Free or pay what you can
Free or pay what you can
Pianists Jéssica Pacheco and Alejandro Cremaschi perform duets written by women composers of the Americas, including works by Eleonor Alberga, Jacqueline Hairston, Susana Anton and Libby Larsen and the world premiere of “Of Anemones and Migrations” by Wyoming composer Anne Guzzo.
Renowned faculty artists perform with students and colleagues in chamber music recitals featuring world premieres and beloved classics. Free most Tuesdays September through March.
Even though we are not gathering in person, you can still enjoy this performance from the comfort of your home. Stream this performance Tuesday, September 1, 7:30 p.m. right here at cupresents.org.
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This is a pay-what-you-can performance
We suggest $20, but whether it's $5 or $100, your support will help the work of the College of Music continue to inspire artistry and discovery, together. Please pay what you can before or after enjoying this special presentation.
Jacqueline Hairston: “Melismodal Suite”; Rocío Sanz: “Rondó”; Susan Anton: "TANGOOo.."; Inah Machado Sandoval: "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves"; Eleanor Alberga: "3-Day Mix"; Anne Guzzo: "On Anemones and Migrations" (world premiere); Libby Larsen: "Gavel Patter"Read more
This program features pieces for piano duet written by women composers of the Americas. We have tried to pick works representative of different geographical locations and musical styles. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are performing this program on two pianos, but all pieces were originally composed for one piano, four hands.
"Melismodal Suite", by Jacqueline Hairston, was composed in 1992 and features different moods in a "jazzy" and attractive language. The piece was premiered by Helen Walker-Hill and Theresa Bogard in California, two pianists with intimate connections to CU Boulder. Bogard is a CU alumna and currently teaches at the University of Wyoming. Walker-Hill, a musicologist and pianist, was faculty at CU for many years and created the important Walker-Hill collection of music by black women, hosted by the American Research Music Center and Norlin Special Collections at CU. Hairston is an American arranger and composer born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, and currently living in California. She studied at Juilliard School of Music and Howard University, and has dedicated her life to preserving American spirituals.
Costa Rican composer Rocío Sanz Quirós wrote her "Rondó" in México in 1981. The piece uses a language reminiscent of Stravinsky and Shostakovich, with sudden shifts to new tonal areas, and a lean and “tart” neoclassical texture. Sanz was born in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1934 and died in Mexico City in 1993. She studied at the National Conservatory of Puerto Rico and later in Los Angeles, Mexico and Moscow, Russia. In the 1970s, she directed the well-known radio program for children "Children’s corner" in Mexico City. She collaborated with dance companies and wrote music for the theater and movies. As a woman writing in a male-dominated field in Mexico, she sometimes expressed frustration for being pigeon-holed by her gender and expected to write tonal music for children.
"TANGOOo.." was composed in 2000 by the Argentine composer Susana Antón. Written in an avant-garde, atonal style, the piece presents elements typical of the tango style in a kaleidoscopic and concentrated manner. Like dancers, the pianists in "TANGOOo.." react, imitate and complete each other’s motivic interjections. Loosely written in F minor, the piece makes liberal use of dissonance and atonality, without losing sight of some basic tango elements like syncopation, minor seconds used in percussive style, sudden contrasts and plenty of theatricality. Antón was born in 1947 and is Professor Emerita of theory and composition at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Argentina. She was Alejandro’s theory professor back in the late 1980s in Mendoza, Argentina.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
The Brazilian Inah Machado Sandoval (1906-2003) was a prolific composer of salon dances for piano, like choros, tangos, waltzes and mazurkas. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" is a suite of eight pieces inspired by the characters in the classical children’s tale. Snow White is portrayed as a waltz, while each of the dwarves is a Brazilian tango that charmingly depicts their personalities. The set was written in the 1940s and early 1950s for piano solo, and was later transcribed for four hands by her niece. The pieces follow the traditional choro language, usually in 2/4, featuring dotted rhythms and syncopation. All of Sandoval’s compositions are freely available online at the Instituto Piano Brasileiro website. This site includes some amazing videos of the composer in her late 80s performing many of her pieces by memory.
Eleanor Alberga was born in 1949 in Kingston, Jamaica. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she’s now a guest lecturer. Her music has been performed by major orchestras like the Royal Philharmonic. Her main sources of inspiration have been contemporary dance, the music of Bela Bartok and the people, songs, dance and landscapes of her native Jamaica. "3-Day Mix", composed in 1991, is an exciting rhythmic piece that uses minimalistic repetitions and patterns inspired by Jamaican music.
Of Anemones and Migrations
Anne Marie Guzzo is a composer based in Laramie, Wyoming. She is the founder of New Frontiers Festival of contemporary music, and teaches composition and theory at the University of Wyoming. "Of Anemones and Migrations" was commissioned by the Pacheco-Cremaschi duo in 2020 with a grant from the Center for Humanities and the Arts at CU Boulder. The reference theme for this commission was migration, a relevant topic in the current social and political climate in this country. Guzzo states that "one thing I’ve been wanting to do is to write about migrations—both animals and people. While at the marine labs on San Juan Island in Washington State during a composer residency, I learned about this amazing anemone that actually uproots and migrates when predatory starfish/sea-stars come after it: and it all seems so relevant and metaphorical for human migrations these days." Migration is a theme that deeply resonates with both Jéssica and I, as we are both immigrants from Latin America.
Libby Larsen is an American composer born in 1950. Her music is noted for its "energy, optimism, rhythmic diversity, colorful orchestration, liberated tonality without harsh dissonance and pervading lyricism." The rhythms used are often taken directly from the American language: "our own American language has beautiful rhythms in it; it is this American vernacular and the rhythm of our American life that is the language of my music." "Gavel Patter" was written in 2004. About the piece, she states:
"Gavel Patter, for four-hand piano, results from the investigation I have been making of finding musical form in American language traditions. Finding unusually strong rhythm and flow in American auctioneering patter, it occurred to me to compose music which uses auctioneering patter as its musical material. Gavel Patter uses auctioneers’ styles, pitches, timing and complex rhythms to propel it. I have also incorporated a ‘run to the close’ in which the auctioneer, with the help of a partner placed out on the auction floor, plays two bidders off against each other at high speed in order to drive the bidding up to the close with the loud rap of the gavel."
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