ABLAZE Records
Passion in Sound —


Millennial Masters Vol.4

Millennial Masters Vol.4 Cover

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Three new artists and three members of the ABLAZE composer family join up in a diverse new disc of new instrumental music from solo instruments to orchestral and electronics-assisted music. Once again ABLAZE supports new composers and their individual voices in this brilliant and diverse disc.

Asha Srinivasan (India/USA)— joins ABLAZE once again with her dramatic and expressive award winning work, Dviraag. Scored only for flute and cello this work takes on a dramatic and insistent profile coupled with sections of slow melodic beauty.
Asha Srinivasan Bio and Dviraag Program Note

Arthur Hernández (USA)— joins the ABLAZE family with his Shepherd’s Psalm for solo guitar. Brilliantly exploiting the potential and idiosyncrasies of this beautiful instrument, Hernández creates an expansive and lyrical work evocative of the New England landscape that is his home.
Arthur Hernández Bio and Shepherd’s Psalm for solo guitar Program Note

Douglas Knehans (Australia/USA)—contributes once again to the ABLAZE catalogue with his early and virtuosic multi-movement Sonata for Solo Clarinet. Written in Australia in 1980, this is one of Knehans’ earliest works given a passionate and explosive reading here by clarinet virtuoso Jonathan Gunn.
Douglas Knehans Bio and Sonata for Solo Clarinet Program Note

Stephen Yip (China/USA)— continues his work on ABLAZE with this his third contribution to the ABLAZE catalogue, Hui for solo flute. Inward, subtle and oblique, this delicate and yearning work is riveting in its use of new techniques for the flute employed in a uniquely beautiful and spiritual work.
Stephen Yip Bio and Hui Program Note

Miguel Trillo-Figueroa (Sweden/Spain)— joins ABLAZE for the first time with his powerful orchestral work Spectra. Filled with color, rhythmic vitality, organic post-Stravinskian coloration and rhythmic virtuosity, Spectra is an impressive debut orchestral work from this up and coming Spanish composer.
Miguel Trillo-Figueroa Bio and Spectra Program Note

Scott Barton (USA) — joins ABLAZE for the first time with his use of a human performer and robotic instruments in his groovy Rise of a City. The piece explores areas of musical expression that are uniquely human, uniquely mechanical, and the spaces in between in a powerful, fun and beautiful take on 21st century technologies and artistic practice.
Scott Barton Bio and Rise of a City Program Note


Asha Srinivasan Photo

Asha Srinivasan

Indian-American composer, Asha Srinivasan draws on her Western musical training and her Indian heritage to create her compositional language. Her music has been presented at various national and international venues including SEAMUS, ICMC, June in Buffalo, SCI, and the National Flute Convention. She won the Ruam Samai award at the 2011 Thailand International Composition Festival for Dviraag (flute and cello) and she was selected for the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, where Svara-lila (chamber orchestra) was premiered by Alarm Will Sound. She has also won national commissioning competitions, including the BMI Foundation's Women's Music Commission and the Flute/Cello Commissioning Circle. Other honors include the Walsum prize for Kalpitha (string quartet), and the Prix d'Eté 2nd prize for Alone, Dancing (flute and electronics), which was released on the album Ambiance: Collaboration IV under the Beauport Classical label. Her studies include: D.M.A. in Composition at University of Maryland, College Park; M.Mus. in Computer Music Composition and Music Theory Pedagogy at the Peabody Conservatory, and B.A. at Goucher College. Srinivasan is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. www.twocomposers.org.

Dviraag was commissioned by the Flute/Cello Commissioning Circle in 2009 as part of a national call for scores for which I was selected. The Commissioning Circle included a consortium of four flute and cello duos, including the Terra Voce duo (featured on this recording), Exorior Duo, Jennifer Kennard, and Kate Steinbeck. Responding to the Indian modal, lyrical, and rhythmic qualities found in my works Alone, Dancing and Bapu, the consortium specifically requested a work that clearly utilized Indian materials and was also rhythmically energetic.

Dviraag is a fabricated word taken from the Sanskrit prefix "dvi" meaning "two" and the word "raag" loosely meaning "melodic mode." The pitch material for this piece is entirely based on a combination of two complementary pentatonic modes. The primary rhythmic material, introduced towards the beginning by the cello, was derived from a Carnatic vocal exercise I fondly remember learning as a child in India. Of all the beginner’s exercises I learned, this one always stood out as being surprisingly challenging and unusual in its subdivisions. This exercise has become the basis for an exploration of intricate rhythmic subdivisions grouped into salient short phrases that recur throughout the piece in various contexts. The piece also references other Carnatic techniques such as heavily ornamented melodic gestures and the use of perfect fifth drones in the cello. The strident, fanfare-like flute introduction was a deliberate attempt to move away from the slow, quiet openings that are typical of many of my works. Instead of my usual slow growth approach, this piece uses a more traditional fast-slow-fast design, where the slow section is a meditative, pensive flute solo reminiscent of an Indian vocal improvisation. Texturally, the piece also draws strongly on Western concepts of counterpoint as well as Eastern heterophony. Further, I superimposed the raga pattern with a fixed register mapping, a technique drawn from post-1945 contemporary music. In this way, Dviraag is a blend of Indian and Western compositional techniques.

Premiered on October 23, 2009 by Terra Voce at the Live Arts Theatre in Charlottesville, Virginia, Dviraag has since been performed by various other groups in the U.S. and abroad in Canada, Switzerland, Germany, and U.K. In 2011, this work went on to win the first prize — the Ruam Samai award — at the Thailand International Composition Competition in Chiang Mai. The final round of the competition was adjudicated by four international composers as well as by the audience through ballot voting. The piece was also featured on the 2010 Society of Composers, Inc. national conference in Columbia, South Carolina, the 45th Contemporary Music Festival in Terre Haute, Indiana, and the 16th Biennial New Music Festival in Tallahassee, Florida and by Terra Voce at the 2013 National Flute Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Elizabeth Brightbill  and Andrew Gabbert Photo
Elizabeth Brightbill, flute; Andrew Gabbert, cello

Terra Voce

Terra Voce (Elizabeth Brightbill, flute; Andrew Gabbert, cello) delights audiences with their virtuosity, conversational style of presentation, and genre-expanding programs that explore diverse musical styles, traditions and cross-cultural influences, while at the same time testing the limits of what is possible on just two instruments. In addition to their numerous performances on college campuses and community concert series, they have appeared on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, in the Christ Chapel Chamber Series at New York City's Riverside Church, and as finalists in the National Flute Association's Chamber Music Competition. Terra Voce co-commissioned and premiered Dviraag, by Asha Srinivasan in 2009 and later performed this prize-winning work at the 2010 Society of Composers National Conference to much acclaim. Terra Voce has released two CDs; their self-titled debut CD (2009) and The Frost is All Over (2011) which was chosen as an “Editor’s Pick” on CD Baby.

Prior to moving to the Blue Ridge Mountains of central Virginia, Elizabeth and Andrew lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma where they performed with the Tulsa Philharmonic Orchestra. Elizabeth held the position of Principal Flute with that orchestra and has performed with a number of other orchestras across the country, including the Alabama Symphony, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Britt and OK Mozart Festival orchestras. A recipient of multiple awards, Elizabeth has been named a winner of the National Flute Association’s Dissertation Competition, semi-finalist in the NFA Young Artist Competition, and 2nd Runner-up in the Myrna Brown Young Artist Competition. Her artistic pursuits with Terra Voce include performance of traditional and multi-cultural musical styles on a copy of the 19th c. Rudall & Rose simple-system flute made by John Gallagher of Elkins, WV. She holds the Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and teaches at Longwood University, Eastern Mennonite University, Bridgewater College, and St. Anne’s-Belfield School. Andrew held titled positions with the Tulsa Philharmonic and Opera orchestras for eleven years. He has also performed as soloist with the Tulsa Philharmonic and the National Repertory Orchestra, and has recorded on Centaur Records as the Principal Cellist of the Chorus Civitas Orchestra. He has previously been a member of the Baton Rouge Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra and Terre Haute Symphony. Summer festival appearances have included the Wintergreen (VA), Britt (OR) and Sunriver (OR) Festivals, the Texas Festival-Institute at Round Top (TX), and OK Mozart (OK) with the Solisti New York Orchestra. As a chamber musician, he regularly presented educational concerts as a member of the Tulsa Philharmonic String Quartet/Quintet. He has taught as a Visiting Instructor at the University of Oklahoma, and as a graduate assistant at Louisiana State University. He currently teaches at Randolph College and maintains a private studio in Crozet, VA.

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Arthur Hernández Photo

Arthur Hernández

Arthur Hernández is an American composer whose works have been performed by such esteemed music groups and soloists as The Cleveland Orchestra; the Cavani String Quartet; guitarist Jason Vieaux; e-cellist Jeffrey Krieger; the Alturas Duo; the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra; The Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony; percussionist Bill Solomon; and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, to name a few.

His music has been performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; Severance Hall in Cleveland; the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York; the June in Buffalo Music Festival; the Aki Music Festival; the Wintergreen Music Festival; and on National Public Radio.

His music has been described by music critics as, “adventurous and daring,” “electrically charged,” “assured of lyric line,” “tender, exuberant,” and even, “defiantly weird.” The American composer David Felder said of Hernández’s music, “his works display formal invention, a strong lyrical gift, and have behind them a tremendous force of energy.”

Hernández has been commissioned by, among others, The Cleveland Orchestra; e-cellist Jeffrey Krieger; the Alturas Duo; The Cleveland Music School Settlement’s Youth Orchestra; Turn On The Music; and the Torrington High School Concert Band. He has studied composition with Donald Erb, Barney Childs, Robert Carl, Steven Gryc, Frank Wiley, Joseph Packales, and Margaret Brouwer. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Composition, cum laude, from the Hartt School, and a Master’s Degree in Composition, cum laude, from the University of Redlands. He did extensive doctoral work in composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music from 1994–1998. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The American Music Center, The Massachusetts Arts Council, and the Bascom Little Fund.

Hernández is presently Professor of Music and Music Program Coordinator at Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut, where he authored that college’s Associate Degree in Music Industry. This degree is the first fine arts degree ever offered at Capital Community College. He is also the founder, director, and curator of Concerts@Capital, an eclectic music concert series residing in Centinel Hill Hall Auditorium on the campus of Capital Community College.

Shepherd’s Psalm

Shepherd’s Psalm, fantasy for solo guitar, was composed in 2001 for the guitarist Jason Vieaux. Vieaux and Hernández attended the Cleveland Institute of Music at approximately the same time, where the two met briefly. After leaving CIM, Hernández had the opportunity to listen to recordings of Vieaux and was duly impressed. He contacted Vieaux and asked him if he could compose a work for solo guitar for him, and Vieaux agreed. The original work was premiered at the Longy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in April of 2001. During this period, Hernández and his wife, Sarah, were living on an 85-acre sheep farm in Millis, Massachusetts. The impact that the bucolic New England farm life had on Hernández was profound. This, coupled with the friendship that he developed with the shepherd and owner of this farm, Peter Temple, inspired him to write this work. Although this is not a programmatic work in the traditional sense, the quiet pastoral life on that farm did find its way into the music soundscapes of this work.
The original composition was a very stark, spare one, and it left Hernández dissatisfied. When he was asked to present a lecture/performance of his music for the Mount Washington Arts Council Summer Series, Hernández took this as an opportunity to revise the composition. The present and final version of this work was premiered in August of 2002 in Mount Washington, Massachusetts.

Hernández has always been fond of the fantasia as a compositional form, where a work of music is composed in such a way as to give the impression that it is in fact the performer who is creating the work through capricious improvisation. Thus, this work moves through various sections, some organically deriving from the previous one, some jarringly juxtaposed with each other, as if the performer is moving from one inspired moment to the next. The compositional high point of the work comes in the form of a fugal passage followed by a return to material of earlier sections. Throughout this work, Hernández maintains sonic space to create moments that are allowed to be fully expressed without being rushed, which is ultimately the hallmark and identity of the composition.

Jason Vieaux Photo
Jason Vieaux Photo by Tyler Boye

Jason Vieaux, guitar

Jason Vieaux, hailed by Gramophone magazine as "among the elite of today's classical guitarists" has earned a reputation for putting his expressive gifts and virtuosity at the service of a remarkably wide range of music.  Vieaux has performed as concerto soloist with over 50 orchestras, including Cleveland, San Diego, Ft. Worth, Santa Fe, Charlotte, and Buffalo.  Some of the conductors he has worked with include David Robertson, Michael Stern, and Jahja Ling.  His solo recitals include all major guitar series in North America, as well as many of the important guitar festivals in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Mexico.

Vieaux's albums and live performances are regularly heard on radio stations across the country, and his work is the subject of feature articles in print and online around the world every year, including in such magazines as Acoustic Guitar, MUSO, and Gramophone, and on NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence” music blog. In 2011, Jason Vieaux co-founded the Guitar Department at The Curtis Institute of Music with guitarist David Starobin, while continuing to head the Guitar Department of the Cleveland Institute of Music.  He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA), and is affiliated with Philadelphia’s Astral Artists, for which he gives outreach concerts.

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Douglas Knehans Photo

Douglas Knehans

With a gift for extravagant color, beautiful melodic style, clear musical form and engaging, soulfully dramatic work, the music of Douglas Knehans has gained the attention and warm appreciation of audiences and performers around the world.

Knehans’ two-piano work cascade has been performed in Steinway Hall, New York; Tokyo, Japan; Kiev, Ukraine and recorded for worldwide CD release on Ablaze Records by the virtuoso piano duo The Pridonoff Duo in a recording hailed by Fanfare Magazine as “ … effective … incisive … hauntingly beautiful … ” A disc of his early music for acoustic and electronic cello was released on Ablaze Records in the fall of 2010 which was called “ … amazingly sophisticated … very beautiful … intriguing … captivating …” by Audiophile Audition.

With a reputation for crafting large, bold works, Knehans’ latest commissions are for the violin, clarinet, cello and piano quartet enhakē, praised by BBC Music Magazine as “...a terrific quartet with a keen instinct for exciting programmes … ;” for a new violin concerto for the Australian-based Chinese violin virtuoso Jun-Yi Ma lauded by The Australian for “ … play[ing] with such insight and beauty of tone … ;” and a new cello concerto for cellist Paul York whose solo performance The New York Concert Review hailed as “… brilliant … one had to be in awe of his playing.”

Knehans holds degrees from the Australian National University; Queens College, CUNY where he graduated with the Luigi Dallapiccola Composition Award (1991) for outstanding achievement in music composition and Yale University where he won the Woods Chandler Memorial Award for best composition in a larger form among others.

A fellow of Carnegie Hall, the Victorian Council of the Arts, MacDowell Colony and Leighton Artist Colony (Banff), Knehans has won awards from the Australian Film and Television School, American Music Centre, National Endowment for the Arts and Meet the Composer. He has been a guest of the Czech-American Summer Music Institute in Prague, Czech Republic; the New Music, New Faces Festival in Krakow, Poland; and a number of others. Knehans has also been a visiting professor of composition at the Australian National University (1981 and 2004) National University of Singapore (2006) and the Krakow Academy of Music, Poland (2007) and has delivered lectures on his music at New York University and Yale University. He was Director of the University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music from 2000-2008, created and was the inaugural Artistic Director of the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute from 2005-2008. Between 2008-2010 he was Dean of the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) in Cincinnati and is currently the Norman Dinerstein Professor of Composition Scholar at CCM. Knehans was recently named Composer of the Year 2013 by the Ohio Music Teachers Association and was a 2011 winner of the International Music Prize for Excellence in Music Composition (Athens, Greece) and was a 2012 semi-finalist for The American Prize in Composition (Orchestra-Professional Division) for his work ripple—for large orchestra. In April of 2013 he was awarded the George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Creative and/or Scholarly Work by the President of the University of Cincinnati. www.douglasknehans.com

Sonata for Solo Clarinet

"My Sonata for Solo Clarinet was the last work I wrote as an undergraduate student in 1980. The work has a strong virtuoso quality about it and the somewhat dark, reflective aspect to its expression. I was to come to know that both of these qualities actually are hallmarks of my mature work such that my early student work was somewhat a harbinger of things to come.

The piece is cast as a Sonata movement framed by two preludes: the first being of tentative, yet insistent character; and the final movement is something of a moto perpetuo with declamatory, trumpet-like interjections. The central Sonata movement is cast as an elaborate type of Sonata/Variation form all cast from the initial material.

The work, being really my first composition, has a number of extremely knotty passages that are tricky in the extreme demands made on the performer. I am incredibly lucky in this recording to have secured the superb artistry and technical skill of Jonathan Gunn, acting principal clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra".


Jonathan Gunn Photo

Jonathan Gunn, clarinet

Appointed by Maestro Paavo Järvi to the position of Associate Principal and Eb Clarinet, Jonathan Gunn is currently the Acting Principal Clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Prior to that, Mr. Gunn was the Principal Clarinet of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. In addition to his tenured positions, Jonathan has also performed with the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago, Pittsburgh and Colorado Symphony Orchestras.

Mr. Gunn has participated in numerous music festivals including Bard, Sunflower, Tanglewood, Aspen, and St. Bart's. As a soloist he has appeared with the Wheeling Symphony and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic on several occasions and recently made his solo debut with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. As a chamber musician Jonathan is active around the United States as well as in the Cincinnati area, where he is a member of Concert:Nova and has performed regularly on the Linton Chamber Music Series, the CSO Chamber Players and Chamber Music at the Taft Museum. 

Committed to the education of the next generation of clarinetists, Mr. Gunn has given masterclasses around the country, including the Buffet-Crampon Summer Academy. Jonathan is on the faculty at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and shares in the duties of overseeing the clarinet department. He has also been on the faculty at Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Goshen College, Andrews University and Seton Hill University.

Born in Sheffield, England, Mr. Gunn started his musical career playing violin and piano and began studying the clarinet after moving to the United States at age eleven. He received a Bachelor of Music from Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and a Master of Music from Duquesne University. Jonathan is married to Jennifer Gunn, who plays piccolo and flute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Gunn is a Rico Artist, a Buffet Group USA Performing Artist and plays exclusively on Buffet-Crampon clarinets.

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Stephen Yip Photo

Stephen Yip

Stephen Yip was born in Hong Kong and now lives in U.S.A. He received his doctor of musical arts (D.M.A.) from Rice University and bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.) from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. His mentors include Wing-fai Law, Clarence Mak, Arthur Gottschalk and Ellsworth Milburn. He has attended major music festivals include: Wellesley Composers Conference; Aspen Music Festival; Asian Composers’ League; ISCM World Music Days; Music X; June in Buffalo; IMPULS Ensemble Akademie; California E.A.R. Unit Composer Seminar; the 13th International Summer Program, Czech Republic; International Composers’ Workshop, Luxembourg; and the International Summer Course for New Music, Darmstadt, Germany. Residencies include: Atlantic Center for the Arts, Florida; Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Nebraska; Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; Yaddo Colony, NY and MacDowell Colony, NH.

Yip’s works have been performed in the United States; Canada; Costa Rica; Israel; Austria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Luxembourg; Germany; Italy; Korea; Japan; Indonesia; Hong Kong; Taiwan; Singapore; and the Philippines. He has received several composition prizes, including “Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award;” “Taiwan Music Center International Composition Prize;” “Singapore International Composition Competition for Chinese Orchestra;” “Haifa International Composition Prize;” First International EPICMUSIC Composition Prize, Italy; International Biennial composition competition, the Debussy Trio Music Foundation; Molinari Quartet’s Third International Composition Competition; the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Emerging Composers Competition; the ALEA III Composition Competition; the fourth NACUSA Texas Composition Competition; the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2010 by the National Academy of Music, Thessaloniki, Greece; and the 2010 Alvarez Chamber Orchestra Freestyle Composition Competition, London, England . His works are recorded in the ERM-Media, PARMA, Capstone, North South recording, Ablaze Records, ATMA Classique, and Beauport Classical labels.

Yip is a member of the SCI, NACUSA, and ASCAP. Currently, he serves on the music faculty at Houston Community College and is a freelance composer.

Hui — for solo flute

Hui, for solo flute, was composed in 2012. The meaning of this Chinese word, "hui" can be translated into: gather, merge, come together, etc. This piece describes a concourse—which is a large open area allowing the assembly of people—and the action of coming together or meeting. It also implies that many different kinds of ideas and thoughts come and flow together.

In the slow opening section, warm and deep flute sounds in the low register slowly slide and ascend in chromatic quarter tones to become the motivic elements of this piece. Other flute sounds, such as 'airy' tone, different percussive sounds, high-pitched harmonics, etc allow for a flexible approach to timbre such that pitch and non-pitch elements act as varied approaches to tone color. The work develops to reach a focal point of an open-D multiphonic sound. The central section demonstrates different characters of varied tone colors and gestures allowing those fragments to make up different aspects of the musical material much as gesture and color alone feature as structural aspects in an abstract painting. The final section introduces a natural and calm mood and includes human vocal singing with the flute sound to recall the idea of nature. The piece ends with a fundamental D note and its natural overtone series in several partials above this fundamental.


Izumi Miyahara Photo

Izumi Miyahara, flute

Flutist Izumi Miyahara has performed with the Houston, San Antonio and New World Symphonies, the Houston Grand Opera and Ballet and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. She has worked with renowned conductors such as Sir Neville Marriner, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Paavo Jarvi, among others. Internationally, Izumi has performed in Alcala de Heneres and Madrid, Spain, as well as in Lucca, Italy and Calgary and Vancouver, Canada.

She is winner of the 2007 Albuquerque Flute Association Frank Bowen Competition, where she performed the Nielsen Flute Concerto with the Santa Fe Symphony in December of that year. Her 2009 solo recital in Houston was broadcast nationwide on National Public Radio’s Performance Today program. Her orchestral performances have been broadcast on KUHF and KTRU in Houston, and WQXR in New York City. She has performed with members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as part of their Concert: Nova chamber music series. Izumi is a native of New York City and a graduate of the Juilliard School Pre-College Program, Izumi completed her Bachelor of Music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music from Rice University. In addition, she has participated in masterclasses with flutists such as Emmanuel Pahud, Jeanne Baxtresser, Elizabeth Rowe, Robert Langevin and William Bennett. Her principal teachers include Leone Buyse, Randy Bowman, Brad Garner and Jack Wellbaum.

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Miguel Trillo-Figueroa Photo

Miguel Trillo-Figueroa

Miguel Trillo-Figueroa was born in 1978 in Northern Sweden. In 1998 he entered the Gotland School of Music Composition, where he received classes in composition among others from Sven-David Sandström. In his adolescence he was selected to participate in the Scandinavian festival UNM (Young Nordic Music Festival), held in Helsinki where his string quartet Wrapped in Mystery got performed and published by the music publish house Uusinta. After three years of studies at Gotland he applied to the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, where he continued his composition studies with Lars Ekström, Pär Lindgren and Bill Brunson. Miguel graduated in 2007 after several successes with new works, such as Escher Without Wings (2002) and Spectra (2006).

The following year he moved to Madrid in order to take part in Taller de Sonido y Música para Cine; a workshop focusing on film scoring. In 2010 he was awarded a gold medal of distinction and honor as well as a masters degree in composition by the National Academy of Music in Thessaloniki. In 2010, he also participated in NYU Steinhardt’s Film Scoring Workshop in Memory of Buddy Baker in New York and was awarded the Charlotte Baker Film Music Scholarship in order to compose an orchestra piece for the well-known introduction of the Universal Pictures Logo and the film Serenity 1M1.

Trillo-Figueroa was also a Second Prize Winner in the prestigious composition competition XXII Premio Jóvenes Compositores for RadaRadaR, which was premiered by Smash Ensemble on the 28th of November 2011 in Auditorio 400 Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. As a result of this prize he was awarded a diploma, promotional CD, a trophy and a significant cash award. Trillo-Figueroa was further supported with the Financial Aid Award by the Sally Mead Hands Foundation in support of work at the ACA (Atlantic Center for the Arts) artist residency in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Miguel was also a participant in Composit 2012; a workshop/festival arranged in Villa Battistini, Italy, supervised by Tristan Murail and Joshua Fineberg.

His music has been performed, among others, by Sonanza, Gothenburg Wind Orchestra, Smash Ensemble, L’arsenale and Ensemble Espai Sonor. Miguel Trillo-Figueroa is a regular collaborator of Verso; one of Spain’s most important compact disc labels in ancient and contemporary music. Verso are about to record a CD/DVD which will document the composer’s music within La Fundación BBVA’s project Compositores Españoles y Latinoamericanos de Música Actual.


Spectra was composed and premiered in year 2006 by the Royal College Symphony Orchestra who performed it in Stockholm's concert hall on the 29th of September. The work was conducted by the Korean conductor Shi-Yeon Sung, who together with the orchestra impressed the public with their vigorous interpretation.

Three topics were carefully incorporated during the composition process.

Topic I

An architectural drawing representing a concert hall. The transference procedure — drawing/notation — was realized by means of a computer program.

Concert Hall illustration
A reduction of the architect drawing of the concert hall, drawn by the composer in 2006.       

Topic II

The concert hall’s roof structure made of colored crystal in different sizes and shapes. This topic concerns mainly the work’s woodwind section.

Topic III

The chess moves of a chess match, arranged on February 10th 1996, between Garry Kasparov and the chess computer Deep Blue. The vertical squares of the chess board (1–8) represent the intervals, whereas the horizontal squares (A–H) represent the pitches. This approach concerns mainly the string section’s “glissandi” movements. Click here to view Pdf of movements.

Shi-Yeon Sung Photo
Photo Credit: Jens Rötzsch

Shi-Yeon Sung, conductor

Since winning the 2006 Sir Georg Salti International Conductors Competition, Korean conductor Shi-Yeon Sung is becoming recognized as one of the most exciting young conductors on the international scene. Shi-Yeon continues as Associate Conductor of the Seoul Philharmonie Orchestra, a post created especially for her in 2009. 

2011/12 highlights include debuts with the Duisburger Philarmoniker, Japan Philharmonie Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Norrköpping Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra Simfonica de Valles to include a concert in Spain's prestigious Palau de Ia Musica in Barcelona as well as a return to Rotterdam Philharmonie Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Osnabrücker Symphony Orchestra amongst others. Future plans include her debut with the Munich Radio Orchestra at the Prague Radio Festival.

Last season, Shi-Yeon made her successful debut at The Great Mountains Music Festival, in the first year with their new Music Directors Kyung-Wha Chung and Myung-Wha Chung and will return next season with concerts with the Seoul Philharmonie Orchestra. 2010/11 also included successful debuts with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Konzerthaus Berlin Orchestra, Malmö Symphony, Stavanger Symphony as well as returning to Helsingborg Symphony and Uppsala Chamber Orchestra. In June 2010, Shi-Yeon led the high-profile re-opening of Buenos Aires's legendary and newly refurbished Teatro Colon. The inaugural performance drew widespread acclaim in the Argentinean press, with the Buenos Aires Herald declaring the concert was "conducted with virtuoso ability." Recent seasons also included a successful debut with the Stockholm Opera Orchestra (2007/08) which led to an immediate re-invitation to conduct the revival of Gluck Orfeo (2009/10) as well as to make her debut with Royal Stockholm Philharmonie Orchestra (2008/09). Also in the 2008/09 season, Shi-Yeon made her debut at the Tongyeong International Music Festival, Seoul conducting Martha Argerich and had a successful impromptu debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonie after being invited to take over a last minute cancellation. 

In Summer 2010, Shi-Yeon finished her three-year role as Assistant Conductor to James Levine at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. During this time, she made her very successful subscription debut with the orchestra and conducted them twice at Tanglewood, as well as stepping in on late notice for several concerts, including one of the season-opening performances in September 2009. Shi-Yeon Sung made her formal conducting debut in 2002 — conducting Die Zauberflöte — in Berlin, followed by assisting posts in productions at the Theater Görlitz and Hans Otto Theater in Potsdam. She has since directed numerous opera projects. In her capacity as permanent guest conductor, Shi-Yeon regularly directs the opening concert of the Summer Festival Kapfenburg (supported by Daimler Chrysler) and from February 2003 to February 2006, Shi-Yeon was chief conductor of the Capella Academica, the symphony orchestra of the Humboldt University, Berlin.  

In August 2006, Sung began advanced conducting studies under Professor Jorma Panula at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden. From 2001 to 2006, she undertook Kapellmeister and orchestral conducting studies with Prof. Rolf Reuter at the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin, where she concluded her studies in August 2006 with a diploma in Conducting. 
Shi-Yeon was winner of the Bamberg Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in 2007 and 2004 for the Conducting Forum of the German Music Council and the 2004 Female Conductors' Competition in Solingen, Germany.  

KMH Symphony Orchestra Photo

Royal College Symphony Orchestra, Stockholm

The Royal Collage Symphony Orchestra has worked with conductors such as Sixten Ehrling, Okko Kamu, Gennady Roshdestvensky, Leif Segerstam, Manfred Honeck, Paul Mägi and many others.

Some memorable highlights was the appearance at the Nobel Banquet, the 1997 tour to Vienna and Zurich, "Mahler and Scandinavia" project during the Capital of Culture year 1998, SKAP’s televised anniversary concert at Cirkus in 2001, prominent in the Stockholm Concert Hall in Stockholm Arts & Science in 2004, and the 2005 tour to Riga, Parnu and Tallinn.

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Scott Barton Photo

Scott Barton

Scott Barton is an Assistant Professor of Music at Worcester Polytechnic Institute who composes, performs, and produces electroacoustic and acoustic music. His interests include: rhythmic complexity, auditory and temporal perception, musical robotic instrument design, human-robot interaction in composition and performance, audio engineering and rock music. As a composer, his works explore how we perceptually organize sonic information, and how the organizations that result from this process contribute to our sense of rhythm, (dis)continuity and form.

His works draw from diverse sources, and often involve human performers, robotic instruments, studio-produced recordings and interactive software. His music has been performed throughout the United States and Europe and has been featured at conferences including SMC; ICMC; NIME; Sound, Sight and Play Conference; Computer Music Modeling and Retrieval Symposium; Leeds International Festival for Innovations in Music Production and Composition; and the CERF festival. 

As a researcher and programmer, he has collaborated with Michael Kubovy (people.virginia.edu/~mk9y/) and the Kubovy Perception Lab on a number of psychological experiments primarily involving rhythm perception. His dissertation explores the cognitive and contextual inputs to musical discontinuity perception.  He co-founded Expressive Machines Musical Instruments (EMMI), a collective focused on designing and building robotic musical instruments (www.expressivemachines.com), with Troy Rogers and Steven Kemper.

Barton started and currently leads the Music, Perception and Robotics lab at WPI, which designs and produces robotic musical instruments and artificial intelligences that enable musical robots to interact with human performers.
He studied music and philosophy at Colgate University, received his Master of Music in Composition from the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, and completed his Ph.D. in the composition and computer technologies program at the University of Virginia.  

Important influence upon Scott's music and thought have come by way of Jonathan Schlackman, Jordan Berk, Dexter Morrill, Tania Leon, Rory Stuart, Amnon Wolman, Judith Shatin, Matthew Burtner and Ted Coffey.

Scott Barton, guitar; EMMI's robotic instruments

Rise of a City features a human performer interacting with the robotic instruments of EMMI (www.expressivemachines.com). The piece explores areas of musical expression that are uniquely human, uniquely mechanical, and the spaces in between. In regard to these common spaces, shared material produces nuanced contrasts in timing, intonation and timbre, which give us a sense of the expressive characteristics of human and robotic instrumentalists. These moments also illuminate how different methods of physical production can create a variety of interpretations of the same musical idea.

The guitar and PAM inhabit these common spaces in the first and last sections of the piece. In the middle sections of the piece, the instruments seek territorial extremes where identities are unique. In these journeys, instruments sometimes spend periods of time in areas typically inhabited by the other, so that the human performer sounds mechanical gestures and vice versa.

Beat-based rhythmic complexity is another core component of the work, which is expressed via frequent meter changes, polyrhythms and varied superimposition rates. The structural relationships between the instruments vary over the course of the work: the guitar states themes but also provides accompaniment; the percussion instruments articulate meter but also sound gestures that obscure our sense of a rhythmic grid; PAM showcases prominent gestures that define mechanical spaces, establish pitch sets and express melodies, but also functions more subtly, particularly in the unison phrases, to color the texture as a whole with its unique timbral qualities. Despite the work’s rhythmic, textural and structural diversity, the motion and energy of the piece has both direction and flow, which coheres these mechanical and human spaces.

We can also understand the work’s interactions and relations as a narrative that describes how an idea develops. Sometimes multiple groups of people simultaneously cultivate ideas towards similar goals even though they don’t live in the same place. Sometimes the paths of this race are parallel. Sometimes they diverge. When they diverge, the separation can result in either an alternate route to the original goal or a new path (or paths) that clears the way to previously unimagined possibilities. This has become a familiar phenomenon to us via technological innovation, scientific discovery, stylistic innovation and the construction of physical communities (dwellings → cities).

The construction of physical communities has particular metaphoric weight in the case of this piece. From small beginnings a city exudes reiterative processes in multiple directions. New neighborhoods spring up that incorporate and/or react to adjacent areas. The restatements are accumulative, so that the entirety of the city becomes perpetually more massive and complex. At the same time, the most recent individual additions, buildings in the case of a city, mirror the qualities of the whole in terms of grandeur and intricacy. This path is not purely linear of course, and the ability to start simply, small, or differently is always preserved.

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