Sunday, September 19, 2022 at 4 pm
download a copy of this program here.
Lynn Schugren, piano
Treasures from the Mother Lode
Terry Riley (b. 1935)
The Heaven Ladder, Book 7
Misha’s Bear Dance
Venus in 94
Fandango on the Heaven Ladder
Dennis A. Lauderdale (b. 1941)
Durwynne Hsieh (b. 1963)
Mark Vance (b. 1951)
About the music
Terry Riley The Heaven Ladder, Book 7
The Heaven Ladder, Book 7 is a group of 5 pieces commissioned in 1994. The outer movements, Misha’s Bear Dance and Simone’s Lullaby, are inspired by Terry’s twin grandchildren. Venus in 94 is a lovely concert waltz with a twist, Ragtempus Fugatis is a rollicking ragtime fugue and Fandango on the Heaven Ladder is a beautiful set of variations on a mesmerizing tune, full of rhythmic and melodic changes.
Renowned California composer Terry Riley is considered a founder of the minimalist movement. Throughout his long career he has been deeply involved with not only classical genres but also with North Indian Raga music. He has performed and taught in that genre as well as in improvisational style. He has fulfilled many commissions for major musical organizations and has had a long collaboration with the Kronos quartet. The list of his accomplishments is too long to list here, his career has been one of brilliant fulfillment of his equally brilliant musical mind.
Dennis A. Lauderdale Ode
Poetry is a very structured form of writing. I found the idea of an ode in irregular meter interesting. The ode form enhanced the regularity of the poem with longer lines and varied meters. I think of this composition as an ode to Ode. Unpredictable moments break the rhythm introduced at the beginning of the piece.
Dennis Arthur Lauderdale studied voice in Sacramento in his late teens and twenties. He performed in productions of choral works and opera at Sacramento State College. He performed on the Sacramento area and at the Nevada Theater in Nevada City CA. On Good Friday 1964, his composition Seven Last Words for soprano, baritone and organ was performed in Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Sacramento. Dennis sang the baritone role.
In 2001 Dennis retired and moved to Grass Valley, California. He studied composition and orchestration with Richard Altenbach for 8 years. He uses the Sibelius music notation software. Dennis did not study music in college, opting for a degree in Accounting from the University of Nevada at Reno. He has a special affinity for Opera as the many years of attending performances at the San Francisco Opera as well as other venues, attest. He has written four operas.
The Rancho Cordova Civic Light Opera Orchestra has performed Winter, the fourth movement of his orchestral work Seasons. His chamber works have been performed in the Grass Valley area with InConcert Sierra, Nevada County Composer’s Cooperative, and in October 2020 at Old First Concerts when Lynn Schugren performed her Sierra Prelude Project. Dennis consults with Lynn Schugren regularly regarding his piano compositions.
Durwynne Hsieh Piano Sonata
I am grateful to Lynn Schugren for commissioning this piece and for her warm and engaging collaboration. I started writing this Piano Sonata at the end of 2020, in the midst of the pandemic stay-at-home lockdowns. The first movement, Con moto (with motion), named for its initial tempo marking, seems to tell a story involving ocean waves, or is it the waves of feelings that course through you when you are sitting isolated in your house?
The second movement, Station Break, is based on the thought that most TV shows have commercials and news briefs sprinkled in with the actual programming, so why not put some of these in a piano sonata? Unnecessary is a slow movement that expresses regret over seemingly unnecessary suffering and loss. Click is a theme and (sort of) variations for people with short attention spans, and it depicts the all too typical experience of going online for something specific, but being sucked into a vortex of excessive options and distractions.
Composer Durwynne Hsieh tells musical stories that focus on elements of the natural and scientific worlds, scenes from everyday life, and other narratives the specifics of which audiences (as well as the composer) are sometimes unsure. This afternoon’s Piano Sonata is his second collaboration with pianist Lynn Schugren. Among his other recent projects are two ballets with Benicia Ballet Theatre, a violin concerto for Rick Shinozaki and San Jose Chamber Orchestra, chamber music recordings with the Farallon Quartet and the Black Cedar Trio, and a commission from the Toledo Symphony to write a piece in which the audience votes on what comes next. In addition to his concert music, his works have also been put to other diverse uses as dance accompaniment musical theater pieces, incidental music, wedding ceremony music, and an underscore for science tutorial programs and cooking websites. He also holds a Ph.D in molecular biology and is a former college biology teacher and technical writer.
Mark Vance Nocturne
Vance’s Nocturne was commissioned by pianist Lynn Schugren. A work for solo piano, it is dark and atmospheric, folding at an unhurried pacer. Evocative of the night, memories materialize and then fade away.
Mark Vance is a composer and music educator living in Nevada City, California. He has served as Executive Director of the Nevada Country Composers Cooperative since 2003. Vance is the Education Director for InConcert Sierra where he teaches a composition class for teens. He is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing and C. Alan Publications. His CDs it’s about time and God, I love chamber music are available on CD Baby and iTunes. For more info visit www.markvance.org.
About the musician
Pianist Lynn Schugren began her studies at the age of 5 with Nadya Lorenz of Berkeley, a protégé of Claudio Arrau. In high school she attended the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and later was awarded a Ford Foundation Talent Award Grant to study at Mills College.
Ms. Schugren has had a long performance career, in both solo piano and chamber music. She has been a regular guest at Old First Concerts, Crocker Art Museum, Oakland Museum, Julia Morgan Masters of the Piano Series, and more. Her concerts have been broadcast over KPFA, KQED and other classical stations. She has had a long-term affiliation with Music in the Mountains as both a featured soloist and a chamber musician.
Ms. Schugren has long been a champion of new music and has played world and west coast premieres of several important American works. She commissioned The Dance of Shiva from Ken Durling, a well-known Bay Area composer, which was broadcast live over KPFA. Points in Time is a 2017 commission from Nevada County composer Mark Vance.
Since moving back to Nevada County in 2006, Ms. Schugren has been involved performing with Music in the Mountains, the Nevada County Composers Cooperative, and the Young Composers Program of MIM, now the Composers Project at InConcert Sierra, as well as in the Bay Area. She is also pianist in the North Star Piano Trio, a chamber group which plays almost exclusively music by women composers. Ms. Schugren currently has teaching studios in her home in Nevada City as well as in the Bay Area.
She lives on her family vineyard in the Sierra Nevada foothills with 4 horses, 2 goats, numerous chickens, four dogs and two cats. When not at the piano, she can be found enjoying her 2 local grandchildren, riding her horse, or out in the garden.