San Andreas Landscapes
Ralph Vaughan Williams
English Folk Song suite
Dimmer World Premiere
Guest Conductor - Vincent Fortado
(SCM postgraduate conducting student)
March from 1941
This programmatic work depicts the beautiful landscapes of the San Andreas terrain in Palm Springs, California. The piece begins with a sparkling introduction mirroring the sun exploding over these mountainous vistas. The main theme is a soaring robust melody stated by horns and then passed on to trumpets which captures the grandeur of these mountains. The piece evolves to a more lyrical section including solos in the wind section. The work climaxes to a heroic and epic third theme stated by trumpets. After a brief recapitulation of the opening theme, the composition culminates in a broad and satisfying conclusion.
Rossano Galante (ed. Steven Capaldo)
When I was asked to write a piece in memory of Michael Rowden, it created a sense of conflict in my own mind. I never met Rowden, so I didn’t have much of a perspective from which to draw inspiration for a new piece. Instead, I had to rely on my colleagues with whom Rowden spent a significant portion of his career. As his friends and colleagues recanted his personality and numerous anecdotes, I realized that my own inspiration drew from the legacy that was being shared with me. Despite never having interacted directly with Rowden, I was motivated to recognize the lasting impression he left on the teachers and students with whom he worked.
An “afterlight” refers most directly to the light visible in the sky after a sunset. However, a less common use is that of a retrospect and a view of past events. With this in mind, I wanted this piece to be a reflection on a person that meant so much to so many students and colleagues. As a young educator, it is inspiring and encouraging to witness firsthand the impact on these many lives after years of dedication to selflessly serving his students.
Jeff King, Director of Bands for Duncanville ISD, and a long-time colleague of Rowden, writes, “I remember Mike as a quiet guy who always seemed to have time to listen to people. He was a very intelligent man who was not shy about sharing his love for movie sound track music with anyone who was interested. If you just happened to have a billiards pool stick with you, that would be just fine with Mike. Many of us never know what our true purpose in life is until we are gone. I believe that when you hear this beautiful music written by William Pitts, Mike will be smiling in heaven saying, ‘that was very nice students, make sure you…’ Mike touched many lives throughout his teaching career with his kind demeanor and wisdom. My hope is that this music will live forever in our hearts and through his spirit.”
afterlight is not a chronicle of Rowden’s life, but rather is intended to draw upon a lasting positive legacy reflected in the memories of those that knew him well. The piece uses a three-note motif, first heard in the vibraphone, to create the sense of suspension and a lack of resolution, thereby creating a greater sense of arrival at measure thirty-five and again at the final climax at eighty-six. Other than these moments, the tonic F-major is used sparingly. Rhythmically, the triple and duple-based percussion material often contrasts with the slow-moving material of the winds, again supporting the sense of suspension while still maintaining steady rhythmic drive.
The oboe, Rowden’s primary instrument, is used as the first melodic wind instrument throughout the entire first large segment of the piece. After the first arrival to the tonic F-major, the brass traverse through multiple key centers, eventually leading to the extended development back in C-major. Hints of the principal melodic material appear in the woodwinds, again creating a contrast from the driving rhythm of the percussion to the slow-moving rhythms in the winds. Eventually, this development culminates in the final grand arrival of F-major. The piece fades into a final statement similar to that of the introduction, again featuring the oboe as a primary voice.
Though I never had the pleasure of knowing Michael Rowden, it is an honor to have an opportunity to pay tribute to the inspiration he has been for students and colleagues throughout Texas.
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was an influential British composer and folk-song collector. His powerful and expressive orchestral music is notable for its very “English” sound. His early adventures collecting folk songs in the English countryside profoundly influenced his later compositions. Along with Gustav Holst, his works for wind band form a foundation for the serious literature in that medium.
The English Folk Song Suite is one of those foundational works. It was written in 1923 and premiered at Kneller Hall, home of Britain’s finest military music academy. It uses as its source material several English folks songs. It is cast in 3 movements: a “March” subtitled “Seventeen Come Sunday”; an “Intermezzo” on “My Bonny Boy”; and another “March” subtitled “Folk Songs from Somerset”, which incorporates several different tunes. A good summary of the movements and the folk songs involved in each is available here. The original composition also included a fourth movement, Sea Songs, which Vaughan Williams later decided to publish separately. While the English Folk Song Suite is a cornerstone of the wind band repertoire, it is not fully demonstrative of Vaughan Williams’s compositional powers. Only the “Intermezzo” approaches the harmonic daring and lyricism that mark the rest of his work. The remainder of the piece is a fairly straightforward, faithful setting of the folk songs.
Eric Whitacre is one of the most-performed composers of his generation. Born in 1970, he studied composition at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the Juilliard School with notable composers including John Corigliano and David Diamond. His choral works and band works have rapidly become accepted in the repertoire due to their strong appeal to audiences and players alike. In addition to composing, Whitacre tours the world as a conductor of his own works. Lux Aurumque began its life as an a cappella choral work that I wrote in the fall of 2000. When the Texas Music Educators Association and a consortium of bands commissioned me to adapt it for symphonic winds, I rewrote the climax and included the grand “Bliss” theme from my my opera Paradise Lost.
Lux Aurumque received its premiere at the 2005 conference of the Texas Music Educators Association, and is dedicated with deep admiration for my dear friend Gary Green.
Andy Pease and Eric Whitacre
I suppose you could call Lights Out an “opto-physico-electro-acoustic” work for wind band, because it was conceived from the onset as a visual media piece. While it can be performed in any normal concert setting, it’s most compelling when presented in the dark, slightly disorienting the audience and dazzling them with the beautiful colored aura from glowsticks, smart phones, and small LEDs placed inside the instruments and on the musicians’ mallets and fingers. Mesmerizing!
Composing this piece, I treated the visuals and movement the same way I treat the audio track— as an equal and additional “section” in the band, organically incorporated into the piece just like the woodwinds, brass and percussion. The physical and lighting aspects of the work were composed simultaneously with the music, and the score includes two additional staves devoted to movement and visual effects, leaving space on the score page for bands to add their own ideas as well.
Even before writing a single note of the score, I conducted Skype sessions with the majority of the 19 bands involved in the commissioning consortium, to elicit the musicians’ creative ideas about what staging concepts might make a performance particularly unusual and engaging. Roughly 200 of these gems are published in the score, for bands around the world to use and be inspired by.
The indications for movement and lighting that found their way into the score due to this wonderful initial collaboration are a jumping off point for many other ideas, and I’m excited to discover what each ensemble is going to choose for their interpretation. I encourage every band to post their performance on YouTube, because each concert will be unique!
The act of dimming a light served as the gestural catalyst for this work. Hence this work became an exploration and an abstract reflection on our influence and interaction with light. In this way the Hex Schmitt tigger light synthesiser became a part of the work. Organic, smooth transformation and progression like the action of the dimmer switch became my goal with the work.
Sometime into my writing the work, two scenarios changed the course of the music; the first being a visit to the supermarket the second being hiking the Overland Track in Tasmania. How relevant these experiences are to the concept of the piece is tenuous but it ties in with my intention with all my music wherein each piece is a reflection of my thoughts and feelings at the time of composition. The contrast between the two field recordings is quite striking and the repeating rhythms that I noticed in each scenario became an element in the instrumental music.
Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987) was a piano and organ prodigy who was supporting himself with his musical talents by age 11. A lifelong Philadelphia resident, he took full advantage of that city’s music institutions. At age 20, he was simultaneously the head of the music department at Combs College, a conducting major with Fritz Reiner at the Curtis Institute, and a piano and composition student at the Philadelphia Conservatory. His distinctly original compositions began to be recognized internationally before he was 30. His skyrocketing reputation led to his appointment at the Juilliard School, where he became the chair of the composition department at age 47. He died in 1987, leaving behind a unique body of work in almost every musical medium, including a number of masterpieces for the wind band. Among these is Pageant, written for the American Bandmasters Association.
Pageant, commissioned by the American Bandmasters’ Association, was completed in January, 1953, and was [Persichetti’s] third band work. It opens in slow tempo with a motive in the horn that is used throughout both sections of the piece.. The slow chordal section is succeeded by a lively “parade” section introduced by the snare drum. In the final portion of the work the principal subjects are developed simultaneously to a lively climax.
The first performance of this work took place on March 7th, 1953, at the American Bandmasters’ Association Convention in Miami, Florida. It was performed by the University of Miami Band, with the composer conducting.
Andy Pease and Pageant Score
John Mackey’s Lightning Field takes its title from a work of art by Walter De Maria. That work is a massive expanse of New Mexico desert, claimed and transformed by the artist via an installation of steel rods: planted in the earth and reaching toward the sky, they call down its power – literally creating man-made lightning storms. Like them, Mackey’s piece speaks to the ancient impulse to summon nature’s power, and the magic such acts unleash. A sense of energy runs throughout the work, with the driving onstage percussion enhanced by the sound of thunder (provided by inexpensive hand-held percussion instruments called “thunder tubes“) surrounding the audience
The melodic material for Only Light originally came from Beneath a Canvas of Green, a recently composed large-scale work of mine written for wind ensemble. At the time, I was not quite comfortable with how this music fit within the larger work (it passed by much too quickly), and I knew it was something I would eventually like to revisit.
During the next few years, I was moved by two friends’ display of strength and courage through adversity. Through these experiences, I was reminded of how delicate life is, and how things can change at a moment’s notice. Reflecting upon these events inspired me to expand and ultimately finish this previously composed music. Only Light is meant to convey a sense of hope and healing.
The March from the movie “1941” is the most memorable part of this Steven Spielberg 1979 production starring John Belushi. The lack of success for the movie may stem from the plot that depicts hysteria in Los Angeles just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when fear of a Japanese invasion is imminent. It is hard to appreciate humor in the actions of manic servicemen, zealous store owners, and bickering Nazis. The March has the bright and patriotic theme that would capture such an event, though.
Foothills Symphonic Band
Sydney University Wind Orchestra
The Sydney University Wind Orchestra is an award winning symphonic wind orchestra based at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music that performs a wide repertoire, specialising in modern wind band music from the late 20th and 21st centuries. The wind orcherstra is also very active, giving regular concerts, performing on tour collaborating with other musical ensembles and holding a training camp each year.
Aside from a major concert performance in a concert hall or theatre every semester, SUWO regularly features its members in smaller ensembles and solo performances. We are also very proud of our “Concerts for Kids” program which sees the band tour schools in the greater Sydney region, and even Canberra in 2012, to bring them an educational and musical experience they might not otherwise have the chance to experience.
SUWO prides itself on its musical excellence, but also on its friendly, social environment. Winner of “Best Small Club” for 5 continuous years from 2006-2010, shortlisted for the Dave Burnett Award for Best Club with 100+ members in 2013 and 2014 and winner of “Best Website” in 2012 and 2013. Our musicians enjoy many social events, from dinner gatherings, to bowling, fundraising events and musical outings.
President – Chathurika Ravindra
Vice President – Joshua Winestock
Treasurer – Jack Andrew-Kabilafkas
Secretary – Elena Sheard
Publicity Officer – Lauren Vickery
Social Coordinator – Hannah Taylor
Librarian – Jasmine Mills
IT Officer – Hugh Guest
Equipment Manager – Rebekah Bradshaw
General Executive – Emma Koch
General Executive – Tamara Craig
Conductor and Music Director
Dr. Steven J Capaldo
Dr Steven Capaldo is currently the Senior Lecturer in Music Education at the University of Wollongong, a member of the Conducting Faculty at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music as Conductor and Music Director of the Sydney University Wind Orchestra, and the Conductor and Music Director of the UNSW Wind Symphony. Previously an Assistant Professor in Music Education and Instructor of Conducting at the University of Victoria in BC Canada, Dr Capaldo was the founding conductor of the University of Victoria Symphonic Winds and taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Conducting and Music Education.
Dr Capaldo completed a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting at the University of Nevada (UNLV), a Master of Performance (orchestral and choral conducting) at the University of Sydney (Conservatorium of Music), a Bachelor of Education (Music) at the University of Melbourne, and an AMusA on Saxophone with Distinction. He has enjoyed the opportunity to study with leading opera, symphony, choral and wind conductors and educators from around the world.
Having diverse experience as a conductor and music educator, Dr Capaldo has worked with symphony orchestras, wind orchestras, chamber ensembles, choirs, brass bands, and percussion ensembles. He has previously held the position of Musical Director and Conductor with many school and community ensembles and has a long-standing history of supporting and engaging in community music and music education in primary schools, high schools and tertiary settings.
As a performer, Dr Capaldo has performed in Australia, the US and Canada in live concerts and on recordings. He is an active writer; composing, arranging and transcribing music for wind orchestras, symphony orchestras, festivals and concerts. His works have been performed by groups in Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States, and recorded on Klavier records (US). He is also an Assistant Producer and Co-Editor for seven Klavier Records CD releases with the UNLV Wind Orchestra, an Assistant Producer with the Sydney Conservatorium Wind Symphony CD (to be released in 2016) and in 2011 became a full voting member for the US Grammy Awards.
Receiving many commissions to write for large instrumental and vocal groups, his compositions and arrangements have received premiere performances around the world. Dr Capaldo has recently been listed as a composer in the book The Band Down Under (by Michael Burch-Pesses) for his works for wind band and he has been a finalist in international composition competitions such as Short, Sweet and Song, the Australian Songwriting Contest and a semi-finalist in the UK Songwriting awards.
Also receiving awards for his academic & teaching achievements and critical praise for his ensembles and choirs in professional, educational, and community environments, Dr Capaldo has been awarded a place in the prestigious Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (US), listed in the 2004 Who’s Who of American College and University Students, named on the 2004 National Dean’s List (US), received the 1996 Dean’s Honours List Award (UMelb), selected to audition for the 1997 Westfield/ABC Australia Young Conductor of the Year Award, and has received the New South Wales Teaching Certificate. He has been nominated for the Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning Award (UOW) in 2010 & 2013, and received the Recognition of Teaching Excellence Award from the Australian College of Educators (2011). As an academic, he has published in leading journals and presented at Australian and international conferences in music education, conducting, and music technology.
Dr Capaldo has adjudicated at a local, state/provincial and national levels in Australia and Canada, including the 2011 Sydney Eisteddfod and MusicFest in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and is in demand as a conductor, adjudicator, clinician, and writer. Dr Capaldo conducted the British Columbia Honor Wind Ensemble in their 50th Anniversary year (2007), the Civic Orchestra of Victoria (Canada), and was a guest conductor with the Wollongong Community Orchestra from 2009-11. He is actively involved in providing professional learning opportunities for music educators through conducting and pedagogy clinics and workshops in Sydney and the Illawarra.