Carlos SimonExcerpts from Requiem for the Enslaved
Kati AgocsRogue Emoji
Called “contemporary chamber trailblazers” by the Boston Globe, Hub New Music – consisting of flute, clarinet, violin and cello – is forging new pathways in 21st-century repertoire. Through creative programming and ambitious commissioning projects, the intrepid quartet celebrates the fluidity and diversity of today’s classical music landscape.
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This evening’s concert is partially sponsored by the generous contribution of the AFCM Board of Directors.
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Hub New Music
Called “contemporary chamber trailblazers” by the Boston Globe, Hub New Music—composed of flute, clarinet, violin, and cello—is forging new pathways in 21st-century repertoire. The ensemble’s ambitious commissioning projects and “appealing programs” (New Yorker) celebrate the rich diversity of today’s classical music landscape. In recent seasons, HNM’s performances have been described as “gobsmacking” (Cleveland Classical), “innovative” (WBUR), and “the cutting edge of new classical music” (Taos News).
Highlights for the 2020/21 concert season include performances presented by Williams Center for the Arts, Texas Performing Arts, Celebrity Series of Boston, Sacramento State Festival of New American Music, and its European debut at the Alba Music Festival (Italy). The ensemble will premiere new works by Christopher Cerrone, Eric Nathan, and Carlos Simon, and tours recent commissions by Hannah Lash, Kati Agócs, Takuma Itoh, and Michael Ippolito.
Hub New Music brings its passion for adventurous and relevant programming to global audiences as both a quartet and as collaborative artists. Recent projects include Matsuri with shakuhachi player Kojiro Umezaki and the Asia / America New Music Institute (AANMI); The Nature of Breaking, a 30-minute collaborative work with composer/harpist Hannah Lash; Requiem for the Enslaved, an evening length mass by Carlos Simon supported by Georgetown University’s GU272 Project that honors the lives of 272 African American slaves and their descendants; and a choreographed production of Robert Honstein’s Soul House with Boston’s Urbanity Dance.
Hub New Music is a group of passionate educators whose approach to teaching melds the artistic and entrepreneurial facets of modern musicianship. Working with student performers and composers at residencies across the country, HNM empowers younger generations of musicians through workshops on building an arts organization, commissioning new work, and developing meaningful collaborations. In 2020/21 the ensemble introduces HubLab, a K-12 residency program that uses graphic scores and improvisation to create group compositions with students of all levels.
MICHAEL AVITABILE, flutist, founder, and executive director of Hub New Music, holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BM) and New England Conservatory (MM), graduating with top honors from both schools. At Michigan, he was a Shipman Scholar, one of the highest awards given to an incoming student university-wide. While at NEC, he received the John Cage Award for Outstanding Contribution to Contemporary Music. In his free time, Avitabile enjoys developing recipes, practicing yoga, and exploring Boston’s many coffee shops.
Originally from Portland, ME, NICHOLAS BROWN is Second/Bass Clarinet with the Boston Lyric Opera, Principal Clarinet with the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Clarinet of Phoenix. He has performed with such groups as Chicago Symphony, Boston Philharmonic, and New World Symphony, and regularly appears with many other orchestras throughout New England. Mr. Brown received his Bachelor of Music from Boston University and a Master of Music from New England Conservatory of Music.
ALYSSA WANG completed two Master’s Degrees in violin performance and conducting at the New England Conservatory. She has won fellowships as a violinist with the Grammy-nominated ensemble, A Far Cry, and the Boston Chamber Music Society. During the summers she has been assistant conductor for the Colorado College Summer Music Festival with Scott Yoo and a conducting fellow at Eastern Music Festival under the tutelage of Gerard Schwarz.
In addition to his work with Hub New Music, JESSE CHRISTESON travels to serve as Principal Cellist of the Huntsville (AL) Symphony. He held the same position in the Mississippi Symphony for several years prior and is a founding member of the Inaugural Piano Trio in Jackson, MS. Mr. Christeson received his MM from Rice University (studio of Norman Fischer), and his BM from Stetson University in DeLand, FL, where he studied cello (studio of David Bjella), voice, and philosophy.
We welcome Hub New Music to its first concert with AFCM.
“One of the most exciting aspects of working with Hub New Music . . . is their commitment to performing the work dozens of times over a number of seasons.”Takuma Itoh
ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING ASPECTS of working with Hub New Music, a quartet consisting of flute, clarinet, violin, and cello, is their commitment to performing the work dozens of times over a number of seasons. This ethos of the group gives Hub the chance to get to know a work intimately and evolve their interpretation over time. It also gives the composer an opportunity to try compositional ideas that one would not attempt with more limited performance prospects.
With this piece, I want to create a playing environment that will result in dramatically different performances from one night to another. I intend to accomplish this by primarily focusing on tempo: I will be asking certain musicians of the ensemble to play together in one tempo, while having others play independently from them in a different tempo. The result is a texture that is partially aleatoric, but one that still requires tight ensemble playing. The combinations may seem somewhat limited with just four musicians, but given the variety of colors that Hub’s instrumentation possesses, there is still plenty of possibilities to explore.
This under-explored texture, particularly in chamber music, is one that relinquishes some control from the composer and leaves more interpretive onus on the performers, something that I am interested in exploring with this piece, especially considering how many times Hub will be performing the work. I will be particularly interested to see how the performance of the work will evolve as the performers become more accustomed to the piece and the unique way that this piece will compel them to interact with one another.
Wavelengths was commissioned by Hub New Music.
ALMOST AN ENTIRE YEAR has passed since I first set foot on the Georgetown University campus as a candidate for professorship in the Performing Arts Department—a hope and dream of my ancestors. Since being hired as an Assistant Professor, I have grown to love the Georgetown University community and culture. It is a community that is steeped in a tradition of excellence and a rich history. In learning of the university’s involvement in slavery, I am deeply grateful for the collective efforts taken to understand and attempt to reconcile its tainted past. Now as a member of the Georgetown University community, I wish to join in the journey of expanding the discussion.
This musical piece honors the men, women, and children owned and sold by the University. Requiem for the Enslaved features music that evoke the spirit of those in captivity featuring the internationally known new music ensemble, Hub New Music, rapper and spoken word artist, Marco Pave, ́and trumpeter, Jared Bailey. Using the musical structure of a liturgical mass, Requiem for the Enslaved artistically explores the sacred and historical ideology of the sale of those enslaved by Jesuits by infusing the music of the Catholic Church and African American Spirituals into an original composition.
Requiem for the Enslaved was commissioned by Georgetown University.
ROGUE EMOJI IS A WORK for mixed quartet comprising six miniatures. This piece is something new and different for me. Usually I create longer continuities in my music, but this piece is structured in a series of microcosms of roughly equal length, each with its own strong texture and emotion. Each movement works with specific instrumental color combinations, largely contingent upon changes to the woodwind instrumentation from movement to movement. In addition to flute, the work uses piccolo and alto flute; in addition to B flat Clarinet the smaller, higher E flat clarinet and the bass clarinet are featured. These six musical/dramatic scenarios flow together with minimal pause to make a single formal/narrative trajectory about fifteen minutes in length.
The first movement works with repeating patterns scored in vivid colors that are continuously warped and interrupted, leading to a central arrival and an erosion with Doppler effects. The second movement is a melodrama with a lamenting quality. Its melodic theme is introduced in the clarinet and later picked up by all of the instruments. The third movement is a quick mixed-meter dance embodying pure visceral energy. In this movement I pair the instruments in duets that respond to one another antiphonally. The opening theme keeps returning, altered, and finally goes wild in the second half (“berserk” is the marking in the score). The fourth movement is a meditation made up of solos that grow into cadenzas, showcasing the individual instruments playing alone. In the fifth they are juxtaposed into a lyrical colloquy in which each plays a separate discourse, each in their own world. The sixth movement begins as an obsessive ostinato but is hijacked by a fugue which falls apart, surrendering to a return to the opening movement’s energy: What was previously interrupted is allowed to fulfil itself. The piece ends in a sense of affirmation, togetherness, and finding one’s individual strength (and the ensemble’s collective resonance) out of chaos.
Rogue Emoji deals with dichotomies of disconnection and unity; dissolution (falling apart) and regeneration; communication (connection) and alienation. Beneath the work’s light, humorous surface is something deeper: An exploration of order versus control, and the embrace of chaos.
Rogue Emoji was commissioned by Ashmont Hill Chamber Music for Hub New Music with support for the Cricket Foundation.
Notes provided by Hub New Music