Dates Apr. 30, 2017, 4:00PM CANCELED SOLD OUT
Street Address Bates Recital Hall

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Two bassoon players in UT Wind Ensemble
 

Program

Casey Martin
Ashen Skies of a Timeworn World

Omar Thomas
Of Our New Day Begun
Lance Sample, guest conductor

Intermission

David Maslanka

Symphony No. 8

Jerry Junkin, director


 

Ashen Skies for a Timeworn World
 

Born: 1989
Composed: 2017
World Premiere Performance

Casey Martin is a native of Long Beach, California and is currently living in Austin, Texas. His compositional output spans a wide variety of genres and mediums, including chamber music, large ensemble concert music, fixed media electronic music, short film scores, and music for table-top RPG's. Recent commissions include his Symphony No. 1 Ocean by True Brass Choir and his trumpet septet The Autonomy of Machines by Professor Ray Sasaki for the UT Austin trumpet studio. In June 2015 his Symphony No. 1 was premiered by True Brass in the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific for the largest crowd recorded in the aquarium's history. Casey was selected to attend Brevard Music Center in the summer of 2015 to study with composers Robert Aldridge and David Dzubay. In March 2017 his septet The Autonomy of Machines was performed in competition at the National Trumpet Competition by the UT Trumpet Ensemble.

The composer writes:

I've always had this strange fascination with the mortality of the universe. While the Earth will likely be absorbed by the expanding red giant that our sun will become in 5 billion years, the end of life is a bit more ambiguous. Assuming humanity, or whatever we might have evolved into, doesn't make it to the death of the sun, we might succumb to celestial events (asteroids, Near-Earth supernovas, etc.), the increasing luminosity of the sun causing the extinction of plant life, or climate-related events (human-caused or otherwise). Lately, however, it seems increasingly likely to me that humanity will be its own undoing. Technology continues to evolve and allow for increasingly powerful means of mass destruction, while many nations still seem to be at strife internally or with one another.

Ashen Skies of a Timeworn World depicts a dystopian future that has already been ravaged by human conflict. The first part of the piece, titled "Desolation," opens with a solo trumpet introducing the haunting "ashen skies" theme. The music that follows paints a solemn and sorrowful Earth on its last legs. All hell breaks loose during the second half of the piece, aptly titled "War Machines." Brass and percussion herald the end time, melting faces with intense and drivingly rhythmic music. A glimmer of humanity's perseverance for survival shines through towards the end, but inevitably the world crumbles with destruction.

Of Our New Day Begun


Omar Thomas
Born: 1984
Composed: 2016
Duration: 11 minutes

Hailed by Herbie Hancock as showing “great promise as a new voice in the further development of jazz in the future,” educator, arranger, trombonist, and award-winning composer Omar Thomas has created music extensively in the contemporary jazz ensemble idiom. It was while completing his Master of Music Degree that he was appointed the position of Assistant Professor of Harmony at Berklee College of Music at the surprisingly young age of 23. He was awarded the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award in 2008, and invited by the ASCAP Association to perform his music in their highly exclusive JaZzCap Showcase, held in New York City. In 2012, Omar was named the Boston Music Award‘s “Jazz Artist of the Year.”

“Of Our New Day Begun” was written by Omar Thomas to honor the nine beautiful souls who lost their lives to a callous act of hatred and domestic terrorism on the evening of June 17, 2015 while worshiping in their beloved sanctuary, the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (affectionately referred to as “Mother Emanuel”) in Charleston, South Carolina. The piece was commissioned by a consortium of 38 wind ensembles nationwide, led by Western Kentucky University.

The composer writes:

My greatest challenge in creating this work was walking the line between reverence for the victims and their families, and honoring my strong, bitter feelings towards both the perpetrator and the segments of our society that continue to create people like him. I realized that the most powerful musical expression I could offer incorporated elements from both sides of that line – embracing my pain and anger while being moved by the displays of grace and forgiveness demonstrated by the victims’ families.
 

Symphony No. 8

David Maslanka
Born: 1943
Composed: 2008
Duration: 42 minutes

A native of New Bedford, Massachusetts, David Maslanka attended the Oberlin College Conservatory where he studied composition with Joseph Wood. He spent a year at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and did graduate work in composition at Michigan State University with H. Owen Reed.

Maslanka's works for winds and percussion have become especially well known. They include among others, A Child's Garden of Dreams for Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Concerto for Piano, Winds and Percussion, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th symphonies, Mass for soloists, chorus, boys chorus, wind orchestra and organ, and the two Wind Quintets. Percussion works include, Variations of Lost Love and My Lady White: for solo marimba, and three ensemble works: Arcadia II: Concerto for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble, Crown of Thorns, and Montana Music: Three Dances for Percussion. In addition, he has written a wide variety of chamber, orchestral, and choral pieces.

The composer writes:

Symphony No.8 is in three distinct movements, but the musical layout suggests a single large-scale panoramic vista. I began the process for this symphony with meditation, and was shown scenes of widespread devastation. But this music is not about the surface of our world problems. It is a response to a much deeper vital creative flow which is forcefully at work, and which will carry us through our age of crisis. This music is a celebration of life. It is about new life, continuity from the past to the future, great hope, great faith, joy, ecstatic vision, and fierce determination.

The old is continually present in the new. The first movement touches the Gloria from my Mass: Glory to God in the Highest, whatever that may mean to you: the power of the universe made manifest to us and through us.

The second movement is a large fantasia on the old Lutheran chorale melody Jesu meine Freude (Jesus my Joy). The life of Christ is one powerful image of the high creative: being willing to be broken to receive the new, giving oneself up entirely so that a new idea can be born. The old form of the organ chorale prelude underlies this movement- new language out of the old.

The third movement is music of praise and gratitude for all that is. It can be traced to the very end of the favorite old hymn tune All Creatures of Our God and King- the part with the joyous descending major scale where all the bells ring out. I recently used this tune for a set of variations in a piece called Unending Stream of Life, a name which could also be a fitting subtitle for this new symphony.