Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 20 - SFCCO Adventures Around the Lake...


Mark Alburger, Music Director

Adventures Around the Lake with a Unicorn

8pm, Saturday, October 20, 2012
Old First Church, San Francisco, CA
Mark Alburger and Martha Stoddard, conducting


 Davide Verotta

        Dances to Mytilini (2011)
                    Lullaby dance
                    Halay Halaylar

Edgar Varese
        Octandre (1923)
                    I. Assez Lent, Lourd et sauvage, Tempo I
                    II. Tres vif et nerveux
                    III. Grave, Anime et jubilatoire, Subitement tres vif et nerveux,
                        Anime et jubilatoire

Allan Crossman
        Two Walks (2012)
                    I. A Walk at Lake Merced
                    II. A Walk at Lake Merritt


John Bilotta
        Thurber Country (2012)
                    Amused by its presumption
                    Scene with rabbits
                    A mythical beast
                    The damp hand of melancholy
                    Let your mind alone

Lisa Scola Prosek
        Overture to "L'Avventura" (2012)
                    I. Si, che sono triste, perche' mi mancano le stelle
                    II. Bocca baciata

Mark Alburger       
        Triple Concerto for Bassoon, Contrabassoon, and Harp ("Family"), Op. 201 (2012)
                    I. Allegro
                    II. Largo
                    III. Rondo a la Pole Dance


Mark Alburger                    Music Director and Conductor
Erling Wold                        Associate Music Director
Martha Stoddard                    Associate Conductor
John Kendall Bailey                Associate Conductor

Bruce Salvisberg
Piccolo, Alto Flute
Harry Bernstein

Phil Freihofner

Michael Kimbell
Eb Clarinet
Rachel Condry

Michael Garvey
Lori Garvey

Cindy Collins

Monika Warchol

Don Howe

Maria Mikheyenko
Lisa Scola Prosek

Samantha Garvey

Davide Verotta
Lisa Scola Prosek

Victor Flaviano
Anne Szabla
Colin Boltz

Violin I
Hande Erdem

Violin II
Christina Wong

Nansamba Ssensalo

Ariella Hyman

John Beeman

MARK ALBURGER (b. April 2, 1957, Upper Darby, PA) studied with Gerald Levinson and Joan Panetti at Swarthmore College (B.A.), Karl Kohn at Pomona College, Jules Langert at Dominican University (M.A.), Tom Flaherty and Christopher Yavelow at Claremont Graduate University (Ph.D.), and Terry Riley.  He is Founder and Music Director of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra, Conductor of San Francisco Cabaret Opera / Goat Hall Productions, and Instructor in Music Literature and Theory at Diablo Valley College.  As Editor-Publisher of 21st-Century Music Monthly Journal ( and, Alburger has interviewed many composers, including Charles Amirkhanian, Earle Brown, George Crumb, Alan Hovhaness, Steve Mackey, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros, and Steve Reich.  He has recently updated and expanded the articles on John Adams and Philip Glass for Grove Online and The Grove Dictionary of American Music, Second Edition.  Alburger has been the recipient of many honors, awards, and commissions -- including yearly ASCAP Plus; grants from Meet the Composer, the American Composers Forum, MetLife, and Theatre Bay Area; funding from the Marra, Zellerbach, Hewlett, and Getty Foundations; and performances by ensembles and orchestras throughout the United States.  Alburger's concert and dramatic compositions combine atonal, collage, neoclassic, pop, and postminimal sensibilities -- often in overall frameworks troped on pre-existent material.  His complete works 204 opus numbers to date (including 16 concerti, 20 operas, nine symphonies, and the 12-hours-and-counting opera-oratorio The Bible) are being issued on recordings from New Music.  500+ videos of his music may be found on the DrMarkAlburger YouTube channel, as well as on many other websites. 

TRIPLE CONCERTO FOR BASSOON, CONTRABASSOON, AND HARP ("FAMILY"), Op. 196, was written for and is dedicated to Michael, Lori, and Samantha Garvey -- in thanks for their wonderful work with the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra and Diablo Valley College Philiharmonic over many years.  The work is mapped on Ludwig van Beethoven's Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano, and takes its sensibilities from the likes of Dmitri Shostakovich, John Cage, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass.  The second movement features a half-step augmented scale of Ab B C Db E# F# G Ab (a2, m2, m2, aa2, m2, m2, m2), and the third a blues-swing of C D Eb E F G A C.

JOHN G. BILOTTA (b.Waterbury, Connecticut) has spent most his life in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he studied composition with Frederick Saunders. His works have been performed by Rarescale, Earplay, the Talea Ensemble, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, Chamber Mix, Musica Nova, the Avenue Winds, the Boston String Quartet, the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra, the Kiev Philharmonic, the Oakland Civic Orchestra, San Francisco Cabaret Opera, Bluegrass Opera, Boston Metro Opera, and VocalWorks. His music is available on Capstone Records, New Music North, Beauport Classical Recordings, Navonna Records and are distributed by Naxos. His first chamber opera Aria da Capo was a finalist at the New York City Opera. His comic opera Quantum Mechanic won the 2007 Opera-in-a-Month Challenge as well as a 2010 AmericanaFestival Award. His most recent opera Trifles premiered in 2010 as part of the Fresh Voices X Festival of New Works. John co-directs with Brian Bice and Davide Verotta the Festival of Contemporary Music. He is a member of the Society of Composers, Inc., where he serves on the Executive Committee and for which he edits SCION, the Society’s opportunities newsletter; and he is a member of the Board of Directors for Goat Hall Productions.

THURBER COUNTRY is a high-speed road trip through an unexpected landscape—the brilliant and unique world to which James Thurber welcomed us. The music can touch on only a few of the land’s varied sights. It is neither literal nor programmatic, offering instead impressions of things that are likely better seen peripherally than examined too closely. For those familiar with Thurber’s country, teetering as it does on the edge of laughter and terror, the music’s sectional descriptions may offer a few glimpses

Over the years, ALLAN CROSSMAN has had the special pleasure of collaborating with Bay Area musicians, actors, directors, dancers, librettists, music teachers, students, and technicians, including SFCCO members at occasions other than these Old First Concerts. Recipient of awards and grants, his music has recently been presented in Brazil, Connecticut, Australia, Oakland, and on radio. On November 9th, on this same stage, pianist Jerry Kuderna will perform his Moto Atlantico at a concert of 20th/21st-century music.

About TWO WALKS, for chamber orchestra, the composer writes: "1. A Walk at Lake Merced: On my first-ever walk there, it was very quiet and beautiful, and found myself talking in a low voice so as not to disturb the peacefulness of the place.  This piece is a translation into music of that deeply-felt serenity.

2. A Walk at Lake Merritt: This was a very different experience from Lake Merced - more about things appearing and happening. No sooner had I arrived at the Lake than a whole barrel of things rolled out, in this order: crowds and lots of kids; the birds; then the eight-oar sculls skimming silently across the water; some smooth runners; a cat (this point in the score is marked felino); and finally Children's Fairyland, which I overheard, since you're not allowed to enter without a child... Then walking back in the opposite direction produced it all in reverse order - very conveniently offering me a symmetrical form for the piece!"

LISA SCOLA PROSEK was raised in Rome, Italy, and graduated from Princeton University.  She studied with Edward Cone and Milton Babbitt, and Gaetano Luporini in Florence, Italy.  To date, Scola Prosek has composed seven operas in Italian and English. On August 24, 2012, Daughter of the Red Tzar, commissioned by Thick House Theater, premiered to capacity audiences, in a production starring John Duykers as Winston Churchill.

 L’AVVENTURA, also commissioned by Thick House for 2013, is an operatic tribute to the musical culture of Naples.

Although his complete surviving works only last about three hours, EDGAR[d Victor Achille Charles] VARESE (December 22, 1883, Paris - November 6, 1965, New York) has been recognized as a major influence in 20th-century music and beyond.  He grew up in Le Villars, Burgundy, and Turin, before returning to his birthplace in 1904 to study with Albert Roussel, Vincent d’Indy, and Charles-Marie Widor. From 1907 to 1915 became acquainted with Claude Debussy, Ferruccio Busoni, and Arnold Schoenberg. After moving to New York in December of 1915, virtually all his European compositions were either lost or destroyed in a Berlin warehouse fire.  With Carlos Salzedo, he founded the International Composers' Guild, whose 1922 manifesto declared that, "The present day composers refuse to die."  Varese composed many of his ensemble pieces under the auspices of the ICG during its six year existence, including Offrandes, Hyperprism, OCTANDRE, and Integrales.  He became an American citizen in 1926, and four years later composed Ionisation, the first stand-alone composition to feature only percussion instruments.  Le Corbusier was commissioned by Philips to present a pavilion at the 1958 World Fair and insisted (against the sponsors' resistance) on working with Varese, who developed his Poème électronique for the venue, where it was heard by an estimated two million people.

OCTANDRE (1923) -- for flute (piccolo), oboe, Bb (Eb) clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, horn, trombone, and bass -- references a flower with eight stamens, and is the only multi-movement work (attaccas notwithstanding) by the composer, with each section reflecting a roughly ternary form.  It was first heard on January 13, 1924, at New York's Vanderbilt Theater, conducted by E. Robert Schmitz, the work’s dedicatee, and published later that year by J. Curwen, London.  The first movement begins with an oboe phrase evoking a bassoonian-Stravinskian Rite of Spring, where most of the intervals have been transformed into seconds, sevenths, and ninths.  After bundles of repeated notes and brass pulsations, the section ends a tritone away as it began: "a little anxious."  A second part begins as a scherzo-glorification the piccolo’s repetitive impulses, with a call-and-response of asymmetrical brass-and-woodwind outbursts, and a fierce crescendo.  The final section opens as a solemn bass solo, leading to "jubilant" fugato (seemingly singular in Varese's output), broken into component parts and subjected to rhythmic transformations, at times perhaps inspired by the Rite's Glorification of the Chosen One.  The original contrapuntal subject returns at the very end, only to be overpowered by another signature Varesian sound mass.

DAVIDE VEROTTA was born in a boring Italian town close to Milano and moved to the very much more exciting San Francisco in his late twenties. He studied piano at the Milano Conservatory and piano and composition in California at the San Francisco Conservatory and State University, and at the University of California at Davis. He is an active solo and ensemble piano recitalist, and he is actively involved in the new music composition scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information please visit his web site at

DANCES TO MYTILINI is a quartet inspired by the folkloric traditions of the eastern Balkans and Turkey. The piece is organized in a cycle of five dances that metaphorically depicts a geographical and episodic journey. The geographical journey starts in Romania and descends to the final destination, Mytilini, through Bulgaria, Thrace, and Attica.  The five episodes correspond to early life (a lullaby dance), early adulthood (the quick-paced Paidushko), war (Pyrrixios) followed by confusion and dismay (Syxnyse), and finally by a joyful, exuberant ending, Halay Halaylar.


(Contributing $1000 +)
Mark Alburger
Alexis Alrich
Lisa Scola Prosek
Sue Rosen
Erling Wold

(Contributing $500-$999)
Adobe, inc
John Beeman
Michael & Lisa Cooke
Anne Dorman
David & Joyce Graves
Ken Howe
Anne Baldwin
Hanna Hymans-Ostroff
Anne Szabla
Davide Verotta

(Contributing $100-$499)
Christopher & Sue Bancroft Kenneth & Ruth Baumann
Susan M. Barnes
Marina Berlin & Anthony Parisi
Bruce & Betsy Carlson
Patrick & Linda Condry
Rachel Condry
Connie & George Cooke
Steven Cooke
Patti Deuter
Thomas Goss
James Henriques
Marilyn Hudson
John Hiss & Nancy Katz
Susan Kates
Ronald Mcfarland
Ken & Jan Milnes
James Schrempp
Martha Stoddard
James Whitmore
Vivaty, Inc

(Contributing $50-$99)
Paul & Barbara Boniker
Mark Easterday
Sabrina Huang
Donna & Joseph Lanam
Harriet March Page
Larry Ochs
CF Peters
Barbara & Mark Stefik
Roberta Robertson

(Contributing up to $49)
Susie Bailey
Schuyler Bailey
Harry Bernstein
Joanne Carey
Hannes & Linda Lamprecht
Elinor Lamson
Anthony Mobilia
Deborah Slater

To make a tax-deductible donation, please send a check made out to:

The Lab
2948 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Please include a note saying you want the money to go to the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra.

Special thanks to Lick-Wilmerding High School, for providing rehearsal space.