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Compositions by Anna Rubin, Assistant Professor of Composition, Featured in Remembering, Wednesday, April 28, 8:15 p.m., in Finney Chapel, Concert Dedicated to the Victims of World War II and the Kosovo Crisis

Story and photos by Linda Shockley

PROGRAM:

CRYING THE LAUGHING AND GOLDEN (tape)

SEACHANGES (1996)
for viola da gamba and tape
Loren Ludwig, viola da gamba

FAMILY STORIES: SOPHIE, SALLY (1998)
for computer-generated tape and still life co-composed by Anna Rubin and Laurie Hollander, with text by Anna Rubin

REMEMBERING
for mezzo soprano (or soprano), piano and tape (1989, rev. 1993)
Lorraine Manz, mezzo soprano and Andrew Hisey, piano

Interspersed among Rubin's compositions, poet Marci Janas will read her own poetry and the work of Ohio-based poet Bruce Weigl.

RELATED STORIES

Con Portrait: Anna Rubin
(includes audio clips)

Composer Anna Rubin and senior Loren Ludwig rehearse Seachanges for Wednesday's concert.
"My mother has lived 87 years of this century and on her face and hands are a flock of wrinkles as soft as feathers to the touch…" So begins Family Stories: Sophie, Sally (1998) for computer-generated tape and still life, co-composed by Anna Rubin, assistant professor of composition. The piece is one of four Rubin compositions that feature tape, live performances by student and faculty musicians, and poetry readings. The performance is slated for Wednesday, April 28, 8:15 p.m., in Finney Chapel. The concert is dedicated to the victims of World War II and the Kosovo Crisis. It is free and open to the public.

Rubin joined the Conservatory faculty last fall. Her works for computer-generated tape, instruments and voice, often draw their lyrical and dramatic power from the voice. Whether sung, spoken or cried, whether instrumental or electro-acoustic, her works explore extremes of the human condition: a father's nightmares, starvation in the Arctic, the horror of the Holocaust.

Other pieces on Wednesday's program include Crying the Laughing and Golden (tape), Seachanges (viola da gamba and tape), and Remembering (for mezzo soprano, piano and tape). Featured

Lorraine Manz will be a featured performer with Andrew Hisey on Remembering.
Conservatory musicians include Andrew Hisey, assistant professor of class piano and pedagogy (on piano), Loren Ludwig, senior from Amherst, Mass. (on viola da gamba) and Lorraine Manz, associate professor of singing.

Manz describes Remembering, "This is an interaction among tape, piano and voice. It's a vocalization that evokes distant memories, pain, humanity and at the same time, transcendence. Part of Remembering is an affirmation of life, and part of it - the 'Kaddish,' the Jewish prayer for the dead - is an affirmation of God.

Interspersed among Rubin's compositions, poet Marci Janas, staff writer with the Office of College Relations, will read her own poetry and the work of Ohio-based poet Bruce Weigl.

Janas describes her participation. "When Anna Rubin told me that she was dedicating her concert to the victims of the Kosovo crisis, and that she wanted the program to include poetry, I signed on immediately. I'm honored to be part of this event. Although I believe in the power of language--especially poetic language-- I have felt overwhelmingly lost for words in the face of what is going on in the world right now. To state the obvious, while we are going about the business of living our daily lives, people are dying at the hands of other people--not only in Kosovo but at Columbine High. This is why Anna's concert is important, and I hope that it is the beginning of action for the Oberlin community of musicians, artists, writers and performers, that we might combine our voices and our gestures and our ideas, that we might draw attention in a heightened way to what threatens to render us speechless. The poet Denise Levertov once said that reverence for life must be so for all people, not only for poets. I believe this. All of our voices are needed right now."

RUBIN'S PROGRAM NOTES FOR REMEMBERING:

CRYING THE LAUGHING AND GOLDEN (tape)

This piece was created in the analog studios of the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam, Holland, during my studies with Dutch composer Ton de Leeuw in 1982-83. While the work is composed of both concrete and synthesized materials, most of the sonic material is derived from the fragmentary sounds of a woman laughing and whispering, and manipulated through a variety of studio techniques including multi-layering, filtering, manipulation of tape speed, and distortion. The work is a sonic journey into a woman's unconscious, evoking at various points feelings of joy, violence, sensuality, fear and calm. This piece in recorded on the Neuma CD label and has been performed/broadcast widely in the U.S., South America and Western Europe, including a version with dance at Oberlin College when this institution hosted the Electronic Music Plus Festival in 1988.

This work also serves as the sound track for a video by Dutch artist Paul Müller. Winner of several awards in Canada, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Germany, the video, entitled Reflections in a Glass Mirror, is included in the permanent collection of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

SEACHANGES (1996)
for viola da gamba and tape
Loren Ludwig, viola da gamba

This work is based on the sounds of sea surf, birds and sampled percussion and piano sounds. The principal process used to create various sounds is convolution, whereby the sound characteristics of one sound are mapped onto another sound, producing for example, 'underwater piano' and 'sunken chant.' The piece was created at the Geoffrey Winham Studio of Computer Music at Princeton University and has been performed in other versions featuring the zheng (Chinese zither) and lute in Hong Kong, New York and Los Angeles. The notion of chiaroscuro &endash; complex textures which shift in the play of light &endash; is the visual metaphor most dear to me in the sound world of this piece.

FAMILY STORIES: SOPHIE, SALLY (1998)
for computer-generated tape and still life co-composed by Anna Rubin and Laurie Hollander, with text by Anna Rubin

The text of this work is about my mother, Sophie who grew up in Atlanta, Georgia in the early 1900's. Sophie was cared for by an African-American nanny, Sally, due to her immigrant Jewish mother's chronic illness and then early death. The piece evokes the time and place of these events, including the racism and anti-Semitism of pre-World War I Atlanta, with klezmer and gospel music as well as a variety of evocative ambient sounds. The piece was created on an SGI computer using a variety of Csound instruments. This piece has been heard widely in international concerts including venues in Buenas Aires, Berlin, Montreal, York and Hong Kong as well as several concerts, web and radio broadcasts originating in the U.S. Thanks are due to Paul Koonce, to the Geoffrey Winham Studio of Computer Music at Princeton University; to choreographer and actress Aleta Hayes, voice of 'Sally,' whose insights and creative evocation of Sally were invaluable; and to Howard Herrnstadt for his soulful harmonica playing.

REMEMBERING
for mezzo soprano (or soprano), piano and tape (1989, rev. 1993)
Lorraine Manz, mezzo soprano and Andrew Hisey, piano

Remembering was written initially as a commission for the chamber ensemble Collaborations in 1989, based in Washington, DC. Some performances have included dance. Although it is described as a memorial to victims of World War II, more recent references have crept in--as in mention of the East German secret police "Stasi," and Sarajevo where the Balkan conflict raged in 1993 when I revised the piece for recording.

It gave me particular pleasure to set to music the Jewish prayer for the dead, the 'Kaddish,' a wonderfully rhythmic praise poem glorifying God. Jewish tradition is replete with special melodic formulae known as 'nusach', each suited to particular times and holidays. Inventing a nusach of my own to fit the purposes of this piece is a way I feel I can both honor and contribute to the tradition out of which my music springs. It has been a delight to work with Lorraine Manz and Andrew Hisey on this performance.

This piece is dedicated to the victims of World War II. It is written in three sections. The first section includes tape with processed vocal fragments which eventually the listener can understand as the names of World War II concentration camps and battle sites. The middle section is for voice and piano alone, in a free cantilena style for voice. Part of the Kiddush, the Jewish prayer traditionally chanted in memory of the dead and in the language of Aramaic, is set in a free and highly ornamented way. This prayer never mentions death and is rather a poem praising God. The last section reintroduces taped sounds, and gradually ends in an evocation of an 'angelic' choir accompanying the singer. The work is recorded on the SEAMUS label.

THE PERFORMERS:

Andrew Hisey, assistant professor of class piano and pedagogy, joined the Conservatory faculty in 1994. He is coordinator of the Supervised Student Teaching Program, and director of the Piano Lab and Pedagogy Lab programs. He has performed at Oberlin, the University of Michigan, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and throughout Ontario. He is a much sought-after adjudicator and clinician.

Laurie Hollander composes computer-generated music. She was a graduate fellow at Princeton University from 1984-90. Her works have been performed throughout North America. She is currently interested in various software designs in spatialization.

Poet Marci Janas '91 will read her poem "Intensity of the Final Hours," and numerous pieces by Ohio-based poet Bruce Weigl. In addition to receiving the Academy of American Poets Award at Oberlin, her poetry has won prizes in competitions sponsored by The Abiko Quarterly (Japan), the University of Alaska -- Southeast, and Ohio Writer. Among the journals in which her poems have appeared are Synaesthetic, The Abiko Quarterly, Timbuktu and Field, which also published her essay on the work of Charles Simic. A chapbook, Lights and Shadows, was published by Bottom Dog Press. Her poem, The Mother of Beauty, inspired a mixed-media collage series by Oberlin artist Leslie Miller that was exhibited at the Contemporary Artists Center in North Adams, Massachusetts. Janas has read her poetry at numerous venues, most recently at the Weathersfield Music Festival in Vermont. She is a staff writer with the Office of College Relations.

Loren Ludwig is a senior from Amherst, Mass., studying viola da gamba with Catharina Meints, teacher of viola da gamba and baroque cello. Ludwig has performed with Wien Barock, The King's Noyse, the Oberlin Baroque Ensemble and Concerto Palatino. He performs on all sizes of viola da gamba and violone, and often plays a copy of a viola da gamba created by the renowned German maker Joachim Tielke, which belonged to Eva Heinitz. He holds a special interest in music of the 17th century. Following graduation from the Conservatory this May, Ludwig will continue his studies with Wendy Gillespie at Indiana University in the fall of 2000.

Lorraine Manz, associate professor of singing, has performed in solo appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra; chamber music performance at Lincoln Center; and was a member of the international peace tour of Japan, Hawaii and Seattle with the Inoue Chamber Ensemble (1995). She has performed at the Blossom Music Festival with Leonard Slatkin conducting, the Aspen Music Festival, Shreveport Summer Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, Walker Arts Center, University of Michigan, and with the Bach Festival Society, Santa Barbara Symphony and the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. Her performances have been featured on National Public Radio and on recordings on the CRI label. Manz will spend three weeks this summer as faculty with the Oberlin at Casalmaggiore, Italy program.

Anna Rubin joined the Conservatory faculty last fall as assistant professor of composition. Her instrumental and computer-generated music has been performed internationally and she received the Gaudeamus Foundation Delta Ensemble prize (1982). She is the recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundations for the Arts (1988, 1994) and commissions from the New York Council for theArts, New American Radio, WNYC Radio, and such performers as Thomas Buckner, F. Gerard Errante and Isabelle Ganz. She has received numerous Meet The Composer grants and is a member of ASCAP. She has received residencies from Harvestwork, Inc., Brahmshaus, Baden Baden, American Dance Festival, and the Charles Ives Center for American Music. Her work is recorded on the Neuma, Sony and SEAMUS labels and she is published by Leisure Planet. Her work is noted in the Norton/Grove Dictionary of Women Composers and her electro-acoustic music is noted in the New Grove Dictionary of Musicians. Recent performances/radio and web broadcasts have been in Hong Kong, York, Princeton, Montreal and Denton, Texas

Poet Bruce Weigl was born in Lorain, Ohio. He is the author of ten collections of poetry, including Song of Napalm (1988), What Saves Us (1992) Sweet Lorain (1996) and most recently Archeology of the Circle (1999). He is the editor or co-editor of three collections of critical essays, as well as an anthology of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Weigl has published has published three volumes of poetry in translation. His poetry, translations, essays, articles, reviews and interviews have appeared in The Nation, TriQuarterly, Field, The Kenyon Review, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Paris Review and Harper's, among many other publications. His poetry has been translated into nine languages. He has been awarded a Patterson Poetry Prize, the Puchcart Prize twice, a prize from the Academy of Ametican Poets, "The Breadloaf Fellowship in Poetry," a YADDO Foundation Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Grant for poetry.

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