focussed on the contemplation of God’s grace and mercy. Like most composers, I have often thought about the significance (if any) of my work. Though all too often this question is still framed in terms of my own status as a composer in the world at large, I pray that I can more consistently keep the focus on Him from whom all creation and creativity flows.” He can be reached at 3136 Birdsall Ave., Oakland CA 94619, *protected email*, *protected email*, www.composersinc.org/flarocca.html.

LOUIS LYNCH is a harpist, pianist, and composer currently serving as music director and organist for Bethany United Methodist Church in Marysville, PA. He can be contacted at 515 Valley St., Marysville PA 17053, *protected email*.

MARK REAGAN is a Masters in composition student at Michigan State University who completed his undergraduate degree in composition at Taylor University in Indiana in 1996. He is currently a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Mark writes: “I have been disallusioned with the modernist turn that music has taken in this century. As Christians I feel we are to challenge the philosophies of the academy and to produce works consistent with our worldview that seek the honor of God. An organization such as yours is helpful in this endeavor.” He can be contacted at PO Box 6501, East Lansing MI 48826, *protected email*.

MICHAEL TIMPSON is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Southern California. He currently serves as assistant professor of music theory and composition at the University of Kansas, where he is director of the electronic music studio and and an associate of the Center for East Asian Studies. His music has won numerous prizes, including ASCAP and BMI awards, the Brian M. Israel Prize, the Lee Ettelson Composer’s Award, and NACUSA. Several of his works appear on recently released or planned CDs. Michael can be reached at 4007 Overland Dr., Lawrence KS 66049-4122, *protected email*.

WILLIAM VOLLINGER has had numerous works performed by the Greg Smith Singers and other New York-based choral groups. The Long Island Chamber Ensemble’s performance of his More than Conquerors (recorded on Grenadilla Records) was described by N.Y. Times music critic Howard Klein as “a thought-provoking and moving new vocal work…in the best tradition of inspirational music.” His music is published by Heritage Music Press, Lawson-Gould, and others. A graduate of the Manhatten School of Music, William is Director of Vocal Music at the Pocantico Hills School in Westchester NY, and can be reached at 21 Ruckman Rd., Woodcliff Lake NJ 07677, *protected email*

STEFAN WEISMAN can be reached at 438 West 52nd St., #5C, New York NY 10019, *protected email*.

NEWS OF NOTE: ACTIVITIES OF CFAMC COMPOSERS

The world premiere of STEVE PAXTON’S The Diary of Perpetua, a monodrama for mezzo-soprano, harp, percussion and electro-acoustic music was given on January 21, 2001 at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM. The work, which was commissioned by the new music ensemble 20th Century Unlimited and performed by ensemble members Janice Felty, mezzo-soprano, Giuseppina Ciarla, harp, and Gregg Koyle, percussion, is based on the writings of the third-century Christian martyr Perpetua.

LaFolia (an internet CD review site, www.lafolia.com) reviewer Steve Koenig had the following to say about SCOTT ROBINSON’S music: “[The Eaken Piano Trio disc, I’ll Be Home for the Holidays (Naxos 8.554714)] came to me because I am an admirer of the music of Pennsylvanian composer Scott Robinson, who has a fine ensemble Gypsophilia, and who I first met via a private tape of a moving work for string trio and chorus called The Stolen Child, based on folk ballads. Any chorus looking for accessible and rich work should seek the score. Here (his music) is represented by the fifteen­minute Great Was the Miracle, based on European Jewish folk melodies. It is another excellent piece in a conservative but far­from­vapid style.”

A NOTE ABOUT CFAMC FINANCES

CFAMC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit religious corporation. All contributions are fully tax-deductible as charitable gifts to the full extent of the law. During the fiscal year 2000, CFAMC received $2185 dollars in contributions, and spent $3239.11 on various projects, including our new CD, booths at two international conferences, and regional chapter development. (Don’t worry, we still have $2356 left in the bank!). The Board has made every effort to put our financial resources into the most important projects only, including the $500 CFAMC scholarship; most of CFAMC’s operations are conducted at the indirect expense of Board members or their affiliated institutions. All this is simply to say that we need your help! The members of the Board are prevented by law from contributing too large a portion of the CFAMC budget each year (no more than 10% over a 5-year period); the majority must come from members and other contributors. Please consider contributing more than the minimum amount to CFAMC this year. This ministry offers an opportunity for all of us to help build God’s kingdom in a completely unique way. Thank you for being part of this fellowship in Jesus, and for your prayers and continued support.

FROM THE EDITOR

Well, I am back to teaching after a wonderful sabbatical during the academic semester last fall. Sadly, this means that I do not have as much leisure to do certain cool things, like sit around and think up CFAMC initiatives, compose when I want to, or watch political intrigues unfold on CNN (ha!). But, on the positive side, I have been given the privilege (and I do not mean that facetiously) of grappling with my students, my colleagues, and the demands of my teaching institution once again. There is something very “right” about sacrificing some freedom for the opportunity to serve in a community, especially when it is a Christian community. To put it bluntly, I used to live in fear of “losing my edge” compositionally because of responsibilities to my job, my family, and my community. I had a composer friend who used to point out that the “great” composers usually had none of those things “holding them back” or “sapping their strength and creativity.” But, miraculously, I have found that the Lord provides more opportunity and inspiration than ever before. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it (Matt. 16:25 NIV).” Thank heavens – it is Jesus Himself who is to be in control of the “success” of our compositional activities, opportunities, and outcomes. We can take Him at His Word on that.

-Mark Hijleh