Michael Laurello is an American composer and pianist. He has collaborated with ensembles and soloists such as Sō Percussion, the Nashville Symphony, the Yale Philharmonia, Sandbox Percussion, the Yale Percussion Group, the 15.19 Ensemble, NotaRiotous/The Boston Microtonal Society, guitarist Flavio Virzì, soprano Sarah Pelletier, pianist/composer John McDonald, and clarinetist and linguist/music theorist Ray Jackendoff. His music has been performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the 2015 National Conference of the Society of Composers, Inc.
Laurello studied composition at Yale, where he received the Woods Chandler Memorial Prize. He holds an M.A. in composition from Tufts University, and a B.Mus. in music synthesis from Berklee College of Music. His primary composition teachers have included David Lang, Martin Bresnick, Christopher Theofanidis, and John McDonald. Professional honors include First Prize in the ShoutHouse Call for Scores (2015), selection for the Society for Composers, Inc. 50th Anniversary National Conference (2015), participation in the 2015 Nashville Symphony Composer Lab and Workshop, participation in the 2015 EarShot Berkeley Symphony Readings, a Baumgardner Fellowship and commission from the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival's Chamber Choir and Choral Conducting Workshop (2015), a commission from the American Composers Forum (2014), and an Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation (2012). He has attended the highSCORE (Pavia, Italy) and Etchings (Auvillar, France) composition festivals, and was a composition fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival.close
RICHARD LAVENDA composes music that is sometimes boldly dramatic and sometimes poignantly lyrical, but always emotionally expressive and formally coherent. No matter what the piece, there are always clearly defined motives, an imaginative and personal use of instrumental color and melodic counterpoint, and strong rhythmic energy that comes as much from jazz and rock and roll as from his classical role models. His catalog of more than sixty works ranges from works for solo flute to an opera, and includes numerous pieces for orchestra and for a wide diversity of chamber ensembles.
Lavenda's music has been commissioned, performed and recorded by, among many others, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Musica Nova/Tel Aviv, the Slovak Radio Orchestra, the Diotima, Chiara, Enso, T'Ang, and Sun String Quartets, ZAWA!, Project Trio, the Concordia Trio, and the New Israeli Vocal Ensemble. [He has been a featured composer on many campuses and concert series around the United States, at festivals and concerts in Israel, South Korea, Germany, the Czech Republic, Australia, Ukraine, Finland, and Slovenia, and on programs at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.] He has received awards and grants from organizations such including the National Opera Association, the Houston Arts Alliance, the Vaughn Family Foundation, the Miazawa Flute Company, and Da Camera of Houston.
A native of New Jersey, Lavenda received degrees from Dartmouth College, Rice University, and the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty of the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University in 1987, where he is Professor of Composition and Theory.
Sang-Hie Lee, the founder of Ars Nostra, an artistic concept promoting music by colleagues and contemporaries, is featured in recording labels Ravello, Centaur, Albany, and Capstone. A Professor of Music at the University of South Florida, she holds degrees from Ewha Womans University, American Conservatory of Music,University of Georgia, and the University of Michigan.close
LEONARD LEHRMAN (b. 1949) (ASCAP, GEMA), former Critic-at-Large of The New Music Connoisseur, Associate Editor of Opera Monthly, Editor of Opera Today, and Assistant Chorus Master of the Metropolitan Opera, founded the Jewish Music Theater of Berlin and the Metropolitan Philharmonic Chorus, and is the composer of 226 works to date, including 11 operas (4 based on works of Russian literature), 7 musicals, 79 individual instrumental pieces, 90 for chorus, and 255 for solo voice, as well as 64 translations (from French, German, Hebrew, Yiddish, and especially Russian – including the operas Женитьба, Жизнь за царя, and Русалка) and 18 adaptations. He has degrees from Harvard College (B.A. cum laude 1971 in Music) where his teachers included Earl Kim and Leon Kirchner, Cornell University (M.F.A. 1975 & D.M.A. 1977 in Music Composition) where he studied with Robert Palmer and Karel Husa, and Long Island University (M.S. in Library Science, 1995), with additional course work in Fontainebleau, Paris, Salzburg, Ghent, and Indiana – where his teachers included Donald Erb, John Eaton, and Tibor Kozma.
He has taught at Cornell, Empire State College, and HUC-JIR in New York and worked privately with Elie Siegmeister, Nadia Boulanger, and Leonard Bernstein. Since 1995 he has been a Reference Librarian at Oyster Bay-East Norwich Public Library; since 2014 Music Director/Composer-in-Residence at Christ Lutheran Church in Rosedale, NY and High Holidays Music Director at the Metropolitan Synagogue in Manhattan. He was among the youngest delegates at the 1971 International Music Congress in Moscow and the oldest at the Moscow Youth Festival of 1985. He and his wife, soprano Helene Williams, have performed in 600 concerts on 4 continents, and 2,300 YouTube videos, watched by over 200,000 viewers. They made their Belarus debut in June 2016 at concerts in Minsk, Bobruisk and Vitebsk, leading up to the July recording sessions for this album in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Lehrman's mother, Emily R. Lehrman (Mar. 1, 1923-Jan. 13, 2015), with whom he often collaborated, was a native Russian speaker, scholar (writing her 1947 Columbia M.A. thesis under Roman Jakobson on Pushkin in Soviet Criticism), teacher, and translator in her own right (for Solomon Mikhoels and Russian War Relief throughout New England in 1943; of Natalya Baranskaya’s Неделя как неделя, Massachusetts Review, 15:4, 1974; and Dmitri Nagishkin's Folktales of the Amur, Abrams, 1980). This album is dedicated to her memory.
Lehrman’s association with Mandelbaum dates from the 1970s and the latter’s guest lecture on microtonality in a class led by William Austin at Cornell. In the 1980s, Lehrman programmed Mandelbaum’'s music at Berlin’s Amerikahaus, and Mandelbaum programmed Lehrman’s music at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. In 1991-98, as the first President of The Long Island Composers Alliance, Lehrman brought Mandelbaum into the organization, leading to numerous collaborations in the NY area, including definitive performances of Lehrman's Prelude: Bloody Kansas by an orchestra conducted by Mandelbaum, and of Mandelbaum's Millay setting Love Is Not All by Helene Williams, accompanied by Lehrman.
John K. Leupold, II is an Annapolis, MD based composer and percussionist whose music combines a wide variety of influences including popular music and world music with a deep grounding in classical forms and traditions. His music often centers on rhythm and utilizes elements of minimalist textures. While often not explicitly stated, Leupold's works often communicate a narrative left up to the listener to decifer. The Washington Post described his music as "an imaginative exploration of instrumental timbres and ranges impelled by repetitive melodic figures." His works have been performed by such groups as Inscape Chamber Orchestra, the Left Bank Quartet, and Capital Reeds.
Leupold received undergraduate and masters degrees in percussion performance and music theory/composition from Appalachian State University. He completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts under the instruction of Dr. James Fry and the University of Maryland, College Park. Leupold is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at Washington College in Chestertown, MD where he teaching music theory, composition, percussion, and directs Steel Revolution, the Washington College Steel Band. More information can be found at www.johnleupold.com.
David Liptak's music has been described as "luminous and arresting," "richly atmospheric," and having "transparent textures, incisive rhythms, shimmering lightness." His compositions have been performed throughout the world, and recordings of his music are found on the Bridge, Albany, Centaur, Opus One, Crystal, Gasparo, Ravello, and other labels. His recognitions incude the Elise L. Stoeger Prize, given by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, and commissions from the Fromm and Koussevitzky Foundations and the Barlow Endowment. Much of his music written very recently has explored the poetry and magical quality of stars and starlight, imagined and real. Liptak is Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music, where he has taught since 1986.
Composer & Guitaristview work
"I was born in Chicago in 1954 and began to play guitar at age 12, and later studying composition at Roosevelt University. In 1975, I began graduate study at the University of Iowa, where I earned a Ph.D, then moved to the Twin Cities in 1979 to teach at the University of Minnesota. Except for some extended travels, Iíve lived in Minnesota ever since.
I had two wonderful guitar teachers, Don Smith and Donald Stark, both of whom encouraged creativity, improvisation, and exploration of many styles. However, I worked with each only briefly, and am mostly self-taught as a performer, which provides an interesting contrast and combination with my many years of formal composition study.
"My career path has been a gradual transformation from ìcomposer,î writing in a variety of media, mostly for others, to 'composer-performer,' focusing on steel-string acoustic guitar and other fretted instruments, both as soloist and collaborator. To the best of my knowledge, Iím one of only a handful of classically-trained composers who write for and perform on steel-string acoustic guitar (as opposed to nylon-string ìclassical guitarî). My style is deeply wedded to both the unique potentials of the steel-stringed instrument, especially with regard to tone colors, and its heritage and stylistic affinities in the blues and Eastern musics. I think youíll find in the music a folk-like preference for melody and color over counterpoint. I like drones, too, but occasion -ally passages of some harmonic intricacy make an appearance, these borne of my love of jazz.
"My frequent collaborating artists include Swiss free jazz pianist, Guerino Mazzola, Serbian classical guitarist, Maja Radovanlija (both U of M colleagues), dancer/choreographer (and Jewish/Israeli dance scholar), Judith Brin Ingber, and my wife, taiko drummer and composer, Iris Shiraishi. My compositions range from through-composed and traditionally notated works (as on this album) to free improvisations. Some of my most recent pieces have been co-composed with the above collaborators.
"Growing up in Chicago remains the most formative influence on my musical development. There was no better city in the world to hear symphonic music and the blues. It was also wonderful for experiencing jazz and world music. Rock and folk were especially important in the Windy City, an epicenter of the civil rights and peace movements. All these influences are evident on SPECTRAL BLUES."