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Date:
February 26
Time:
7:30 pm EST

Venue

Morris Performing Arts Center
211 N. Michigan Street
South Bend, IN 46601 United States
+ Google Map
Phone:
(574) 235-9190

Terra Nostra fuses the power of symphonic music with stunning videography that calls awareness to the impacts of climate change, paired with a work by world-renowned composer and soloist Kinan Azmeh. The third performance in the Jack M. Champaigne Masterworks Series, Terra Nostra combines a cinematic presentation with the force of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra to engage, educate, and inspire.

The concert includes D’un matin de printemps (On a Spring Morning) by Lili Boulanger, the sweet and playful sounds of this piece nicely contrast with the ornamented tune of In the Steppes of Central Asia by Alexander Borodin.

The Masterworks Series is proudly sponsored by Jack M. Champaigne. We are grateful for the support of Craig and Carol Kapson to perform music by living composers.

Boulanger – D’un matin de printemps 

Borodin – In the Steppes of Central Asia 

Azmeh – Suite for Improvisor & Orchestra with Kinan Azmeh, clarinet

Chagnard – Terra Nostra 

D’un matin de printemps – Lili Boulanger (b. Paris, 1893, d. Mézy-sur-Seine, Paris, 1918) 

It is most likely a combination of her tragically short life and the decades of success that her sister Nadia — a renowned organist, conductor, and pedagogue — enjoyed that prevented Lili Boulanger from receiving the fame that was due her. Nadia Boulanger, Lili’s older sister by six years, trained some of the greatest American composers of the twentieth century, including Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Elliott Carter, and Philip Glass.

The Boulanger sisters came from a family steeped in musical talent. Their mother was a famous contralto, and their father, Ernest Boulanger, was a renowned composer and winner of the Grand Prix de Rome in 1835. It was Gabriel Fauré, a close friend of the family, who first noticed Lili’s propensity for music when she was only two years old. The young girl quickly revealed her gifts as a composer, but years of failing health triggered by a childhood battle with bronchial pneumonia rarely allowed her to participate fully in her studies at the Paris Conservatory. Despite the setbacks and interruptions in her formal training, Lili set her sights on securing the coveted Prix de Rome, the award her father had won decades before, and the most prestigious prize offered by the Académie des Beaux-Arts.

Nadia had unsuccessfully competed for the prize years earlier, and Lili failed to achieve her goal in 1912. In 1913 however, Lili became the first woman to win the prize, an accolade that gained her international attention. Despite her unpredictable [delicate?] physical health, Lili was well enough to take her residency in Rome until the outbreak of World War I. At the end of the war, she returned to Rome, devoting her time to the composition of the opera, La Princesse Maleine, and a number of shorter works including the pair, D’un soir triste and D’un matin de printemps.

By 1917, Lili’s health was once again in crippling decline. A desperate appendectomy had proven unsuccessful, and her strength was so diminished that Nadia had to assist in dictating her sister’s final compositions. On March 15, 1918, Lili Boulanger died at the age of twenty-four.

Although Boulanger was quickly rising through the ranks as one of the great French Impressionists of the twentieth century, she never had the chance to exercise her powers into their full maturity. For a work written by someone succumbing to terminal illness, D’un main de printemps (Of a Spring Morning) is a symphonic poem full of vitality and stunning colors achieved through brilliant orchestration. The work features interchanging sections that highlight the full orchestra while also capturing the unique timbres of the intimate chamber ensemble.


In the Steppes of Central Asia – Alexander Borodin (b. St. Petersburg, 1833, d. St. Petersburg,1887)

This following note, written in Russian, German, and French, appears in the score: “Out of the silence of Central Asia come the sounds of a peaceful Russian song. There are heard, too, the melancholy strains of Eastern melodies and the stamping of approaching horses and camels. A caravan, escorted by Russian soldiers, crosses the measureless desert, pursuing its way, free from care, under the protection of Russian arms. The caravan moves ever forward. The songs of the Russians and those of the Asia locals mingle in common harmony, their refrain gradually dying away in the distance.”

Composed in 1880 and originally intended as a background for a series of tableaux vivants to take place in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the reign of Alexander III, this work gave Borodin much of his fame as a composer. In 1881, during a journey to Weimar, Borodin visited Liszt and in a letter informed his wife that “Liszt had been so pleased with ‘The Steppes’ that he urged the making of a four-hand piano arrangement at once.” Incidentally, on this occasion, Borodin dedicated the work to the Hungarian artist.

www.hollywoodbowl.com


Suite for Improvisor & Orchestra

Kinan Azmeh

Hailed as “intensely soulful” and a “virtuoso” by The New York Times and “spellbinding” by The New Yorker, Winner of Opus Klassik award in 2019 clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh has gained international recognition for what the CBC has called his “incredibly rich sound” and his distinctive compositional voice across diverse musical genres.

Originally from Damascus, Syria, Kinan Azmeh brings his music to all corners of the world as a soloist, composer and improviser. Notable appearances include the Opera Bastille, Paris; Tchaikovsky Grand Hall, Moscow; Carnegie Hall and the UN General Assembly, New York; the Royal Albert Hall, London; Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; Philharmonie, Berlin; the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Washington DC; the Mozarteum, Salzburg, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie; and in his native Syria at the opening concert of the Damascus Opera House.

He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Dusseldorf Symphony, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Qatar Philharmonic and the Syrian Symphony Orchestra among others, and has shared the stage with such musical luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Daniel Barenboim, Marcel Khalife, John McLaughlin, Francois Rabbath Aynur and Jivan Gasparian.

Kinan’s compositions include several works for solo, chamber, and orchestral music, as well as music for film, live illustration, and electronics. His resent works were commissioned by The New York Philharmonic, The Seattle Symphony, The Knights Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Elbphilharmonie, Apple Hill string quartet, Quatuor Voce, Brooklyn Rider, Cello Octet Amsterdam, Aizuri Quartet and Bob Wilson.

An advocate for new music, several concertos were dedicated to him by composers such as Kareem Roustom, Dia Succari, Dinuk Wijeratne, Zaid Jabri, Saad Haddad and Guss Janssen, in addition to a large number of chamber music works.

In addition to his own Arab-Jazz Quartet CityBand and his Hewar trio, he has also been playing with the Silkroad Ensemble since 2012, whose 2017 Grammy Award-winning album “Sing Me Home” features Kinan as a clarinetist and composer.

Kinan Azmeh is a graduate of New York’s Juilliard School as a student of Charles Neidich, and of both the Damascus High institute of Music where he studied with Shukry Sahwki, Nicolay Viovanof and Anatoly Moratof, and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering. Kinan earned his doctorate degree in music from the City University of New York in 2013.

He is currently working on his first opera which is scheduled to premiere in Osnabruck, Germany in June 2022.

Suite for Improvisor & Orchestra was commissioned by Musical Moments for the Seattle Symphony, and was premiered during the 2018-19 Season.

www.kinanazmeh.com


TERRA NOSTRA (2018)

Program notes by C. Chagnard

Terra Nostra (“Our Earth” in Latin) was commissioned in 2013 by Susan and Jeff Lubetkin, who specified that it should be about climate change. I was delighted by the challenge, as this is a cause I am passionate about. The original version of the score was completed in April 2015 and performed by the Lake Union Civic Orchestra in June of that year. It also featured a poem commissioned from 17-year-old Emily Siff who read it live from the stage at the premiere. The revised version of the score was completed in December 2018 and recorded by Seattle Music at Bastyr University in January 2019.

Terra Nostra is 30 minutes long and filled with themes and quotes that express precise images, phenomena, and direct references. Its architecture is based on a timeline spanning from before the Big Bang, through present time, and on to an unknown future. The overall form unfolds as follows [approximate film timing]:

  1. [0:00-8:20] Pre-Big Bang is followed by a gradual buildup using the harmonic series and the Fibonacci proportions, Big Bang (brass), the beginning of Earth, time (bass drum, timpani pulse), light (high harmonic in violins), water (vibraphone, harp), flora (clarinets, violins), fauna (bird calls in woodwinds), the inexorability theme (cellos, bassoons, bass clarinet; this is an important melody that will return, each time altered throughout the piece), oceans (cellos, violas, bassoons, brass), humankind beginning with SHE (oboe solo) followed by HE (cello solo with the same notes as SHE but in a different rhythm), followed by the rise of civilization.
  1. [8:20-11:40] The next section uses musical quotes to travel through time. It begins with the oldest piece of notated music ever discovered the Hurrian Hymn No. 6 (from Syria circa 1400 B.C.) in solo harp. This is followed by excerpts from Guillaume Dufay (1397-1474), J. S. Bach (1685-1750), W. A. Mozart (1756-1791), Beethoven (1770-1827), Wagner (1813-1883), Debussy (1862-1918), and Stravinsky (1882-1971).
  1. [11:40-12:53] The Industrial Revolution begins with the humankind theme and merges into a section depicting mass production. The piccolo introduces the population growth theme (based on an Indian melody, as India is poised to become the world’s most populous country by the end of the 21st century).
  1. [12:53-16:46] One of the bird calls returns but is slightly altered, foreshadowing the challenges ahead. The ocean theme comes back in full force, describing rising seas. The water theme returns, but on a xylophone instead of a vibraphone, symbolizing drought, and followed by wildfires. A sorrowful bassoon solo expresses the aftermath of fires.
  1. [16:46-20:07] The population growth theme reappears and is later quoted by a single clarinet, followed by other instruments with rapid accumulation. The “circus politics, dance of the deniers” section begins and grows into the extreme weather section, where the full orchestra is at its most intense. The birdcalls return, but this time are altered and greatly weakened.
  1. (20:07-23:53] The next section (low brass, harp, strings) is the darkest yet, describing the worst and most damaging human impact on the environment (severe air and water pollution). The inexorability theme returns, along with timpani solo and trombones’ slow glissandos, describing melting arctic ice.
  1. [23:53-25:00] Next a gradual tonal clash symbolizes the current conflict between the constant, rapidly expanding world-wide growth and the need for sustainability. Flora and stream themes return, expressing nature’s resilience. The solo oboe symbolizes that each individual can make a difference and depicts humanity’s capacity for resolve and greatness.
  1. [25:00-26:45] This section is based on a palindrome of the opening Big Bang as a form of rebirth, punctuated by an S.O.S. motive in the brass, and culminating with a quote from Bach’s chorale Es ist genug(“It is enough”) in the first oboe, solo cello, first trumpet and first violins, indicating that we have enough evidence and that the point of no return is near, warranting immediate, global action of the greatest magnitude.
  1. [26:45-30:30] The coda begins with the drought/fire pulse and theme and soon is joined by the bird, ocean and SHE motifs, expressing the resilience of nature as well as human ingenuity in seeking solutions and adapting to a very fast evolving world. The piece ends with a violin duet symbolizing the possible and so necessary return to a state of harmony between humans and nature.

 

 

 

 

Kinan Azmeh: Clarinet, Composer

Hailed as “intensely soulful” and a “virtuoso” by The New York Times and “spellbinding” by The New Yorker, Winner of Opus Klassik award in 2019 clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh has gained international recognition for what the CBC has called his “incredibly rich sound” and his distinctive compositional voice across diverse musical genres.

Originally from Damascus, Syria, Kinan Azmeh brings his music to all corners of the world as a soloist, composer and improviser. Notable appearances include the Opera Bastille, Paris; Tchaikovsky Grand Hall, Moscow; Carnegie Hall and the UN General Assembly, New York; the Royal Albert Hall, London; Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; Philharmonie, Berlin; the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Washington DC; the Mozarteum, Salzburg, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie; and in his native Syria at the opening concert of the Damascus Opera House.

He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Dusseldorf Symphony, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Qatar Philharmonic and the Syrian Symphony Orchestra among others, and has shared the stage with such musical luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Daniel Barenboim, Marcel Khalife, John McLaughlin, Francois Rabbath Aynur and Jivan Gasparian.

Kinan’s compositions include several works for solo, chamber, and orchestral music, as well as music for film, live illustration, and electronics. His resent works were commissioned by The New York Philharmonic, The Seattle Symphony, The Knights Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Elbphilharmonie, Apple Hill string quartet, Quatuor Voce, Brooklyn Rider, Cello Octet Amsterdam, Aizuri Quartet and Bob Wilson.

An advocate for new music, several concertos were dedicated to him by composers such as Kareem Roustom, Dia Succari, Dinuk Wijeratne, Zaid Jabri, Saad Haddad and Guss Janssen, in addition to a large number of chamber music works.

In addition to his own Arab-Jazz Quartet CityBand and his Hewar trio, he has also been playing with the Silkroad Ensemble since 2012, whose 2017 Grammy Award-winning album “Sing Me Home” features Kinan as a clarinetist and composer.

Kinan Azmeh is a graduate of New York’s Juilliard School as a student of Charles Neidich, and of both the Damascus High institute of Music where he studied with Shukry Sahwki, Nicolay Viovanof and Anatoly Moratof, and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering. Kinan earned his doctorate degree in music from the City University of New York in 2013.

He is currently working on his first opera which is scheduled to premiere in Osnabruck, Germany in June 2022

www.kinanazmeh.com

“Terra Nostra shows the beauty of the natural world and the threats faced by it. No previous experience with or knowledge of classical music is needed to be touched by Terra Nostra. It makes climate change urgent and visceral through music and photographs, stimulates people to challenge themselves to learn more about the issues, and motivates them to see what practical steps they can take in their own lives and communities.”

Follow the link at terranostra.org to find out more about the musical movement of Terra Nostra!

Part I

patience, patience
shh shh
the world
murmurs beneath our
feet.
there’s this rush
rush to
finish
(though we are
never sure
where the finish line is)
and to
brush past it all.
Everything is
just
a waste
bin
for us to
use and toss
use and
toss.
all this rushing
while the world
is simply
patience, patience shh
shh
beneath us.
that earthquake took
a million years,
one millimeter at a time
of the earth shifting through
365 days
of patience, patience shh
shh
for that
single rumble.
We
lay waste
in an
instant.
You are
running.
you do
not even know
the earth,
gutted and razed,
is
moving as well.
You
feel nothing
because it is all
just too slow
too
beneath you.
But what will
you do
without your
footing,
when there is
nothing
for you to
rushh on?
You scoff
at the
slowness
of
patience
patience shh
shh.
What will
you have to
trample on
when your
last
waste bin
is tossed away.

and even
even when you
listen carefully
patience, patience shh
shh
will not be heard
because
even patience shhhhh
eventually
will have
had enough.

You do
not
can
not
rushh your own
funeral;
yet you are
satirically eager
to rush the world’s.

Part II

What a
Hollow harmony
this has been.

we do not
treat
our children
our metal
our
phones
with such
redundancy
dipped in
scorn.
but the
World
the world
that large
muted
body
that is
curling
crushing
curtailing
in on itself,
that is,
allegedly,
‘Mother’
has been
maimed

Memories flicker:
mothers are also
children
and children
are
only as lucid
as you
build them to
be.
This
mother,
this
child,
is waiting for a lullaby
of shh
shh
to echo its own.
and we
Splinter chaos,
attempt to
mock entropy,
molding
our own
unnatural tune.

Buildings and fabrics and lights,
meant to soothe,
melting into
the
nuances of
an abrupt lullaby,
hurried over the
patience shh
in a
clang
ping pang
patter
of dizzying loss.
And this child
Awaits
her lullaby
her lull-
-bye.
and we
so suddenly
sling and splatter
stones
into its
fleshhhh
shhh.

Part III

years
pacing by.
Glowing,
Hushh
Going,
Hushh.
The lamp
greets its reflection
in the window pane.
The hands
exchange their echoes
in the
window
Stains.
Cocooned in our
homes
it all
seems so much
less
imminent.
We lounge.
The sky twists;
an agonizing howl.
We bathe bare.
Lakes die. The earth is stripped,
Forcefully bared.
Throats dry.
Bodies: dire and dryer and tired and-
We disregard.

Gases suffocate.
Glaciers melt.

Granules
grasped between our
graying lands.
Earth’s flooded curves and
dry feet
stomping their defeat across
our rush in a
Clash, crash, crawl.
Wading,
waiting through our
vapors and neon and
slushhh.

Success is a
crooked word
when our
Shhh
has swayed the world
to its knees.

These hands
against the windows
wrinkle, creak.
Old, we say.
Wise, we believe.
We watch our mothers and children
within our walls and windows,
within our nows and vows.
Everything is
too little,
too brittle.
But the sun,
collapsing and rising,
sickened by the lights
at its feet,
lingers beyond our homes.
The strings of
Dawn’s dead eyes
are
slowly
cut.
It’s all just
pain etched outside
the glass.

Back turned,
Turned back,
only your sillhouette minds
the ascending gloom and
falling doom.
Candles melting,
Glowing,
you shhhh
your children.
Years Going,
you
rushhhh away.

– Emily Siff

The Masterworks Series is proudly sponsored by Jack M. Champaigne. We are grateful for the support of Craig and Carol Kapson to perform music by living composers.

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