Program Notes December 7, 2022
Brass Quintet, Selections To Be Announced
Dennis Presley, Trumpet
Nathaniel Cordova, Trumpet
Michael Fleischmann, Horn
Joan Gubler, Trombone
Jeronimo Castro, Tuba
COD Symphonic Band Dr. Michael P. Fleischmann, Director
Summit, Kevin Day
Sunny-Side Up, Michael Markowski
Stillwater, Kelijah Duncan
Don Ricardo, Gabriel Musella
Infinity, Kataj Copley
Summit (Flex Series, 2020)
Kevin Day (b. 1996)
About the Piece
Summit is an energetic work that was commissioned by the Indiana Bandmasters Association.
The composition depicts a group of individuals working together as a team to forge its way up the face of a mountain, dealing with steep cliffs and chilling winds, evenually working its way to the very top.
Program note from the publisher
About the Composer
An American whose music has been characterized by "propulsive, syncopated rhythms, colorful orchestration, and instrumental virtuosity," (Robert Kirzinger, Boston Symphony) Composer Kevin Day has quickly emerged as one of the leading young voices in the world of music composition today, whose music ranges from powerful introspection to joyous exuberance. Kevin Day is an internationally acclaimed composer, conductor, and pianist, whose music often intersects between the worlds of jazz, minimalism, Latin music, fusion, and contemporary classical idioms. Day serves as the Vice President of the Millennium Composers Initiative, a collective of more than 120 composers from several countries around the world.
A winner of the BMI Student Composer Award, a three-time finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and considered for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for his Concerto for Wind Ensemble, Day has composed over 200 works, and has had numerous performances throughout the United States, Russia, Austria, Australia, Taiwan, South Africa, and Japan. His works have been programmed by the symphonies of Boston, San Francisco, Detroit, Indianapolis, Houston, and more, as well as several top professional and collegiate wind ensembles. His works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Rachmaninov Hall (Russia), The Midwest Clinic, and other major venues, and recently he had his Carnegie Hall Conducting Debut at the 2022 New York International Music Festival.
Day has collaborated with the likes of David Childs, Nicki Roman, James Markey, Wendy Richman, Jens Lindemann, Demondrae Thurman, Hiram Diaz, Steven Cohen, Jeremy Lewis, and more on works for their respective instruments, as well as chamber ensembles like One Found Sound, Axiom Brass, Ensemble Dal Niente, The Sheffield Chamber Players, The Puerto Rican Trombone Ensemble, The Zenith Saxophone Quartet, The Tesla Quartet, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra Low Brass Section.
Day is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He is pursuing his DMA in Composition from the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where he studies with Charles Norman Mason, Dorothy Hindman, and Lansing McCloskey. He holds a MM in Composition from the University of Georgia, and BM in Performance from Texas Christian University (TCU). He is alumnus of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America.
Photo Credit: Sara Bill Photography/Karen Cubides Agency
Michael Markowski (b. 1986)
About the Piece
Rachael Ray is on the TV. She’s the guest cook on some network morning show and she’s teaching the studio audience how to make the perfect fried egg. So she cracks a couple eggs into the pan, makes a little endearing small-talk with the audience while the eggs lightly sizzle, grabs her bright green spatulas and flips the eggs over onto a plate. They aren’t burned. The yolk isn’t broke. Somehow, they’re perfect.
The studio audience goes crazy with applause. They have been dazzled! They have been wowed! The camera cuts to their reactions: their smiles are curtained wide open and their minds have been completely blown by this early morning kitchen wizardry. All over the perfect fried egg.
I am not a morning person. I wish I was, but I need a serious amount of coffee before my body has enough energy to hoist my cheeks into something even resembling a smile. Actually, I think I’m a bit envious of morning people. Their optimism is something we love to hate on when the rest of us can barely get one grumpy leg out of bed, but this optimism is also kind of aspirational. It’s something to strive for.
Okay, Sunny-Side Up is not really about eggs. It’s a piece full of energy and anticipation. From the very first measure, we’re up and at ‘em! We’re flying fast after our early morning worm, pecking the ground incessantly in search of our breakfast. The musical caffeine flowing through our melodies makes the notes perk up loudly, sometimes obnoxiously so. They even get a bit twitchy as the piece unfolds. Aside from this morning rush, I think this piece is an homage to morning people. It’s an ode to the cockeyed optimistic and is dedicated to people who always ‘look on the sunny-side’ of life no matter what time it is or how many yolks might break along the way.
Sunny-Side Up premiered on November 9, 2018 in Bountiful, Utah with the Viewmont High School Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band with special guest performers from Centerville Junior High School and Bountiful Junior High, Dan Chaston, conductor.
About the Composer
Michael Markowski (b. 1986) is fully qualified to watch movies and cartoons. In 2010, he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in ‘Film Practices’ from Arizona State University. While Markowski never studied music in college, his primary music teachers have included Gary Larkins, Dawn Parker, Jon Gomez, Dr. Karl Schindler, and Michael Shapiro. He has continued this education by participating in a number of extracurricular programs, such as The Art of Orchestration with Steven Scott Smalley (2008), the National Band Association’s Young Composer and Conductor Mentorship Project (2008), and the NYU/ASCAP Foundation’s Film Scoring Workshop (2014) where he was named one of ASCAP’s Film & TV “Composers to Watch.” Mark Snow, composer of The X-Files and one of the workshop’s guest mentors, says Michael’s music was “extremely sophisticated” and “complimented the mood and emotion of the scene with unusual maturity and sensitivity.” Most recently, Markowski was invited to join the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop (2015) as a composer and lyricist.
Shadow Rituals, one of Markowski’s first works for concert band, was awarded first prize in Manhattan Beach Music’s Frank Ticheli Composition Contest in 2006. Over the last ten years, Markowski has composed nearly twenty-five original works for wind band, nine of which were recently recorded in collaboration with the Brooklyn Wind Symphony, now available on iTunes. Joyride for Orchestra (2015) recently won the Arizona Musicfest’s young composer fanfare competition, and You Are Cordially Invited (2016) recently won a fanfare competition with the Dallas Wind Symphony. He has received commissions from a number of organizations including CBDNA, The Consortium for the Advancement of Wind Band Literature, The Lesbian and Gay Band Association, the Durham Medical Orchestra, the Florida Music Educator’s Association, and has received performances from the United States Air Force bands, The Phoenix Symphony, the Arizona Musicfest Symphony Orchestra, and from hundreds of bands around the world. He has been the composer-in-residence for the ‘Music for All’ organization (2015), the ‘Mid Europe’ international wind band festival in Schladming, Austria (2013-2018), and frequently visits junior high schools, high schools, universities, and community bands around the country to share stories about his music.
He is a member of ASCAP and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Kelijah Dunton (b. 1999)
About the Piece
This work was inspired by the beauty of a small town, Stillwater, Minnesota. This town has a big lake in its center, and out of everyone’s backyard it could be seen. During the winter, the very top of the lake freezes and creates this tranquil effect that could not be seen, but heard. When stepping out into your backyard, you’d see this frozen mass, stuck into place and completely unmovable, but if you listened closely, you could hear that the water underneath continued to flow.
Why is this important?
We as people forget sometimes that we are so much more deep and vast beneath our hard surfaces. We work, we go to school, we take care of our families, we deal with the struggles of the day-to-day routine militantly. But if we just take a moment to listen within ourselves, we discover our passions, our longings, and our sense of belongings.
Program Note by the composer
About the Composer
Kelijah Dunton (b. 1999) is a New York-based composer who has enjoyed a short but prolific musical background starting in his high school years. He studied alto saxophone through school and continues to be an active performer with NYC’s own Metropolitan Music Community. Without formal composition training, Kelijah has only recently embarked on his composition career, persevering as he learns from his musical peers and experiences. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Kelijah has called the neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Crown Heights home. Moving from place to place has helped him learn what it means to be around people of all backgrounds, ages, and walks of life, as well as exposed him to many genres of music in different communities. Kelijah’s significant musical moments include performing in NYC honor bands, competitive NYSSMA festivals, traveling to prestigious music colleges, sitting in with various award-winning jazz bands, and most recently, performing with an MMC community band for all ages and music education levels.
Gabriel Musella (b. 1963)
About the Piece
The explosive and powerful introduction of this piece seamlessly drops off to reveal its genuine Latin spirit. The enchanting melodies and driving rhythms transport the listener to a distant time and place, where Latin-inspired harmonies, rhythmic patterns and instrumentation bring to life a vibrant musical story line.
About the Composer
Bands under his direction earned UIL Sweepstakes Awards in 8 different Varsity and Non-Varsity categories, performed at The Midwest Clinic and Music For All National Concert Festival, and placed as finalists in TMEA Honor Band competition and at the UIL State Marching Contest.
While at Spring HS, the band program was designated a Grammy Signature School, a Houston Symphony Orchestra Residency School, and was featured in THE INSTRUMENTALIST magazine. Spring Band ensembles earned 5 invitations to perform at The Midwest Clinic between 2008 and 2016, and received awards at the prestigious Fischoff, Coltman, and Houston Underground chamber music competitions.
Mr. Musella is an active adjudicator, consultant, clinician, and composer whose music has been performed throughout the country and abroad by community, university, and secondary school ensembles. His works for concert band, orchestra, and chamber ensembles are found on the UIL Prescribed Music List and on similar lists in other states.
The United States Air Force Band, based in Washington DC recently premiered A THOUSAND HEARTS TO GIVE in Chicago at the 73rd Annual Midwest Clinic.
The UTEP Symphonic Band premiered CIUDAD DE PAZ, dedicated to the victims of the August 2019 shooting in El Paso, in November 2019.
His publishers include RBC – Pepper, C. Alan, Boosey & Hawkes, Carl Fischer, Kjos, Row-Loff, and TRN. He is the recipient of the Meritorious Achievement Award from The Texas Bandmasters Association, the Specs Excellence in Music Education Award from The Houston Symphony Orchestra, and he is a 2019 inductee into the American Bandmasters Association.
He holds a Bachelor of Music Composition and a Masters of Music in Conducting, both from Texas Tech University where he studied with James Sudduth, Keith Bearden, and Mary Jeanne van Appledorn. He has greatly benefitted from his legendary mentors Tom Bennett, Eddie Green, Philip Geiger, Rodney Klett, Joe Dixon, Kenny Capshaw, Rick and Barbara Lambrecht, James Edwards, Randy Vaughn, Mike Warny, and Scott McAdow.
He holds memberships in TMEA, TBA, TMAA, Phi Beta Mu, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and he serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Music Education.
Gabe is honored to be associated with the Texas Tech Band and Orchestra Camp where he has been on the staff since 1985.
He and his wife Alice, Red Raider alumnus and career educator, are very proud of their son Alex, who recently earned a graduate degree at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.
Kataj Copley (b. 1998)
About the Piece
Shooting stars symbolize good luck, change or big event is coming towards your life, or it can also be a symbol of endings and beginnings. Shooting stars are actually one of the most diverse omens we have throughout our history. Shooting star symbolizes a brief fleeting moment in one's life just like the brief wonder of seeing a shooting star race across the night sky. They can also be a symbol of reaching one's ultimate destiny.
Shooting stars, asteroids, and the movement of the heavenly bodies in the night sky have always fascinated humans. Some cultures have always and strong beliefs and superstitions in the meaning of shooting stars. Traditional shooting stars also meant a new birth and changes in one's life and also a wish for a better life.
With Infinity I wanted to create the sense of shooting stars flying through the infinite playground known as space. As the piece begins, the world of space is filled with stars running through the skies. Throughout the piece, the shooting stars go through many different scenarios both dark and light until finally at the end of the piece the stars – with their bright colors and lights – flash across the sky with spectacular grandeur.
Program Note by composer
About the Composer
Carrollton, Georgia native, Katahj Copley (he/him/his) premiered his first work, Spectra, in 2017 and hasn’t stopped composing since. As of 2017, Katahj has written over 100 works, including pieces for chamber ensembles, large ensembles, wind ensembles, and orchestra. His compositions have been performed and commissioned by universities, organizations, and professional ensembles, including the Cavaliers Brass, Carroll Symphony Orchestra, California Band Director Association, Admiral Launch Duo, and the Atlanta Wind Symphony. Katahj has also received critical acclaim internationally with pieces being performed in Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, and Australia.
Katahj received two Bachelor of Music degrees from the University of West Georgia in Music Education and Composition in 2021. He is currently studying composition with Omar Thomas at the University of Texas at Austin.
Aside from composing, Katahj is an excited educator who teaches young musicians the joy of discovering music and why music is a phenomenal language.
“Music for me has always been this impactful thing in my life. It can soothe, it can enrage, it can quiet, and it can evoke emotions that are beyond me and this world we live in. I believe that music is the ultimate source of freedom and imagination. The most freedom I have had as a musician was through composing. Composition is like me opening my heart and showing the world my drive, my passion, and my soul.”
Performers are Listed Alphabetically
Alexandra Mancilla, Piccolo
Yvonne Bluto, Alto
Gary Bollard, Tenor
Ford Campbell, Alto
Luis Rayray, Baritone
Jacob Zide, Alto