Connecting (program notes)
I am so excited about this upcoming concert. The music, the musicians, and all the many connections that are found between each of us and the music. It seemed especially appropriate to give the concert the title “Building Bridges”, but even more so when I came across Jessica Spina’s amazing photo of the Bluewater Bridge(s).
[First connection: our clarinetist, Greg Young, and I both originate from the same hometown (Sarnia) where these bridges connect Canada to the USA.]
This concert, built upon the theme of bridges, celebrates connections. The connections are numerous, bridging continents and cultures, old and new friends, past and present, performers and composers, performers and listeners.
Maybe you are interested in knowing how this concert came to be?
In the winter of 2017, I was on a concert tour in the US with soprano, Laura Loge. One of our concerts and master classes was in Bozeman, Montana at Montana State University where my old friend Greg and his wife, Elizabeth are both music professors. They hosted me in their home and we took up our friendship again after several years of not seeing each other. It was during this visit, that we began to hatch the plan to perform together again. Last time Greg and I collaborated was in a government-sponsored-quartet-as-student-summer-job. And now, of course, the extra bonus is to make music with Elizabeth as well!
By the way...how’s this for a cool connection? Greg studied piano as a kid with my mom, and I studied harmony with Greg’s dad. I might add that Greg’s dad was a brilliant harmony teacher, and what I learned from him completely changed the way I understood music.
In the meantime, as the program ideas started to take form, I had met a wonderful musician and new friend here in Denmark, flutist, Sofia Kayaya. We had played through the Poulenc Sonate and collaborated in preparing some of our students. We found it easy and fun to play together, so I asked Sofia if she would like to be a part of this concert as well. How fantastic that she agreed!
So - if it interests you to read further - here, in no particular order, is more info on the music we will be performing, and a bit about all the groovy connections that I find pretty thrilling.
Pavane for voice, flute, clarinet and piano (arr. G. Young)🇨🇦🇺🇸🇫🇷 Gabriel Fauré
[Greg's idea: I arranged this beautiful piece for all four of us.]
The Lake Isle of Innisfree (soprano, clarinet and piano)🇮🇪🇨🇦🇬🇧 David Young
[The beautiful poem of W.B. Yeats was set by Greg’s late father, and my harmony teacher. I feel pretty connected to this poem from my days as pianist for the St. Mary’s Children’s Choir. One of their signature pieces was Eleanor Daley’s gorgeous setting.]
Lualåt/the Herder’s Song (arr. S Mogensen) Edvard Grieg
[I recorded this piano piece on my first CD, then arranged it for oboe, basson, and piano, and now have rearranged it for this occasion. There always has to be some Grieg somewhere.]
Folksong for Flute and Piano🇨🇦🇺🇸🇱🇻 Dace Aperane
[Dace Aperane has been important in my career, through her organizing of gatherings of young Latvian musicians at music camps that I have attended, both in Mt. Orford, Quebec, and in Sigulda, Latvia.]
“Lullaby of the Woman of the Mountain”🇱🇻🇨🇦 Imant Raminsh
“Silhouette” from Shadow of the Blues🇺🇸 John Musto
[A set of poignant songs by two composers: one American and one Canadian, performed by an American singer and a Canadian pianist. “Litany” is one of my all time favourite songs. Raminsh is also a Latvian-Canadian.]
Improvisation #5🇨🇦 Keenan Reimer-Watts
[Keenan was born in 1992, the same year as my late son. This incredibly gifted young musician and composer was studying at Wilfrid Laurier University when I taught there, and I would often come upon him practising/jamming when I arrived in my classroom. This solo piece is an homage to my favourite pianist, Keith Jarrett.]
Divertimento🇨🇦🇱🇻 Talivaldis Kenins
[Talivaldis Kenins’ music has been important in my life: I performed his Sonate for piano on my undergrad final recital, I premiered his Little Concerto on tour in the US, and I was part of a celebration concert for the Latvian Concert Association in Toronto honouring his seventieth birthday. This piece was a particular milestone for Greg, as well: the first time he performed it, at age 18, was the first time he engaged a professional pianist with whom to collaborate. Kenins is one of three Latvian-Canadian composers featured in this concert...a way to celebrate my mother’s heritage.]
From Three American Miniatures🇬🇧🇺🇸 John Rutter
[Bringing two wind players together from either side of the Atlantic is appropriate for these engaging pieces written by an English composer in American musical styles. By the way, I had a life-changing experience singing the B minor Mass under Rutter’s direction...a full week of rehearsal that led to a performance and Master’s degree credit.]
“Fur” from Cabaret Songs🇺🇸 William Bolcom
“Perfect You” from Six of One🇺🇸 Paul Loessel & Scott Burkell
“Another Reason I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House”🇺🇸 Thomas Cipullo
[This set of hilarious and captivating American songs shows Elizabeth and (Sandra) Elizabeth having fun in their element.]
So, if you still want to know more....here is some info on each of THE PERFORMERS...thanks for reading!
ELIZABETH CROY Soprano
As Professor of Music at Montana State University in Bozeman, Ms. Croy teaches voice, vocal pedagogy and diction. She received her Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music degrees from the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she studied with Barbara Doscher. Ms. Croy is a frequent soprano soloist with Montana orchestras and has sung several roles with the Intermountain Opera. Elizabeth Croy is equally at home performing both classical song, oratorio, opera and music in popular styles. Elizabeth’s first CD, Moon's Ending: Art Song of the Twentieth Century was praised for "...a performance here that is nothing short of ravishing. Both the timbre of her voice and the assurance of her delivery bring to mind the best work of Dawn Upshaw...".
GREG YOUNG clarinet
Gregory Young is a Music Professor at Montana State University and has served as Vice Provost, Assistant Dean, and Director of the School of Music. Currently clarinetist with the Intermountain Opera and Bozeman Symphony Orchestras, he received a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Western Ontario, and master's and doctoral degrees in music from the University of Michigan. Greg has taught at the University of Prince Edward Island, Memorial University of Newfoundland, the University of Western Ontario, and has lectured or performed on five continents. As clarinet soloist and composer, he toured Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand with the MSU Symphony in 2009. His book, “Creative Inquiry in the Arts & Humanities: Models of Undergraduate Research”, was published in 2011.
SOFIA KAYAYA flute
Sofia Kayaya studied flute at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen and the Sibelius Academy in Finland, where she also studied pedagogy. She has performed and taught in Denmark, Finland and Taiwan. Sofia speaks of these opportunities that “have given me the experience of, no matter what the cultural differences and conditions of life are, musical training is a way to open new roads for understanding among people, as well as stretching limits within oneself”. As a musician, Sofia plays solo and in various chamber music groups and ensembles, both traditional classical music, as well as contemporary music of young composers who use the flute in original and experimental ways.
SANDRA ELIZABETH MOGENSEN piano
Danish-Latvian-Canadian pianist Sandra Mogensen has played in concert as soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist in Canada, the US, Denmark, Latvia, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Holland, and Austria. Sandra is also known as a vocal coach and piano pedagogue. With a specialty in the music of Edvard Grieg, Sandra has so far released four CD recordings of the great Norwegian composer. Ms. Mogensen studied at the University of Western Ontario, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Royal Danish Academy of Music and Westminster Choir College. Sandra is interested in recent and living composers, jazz and improvisation. As a concert presenter, Sandra likes to reinvent and reinvigorate the recital format so as to enrich the listener’s experience of connection and meaning.