Widely considered to be one of the most challenging and innovative composers of the 20th century, Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) is that most rare artist who combines theoretical rigor and technical innovation with deeply personal, beautiful, and often terrifying emotional weight. This survey concert moves chronologically backward through his remarkable career, intertwining the
music and mythology of ancient Greece with an evocation of the many traumas of his early life.
Lacking any traditional notions of subtlety or musicality, Plektó (Braids, 1993) is one of Xenakis’s last works. The melodic lines among the winds and strings are woven around and through one another in extreme dynamics while the piano and percussion pound out dissonant chords and ritualistic rhythms. Most of the percussion music in Plektó is taken directly from the solo percussion work Rebonds (Rebounds, 1989) which is composed for a collection of drums and woodblocks that evoke frenzied, ecstatic ancient Dionysian rituals. The 1960s and 70s found Xenakis engaging with his demons more directly - although never explicitly - which seems particularly true of the double bass solo Theraps (1975). Loosely translated to English from ancient Greek as “servant” or “healer,” the work’s extremes in register, dynamics, and physicality and its simultaneous, divergent glissandi suggest a duality of self in conflict. In ancient Greek, the word therapōn also refers to an Anatolian ritual of purification that, “expels pollution from the person to be purified” and Theraps does indeed feel like a sort of exorcism for both performer and composer.
The program concludes with an exceedingly rare opportunity to hear the landmark electronic work Bohor (1962) as it was originally intended with an 8-channel speaker array; Xenakis wants the audience to feel as though they are inside a giant bell. The piece’s title refers to “Bohor the Outcast,” a medieval tale of Bors and his brother, knights of the roundtable who were driven out in political exile. Although he persistently resisted associating his music with his personal experience, it’s clear that Xenakis is processing the extraordinary difficulties of his life through music. Following World War II and a nearly mortal wound suffered in protest of a fascist takeover of Greece by the British, Xenakis was forbidden from his homeland for over 20 years having illegally emigrated to France to escape a death sentence by the newly installed right- wing government.
It is my great pleasure to present these rarely heard and pioneering works to the Bard community and I thank Colin Roshak & the Bard Sinfonietta Project, the Bard Conservatory percussion department, Thomas Mark, and Tristan Kasten-Krause for bringing this rare and ambitious program to life.
- Sarah Hennies
Sarah Hennies (b. 1979, Louisville, KY) is a composer and percussionist based in upstate New York whose work is concerned with a variety of musical, sociopolitical, and psychological issues including queer & trans identity, psychoacoustics, and the social and neurological conditions underlying creative thought. She is primarily a composer of acoustic chamber music, but is also active in improvisation, film, and performance art. She presents her work internationally as both a composer and percussionist with notable performances at MoMA PS1 (NYC), Monday Evening Concerts (Los Angeles), Warsaw Autumn, Ruhrtriennale (Essen), Archipel Festival (Geneva), Darmstädter Ferienkurse, Time:Spans (NYC), and the Edition Festival (Stockholm). As a composer, she has received commissions across a wide array of performers and ensembles including Bearthoven, Bent Duo, Claire Chase, Ensemble Dedalus, Mivos String Quartet, Talea Ensemble, Nate Wooley, and Yarn/Wire. She is the recipient of a 2019 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award and a 2016 fellowship in music/sound from the New York Foundation for the Arts and has received additional support from the Fromm Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, New Music USA, and the New York State Council on the Arts.
As a scholar and performer she is engaged with ongoing research about the percussion music of Iannis Xenakis and a recording project to document music by the American percussionist and composer Michael Ranta. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Bard College.
Timothy Morrow is a pianist, cellist, composer, and conductor from New Jersey. Having started music from a young age, Timothy is such a serious musician, that he refuses to watch any sporting events except for the Olympics and the Super Bowl so that he does not seem like a complete recluse. That being said, he does have a strange fascination for curling. He is a self proclaimed optimist, and recently got addicted to Hi Chew (especially the strawberry flavor). His favorite bridge is the Tappan Zee Bridge because of its strong pylons, proximity to Sergei Rachmaninoff’s grave site, and clouded view of New York City. He currently studies conducting at Bard Conservatory and is an avid advocate for the existence of Central Jersey.
Timothy Morrow is a pianist, cellist, composer, and conductor from New Jersey. Starting piano at age 4, he later went to study piano and composition at Westminster Choir College where he sang in their award-winning symphonic choir. Currently, Timothy is a graduate student in conducting at Bard Conservatory, and also sings with the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir. He is an amateur cinefile and his favorite bridge is the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Colin Roshak is a conductor, clarinetist and entrepreneur. He completed his bachelors degree at Oberlin Conservatory, and will complete his masters of music at Bard College in May, 2023. He is the music director of Freedom Plains United Presbyterian Church in LaGrangeville and works in close collaboration with soprano Katherine Lerner Lee.
Colin has founded ensembles ranging from new music ensembles to string orchestras and state-wide community music programs. As the founding director of the Alaska Virtual Symphony, Colin provided free weekly music lessons to more than 60 students, ages 5 to 80. The program culminated in a three-part conversation series with Cliburn medalist Daniel Hsu, renowned flutist Kelly Zimba and Grammy Award-winning band Portugal. The Man and a concert hosted by the Alaska Youth Orchestras. Most recently, he founded the Bard Sinfonietta Project; an ensemble focused on performing canonical and new modern works, with an emphasis on student works.
Colin is a proud student of Richard Hawkins, Tim Weiss, James Bagwell, Kai-Yun Lu and Craig Hay. His day typically begins with a smoothie and his mind often drifts to the Chugach mountains. Colin has strong opinions about salt and pepper, encourages everyone to drink more water and highly recommends Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts.
Taylor Long is a New York-based percussionist, sound artist, and educator interested in experimental, technological, theatrical, and post-instrumental mediums. He has appeared at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse (Germany), New Music for Strings Festival (Denmark), Oh My Ears New Music Festival (Phoenix), and at venues including Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (Troy), Pioneerworks (Brooklyn), Roulette Intermedium (Brooklyn), Rhizome (Washington DC), Harvestworks (Manhattan), and Carnegie Hall.
Taylor is a member of Ensemble Decipher, a NY-based technologically oriented composer/performer collective, with performances at New Music Gathering, Interpretations Series, Earth Day Art Model, EarFest, NowNet Arts Conference, Network Festival, and Emruz Festival, and residencies at universities including Michigan State University and Peabody Institute. He also performs/creates with Rob Cosgrove as low-pass, with performances at Buffalo State College, Muhlenberg College, Union College, and SUNY Purchase, as well as sound installations Broadcast Presence (Practice Gallery; Philadelphia), Floaters (Squeaky Wheel; Buffalo) and upcoming project Chamber Music (Bard Center for Experimental Humanities; Annandale-on-Hudson).
Taylor is a percussion teaching fellow at Bard College Conservatory and candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts at Stony Brook University. He holds an MM from the University of Kansas and BM from Portland State University.
Ryan MacEvoy McCollough
Pianist Ryan MacEvoy McCullough has developed a rich musical life as soloist, vocal and instrumental collaborator, composer, recording artist, and pedagogue. Ryan’s growing discography features many world premiere recordings, including solo piano works of Milosz Magin (Acte Prealable), Andrew McPherson (Secrets of Antikythera, Innova), John Liberatore (Line Drawings, Albany), Nicholas Vines (Hipster Zombies from Mars, Navona), art song and solo piano music of John Harbison and James Primosch (Descent/Return, Albany), and art song by Sheila Silver (Beauty Intolerable, Albany). He is also founder of False Azure Records, which released its first album in November 2022, The Labor of Forgetting, featuring works by Katherine Balch and Dante De Silva. Ryan has appeared on PBS’s Great Performances (Now Hear This, “The Schubert Generation”) and NPR’s From the Top, and is a frequent collaborator with the Mark Morris Dance Group.
As concerto soloist has appeared with major orchestras including with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Toronto Symphony Orchestra, with such conductors as Gisele Ben-Dur, George Benjamin, Fabien Gabel, Leonid Grin, Anthony Parnther, Larry Rachleff, Mischa Santora, and Joshua Weilerstein. Ryan teaches at Bard College Conservatory, and lives in Kingston, NY, with his wife, soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon.
For additional information and curios, visit www.RyanMMcCullough.com.
Born in Los Angeles, Christopher Nelson finished his studies at Chapman University in 2020 to receive a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance. His former teachers include William Fitzpatrick, Robert Becker, Moni Simeonov, and Gail Mellert. In past years, Christopher has attended music festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, Round Top Festival Institute, Taconic Chamber Music Intensive, Rocky Ridge Chamber Intensive, and Idyllwild Summer Music Festival. Master classes he has participated in have been for top performers and pedagogues like Ray Chen, Sara Chang, Paul Kantor, Danwen Jiang, Regis Pasquier, and members of the Juilliard String Quartet. He is currently a first year masters student of the Instrumental Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music and is a student under Daniel Phillips.
Born in Irving, TX, in 2002, Francisco Verastegui is a 3rd-year flutist at the Bard Conservatory where he is pursuing a double major in Hispanic Studies and Flute Performance under the tutelage of Tara Helen O’Connor. Moving with his family to NYC in 2006, Francisco began to learn the flute at school in the 5th grade at age 10. In 2013, he was accepted to the Jazz at Lincoln Center Middle School Jazz Academy and remained in the program for two years. In 2015, Francisco was accepted to the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program (MAP), where he studied flute for three years under the instruction of Mrs. Allison Loggins-Hull. In 2018, Francisco was accepted into the Chamber Music Center of New York where he was awarded the Chang-Chavkin scholarship, covering his tuition at the program as well as lesson costs for the next two years under the study of Lisa Arkis. During this time, Francisco also attended summer music festivals including Luzerne Music Festival, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and YOLA’s National Festival.
In 2020, Francisco was awarded both a Conservatory Scholarship and a Presidential Scholarship to attend the Bard College Conservatory’s Double Degree Program, where he has remained. In the Summer of 2022, Francisco was invited to be a part of the Encuentros Orchestra directed by Gustavo Dudamel for 2 weeks in California, while working with the LA Philharmonic’s piccolo player, Sarah Jackson, culminating in performances with Esperanza Spalding at the Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theater at Berkeley. Today, Francisco is involved with music ensembles in both the conservatory and music school at Bard, as well as outside of school, exercising his love for both Jazz and Classical music.
Tristan Kasten-Krause is a bassist and composer living in Brooklyn, New York who’s work enlarges the minutiae of close tones and subtle gestures. As a bassist he has been credited with lending his “low-end authority to vital New York institutions” (the New Yorker) and praised for his “heavenly” (the Guardian) original compositions. Tristan has worked and performed with modern artists such as Alvin Lucier, Caroline Shaw, LEYA, Steve Reich, Man Forever and David Lang. He has performed on the Lincoln Center Festival, designed sound For Bloomberg Marketplace and been a featured soloist on Netflix’s The Witcher. His most recent duo album Images of One with Jessica Pavone was released February 17th on Relative Pitch Records.
Nathan Francisco, originally from Collegedale Tennessee, is currently pursuing a double degree in cello performance and German studies at Bard College and Conservatory, where he studies cello with Peter Wiley. He previously had extensive cello training with Wesley Baldwin. In addition to his studies, Nathan is an active chamber musician in both the Chattanooga and Bard communities. He participated in the 2022 Bowdoin International Music Festival, and this summer he plans to attend the Young Artist Chamber Music Program at Kneisel Hall. Nathan is also passionate about historical performance practice, having studied viola da gamba with Martha Bishop, as well as organ and other historical keyboards with Judy Glass, instruments which he actively performs on. In his recreational time Nathan enjoys playing disc golf, attempting to brew great coffee, and sight reading chamber music with friends.
Juan Diego Mora
Percussionist Juan Diego Mora is a third-year student from Tachira, Venezuela, who was the principal of the percussion section of the Regional Orchestra of Táchira. He was a student in the El Sistema program for 11 years before arriving at Bard, to begin his studies in January 2021. He’s currently double majoring in computer science and music, and has a strong interest in composition, conducting, and exploring more instruments outside the percussion section such as piano, cuatro (Venezuelan folk instrument), guitar, and bass. Juan is also a member of the Avila Ensemble where he performs Venezuelan folk music around the Hudson valley.
João Melo, a Brazilian musician, was a member of the NEOJIBA project’s principal percussion group and orchestra for many years. During his term in the NEOJIBA, João had the opportunity to perform on several concert tours throughout Europe, including in Italy, Switzerland, England, and France. He shared the stage with renowned musicians such as Martha Argerich, Colin Currie, and Ricardo Castro. In 2018, João began pursuing his undergraduate education in music performance at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA). Throughout his time at UFBA, João’s performances included both solo percussion repertoire and chamber music with the UFBA Percussion Group. In 2019, as a performer and member of the group, he contributed to the release of their third album, Ouça Sfot Poc. In 2020, João transferred to the Bard Conservatory of Music, where he is currently double-majoring in music performance and computer science. He aims to explore his knowledge of computer science to enhance his musical abilities and explore new possibilities in the field of music.