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Concert program for the 9th California Andriasov Festival

Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 4 pm

Download a copy of the program here.

The 9th California Andriasov Festival
Celebrating the music of father and son composers
Iosif Andriasov & Arshak Andriasov

dedicated to the first publication of
Quotes from Iosif Andriasov’s Diary

Jupiter Chamber Ensemble
Victor Romasevich & Michael Jones,
 violins
Stephen Levintow, viola; Paul Rhodes, cello

PROGRAM

Dmitri Shostakovich
Two Pieces for String Quartet, Op. 36
            Elegy
            Polka 

Iosif Andriasov
Meditation for viola and piano, Op. 30e

Alexander Glazunov
Elegy in Memory of M.P. Belaieff, Op. 105

Alexander Glazunov
Finale from String Quartet on a theme ‘B-la-f’

Iosif Andriasov
The Spring for String Quartet, Op. 32

Iosif Andriasov (transcription by the composer)
Musical Sketch for violin and piano, Op. 4c

Arshak Andriasov
Piece for String Quartet, Op. 7

Iosif Andriasov (transcription by Arshak Andriasov)
Musical Sketch for cello & piano, Op. 24c

Iosif Andriasov
String Quartet, Op. 1
            Allegro
            Lento
            Presto

For more information about composer and philosopher Iosif Andriasov, his wife—musicologist Marta Andriasova, and their son—composer, conductor, and pianist Arshak Andriasov, please visit www.andriasovstore.com.

Quotes from Iosif Andriasov’s Diary are available at https://andriasovstore.com/iosifandriasov/philosophy/

Program Notes

Iosif Andriasov (Ovsep Andreasian) was a composer, moral philosopher, and teacher who created a new style of performing arts based on expressing “spiritual virtues.” A genuine altruist and a heroic personality, he was internationally recognized during and after his life as one of the most important figures in contemporary world culture.

Mr. Andriasov was born in Moscow on April 7, 1933, to an Armenian family. After graduation from the Moscow Conservatory, he entered the Soviet Composers’ Union upon recommendation of Dmitry Shostakovich, who said of him, “When the entire old lost a sense of harmony, composer Iosif Andriasov has not only not lost this sense, but added to harmony a new quality.” The head of the Armenian-Gregorian Church,Vazgen I, Catholicos of All Armenians awarded him the Special Charter with Recognition and Blessing for his contributions to music and ethics.

After he wrote a book of aphorisms To My Friends and won the Soviet Composers’ Competition for his Second Symphony, the Ministry of Culture offered him a post of a Head of the Special Committee on Music and Moral Matters under the USSR General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev. He declined the position. Then, he was asked by another senior official if he would accept the Soviet government’s most prestigious honor, the Lenin Prize. He rejected that as well, stating: “By accepting a reward from criminals, one becomes an accomplice to the criminals.”

Mr. Andriasov proposed significant democratic reforms which the Soviet Government refused to implement. “I will not let you make ‘creative slaves’ using my ideas”, he said. In 1979, at the invitation of Senators Jacob Javits, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Edward Kennedy, he emigrated to the US. He lived with his family in New York City until his death on November 16, 2000.

He continued to compose and to work on his philosophic ideas, and he continued to take an uncompromising stance against all manifestations of what he called “slave-master morality” – world domination, Nazism, chauvinism, cult of personality, and so on. In his life, music, and philosophy he asserted what he called the “morality of the free creative individuals”.

For his outstanding work in music and ethics, Andriasov was selected from among 2000 of the world’s most prominent people as International Man of the Year for 2000-2001 by the International Biographical Center of Cambridge (UK). (Written by Marta Andriasova)

Composer, pianist, and founder & owner of IMMA Records, Arshak Andriasov represents the new wave of classical composers. His music draws on a vast array of musical resources, ranging from Armenian folk music to Russian classical music, with certain elements of American jazz, while using means of contemporary language to create a complex system of juxtaposition. “There is no point to write classical music without having beauty in it” is his motto.

Born (1980) and raised in New York City, he was blessed to be surrounded by classical music from an early age. His father, Iosif Andriasov, was a world-renowned composer of Armenian heritage, and his mother, Marta Andriasova (Kudryashova), is a musicologist of Russian heritage.

Marta Andriasova (Marina Kudryashova) is a musicologist, teacher, founder and owner of the IMMA Publishing Co. She was born in 1941, Moscow, USSR, to a family of scientists. In 1964, she graduated from the Moscow Conservatory with Honors. She married Iosif Andriasov in 1963. Until 1978, Marta taught at the Moscow Conservatory. Her researches were published by the Muzyka Press and Moscow Conservatory publications. She was not re-elected to teach at the Conservatory for publicly refusing to attribute Iosif Andriasov‘s philosophical ideas to Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In 1979, Marta immigrated to the US with her husband. Since 1979, she wrote many works, including “The Six Concerti Armonici are returned to their genuine author, the great Italian composer-violinist Pietro Locatelli”. She writes extensively on the music of Iosif Andriasov and is the Administrator of his Estate. Marta is in the International Who’s Who in Music and Musicians’ Directory, Cambridge, England, and has won numerous awards, including the Fellowship from the Italian Government for Music research, Milan.

Dmitri Shostakovich’s Two Pieces for String Quartet (Elegy & Polka), Op.36a, are arrangements written in 1931, seven years before Quartet No. 1. The Elegy is Katerina’s aria from scene 3 of the opera Lady Macbeth of Mstensk, and almost as touching as the original. The Polka is the familiar popular number from the ballet The Golden Age.

Iosif Andriasov composed the Meditation, Op. 30 for mixed choir a cappella in 1981. This concise composition (only forty-eight measures) could be considered the musical Credo of the composer, his profound belief in the Infinity of the Spiritual Virtues. Being a genuine altruist, and having an enormous gift as a composer, Mr. Andriasov in an original manner expresses the Beauty of the Spiritual Virtues through the richness of emotions. He later made this version for Viola and Piano. (Program note by Marta Andriasova)

Alexander Glazunov Elegy in Memory of M.P. Belaiev for String Quartet, Op.105 and Finale from String Quartet Quartet on a theme ‘B-la-f
Who was Mitrofan Petrovich Belaiev (1836–1904)? It would be fair to say that without Belaiev, many of our most treasured Russian chamber music works might never have seen the light of day. Lumber millionaire and amateur violist, Mitrofan Belaiev’s passion was chamber music. But Belaiev was no ordinary enthusiast. As he approached 50, he decided to devote all of his time and energy and much of his money to the cause of Russian music. In 1885, he founded the publishing firm bearing his name. His goal was to ensure that the works of the up and coming Russian composers would be given the widest possible exposure. Among the beneficiaries of his largess were Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Liadov, and first and foremost, Alexander Glazunov. These composers and their students became known to posterity as the ‘Belaiev Circle.’

By 1928, Glazunov had emigrated and was living in Paris. But his friend Mikhail Kourbanov, who had been a violinist in Belaiev’s string quartet, was still in Russia. In a letter to the composer, Kourbanov wrote that he was organizing a concert to mark the 25th anniversary of Belaiev’s death as a tribute. He asked Glazunov if he would write an elegy for the occasion, specifying that it should be for string quartet with a funeral march at the end. In an effort to tempt Glazunov, he wrote somewhat inaccurately “You will be the first, for no one else has written a funeral march for quartet. Ce sera magnifique!” Not long after, Glazunov sent Kourbanov the Elegy, an andante sosentuto, with a short note: “…at the end, you will find what may pass for a marcia funebre on the theme B-la-f (Belaiev).

Each Friday, Belaiev held concerts followed by banquets at his St. Petersburg mansion. These soirees, known as Les Vendredis, became famous. It was at one of these Friday soirees on Belaiev’s birthday in 1886, that the four composers, in appreciation of all of his support, presented their patron with a string quartet which was not only dedicated to him but which also was based on a theme taken from his name: B (B flat in German), la (the French for A) and F. Together, they make the sounds of Belaiev’s last name. It was a cooperative effort with each composer writing a movement. In each of the four movements, the B-la-F theme is used, but with such ingenuity that one never finds the work tedious.

The first movement is by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The second movement, Scherzo vivace, is by Anatole Liadov. The third movement, Serenata alla Spagnola, Allegretto, is by Alexander Borodin. The finale, Allegro con spirito, is by Glazunov, Belaiev’s favorite, and one can hear he worked hard to make it a real show piece. (Program note from Silvertrust Publishers).

Iosif Andriasov composed The Spring for String Quartet, Op. 32 in 1994. Mr. Andriasov said: “Usually, the spring is treated as a symbol of awakening, rejoicing, and hope. Such treatment has become a cliché. Meanwhile, there are other things in spring, as well as in other seasons; they are not only optimistic, but tragic and neutral ones.” (Program note by Marta Andriasova)

Originally, Iosif Andriasov wrote the Musical Sketch, Op. 4 for flute and piano in 1954. He later made this arrangement for violin and piano. The Sketch (lento, F major) is a lyrical piece of a pastoral character. It is written in three-part form (A-B-A). Contemplative, crystal-clear, slightly detached music of the outer sections is in contrast to the agitated, elegiac music of the inner one. This music, sincere and instantly communicative, evokes a world of eternal beauty and grace. (Program note by Marta Andriasova)

In 2004, Arshak Andriasov wrote Piece for String Quartet, Op. 7. This piece is vibrant, funny, with an Armenian theme and expression. It was given a World Premiere by the California Chamber Players. (Program note by Arshak Andriasov)

Originally, Iosif Andriasov composed the Musical Sketch, Op. 24 for oboe and chamber orchestra in 1970. Then, he created a version for cello and chamber orchestra. In 2015, his son, Arshak Andriasov, made this arrangement for cello and piano. The Musical Sketch for Cello and Piano (andante, A minor) is in the three-part form (A – B – A1), with an introduction and conclusion. The mellow, elegiac, meditative music of the outer sections is in contrast with the bright, more active, with the declamatory intonations music of the middle section. (Program note by Marta Andriasova)

Iosif Andriasov composed his String Quartet for Two Violins, Viola, and Cello, Op. 1, in 1954, when he was 21 years old. The String Quartet is dedicated to Nelli Andriasova (Andriassian), the composer’s sister. It was first performed by the students of the Music College at the Malyi Concert Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Moscow, USSR, in 1954. The sincere, lively, joyous, effervescent music of the String Quartet stirred such stormy applause by enthusiastic listeners that, according to witnesses, the balcony floor of the concert hall shook, and the personnel on duty ran from downstairs to the hall to see what was going on there. The String Quartet is a youthful composition. Its hero is a young man who enters the world full of hopes. The music radiates with energy and happiness. There are pages of dreamy, inspired lyricism, displaying the romantic nature of the composer; episodes with tragic notes, expressing deep compassion for people, revealing the altruistic essence of the composer’s personality, and genre scenes, based on folk dances. This composition is marked by an exquisite treatment of folk material, a deep understanding of string instruments (I. Andriasov was a violinist), melodic richness, expressive harmonies, and a well-balanced form with equilibrium of meditative and dancing episodes, and clear and transparent texture.

The American premiere of the String Quartet took place with Victor Romasevich (Lubotsky) and Leonid Fleishaker on violins; Anatole Wieck (Wic) on viola, and Roger Lowe on cello, in July of 1979 (two months after Iosif Andriasov came to the United States), at a charitable concert in a Manhattan jail in New York City. The prisoners, guards, and other personnel were fascinated by Mr. Andriasov’s music, and gave the String Quartet a heartfelt reception. (Program note by Marta Andriasova)

The Performers

In 1997, two veteran freelancers, violinist Michael Jones and Juilliard-trained violist Stephen Levintow, recruited BBC Orchestra violinist Andrew Davies and cellist Paul Hale of the Oakland Symphony to found the Jupiter Chamber Ensemble. The group had the good fortune to connect with Marvin Sanders, and the Berkeley Art Center remained the Jupiter’s “home” venue for 10 years. Paul Rhodes replaced Hale in 2000, bringing his years of experience in numerous orchestras and as soloist with the Carmel Bach Festival. Two years later San Francisco Symphony member Victor Romasevich took over as first violinist. Romasevich brought deep fascination with Russian chamber music, including masterworks by such composers as Sergei Taneyev, Georgy Catoire, and Iosif Andriasov (with whom Romasevich studied violin and viola)—all links in a tradition going back to Tchaikovsky through the Moscow Conservatory.

Victor Romasevich was born in Minsk, Belarus. His mother, Lena Lubotsky, began teaching him piano at the age of four. His studies continued at the Gnesin Music School in Moscow, with Rostislav Dubinsky of the Borodin Quartet, and at the Moscow Conservatory. Following Romasevich’s emigration to the United States in 1977, he studied at Juilliard with Ivan Galamian. In 1979 he became a violin and viola pupil of the composer and philosopher Iosif Andriasov. Winner of the Gina Bachauer Prize at the 1985 J.S. Bach International Competition, Romasevich joined the San Francisco Symphony as Associate Principal Violist in 1990, and in 1992 moved to the First Violin section. He appears frequently in recitals and chamber concerts as a violinist, violist and keyboard player.

Micheal Jones studied with Jorja Fleezanis and Andor Toth. With John Burke and cellist Gwyneth Davis, he was a longtime member of the piano trio I Gatti Freschi. He is second violinist of the Jupiter String Quartet, of which he was a founder.

Stephen Levintow studied viola at Juilliard with the late Paul Doktor and chamber music with Samuel Rhodes of the Juilliard Quartet. For many years he has been a free-lance musician in the Bay area, with an emphasis on chamber music. He and Michael Jones co-founded the Jupiter Chamber Ensemble in 1997.

Cellist Paul Rhodes received a BA in Music from Dominican College, and an MA from the University of Texas at Austin. Paul is a member of the Oakland-East Bay Symphony and, in the summer, the Carmel Bach Festival. Locally, he has worked with the symphonies of Berkeley, Marin, California, Sacramento and San Jose as well as with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, and Earplay. Outside the area he has appeared with the San Antonio Symphony, Brandywine Baroque, Orchestra of Santa Fe, Reinische Philharmonie, and the Jugend im Musik festival in Vienna.