2006-02-17: Icebreaker III: The Caucasus


Icebreaker III: The Caucasus


SCP proudly presents its third international festival and symposium, Icebreaker III: The Caucasus. The festival will include three days of concerts and symposium of music from the countries of the Caucasus Mountains – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Turkey. Most of the presented works will receive their US premieres at the festival. Composers, performers, musicologists and journalists from the featured countries are invited, as are members of these national communities living in the United States and elsewhere. Each guest composer will conduct a seminar on his/her music during the symposium sessions, and each musicologist will make a presentation on contemporary music of his/her native country.


Special Guests:
Elizabeth Keusch, soprano
Christian Knapp, conductor
Hossein Omoumi, ney
Ivan Sokolov, piano
Anadolu Turkish Folk Dancers
Mehrad Arabi, tombak
Amir Kouchkani, tar
Kane Mathis, oud
Oleg Timofeyev, guitar
Ugur Yilmaz, saz
Young Musicians (Olga Ruvinov Cello Class)
Irina Akhrin, piano

Seattle Musicians:
Mahmoud Abu-Eid, trombone
Elisa Barston, viola
Sarah Bassingthwaighte, flute
David Gordon, trumpet
Paul Hansen, percussion
Joseph Kaufman, contrabass
Matthew Kocmieroski, percussion
Valerie Muzzolini, harp
Wendy Wilhelmi, flute
Dan Williams, oboe


Composers & Musicologists:

Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh will headline the festival with a new work commissioned by the Seattle Chamber Players to be premiered for the occasion. Other composers-in-residence are:


Josef Bardanashvili (Georgia)
Münir Beken (Turkey)
Ramin Heydarbeygi (Iran)
Kamran Ince (Turkey)
Tigran Mansurian (Armenia)
Reza Vali (Iran)

The guest musicologists are: Aida Huseynova (Azerbaijan), Deniz Ertan (Turkey), Levon Hakobian (Armenia), and Rusudan Tsurtsumia (Georgia).

The Opening Ceremony, the Friday Sound Bite, all pre-concert presentations and concerts will take place in Nordstrom Recital Hall, Benaroya Hall. All other Sound Bites and all symposium sessions will take place at Soundbridge Seattle Sympony Discovery Center in Benaroya Hall.


Friday, February 17th

Josef Bardanashvili
Hossein Omoumi

2:00 pm Welcoming Ceremony
Opening of the exhibition of the local Georgian artist Vaho Muskheli in the lobby of Nordstrom Recital Hall
Sound Bite: Music from Georgia and Armenia

3:00 pm Symposium Session: Music from Georgia

7:00 pm Pre-Concert Panel Discussion with the guest composers and musicologists hosted by Gavin Borchert

Works by: Josef Bardanashvili, Eka Chabashvili,
Giya Kancheli (Georgia)

Saturday, February 18th

Franghiz Ali-Zadeh
Kamran Ince

10:30 am Symposium Session One: Music from Turkey

3:00 pm Sound Bite and Symposium Session Two: Music from Azerbaijan

7:00 pm Pre-concert presentation: Anadolu Turkish Folk Dancers

World Premieres by Franghiz Ali-Zadeh (Azerbaijan) and Münir Beken (Turkey)
Works by: Zaur Fakhradov, Javanshir Guliyev, Faraj Karaev, Elmir Mirzoev (Azerbaijan); Mahir Cetiz, Kamran Ince, Hasan Uçarsu (Turkey)

Sunday, February 19th

Tigran Mansurian
Reza Vali

10:00 am Symposium Session One: Iran

2:00 pm Sound Bites and Session Two: Music from Armenia

6:00 pm Pre-concert presentation:
In Search of Georgian Guitar Music
Oleg Timofeyev, Russian seven-string guitar and Spanish guitar

Works by: Artur Avanesov, Tigran Mansurian, Vache Sharafyan, Ashot Zohrabian (Armenia); Mohammad Ansari, Ramin Heydarbeygi, Alireza Mashayekhi, Reza Vali (Iran)



Why Icebreaker?

With its third international festival, the Seattle Chamber Players (SCP) takes on the ambitious goal of breaking the ice in many ways: between the West and the East; between academic concert and folk or traditional musics; between the diverse and inspirational cultures within the Caucasian region; and between the region's deep and ancient history and its colorful present. We hope that Icebreaker III: The Caucasus will mark a significant step in bridging the beautiful musical landscape of some of the world's oldest cultures and that of some of its newest, in the United States. Among ourselves, we have been calling our festival "A new path through the Silk Road," and we hope that along this path, you will find some bright and perhaps unexpected stars to illuminate your way.

In the course of three days, the festival will present contemporary concert music from the countries of the Caucasus Mountains — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Turkey. After extensive research, we have selected a vast amount of music rarely heard in the United States written by living composers of all generations. Famous Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh will headline the festival with Atesh, a new work commissioned by the Seattle Chamber Players to be premiered for the occasion. A Turk In Seattle by Münir Beken, formerly Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington's Ethnomusicology Program, will also be premiered. Most of the other works at the festival will have their U.S. premieres here in Seattle.

Among the festival's composers-in-residence are noted composers from all over the Caucasus region: Franghiz Ali-Zadeh (Azerbaijan), Tigran Mansurian (Armenia), Josef Bardanashvili (Georgia), Mohammad Ansari, Ramin Heydarbeygi, and Reza Vali (Iran), and Münir Beken and Kamran Ince (Turkey). They have worked with the SCP in rehearsals, and they will demonstrate some of their other compositions at the symposium, in sessions dedicated to the music of their respective countries. Composer Ramin Heydarbeygi will also talk about the current state of Persian concert music, and guest musicologists will discuss contemporary music cultures of the other countries. The presenters are among the leading musicologists of their countries: Dr. Aida Huseynova (Azerbaijan), Dr. Levon Hakobian (Armenia), Dr. Rusudan Tsurtsumia (Georgia), and Dr. Deniz Ertan (Turkey).

The festival also features ney player Hossein Omoumi and his ensemble with a program of traditional Persian music. An hour before each concert, audiences will be able to attend fascinating pre-concert presentations: all of the guest composers and musicologists will discuss the music of the Caucasian region; there will be a dance and folk music performance by the Anadolu Turkish Folk Dancers; and prominent guitarist Oleg Timofeyev will perform a program of new Georgian works for the Russian seven-string guitar and the Spanish guitar. Additional performances, which we call "Sound Bites," will be spread out between the symposium sessions, and will feature SCP members along with young musicians. An exhibit of beautiful artistic creations by Vaho Muskheli, a Georgian artist living in Seattle, will be displayed in the lobby of Nordstrom Recital Hall, and the artist will discuss his work following the forum on Georgian music on Friday.

Icebreaker III is based on the model of the SCP's first two festivals of this scope, both of which were enormously successful.Icebreaker I: Voices of a New Russia was held in 2002, with close to two dozen composers and performers traveling from Russia to Seattle to participate. Icebreaker II: Baltic Voices, held in February 2004, presented music from the nine countries that surround the Baltic Sea. Each festival featured the SCP playing with local and international guest artists, along with a full schedule of presentations by participating composers and scholars. Both festivals received favorable local, national, and international attention, including a prominent feature in the New York Times, and helped the ensemble win the ASCAP/Chamber Music America's Award for Adventurous Programming. As a result of the previous festivals, we have commissioned two full programs of Russian and Baltic music from participating composers. Each past festival resulted in invitations to the ensemble to play Russian and Baltic music in Europe, including such important festivals as Warsaw Autumn (Poland), Kiev MusicFest (Ukraine), Est-Ovest Festival (Italy), and Moscow Autumn (Russia). We hope that Icebreaker III will continue in our successful tradition of "breaking the ice" in collaboration and partnership with musicians and musical cultures from around the world.

We are proud to note that we have received incredible support from the local Caucasian communities of Greater Seattle, and we are extremely grateful to them for all the help and goodwill we have received as we prepared for this festival. We hope that all of you will enjoy listening to the wonderful music and exceptional musicians during these exciting three days.

~ Dr. Elena Dubinets, artistic adviser and curator of Icebreaker III



Jalal Abbasov, Azerbaijan

Born in 1957 in Baku, Azerbaijan, Jalal Abbasov is the son of noted Azeri composer Ashraf Abbasov. He was introduced to music at a very early age and completed his studies at the Baku State Music Academy. In 1990, Jalal Abbasov was awarded the Azerbaijani Youth Union Prize for his musical compositions. His many compositions include works for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo works, a children's opera, and choral pieces. He was awarded a UNESCO prize in 1998 and recently was the only composer from the former Soviet Union to take part in the 2002 Asian Composers' League symposium, "Asian Music in the Third Millennium."

Sonata for violin solo (1984)

This Sonata is one of the early specimens of Jalal Abbasov's approach to solo instrumental music, but it already demonstrates typical features of the composer's style: a delicate and flexible synthesis of different national elements combined with modern technological methods of writing and performance.

The two movements of the Sonata represent two states of the soul as it seeks the calming effects of deep meditation. The Sonata, however, does not turn away from the real world; rather, it traces a searching for and a discovery of life. Intonation and timbre are important elements in this composition, imitating the sounds of Azeri national instruments. The Sonata suggests a ray of hope seeping through doubt and sorrow, representing both origins and eternity. The folk element brings forth a feeling of melancholy and undefined expectation.

Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Azerbaijan

Born in 1947 in Baku, Azerbaijan, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh studied the piano and composition at the Baku Conservatory and began teaching there in 1976. From 1993-96 she conducted the choir of the opera house in Mersin, Turkey, and subsequently taught at the Mersin Conservatory. In 1998-99 Ali-Zadeh again worked in Baku. She received the annual award of the Azerbaijani Composers' Union in 1980, and ten years later, she was accorded the title of Outstanding Artist; in 2000 she was recognized as People's Artist of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

As a pianist, Ali-Zadeh has performed numerous works by contemporary composers from the former Soviet Union and has premiered in Baku works by composers of the Second Viennese School, Olivier Messiaen, John Cage, George Crumb, and many others.

Since 1976, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh's works have been featured at all of the major contemporary music festivals in the U.S., Switzerland, the U.K., Germany, Holland, Portugal, Denmark, France, Italy, Australia, Spain, Israel, Estonia, Turkey, and elsewhere. In August 1999 she was the first woman to be a composer in residence at the Internationale Musikwochen in Lucerne, and she has composed for The Silk Road Project.

In 1999-2000 she received a fellowship from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and moved to Berlin, where she now lives. The Kronos Quartet has produced a CD devoted exclusively to Ali-Zadeh's works on which the composer participates as pianist. On the occasion of the re-opening of the Philharmonie in Baku in 2004, Mstislav Rostropovich conducted the world premiere of Ali-Zadeh's orchestral work, Hommage.

Franghiz Ali-Zadeh was a guest of the Seattle Chamber Players in April 2000.

Atesh for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and percussion (2006)
SCP commission, world premiere

Atesh is a set of free variations in which each structural unit is marked by rhythmic formulas played by the percussion instruments. The title of the work means "fire," and the percussion instruments depict the flame as it grows ever larger. The piece employs aleatoric performance methods, and its motives resemble the microelements of the Azerbaijani mugam scales (chaargah and seigah).

- Franghiz Ali-Zadeh

Mohammad Ansari, Iran

Composer Mohammad Ansari was born in 1976 in Tabriz, Iran, and he began to study music when he was thirteen years old. He graduated from the Baku Music Academy in Azerbaijan under Professor Melikov in 2005 and is now a post-graduate student there.

In July 2005 Ansari won the III International Jurgenson Competition of Young Composers in Moscow, Russia. He has composed orchestral, chamber, piano, and vocal works that have been performed in his homeland and in Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia, Germany, and the U.S.

Stress without Control for flute solo (2004)

The basic idea of this four-movement composition is stress, the concept introduced by Hans Selvye (1907-82) in 1936 as a condition of psychological strain. In Selvye's formulation, stress arises when a person is not able to control a situation and is compelled to remain in the role of a passive observer. When a normal set of emotions yields to anxiety or alarm, one finds oneself in a state of stress, in which it is difficult to adapt to new situations or to escape, even if negative consequences are predicted in advance. It is, however, even more difficult to adapt to new conditions when one can not predict the events to follow - the situation, in other words, of life itself.

- Mohammad Ansari

Alexander Arutiunian, Armenia

Born in 1920 in Yerevan, Alexander Arutiunian studied in his native city as well as in Moscow. For more than a quarter of a century, he was the director of the Armenian Philharmonic. His works represent the artistic approach known as Socialist Realism; they are tonal and usually use traditional melodies and motives from Armenian folklore. His best-known works are his Native Land Cantata and his Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra.

Impromptu is a joyful and fiery piece with an arresting rhythmic exuberance, based on traditional Armenian intonations.

Artur Avanesov, Armenia

Born in 1980 in Moscow, Russia, Artur Avanesov studied piano and composition at the Yerevan State Conservatory in Armenia and then entered its postgraduate department, simultaneously taking piano courses abroad, notably as a participant of the Lucerne Festival Academy in 2003-05. In 2005 he received the Ph.D. for his research on Zen Buddhism in the music of the twentieth century. At present, he is Assistant Professor at the Yerevan Conservatory.

Avanesov is active as a performer of contemporary music, and in 2001 he founded the Ensemble AUS in Armenia, aimed at promoting the newest works by contemporary composers from all over the world. As a performer, he has taken part in numerous international festivals and other concert events in Armenia, Georgia, Switzerland, Austria, and Spain. He has been the pianist in the Ensemble Laboratorium (Lucerne Festival Academy Ensemble) under the artistic direction of Pierre Boulez.

His own compositions have been performed at international music festivals in several countries. In 2003 and 2004 he was awarded first prizes at the Benjamin Britten and the Lazarus Sarian composition competitions in Armenia.

…leise… for clarinet and piano (2004)

The German title of this work means "quietly" or "gently." The music represents a kind of extremely slow barcarole, in which all of the principal harmonic and melodic lines seem to be plunged into a fog. The clarinet part can be considered as a reminiscence of haunting Armenian instrumental tunes, but in an "unreal" way, "whispering" the melody within a dynamic scale ranging from "barely audible" to "quiet." The almost imperceptible allusions to Brahms' Clarinet Sonata op. 120, No.1 in the middle section of the piece are also very important, creating a different, very distant temporal landscape.

The banality of the final "C major-enlightenment" is an inevitable homage to the tradition that has deeply inspired and affected this music.

- Artur Avanesov

Josef Bardanashvili, Georgia

Josef Bardanashvili was born in 1948 in Batumi, Georgia, and graduated from the Music Academy of Tbilisi; he holds a Ph.D. from the same institution. He was the director of the college in Batumi from 1986-91. Bardanashvili was the Cultural Vice-Minister in the Adjaria region of Georgia in 1992-93, and since 1995 he has lived in Israel. He has organized numerous international music festivals, and his compositions include symphonies, three operas, two ballets, chamber music, concertos for violin and guitar, a double concerto for piano and cello, a Fantasia-Concert for piano and strings, choral music, and many songs. He has written music for over 20 films and 40 theater productions. His compositions have been performed in the U.S., Scotland, Finland, Germany, Russia, Spain, Italy, Israel, and other countries.

Images for flute and two percussion instruments (2001)

The piece is a kind of musical theater and can be divided into three sections: from cry of pain and despair, then through a game, and finally to a full immersion in a state of calm. Although the work is only eight minutes long, it is full of emotional leaps and requires both virtuosic instrumental skills and the highest possible concentration from the performers.

- Josef Bardanashvili

Münir Beken, Turkey

Born in 1964 in Istanbul, Münir Beken originally studied at the State Conservatory and the Technical University of Istanbul (ITU) and later was conductor and performer with the ITU Chamber Orchestra and a founding member of the State Turkish Music Ensemble. Beken was the music director and composer for several award-winning movies and various television series appearing on TRT, the Turkish state radio and television network. His ballet suite, Dino and Ceren, was commissioned and performed by the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet.

Beken received his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Maryland. He has given recitals in such venues as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. In 1994 he won the Individual Artist Award of the Maryland State Arts Council and became the Executive Director of the Center for Turkish Music at the University of Maryland.

Beken is working on Blue Monologue for solo violin, scheduled to be performed in June 2006 at Carnegie Hall. His symphonic poem Gallipoli was premiered last March by the Istanbul Filarmonia and the performance of his Triple Concerto featured the eminent violinist Shlomo Mintz. His music is published by Amplitude Music in France, and he is a member of the ASCAP. Beken is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Arts at Siena College in New York, and also a conductor of the Siena Chamber Orchestra.

A Turk in Seattle for flute, clarinet, violin, cello (2006)
SCP commission, world premiere

A Turk in Seattle reflects several influences. The initial idea came from Paul Taub's desire to play a fanfare. I first thought of Copland's A Fanfare for the Common Man and Tower's A Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman. Then I remembered the games we used to play when I was a young teenager at the conservatory. My violinist friends would imitate the music played at the beginning of MGM movies, and at my suggestion, they would substitute or alter some of the chords just for fun. This composition starts with a similar game among the members of the quartet. From then on, the quartet invites the listener through a set of aesthetic transformations. Some of the rhythmic elements are based upon Turkish patterns. Certain melodies may sound familiar and they reflect my time with the Turkish community here in Seattle.

It is not a coincidence that A Turk in Seattle is dedicated to Philip Schuyler at the University of Washington's School of Music. He was a great mentor and brilliant advisor throughout my graduate studies here. Since then, he has been a role model in many aspects of my life with his gentle soul, his kindness, and his work ethic. Indeed, there would not have been a real Turk in Seattle if he had not invited me here some five years ago as an Artist in Residence at the University of Washington.

- Münir Beken

Mahir Cetiz, Turkey

Born in 1977 in Ankara, Turkey, Mahir Cetiz studied cello, composition, and conducting at Hacettepe University State Conservatory. After graduation, he continued his postgraduate studies with Kamran Ince, Zhou Long, and Chen Yi at the University of Memphis, and with Anthony Gilbert at the Royal Northern College of Music, in Manchester, England. He also had the opportunity to have lessons with Alexander Goehr and Harrison Birtwistle. Some of Cetiz's awards include the Composer of the Year Award given by the Memphis Music Teachers' Association, the Smit Composition Award by the University of Memphis, and the William Humphreys Dayas Prize for composition awarded by the Royal Northern College of Music. His compositions have been performed by leading ensembles and orchestras: the BBC Philharmonic, the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Ensemble 10/10. He has also appeared in some of the important festivals in the U.S., Britain, and Germany, including the Huddersfield International Contemporary Music Festival, TurkFest in London, and Young-Euro Classics.

The composer's works present his own interpretation of the technical heritage and the expressivity of European art music. His interests in traditional Turkish music and other Eastern musical cultures have given way to this individual approach. The construction of Cetiz's music has also been influenced by non-musical structures and by Sufi, Japanese, and Indian music, electro-acoustics, and music perception and cognition.

Smoke for violin and piano (2001)

This piece was written during the composer's graduate studies in Memphis, Tennessee, and is dedicated to violinist Susanna Perry-Gilmore, with whom the composer performed for Memphis University's New Music and Chamber Music festivals.

The work, nine and one-half minutes long, is in one movement, divided into three sections:
·Dance of the Smoke (Largo) is a slow, improvisatory section;
·Dance with the Smoke (Vivace) is a fast, goal-oriented section;
·Disappearance of Smoke (Largo) reintroduces the opening music, which is used here as closing material.

The image of smoke in the title and in each section of this composition refers to the old religious traditions of the Turks who lived in Middle Asia and who worshipped nature and its elements - the Sun, the Moon, and Fire. Smoke as an object was one of the main holy elements the shamans used in worship ceremonies, and it became the subject of poetry, music, and dance. Turkish music has changed a great deal since those times, but the rhythmic richness of contemporary Turkish music has its roots in this ancient musical culture. Some of the materials and motives in the piece are consciously used in order to refer to the image of smoke. Modality here shades the functional tonality. One synthetic mode is used in the piece to reflect the sound of Turkish maquams (especially by employing augmented second and diminished fourth intervals), in addition to two authentic maquam series, Karcighar and Penchgah. Some Turkish rhythmic formulas, Usuls, are used as the main rhythmic pattern of the violin ostinato in the middle section of this piece.

- Mahir Cetiz

Eka Chabashvili, Georgia

Composer Eka Chabashvili was born in 1971 in Tbilisi, Georgia, and graduated from the Tbilisi Conservatory. In 2001 she was invited to Germany to take part in the 10th Internationale Musikwerkstatt Buckow workshop for composers, headed by Franghis Ali-Zadeh.

In 1999-2000 she worked at the War Child Organization, using music to help refugee children overcome the tragic and traumatic events they had experienced. She founded the experimental instrumental theater Sensus in 2000, and she has also worked as the theater's director; she is also a founder of the Association of Young Composers and Musicologists and a member of the Avant-garde Music Salon. In 2003 Chabashvili was recognized as the best Georgian composer of the year, and in the following year, she organized the Contemporary Music Days festival in Tbilisi.

Chabashvili's music has been performed all over the world, including Georgia, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Ukraine, Egypt, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, the U.S., Austria, and Holland. She actively works in the field of theater and cinema music as well as in the areas of painting and literature. She has published articles on the psychology of creativity and the music of the cinema. Chabashvili uses the new techniques of twentieth-century professional academic music as well as investigating meditative dramaturgy, static compositional approaches, and improvisational development.

Frescos for flute, clarinet, marimba, tam-tam, piano, violin, and cello (2001)

This cycle is based on impressions from church frescos in the Svanetis region of Georgia. I wanted to paint these frescos using sound and to make the paintings heard in music. I tried to minimize the dynamic of time and diffuse the sounds into space, bringing the aural and the visual together. In my composition, I was able to describe only the condition of the saints in the religious frescos, not their emotion. All four parts of Frescos end with folk songs or a chorale played by the cello - all were selected because of their texts. For example, in the first part of the cycle, the section "Virgin Mary" ends with a type of Georgian lullaby song called "Nana." The second section, "Christ and John the Baptist," ends with a Georgian folk song called "Mze Shina," and third part, "St. George and St. Theodore," concludes with another Georgian folk tune, "Shavlego." Only the last fresco, "Crucifixion," ends with a musical symbol of Georgian church chant.

- Marika Nadareishvili

Zaur Fakhradov, Azerbaijan

Born in 1965 in Baku, Azerbaijan, Zaur Fakhradov graduated from the Azerbaijan State Conservatory under Faraj Karayev. In 1992, he participated in the master classes given in Lerchenborg (Denmark) by Edison Denisov and Poul Ruders. His music has been performed at many prestigious international festivals of contemporary music in Austria, Azerbaijan, Germany, Moldova, The Netherlands, Russia, Japan, and Sweden, including the ISCM World Music Days (1994, 1999), the Frankfurter Feste, Gaudeamus (Amsterdam), Moscow Autumn, Music in New Spaces (Germany), and the Europe-Asia Festival. His works have been performed by the BaKaRa Ensemble and SoNoR (Azerbaijan); the Nieuw Ensemble (The Netherlands); the ACM Ensemble and the New Music Studio (Russia); Ars Nova (Sweden), and others. Conductors such as Rauf Abdullayev (Azerbaijan), Roland Freisitzer (Austria), Oleg Palymski (Moldova), Ed Spanjaard (The Netherlands), Igor Dronov and Alexey Vinogradov (Russia), and Michael Bartosh (Sweden) have directed his works.

Stranger for piano solo (2000)

Is it a biographical fragment?
Probably not. One cannot, however, rule this out altogether.

- Zaur Fakhradov

Javanshir Guliyev, Azerbaijan

Javanshir Guliyev was born in 1950 in Sheki, Azerbaijan, where he learned to play the saz (a Turkish and Azerbaijani lute) before beginning his formal career as a composer and pianist. He graduated from the Azerbaijan State Conservatory and taught there from 1978-98. Between 1994-2003 he also taught at the Azerbaijan University of the Arts, and he has also worked at the Azerbaijan State Radio company and the National Drama Theater. He is a composer of concert music, film scores, and popular songs. He has collaborated with the great Georgian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov on sound tracks for several films, and his many popular songs are standards in the repertory of Azerbaijan's best-known singers. In 1986, Guliev was a participant in the US-USSR Young Composers' Exchange. His works have been performed in Russia, Germany, the U.S., The Netherlands, Finland, Israel, Poland, Estonia, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, and Romania. His work Caravan was composed in 2000 for The Silk Road Project and was premiered at the Tanglewood Music Center. Guliyev is now a professor at Near East University in Cyprus.

Seven pieces with Interludes in Mugam modes for piano solo (1980)

The work is an attempt to model in piano music the mugam principles of form and thematic development. The work is made up of seven pieces, each of which is written in one of the seven main Azeri mugam scales. The form of the work suggests a "compressed" mugam, in which the seven pieces themselves represent the mugams, and the six interludes in between, which use prepared piano, represent the rengas. (In a classical mugam, the renga portions are rhythmic, modulatory links between sections, and they also serve to provide a rest for the singer.) When combined, these six interludes constitute a separate and complete work, which was split into six sections and inserted between the seven pieces. These interludes thus bind all of the sections of the work into a single whole. The work is also unified by the central pitch of the entire cycle, on the note e.

- Javanshir Guliyev

Ramin Heydarbeygi, Iran

Born in 1962 in Tehran, Ramin Heydarbeygi began his musical studies in Iran. He studied composition with Paul Cooper and viola with Wayne Brooks in Houston, Texas, and he holds a Master's Degree in Composition from the Aaron Copland School at Queens College, where he was a student of Leo Kraft. From 1995-98, he was a resident composer with the Next Stage Ensemble, a new music group based in New York City. Ramin Heydarbeygi is the Music Director of the Barbad Chamber Orchestra, where he has conducted numerous world, U.S., and New York premieres by composers from around the world, including Alireza Mashayekhi, Perry Townsend, Leonid Hrabovsky, Mika Pelo, Alexandr Harutyunian, and Reza Vali. His own compositions have been performed by various ensembles and in venues ranging from the Greenwich Music House to the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. He has received many awards, including citations from the New York State Council on the Arts, two BRIO awards, and seven from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.

Gusan for soprano, violin, and cello (1995)

After a trip to Iran in 1994, I rediscovered a number old poets. The result was several vocal and choral pieces set to Persian poetry, among them, Gusan. The word "gusan" comes from Pahlavi (middle Persian) and refers to the poet-musicians of Iran, whose art reached a peak before the Arab invasion. One of these artists was Rudaki, a blind harpist and poet of the ninth century who is known as the first important modern poet of Iran. Many of Rudaki's poems are lost, and a portion of what has survived is in fragments. For this song cycle, I have chosen a few of his short poems, and in some cases, only a fragment of a surviving line. Gusan was first performed on November 16-19, 1995 by the Next Stage Ensemble. This work is in seven short movements and is sung in Persian.

- Ramin Heydarbeygi

Kamran Ince, Turkey

Born in 1960 in Montana to American and Turkish parents, Kamran Ince holds a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music and is a professor at the University of Memphis and Co-Director of MIAM in Istanbul. His numerous prizes include the Prix de Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Lili Boulanger Prize. Chamber Music Magazine named his Waves of Talya as one of the best chamber works of the twentieth century by a living American composer.

Ince has been hailed by The Los Angeles Times as "that rare composer able to sound connected with modern music, and yet still seem exotic." Major orchestras and ensembles around the world have performed his works, with concerts devoted to his music at the Holland Festival, CBC Encounter Series (Toronto), the Istanbul International Festival, the Estoril Festival (Lisbon), and TurkFest (London).

Ince's latest orchestral CD, Kamran Ince (which includes his Third and Fourth Symphonies), is on the Naxos label, with Ince conducting the Prague Symphony. His CD In White came out in 2004, and his other recordings include Fall of Constantinople, from Decca. Upcoming major commissions are for the Chanticleer Mass project; for Present Music's Twenty-fifth Anniversary; and for Judgment of Midas, an opera commemorating the centennial of the Sardis/Lydia excavations (sponsored by Harvard University).

Turquoise for violin, cello, flute, clarinet, percussion, optional trumpet, and keyboard (1996)

Turquoise was composed during three residencies at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis as part of the Music-in-Motion Project with Present Music (Milwaukee). The French word "turquoise" simply means "Turkish," and so the title of this piece bears a double meaning: the brilliant jewel tone used in the lavish decorative arts of the Ottoman court, and the fact that this is a very Turkish piece indeed. Turquoise is highly twisted, with much use of the heterophony common to the music of Anatolia. Heterophony is an essential unison with slight variations and embellishments that instruments contribute to the line/melody, giving it a sense of depth and space. At times the heterophonic textures are extended further with groups of instruments playing the lines completely out of sync. Most of the music is very fast, with a rock-and-roll like drive. There is a constant pounding of very fast and changing irregular meters, a characteristic of the music of the Black Sea (Turkey) region. Thanks are due to the musicians of Present Music, who obliged me in experimenting with the sounds and effects I was looking for in this piece.

- Kamran Ince

Giya Kancheli, Georgia

Giya Kancheli, born in 1935 in Tbilisi, is Georgia's most distinguished living composer. His scores, deeply spiritual in nature, are filled with haunting aural images, varied colors and textures, sharp contrasts, and shattering climaxes. His music draws inspiration from Georgian folklore and sings with a heartfelt, yet refined emotion; it is conceived dramaturgically with a strong linear flow and an expansive sense of musical time.

Best-known as a composer of symphonies and other large-scale works, Kancheli has written seven symphonies and a "liturgy" for viola and orchestra, Mourned by the Wind. His Fourth Symphony ("In Memoria di Michelangelo") received its American premiere with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Yury Temirkanov conducting, in January 1978. The advent of glasnost brought growing exposure for and recognition of Kancheli's distinctive musical voice, leading to prestigious commissions and increasingly frequent performances in Europe and America. Dennis Russell Davies, Jansug Kakhidze, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Kim Kashkashian, Mstislav Rostropovich, and the Kronos Quartet are among his passionate champions.

Kancheli's compositional style owes much to his work in the theater. For two decades he served as Music Director of the Rustaveli Theatre in Tbilisi. Kancheli has been awarded the USSR State Prize (1977), the Rustaveli State Prize (1981), the Nika Prize for film music (1987), and the National Order of Merit (1995). He became a National Artist of the Georgian Republic in 1980. Dislocated by political and social turbulence in his homeland, Kancheli currently resides in Antwerp, where he moved in 1995 after having lived in Germany since 1991 as a DAAD laureate. Recordings of his music are available on the Nonesuch, Sony, and ECM New Series labels.

Exil for soprano, flute, violin, viola, cello, double bass, synthesizer, and tape (1994)

This intensely beautiful work about religious, cultural, and spiritual exile from the sacred and everyday truths is made up of a series of songs. The German texts variously describe and contemplate the state of exile which the composer has experienced himself in emigrating from his native country: Psalm 23 from the Old Testament; three poems by Paul Celan; and a poem by Hans Sahl. The motif of the good shepherd from the opening Psalm may refer to the archaic images of Georgia. The first movement - the longest in the piece - is serene, whisperingly tender, and slow, with a sudden triple fortissimo outburst. The voice singing the psalm is real and close, in contrast to a liturgical fragment sung in Latin in a distant voice, on tape, that creates a mystical mood. The next piece ("Once"), to a poem by Paul Celan, is terse and brief, drawing on distant, dispersed memories of religious and personal experiences. The third movement, set to another Celan poem, "Count the almonds," is truly "counting" the beads of sound, arriving at the intensely emotional last line: "Make me bitter: Count me among the almonds." In yet another Celan poem in the fourth movement, a new Psalm becomes an unruly hymn to the Creator. The final movement, to a Hans Sahl poem, is a desolate and inconsolable piece with a bitter but comforting insight - "Too late" repeated in an elusive way by the pure, clean, and even boyish voice of the soprano.

Faraj Karaev, Azerbaijan

Born in 1943 in Baku, Faraj Karaev graduated from the Azerbaijan State Conservatory, where he studied with one of the most prominent Azerbaijani composers, Professor Kara Karaev, his father. From 1966-2003 he taught at the Azerbaijan State Conservatory, where he was named a professor in 1994. Since 1991 Karaev has been dividing his time between Baku and Moscow, and he has been a professor at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory since 1999. Beginning in 2003, he has also taught at the Kazan State Conservatory. Karaev was Vice-Chairman of the Association of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Moscow from 1994-96, and in 1995 he co-founded the Yeni Musiqi Society for contemporary music in Baku. He worked as an artistic director of the BaKaRA Ensemble (Baku) from 1980-94; in 1991 he was composer in residence at the Folkwang-Hochschule in Essen, Germany.

Karaev's works have been performed in festivals and concerts throughout the former USSR, Europe, the U.S., South America, and Japan by such conductors as G. Rozhdestvensky, V. Sinaisky, A. Lazarev, M. Shostakovich (USSR/Russia); R. Abdullaev (Azerbaijan); E. Bagirov, (Turkey/Azerbaijan); J. Metzmacher (Germany); R. de Leeuw, E. Spanjaard (Netherlands); D. Sachs (U.S.); B. Stoeckli (Switzerland). Among the ensembles performing and commissioning works by Karaev are the Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt, Germany), Nieuw Ensemble and Schoenberg Ensemble (Amsterdam, Holland), Quatour Danel (France), Continuum (U.S.), and many others.

Three Bagatelles for piano solo, flute, clarinet, trombone, violin, and cello (2003)

Three Bagatelles are no more than … three bagatelles … They are light concert pieces written over the course of several hot days in August 2003. Each of the bagatelles has a similar number of measures with similar changes of meter as well as a similar quasi-harmonic "grid." They are unique ornamented variations, which might be titled as follows: 1. Normal legati; 2. Strange glissandi; 3. Funny staccati. In the coda, the work's motion transcends form, employing ever more unintelligible outlines, even to the point of nonsense.

- Faraj Karaev

Aram Khachaturian, Armenia

Aram Khachaturian (1903-78) was one of the most popular and successful composers of the Soviet period. His unique musical idiom combined common Western European elements with the music of his Armenian heritage, with its sensuous and singing melodies, colorful orchestration, harsh harmonies, and spontaneous rhythmic drive. He was the first composer after Komitas to bring international attention to Armenian music.

In 1921 Khachaturian was admitted to the Gnessin Institute in Moscow, although he had had almost no previous musical experience; in 1929 he transferred to the Moscow State Conservatory, where he studied under Nikolai Myaskovsky. He later taught at both institutions and also held important posts at the All-Soviet Composers' Union, which would later severely denounce some of his works as being "formalistic," along with works by Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Known in the West chiefly as the composer of instrumental concerti and the ballets Gayaneh and Spartacus (the former including the brilliant "Sabre Dance"), Khachaturian also wrote symphonic works, film and theater music, chamber music, and many patriotic and popular songs.

Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (arranged for cello and piano) (1946)

The concerto, as well as Khachaturian's Second Symphony, was officially denounced by Andrei Zhdanov's campaign in 1948 as a "formalist" work, but it later became a staple of the cello repertoire. It is a dark and openly emotional piece with an extended and agitated elegy as its central movement.

Tigran Mansurian, Armenia

Born in 1939 in Beirut, Lebanon, Tigran Mansurian is an Armenian composer of mostly orchestral, chamber, choral, and vocal works, all of which have been performed throughout the world. Mansurian studied composition at the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory from 1960-65. He was one of the first composers from the Soviet Caucasus republics to use contemporary musical techniques, including dodecaphony and serialism. Mansurian was influenced by French Impressionism as well as by ancient Armenian music and scales. His works are filled with delicate timbres, transparent textures, and melodic beauty. The Armenian elements dominate in his later works, which feature modal harmonies.

Mansurian's honors include two first prizes in the All-Union competition in Moscow. A recording of his . . . And Then I Was in Time Again was nominated for a Grammy Award in Classical Contemporary Composition in 2005. Mansurian taught modern music theory at the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory from 1967-86, where he has taught composition as a professor since 1986. He also served as its rector from 1992-95.

Trio in Memory of Schnittke for violin, cello, and piano (2001)

The titles of the five movements of this Trio are derived from the names of poetic forms which have (or in which can be found) musical equivalents: Stanzas (the simplest form, revealing itself through a series stopping points); Epigram 1 (a concentrated post-Webern miniature); Canzone; Epigram 2; and Epitaph. This Trio is a tribute to the composer's friendship with Alfred Schnittke, who composed a Concerto for Chorus to the poetry of the Armenian poet Grigor Narekatsi; Mansurian presented Schnittke with a book of Narekatsi's poetry, called the Book of Mournful Songs.

Alireza Mashayekhi, Iran

Alireza Mashayekhi was born in Tehran in 1940 and is one of the first Iranian composers to pioneer modern music in Iran. Mashayekhi's works have been performed in Iran and abroad for more than thirty-five years. He studied music in Iran and Vienna, where his teachers, Karl Schiske and Hanns Jelinek, encouraged him to explore a wide spectrum of twentieth-century music. This and his fondness for Iranian culture were the cornerstones of his artistic development. After completing his studies at the Akademie für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna, he went to Utrecht to pursue his study of electronic and computer music.

Mashayekhi believes that composers of our times should create music in a wide range of styles; his own compositions, for example, sometimes take direct inspiration from Iranian music and sometimes are composed in entirely unrelated styles. He believes that we can discover truth only through multilogical structures of artistic thought - only in this way can we encompass the contradictions that "truth" carries within itself. He argues that by abandoning the sequential problem-solving that has indisputably dominated "logic," especially since Newton, we are able to pursue simultaneously a number of different factors, or X's. He therefore calls his own way of structuring music the "quest for Meta-X."

Meta-X No. 2 for flute, oboe, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass (2001), Op. 153, dedicated to Elisabeth Holthaus

The idea of multicultural music in Mashayekhi's works goes back to the beginning of his association with the Institute of Sonology (Holland) as a guest composer in 1968-69. Mashayekhi composed Shur and East-West, both works fundamental in his search for a super-logic - the Meta-X - that governs compositions utilizing different cultural sources. In addition to the many pieces he has written based on this approach, Mashayekhi has also composed a series of five pieces called Meta-X. Meta-X No. 2 is constructed by means of phrasing extracted from the Iranian melodic intervallic system, used in dialogue with the athematic development of atonal "moments."

- Alireza Mashayekhi

Elmir Mirzoev, Azerbaijan

Born in 1970 in Baku, Elmir Mirzoev is an Azerbaijani composer of mostly orchestral, chamber, and vocal pieces that have been performed in festivals in Azerbaijan, CIS countries, Europe, Mexico, Mongolia, Indonesia, and Japan. He is also active in the promotion of new music and he has organized contemporary and traditional music festivals in Azerbaijan. Mirzoev studied at the Azerbaijan State Conservatory from 1989-94 and continued his post-graduate studies until 1999 in the composition class of Faraj Karayev. He participated in an international composition course led by James Dillon and Ole Lützhow-Holm at the University of Gothenburg (1994) and in the Musik aus Aserbaidschan Festival in Winterthur, Switzerland (1995). In 1995, he became the Artistic Director of the Initiative Center of Contemporary Music - Ensemble SoNoR. Since 1998, he has taught in the composition department at the Baku Music Academy (formerly the Azerbaijan State Conservatory). In 1999 he participated in the V International Young Composers' Meeting in Apeldoorn, Holland, hosted by Louis Andriessen and Michael Smetanin, with the Ensemble de Ereprijs, and he was one of six composers featured in the New Music Marathon in Prague. In 2005, he received a prize for the Best Symphonic Work from the Azerbaijan Composers' Union.

Mirzoev's works have been performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Sinfonieorchester Basel, Ensemble de Ereprijs (Holland), ALEA Ensemble (Macedonia), Ensemble Accroche Note and saxophonist Paul Wehage (France), the Freiburg Percussion Ensemble, and Ensemble Reflexion K (Germany), among others.

Fayum portraits for bass flute, percussion, harp, cello, and tape (2004)

What attitude do the ancient and doleful Egyptian portraits have towards modern life? What do these apocalyptic and silent faces, transmitting their message through the millennia, tell us? These faces symbolize future accidents, ruthless and ominous nightmares, and the misfortunes that inevitably fall upon every person.

One must also question what our modern civilization means, this epoch of an expanding epidemic of metaphysical famine, of technocratic manufacture and consumption. It is an apogee where all obscure magic and occult methods, all curved energetic lines and their deformed fields converge. It is within this frame that our real "initiation" and our "dedication" occur; it is the finished "harmonious" composition through which we gaze to discover what might be.

- Elmir Mirzoev

Vache Sharafyan, Armenia

Born in 1966 in Yerevan, Armenia, Vache Sharafyan studied composition at the Yerevan State Conservatory. In 1985, he was a prize-winner at the All-Union Composers' Competition in Moscow. He was Professor of Music Theory and Sacred Music at the Jerusalem Theological Armenian Seminary in Israel from 1992-96, and he created a Book of Chants for the Holy Sepulcher Church in Jerusalem.

Since 1998, he has participated in the Bowling Green Festival of New Music and Arts, June in Buffalo, and the MATA and PNME festivals (U.S.); the Prima Vista and Two Days and Two Nights festivals (Ukraine); the Hungarian Radio and Budapest Mini-festivals; the Transcaucasian Festival of Modern Music (Georgia); the Baroque and Perspectives XXI festivals (Armenia); and Festival Culturescapes (Switzerland).

Sharafyan has been an official composer for the renowned Silk Road Project since 2001, and his compositions were performed by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble in many venues in the U.S. and Europe. His compositions have been commissioned and performed by Yo-Yo Ma, SRPI, PNME, MATA Micro Orchestra, Baird Trio, Pittsburgh Trio, and Apple Hill Chamber Music Players, among others.

Ancient Anthem for soprano and violin (2002)

Ancient Anthem is based on the ancient Armenian hymn Vahagni Tsnunde, a masterpiece of early Armenian poetry from seventh-sixth centuries B.C. I was inspired by the expressivity of the old Armenian language when I wrote this music.

- Vache Sharafyan

Sulkhan Tsintsadze, Georgia

One of the most respected Georgian composers, Sulkhan Tsintsadze (1925-91) studied at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia and later taught at the Tbilisi State Conservatory, where he was rector from 1965-84. He was also one of the leaders of the Georgian Union of Composers. He began his career in 1944, when he became cellist in the State Quartet of Georgia and composed for his own instrument as well as for other cello ensembles. He composed operas, ballets, cantatas, five symphonies, two cello concertos, and chamber works, including his well-known string quartets.

Sachidao for cello ensemble (1952)

Sachidao (a traditional Georgian form of wrestling) is part of a larger composition, Five Pieces, in which the composer introduced ancient Georgian modal harmonies and traditional melodies within the context of classical musical language.

Hasan Uçarsu, Turkey

Born in 1965 in Istanbul, Turkey, Hasan Uçarsu studied composition at the Mimar Sinan University State Conservatory of Istanbul and at the University of Pennsylvania under George Crumb and Richard Wernick. His works have been performed and broadcast by all of the leading orchestras in Turkey as well as by Moldovian, Russian, American, Romanian, Austrian, British, Greek, and other ensembles. His compositions have been heard at all international music festivals in Turkey, and at Grenzenlos (Berlin), Europamusicale 2000 (Munich), the Cultural Meeting of Southeastern European Countries (Thessaloniki), the Balkan Composers' Forum, the 8th World Harp Congress, the 17th International Music Festival of Mexico City, Balkan Choral Week, and Turkfest (London).

His awards include First Prize in the First and Second (shared) Nejat Eczac?ba?? Composition Competitions, Second Prize in the Composition Competition of the Turkish Ministry of Culture, and the David Halstead and Helen G. Weiss Composition Prizes.

He has received commissions from Turkish Radio and Television, the Turkish Ministry of Culture, Istanbul Culture and Arts Foundation, Mediterranean Youth Orchestra, and The Silk Road Project. Since 1998, he has served as Associate Professor of Composition at the Mimar Sinan University State Conservatory of Istanbul.

… the dragged ones for flute, viola, and harp (2004)

In this piece I attempted to contribute a new timbral aspect and style to a unique medium, which had been identified and stylistically shaped long before in the sound worlds of Debussy and Bax.

The name of the piece gives an indirect idea about the non-musical starting point of the work.

One of the unfortunate commonplaces of our past and our present is the dragging of communities from the lands on which they have lived for generations; people are forced to leave their past without the possibility of returning, and to move to new lands in which they are supposed to construct new lives. As a result of these kinds of upheavals, people experience terror, violence, destruction, anxiety, indeterminacy, sorrow, and maladjustment - these psychological states form the non-musical motivation for the composition. One finds solace and comfort by recalling peaceful and tranquil memories or by looking to the unknown future with the hope of better days to come; through this kind of "therapy," people manage to find ways to establish strong links with life. This composition is built upon the simultaneous interrelationship between these two opposite psychological states. The sole reminiscences of such displaced people are the songs which were created in their previous lives, carried and reshaped as they move to new lands, or the songs that they create in their new lives. The composition concludes by joining such a sonic reminiscence - a melody that was directly created, lived, and reworked.

- Hasan Uçarsu

Reza Vali, Iran

Born in 1952 in Ghazvin, Iran, Reza Vali studied at the Conservatory of Music in Tehran and at the Academy of Music in Vienna. After completing his studies in Vienna, he moved to the United States, where he received his Ph.D. in music theory and composition in 1985. Mr. Vali has been a faculty member of the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University since 1988. He has received numerous honors and commissions, including the honor prize of the Austrian Ministry of Arts and Sciences, two Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships, commissions from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Kronos Quartet, the Seattle Chamber Players, and the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, as well as grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as Outstanding Emerging Artist, for which he received the Creative Achievement Award. Vali's orchestral compositions have been performed in the United States by the Seattle Symphony, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Baltimore Symphony, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra 2001. His music has been performed in Europe, Chile, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Australia, and is recorded on the Naxos, Albany Records, New Albion, MMC, Ambassador, and ABC Classics labels.

Folk Songs, Set No. 15 for flute, clarinet, violin, and cello (1999)

This is the fifteenth set of an ongoing cycle of Persian folk songs which Reza Vali has been writing since 1978. The piece has seven movements, each composed in the style of a folk song. The thematic and motivic material used in each of the movements is interrelated, and the last movement acts as a summary of the entire composition.

The technique of simultaneously playing and singing (or humming) is employed in the flute part of the first movement in order to bring out the overtones of the flute and to change the timbre of the instrument. This technique imitates the sound of the Persian vertical flute, the ney.

Vagarshak Zakarian, Armenia

Vagarshak Zakarian was born in 1955 and graduated from the Yerevan State Conservatory. In 1980 he received first prize in the All-Soviet Composers' Competition for his Sonata-Arabesque for piano. His main works include chamber compositions, a string quartet, a symphony, and vocal cycles to the texts of Armenian poets. He has also written music for films. In 1994 Zakarian moved to Moscow. He is Deputy Executive Director of the main music publishing house in Russia, "Muzyka."

Verbo primo for cello solo (1977)

This is the composer's first serious work, written when he was twenty-two years old. The title, Verbo primo, means "the first word."

Ashot Zohrabian, Armenia

Born in 1945 in Yerevan, Ashot Zohrabian is an esteemed Armenian composer of orchestral, chamber, and vocal works that have been successfully performed in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Zohrabyan prefers to compose chamber music because it allows him to pay special attention to the details of musical construction and to incorporate and interlace the many musical traditions of Armenia.

Zohrabian graduated from the Yerevan State Conservatory in 1972, and since 1980 he has been Professor of Composition there. His works have been performed by l'Ensemble 2e2m, the Kronos Quartet, the Kyiv Chamber Orchestra, and many other ensembles in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the U.S., including many major international festivals such as the Holland Festival in the Netherlands.

Ritual for 3 flutes (1993)

This work is for three C flutes, with the players doubling on alto flutes. The pantheistic contents of the composition precondition the aesthetic phenomenon of the music, its beauty and magic as well as its esoteric and contemplative qualities. Ritual becomes a hymn to the morning, a vivacious song, a welcome to the dawn. The structure of the piece is marked with the utmost clarity: a varying double two-part form in which the beginning of each part, played by the alto flutes, introduces a change of theme and tempo. These sectional changes reflect the instruments' ritual semantics. The sound of the regular flutes symbolizes a Dionysian origin, with the music conveying the improvisational spirit of dancing, and the composer employs a sophisticated rhythmic technique in both the solo and the ensemble sections. The alto flutes, which perform the prolonged cantilena, symbolize Apollo's origins.

- Svetlana Sarkisian




Dr. Deniz Ertan (Turkey) was born in Manchester, England in 1971. She studied English Literature at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara as well as classical guitar at the Ankara State Conservatory. She resumed her studies at the University of Manchester, resulting in Mus.M. and Ph.D. degrees in musicology. Recently, her research on Turkish music has resulted in an article examining a fifteenth-century Ottoman treatise on music theory, a conference paper (at the RMA Conference), and a presentation at the Orientalist Library Resources Seminar in Cambridge. She has given guest lectures at the Universities of Leeds and Bristol, and in 2003 she was invited by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to be a pre-concert speaker. Currently, she is a part-time Visiting Lecturer and Tutor at the University of Manchester and the University of Salford. Deniz's expenses towards her participation in the Seattle conference have been generously supported by a grant from the Music & Letters Trust.

Dr. Levon Hakobian (Armenia) is the most prominent Armenian musicologist and specialist in Armenian music and the music of the twentieth century. He has lived in Moscow since 1993, and works at the Russian State Institute of Arts. Dr. Hakobian is the author of many articles published in scholarly and cultural journals both in Russia and abroad. In 1998 he published the most comprehensive book on Soviet music culture to have appeared in English (Music of the Soviet Age, 1917-1987, published in Stockholm by Melos Press). In 2001 he compiled, translated into Russian, and published the first Russian edition of the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. His new book on Shostakovich appeared in 2004. In 2002 he was a visiting Fulbright scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Aida Huseynova (Azerbaijan) graduated from the Azerbaijan State Conservatory in Baku and has a Ph.D. in musicology from the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia. She is currently Associate Professor of Musicology at Baku Music Academy. In 2001-02 she worked as a teaching assistant at Indiana University's School of Music, where she was a visiting scholar again in 2003. Huseynova is author of 75 publications in Azerbaijan, the U.S., and Germany, including four books. She has made presentations at Indiana, Columbia, Purdue, and Ohio State universities, and at the University of Chicago and the University of Madison.

Dr. Rusudan Tsurtsumia (Georgia) graduated from the Tbilisi State Conservatory, where she earned her Ph.D. in musicology. She worked as head of the department of art studies at the Ministry of Culture of Georgia and as head of the music and folklore department at Art Publishing House. She is currently vice rector of the Tbilisi State Conservatory, Chief Editor of its publications, and director of the International Research Center on Traditional Polyphony. She has been involved in most aspects of Georgian musical and cultural developments, including the activities of the World Delphic movement (she is the Secretary General of National Delphic Council). She has organized important international scholarly conferences at Tbilisi State Conservatory on cultural contexts for music (1989 and 1999) and on traditional polyphony (1998 and 2000) which were attended by musicologists and ethnomusicologists from around the world. She is a member of the Georgian Composers' and Musicologists' Union and the Georgian Music Society, and in 2001 she became an Academician of the Georgian Pedagogical Academy; in 2003 she joined the panel of specialists at the Georgian Academy of Science.




Mahmoud Ayesh Abu-Eid, trombone

Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Mahmoud served as the Principal Trombonist of the Seattle Symphony from 2004-05; prior to this, he was the Symphony's Second Trombonist for two seasons. During his time with the Seattle Symphony, Mahmoud also performed with the Seattle Opera, including Wagner's Ring cycle in the summer of 2005. Earning both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Juilliard School, Mahmoud has performed with other orchestras around the country, including the St. Louis Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington D.C. Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra, and Buffalo Philharmonic. In the summer of 2001, he won second prize at the Lewis Van Haney Philharmonic Competition at the International Trombone Festival. Mahmoud's professional experiences have taken him all over the world, to countries including Japan, Italy, Austria, and to venues such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Radio City Music Hall. He has performed with pop artists Elton John and Ray Charles, and can be heard on numerous commercials, CDs, video games, and motion picture soundtracks.

Elisa Barston, viola

Praised for her "glowing sound" and "technical aplomb" (The Strad), violinist and violist Elisa Barston is currently the Acting Principal Second Violinist of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Prior to the appointment, she served as the Associate Concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra for eight seasons, and was a first violin section member of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Barston has studied violin performance at the University of Southern California and Indiana University. Among her awards are the Jascha Heifetz Scholarship, the Starling Foundation Grant, top prizes at the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition (including the Audience Prize), First Prize at the Julius Stulberg Auditions, Grand Prize at the International Kingsville Young Performers' Competition, and First Prize in the Seventeen-General Motors National Music Competition. Barston has been awarded first prizes in the Fischoff National Chamber Music, the Kuttner Quartet, and the concerto competitions at Indiana University.

As soloist and chamber musician, Barston has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, appearing with the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Taipei Symphony orchestras, among many others. In 1986, she made her European debut with the English Chamber Orchestra at the request of Sir Yehudi Menuhin. Since 1996, Barston has made yearly appearances as featured soloist with Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, performing a diverse concerto repertoire ranging from Mozart and Beethoven to Shostakovich and Schnittke.

Sarah Bassingthwaighte, flute

Sarah Bassingthwaighte is an award-winning flutist, composer, and educator living in Seattle. She performs regularly as a member of Sorelle, Bella Musica (the ensemble-in-residence for the Music Center of the Northwest), and the Contemporary Chamber Composers and Players. She is adjunct professor of flute at Seattle University and also teaches for Music Northwest, Music Center of the Northwest (Woodwind Camp), and Marrowstone in the City. In the summer of 2001, she served on the faculty of the Rachmaninov Institute in Tambov, Russia, performing and teaching master classes for their Summer Festival. She is a past President of the Seattle Flute Society, and also served on the programming committee for the National Flute Association in 2001. She has worked closely with composers, most recently Seattle composers Richard Karpen and Diane Thome, especially in the field of electroacoustic music, and has made solo recordings of music for flute and electronics which have appeared on the Centaur and CCMC labels. Dr. Bassingthwaighte was a featured speaker and performer at the 2001 National Flute Convention in Dallas, where she premiered a trio by Salvador Brotons. She has a D.M.A. in Flute Performance and an M.M. in Composition and Theory from the University of Washington, an M.A. in Theory and Pedagogy from Central Washington University, and a B.A. in Performance from Indiana University, Bloomington.

David Gordon, trumpet

David Gordon, whose playing has been described as "spectacular" by the Chicago Tribune, is Principal Trumpet of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Chicago. Prior to his appointment in Seattle, he was Principal Trumpet of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. As soloist, Gordon has appeared with the Seattle, Grant Park, and Charleston symphony orchestras, and the National Repertory and Lake George Chamber orchestras. He has performed with the Boston, New Jersey, and Savannah symphony orchestras, and has held the position of Principal Trumpet with the Jupiter Symphony, the Prometeus Chamber Orchestra, and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. Gordon has toured extensively in Europe, North America, and South America and has performed in such prestigious festivals as Tanglewood and Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. In addition to his performance activities, he records frequently for radio, television, and film. A committed educator, Gordon is a former faculty member at Charleston Southern University, and regularly presents master classes. A native of Narragansett, Rhode Island, Gordon was educated at Columbia University and the Juilliard School. He was the winner of the New York Times Company National Merit Scholarship, as well as the William C. Byrd Memorial Scholarship.

Paul Hansen, percussion

Paul has been active in Seattle's music and theater circles for over twenty-five years. As a concert musician, he performs regularly with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and has served as the House Percussionist for the 5th Avenue Theater for over twenty years. Paul is also busy in film, television and jingle recording sessions. He is co-founder of the Pacific Rims Percussion Quartet.

Joe Kaufman, double bass

Joe Kaufman is a newcomer to the Pacific Northwest, and this season marks his first with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Opera. He moved to Seattle after winning a position with the Pacific Northwest Ballet orchestra last year. Joe enjoyed two seasons in Miami Beach with the acclaimed New World Symphony, directed by Michael Tilson Thomas. He also played with the Dallas Opera and the Fort Worth Symphony while attending school at the University of North Texas. There he studied with double-bass soloist and pedagogue Jeff Bradetich. Joe has won no awards but considers himself very privileged to be awarded with a great job playing great music. He has participated in the festivals in Switzerland, Netherlands and the USA.

Elizabeth Keusch, soprano

Already firmly established in the new music community, Elizabeth Keusch has been heard in major venues in the world's capital cities. Of her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut in the American premiere of Golijov's La Pasión Según San Marcos, Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe wrote that "Elizabeth Keusch was radiant in the two great soprano arias …" Performances of Tan Dun's Water Passion for St. Matthew have taken her all over the world. She has also performed and premiered works by many other contemporary composers, including George Benjamin, Berio, William Bolcom, Britten, Elliott Carter, Nathan Currier, Beat Furrer, Michael Gordon, John Harbison, Friedhelm Hartmann, Oliver Knussen, György Kurtag, David Lang, James MacMillan, Karin Rehnqvist, Wolfgang Rihm, Carl Ruggles, Salvatore Sciarrino, Andrew Stewart, Varèse, Judith Weir, Julia Wolfe, and Robert Zuidam.

Also in demand for opera productions worldwide, Keusch has performed the leading roles in works by Antheil, Dominick Argento, Paul-Heinz Dittrich, Lukas Foss, Frid, Shirish Korde, Helmut Lachenmann, Matthias Pintscher, and Kurt Weill. She has also performed traditional repertoire, including works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt, Mahler, Schubert, Poulenc, and other composers. Her collaboration with Helmut Rilling at the Bach Akademie in Stuttgart was followed by a series of engagements at the Oregon Bach Festival.

Keusch has appeared at Tanglewood, BAM Next Wave, River to River, Sonic Boom, Colorado, Perth International Arts, Ruthven Parish, Edinburgh Fringe, and Macau International music festivals; at the Berliner Festwoche, the Festival Ultraschall, the Europaische Musikfest, Festival d'automne in Paris, and the Festival Hörgänge; and in the Wiener Konzerthaus, Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, Carnegie's Zankel Hall, and many other festivals and venues.

Elizabeth Keusch studied at the University of North Texas and the New England Conservatory and was a Tanglewood Fellow. She has previously performed Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire with the Seattle Chamber Players.

Christian Knapp, conductor

Christian Knapp has performed in festivals and concerts throughout the world conducting the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Western Australia Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Civic Orchestra among many others. Currently the Douglas F. King and 2005-06 Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony, he has performed extensively with the Orchestra in more than 60 performances to great critical acclaim, leading them on tour and collaborating with such renowned artists as Mstislav Rostropovich, Itzhak Perlman, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Vinson Cole, Cecile Licad and Pepe Romero.

Knapp was Associate Conductor of Broomhill Opera in London and its sister company in South Africa from 2000-2003. Operas he has conducted include Turn of the Screw, Rake's Progress, The Marriage of Figaro, Carmen, Der Siblersee and Il trittico. An active conductor of new music, he has worked with the Perspectives New Music Ensemble in London, ICE Ensemble and the Seattle Chamber Players. Knapp has been an assistant for the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Esa-Pekka Salonen among others; the Kirov Opera under Leonid Korchmar; and for Michael Tilson Thomas with the New World Symphony, the Russian National Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Knapp studied piano at the New England Conservatory and philosophy at Tufts University. He studied conducting at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena under Yuri Temirkanov and Myung-Whun Chung, and then at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia under Ilya Musin. Knapp was a prizewinner in the 1999 Third International Prokofiev Competition and awarded a conducting fellowship at the Royal College of Music in London. In 2003 he was selected to participate in the National Conducting Institute with the National Symphony Orchestra and Leonard Slatkin.

Matthew Kocmieroski, percussion

Matthew Kocmieroski is Principal Percussionist with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra. He performs regularly with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, and Northwest Chamber orchestras and is on the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts. He served for ten years as artistic director and percussionist of the New Performance Group and was a founding member of Taneko; he currently performs with the Pacific Rims Percussion Quartet. In the Pacific Northwest, he appears regularly with the Seattle Chamber Players and has performed at the Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer and Winter festivals, the Seattle International Chamber Music Festival, the Seattle Spring Festival of Contemporary music, and the Icebreaker festivals of contemporary music as well as many other venues locally, around the United States, and abroad. One of his greatest satisfactions has been his collaboration with many composers, resulting in the emergence of a number of new works. This past summer he appeared at the Icicle Creek, Orcas Island, and Seattle Chamber Music Society chamber music festivals, as well as the Bellingham Festival of Music. He may be heard on many recordings of chamber and orchestral music, and on a wide variety of both major studio and independent motion picture soundtracks.

Valerie Muzzolini, harp

Born in Nice, France, Valerie Muzzolini began to study harp at age seven and made her first national television appearance when she was nine years old. She studied at the Nice National Conservatory, where she graduated with top honors in 1994. After receiving her bachelor degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, she went to Yale University for graduate studies with Nancy Allen.

At age twenty-three, Muzzolini became principal harpist of the Seattle Symphony under the direction of Gerard Schwarz. She was acting principal harpist for the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra in 1995, and performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1997 and 1998. Valerie has been invited to perform at festivals around the world, including Tanglewood and Verbier, Switzerland, and has played under the baton of such renowned conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Kurt Mazur, Seiji Ozawa, and Bernard Haitink.

Ivan Sokolov, piano

Ivan Sokolov graduated from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory as a pianist and composer and has worked there as an assistant professor since 1984. He has appeared in recitals and as a soloist with many orchestras throughout Europe and in the U.S. Sokolov is an inspired performer of Baroque, Classical, and Romantic music, and is one of the major Russian artists committed to the performance of contemporary music. His extensive repertoire includes music by Prokofiev, Schönberg, Shostakovich, Hindemith, Bartók, Stravinsky, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mauricio Kagel, George Crumb, Feldman, Cage, Pierre Boulez, and many other composers, especially by Soviet and contemporary Russian musicians. Sokolov has collaborated with leading musicians, including cellists Alexander Ivashkin and Natalia Gutman, pianists Marta Argerich and Alexei Lubimov, violinists Tatiana Grindenko and Kolya Blacher, and conductors Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Andrey Boreiko, as well as with many distinguished Russian and German orchestras. Since 1986 he has regularly appeared in festivals for contemporary music, including the Alternativa Festival in Moscow (of which he is one of the founders), the Schleswig-Holstein festival, the Almeida Festival London, the Luzerner Festwochen, the Copenhagen Culture festival, and others.

Sokolov's own compositions include works for piano, violin, piano trio, and orchestra, as well as a mini-opera. Since 1995 Sokolov has divided his time between Cologne and Moscow and has toured all over the world. Sokolov made his debut in Seattle with the Seattle Chamber Players at the Icebreaker: Voices of New Russia festival in 2002 and was re-engaged by the ensemble for another appearance in Seattle at the Shostakovich Uncovered festival. In 2004, he was a featured pianist in Icebreaker II: The Baltic Voices.

Wendy Wilhelmi, flute

Wendy Wilhelmi is active as a teacher and performer throughout the Pacific Northwest. She was a regular member of the Spokane Symphony between 1995-2004 and frequently performs with many other groups in the region, including the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, Northwest Sinfonietta, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Rainier Chamber Winds. Past engagements include performances with the Boise Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, and Seattle Choral Company. In addition to her busy performing schedule, Wendy maintains a large private teaching studio and coaches chamber music for the Seattle Conservatory. Wilhelmi received her Bachelor of Music in music history from the University of Washington and her Masters of Music in flute performance from Northwestern University. She was Principal Flute of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and Co-Principal Flute of the Philarmonica de Queretaro (Mexico). In 1998 Wilhelmi won first place in the National Flute Association's Piccolo Artist Competition.

Dan Williams, oboe

Dan Williams is one of Seattle's most sought-after performers, as soloist, orchestral musician, teacher, and recording artist. He is currently Principal Oboist with both the Northwest Sinfonietta and the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, and has also played principal oboe with the Seattle Symphony, the Seattle Opera, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet orchestras. Of his 1996 performance of Bach's Double Concerto with Joseph Silverstein and the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, the Seattle Times reported that "oboist Dan Williams poured out waves of beautiful tone with considerable musicality." In a 1999 review of the Vaughan-Williams Oboe concerto, the Bellingham Heralddescribed Williams as "a consummate player, in easy command of those subtle shades of color and phrase that can let the oboe approach the expressive range of the human voice. It was a performance to melt your heart."

He served as Principal Oboist of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra in its 1992-93 season and previously held the same positions in the Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) and Binghamton (New York) Symphonies. Williams currently teaches oboe at Western Washington University, and has served on the faculty of the University of Washington School of Music. A native of Seattle, Dan Williams received his musical training at the Juilliard School and Western Washington University.

Young Musicians (Olga Ruvinov cello class)

Stephen Han has been playing the cello for five years and also enjoys playing the piano. He plays in the cello section of the Junior Orchestra of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras. He is currently a freshmen at Bellevue High School, where he plays for the school's tennis team.

Lennart Jansson attends seventh grade at Lakeside School. He has been playing the cello for nine years, and has studied with Olga Ruvinov for the past five years. Lennart has been a concerto winner at the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra and at the Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside, as well as a finalist at the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival competitions. Lennart is currently Principal Cellist with the Academy Chamber Orchestra and Co-Principle Cellist with the Junior Orchestra of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras. In addition to his cello, Lennart loves to compose music, and his original works and arrangements have been performed by local groups. In his free time, Lennart skis, does origami, and creates computer-generated images.

Noah Moskat is a senior at the International Community School in Kirkland. He has studied the cello for almost twelve years, and plans to continue in college next year. He played for the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra for five seasons before joining the Academy Chamber Orchestra this fall. His other interests include drama, reading, and ultimate frisbee.

Jessie Panks is a senior in high school and has been playing the cello for seven years. She has played in the Evergreen Orchestra for four years and has traveled with them to England, Boston, Quebec, Montreal, New York, and Disneyland. She plans to continue playing the cello in college. She also enjoys acting.

Olga Ruvinov, cello / teacher

Born in Perm, Russia, Olga Ruvinov began to study cello at age seven and made her first solo performance with Perm State Opera Orchestra when she was twelve years old. She studied with Vladimir Tonkha at the Russian Gnesin Academy of Music. In 1992 she went to Scuola Di Alto Perfzionamento, where she studied with Elisabeth Wilson. She was invited to earn an Artist Diploma with Leopold Teraspulsky at the Longy School of Music in Boston, where she was offered a full scholarship. She made Seattle her home in 1996. An active freelance musician, she performs with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Auburn Symphony, and Northwest Chamber Orchestra, and she is a member of the string trio Musica Viva.

Irina Akhrin, piano

Irina Akhrin was introduced to the piano at age four, and at eight, she received Second Prize at the Ukrainian National Competition for Young Pianists. She won the Young Pianists of Ukraine competition when she was ten years old. While a student at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia, she won the Schubert competition twice. She gave solo recitals and chamber music concerts in St. Petersburg's most prestigious halls as well as across Russia and Ukraine. In 1990 she moved to Israel, where she worked at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem and the Tel-Aviv Conservatory. She gave concerts in Israel's best halls and also recorded for the radio. Akhrin moved to Seattle in 2001 and has soloed with many local groups since then.