I have just returned to Cyprus from New York, where I had the great pleasure of attending the premiere of my new work Bard Tales.
Bard Tales is a work in progress that will eventually become an anthology of self-contained, short pieces inspired by European folk tales.
Bard Tales is a work in progress that will eventually become an anthology of self-contained, short pieces inspired by European folk tales. Each volume will be based on a different set of legends and folk stories, from a different European region. The anthology is not meant to be played as a whole, and the pieces can be played in any order.
The first volume, written for flute and guitar, consists of eleven pieces and is inspired by the Greek legend of the Kallikantzaroi. In Greek folklore, the Kallikantzaroi represent a particular race of goblins that dwell underground, constantly attempting to chop down the Tree of Life that holds the world together. However, just when they are about to saw the final part, Christmas dawns and they are able to come to the surface. They immediately forget
the tree and rise from their lairs to bring twelve days of trouble to mortals.
Three of the eleven pieces were premiered at the concert: II. Destroying the Kitchen, a fast, twelve-tone inspired composition that aims to musically depict the mischievous chaos created by the little goblins; III. The Tree of Life, a slow, lyric piece representing the timelessness associated with the archetypal symbol of the tree; and IV. Circular Dance, a folk-style dance composition.
The three pieces employ dissimilar writing styles and aesthetics, and, with the notable exception of the Circular Dance, are not based on Cypriot folk music idioms.
The work was commissioned and performed by two good friends and exceptionally talented musicians, Joseph Douglass and Lauren Scanio.
The work was commissioned and performed by two good friends and exceptionally talented musicians, Joseph Douglass and Lauren Scanio. I thank them both dearly for believing in my music and for their very hard work. Once the full volume is complete, we are planning on recording the work.
American guitarist and teacher Joseph Douglass began his early formal studies at the Juilliard Pre-College with Tali Roth. From there he went on to finish a Bachelor of Music degree at Manhattan School of Music while working with the esteemed pedagogue David Leisner.
As a performer, Joseph has played in masterclasses for numerous award-winning artists such as Marcin Dylla, Oscar Ghillia, and Sharon Isbin. Currently, he collaborates with Lauren Scanio in their newly founded the Third Rail Flute and Guitar Duo. Together, they perform all over New York City, playing music ranging in style from Dowland to Satie.
A recipient of the Joseph M. Smith Scholarship for Musical and Academic Excellence for the duration of his university studies, Joseph is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree with David Starobin at Manhattan School of Music
Flutist Lauren Scanio is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School as a student of Robert Langevin. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Michael Parloff.
Lauren’s orchestral experience has included performances with the Juilliard Orchestra, Manhattan School of Music Symphony, Montclair Orchestra, and New York Youth Symphony. She has also substituted with the New World Symphony in Miami and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and been a fellow with the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado.
An avid recitalist, Lauren’s concerts have explored an adventurously eclectic range of repertoire from baroque to contemporary at such venues as MSM’s Greenfield Hall, the Twentieth Century Club in Buffalo, New York, and the Hochstein School of Music and Dance in Rochester, New York. As a member of the Third Rail duo with guitarist Joseph Douglass, she presents monthly recitals on the Sunday Afternoon Classical series at the Morgan Library and Museum.
Hailing from Buffalo, New York, Lauren Scanio concertizes frequently in her home community. She has appeared as soloist in the Chaminade Concertino for Flute and Orchestra with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Lowell Liebermann Flute Concerto with the Clarence Wind Ensemble, and the Mozart Concerto in G Major, K. 313, with the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra.
The concert also featured two other world premieres by Christine Elise Chen and Milad Yousufi.
Christine Elise Chen is a New York-based artist whose chosen media include concert music, poetry/fiction/prose, immersive electronics/installation work, performance art, fixed media, zines, and more. In addition to having her works performed internationally, she has performed internationally as a singer, with a focus on contemporary and early music, especially the music of J. S. Bach.
Her beautiful work, Dream Landscapes for Guitar, began, according to the composer, as a somewhat abstract exploration of the rich yet grim feasts represented in the still life paintings of a little known and underrated Flemish artist Clara Peeters, born in 1594. The music quickly took on a dreamy character at odds with Peeters’s matter-of-fact paintings.
Christine and I are both alumni of the Manhattan School of Music and studied with the same composition professor, Dr. J. Mark Stambaugh.
Christine and I are both alumni of the Manhattan School of Music and studied with the same composition professor, Dr. J. Mark Stambaugh. It was a great joy to see her again and to have our music played at the same concert.
Milad Yousufi is a pianist, composer, conductor, poet, singer, painter, and calligrapher. Yousufi’s work is deeply inspired by his country and culture. His work Grace was inspired by his homeland, Afghanistan. He currently studies piano performance at the Mannes School of Music.
The concert was a great success, and I was very happy to see many familiar faces.
The concert was a great success, and I was very happy to see many familiar faces. I would like to thank all of my good friends, colleagues, and students who came to support us. Your presence meant a lot me.
I would also like to add that we were honored to have some very important guests attend our concert including Dr. J. Mark Stambaugh, my beloved mentor and Chair of Composition at Manhattan School of Music; and renowned composer, academic, and friend Dr. David Noon.