A performance by the Oberlin Sinfonietta conducted by Timothy Weiss, with soloists Xak Bjerken, piano, Alex Dergal, clarinet, and Elise Volkmann, soprano.
Life Story (1993) Thomas Adès
Elise Volkmann, soprano
The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind (1994) Osvaldo Golijov
I. Agitato, Minaccioso
II. Graceful, Densely Slow
Alex Dergal, clarinet
Science Fiction Music (2018, World Premiere) Matthew Chamberlain ’14
Honor and Fidelity
Shipwrecks on the Shore of Meaning
Ship of State (2017, World Premiere) Stephen Hartke
Hanging breathless (Foundering)
In spite of false lights on the shore (Edgy, potentially explosive)
The anchors of thy hope (Gently -- a rueful lullaby)
What Workmen wrought (Lively, resurgent)
Xak Bjerken, piano
Pianist Xak Bjerken has appeared with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, the Schoenberg Ensemble, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Disney Hall. He has performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Glinka Hall in St Petersburg, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, and for many years performed throughout the United States as a member of the Los Angeles Piano Quartet. He has performed with the Cuarteto Casals, the Prazak, New Zealand, and Miami string quartets, and held chamber music residencies at the Tanglewood Music Center, Spoleto Festival, and Olympic Music Festival. He is the director of Ensemble X, a new music ensemble, and has served on the faculty of Kneisel Hall, the Eastern Music Festival, and at the Chamber Music Conference at Bennington College.
Bjerken has worked closely with composers Győrgy Kurtag, Sofia Gubaidulina, Steven Stucky, and George Benjamin, and over the next two years, will be presenting premieres of piano concertos by Stephen Hartke, Elizabeth Ogonek, and Jesse Jones. He released his first solo recording on CRI in 2001, and has since recorded for Koch International, Chandos, Albany Records, Artona, and has just released his third recording for Open G Records, presenting solo and chamber works by Steven Stucky. Bjerken is Professor of Music at Cornell University where he co-directs Mayfest, an international chamber music festival with his wife, pianist Miri Yampolsky. Bjerken studied with Aube Tzerko at the University of California at Los Angeles and received his master’s and doctoral degrees from the Peabody Conservatory as a student of and teaching assistant to Leon Fleisher.