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20 years of work presented in Command Performance

The Command Performance concert, a reprise of previously premiered works performed by the composers of the Nevada County Composers Cooperative, will be at 4 p.m. Saturday. The event marks the 20th year of emerging new music concerts sponsored by the organization. Compositions to be featured reflect the world of contemporary music. The composers include Mark Vance, Jerry Grant, Randy McKean, Toon Vandevorst and Young Composers, Jesse Haennelt and Toby Thomas Rose.

Vance’s Nyumbani, for solo marimba, has three movements; The Pond, Dragonfly and Dusk and was commissioned by the Amaral/Strate family in 2008. The performer is Michael Downing, percussionist on the faculty at Fresno State University. Nyumbani invokes the blue-green coolness of the pond, the humorous darting of the dragonfly and the golden hues at the end of the day, according to the Nevada County Composers Cooperative.

Grant’s Changing Light for Alto Flute, Bassoon, Cello & Electric keyboard, features local artists Kirsti Powell, Dave Riddles, Jia-mo Chen and Toon Vandevorst. This work, composed in 2006, characterizes the effects of light on mood from dawn to dusk and parallels changes all people experience on life’s journey. It is jazz infused concert chamber music, according to the group.



McKean will reprise Dearthantaxis, a duet for clarinet and violin first performed in 2007. The title, a pun on the famous quote from Benjamin Franklin concerning life’s two certainties, refers to the conflict between the static nature of the piece’s repetitive melodic material and the incremental changes eventually reaching a fast-moving, frenetic conclusion. McKean plays clarinet joined by Murray Campbell on violin. His second piece, Specstrum, is a new composition for woodwind quartet, with McKean and Campbell on oboe, joined by Kirsti Powell, flute, and Dave Riddles, bassoon. A folksy, sing-songy motif eventually propels the melody into a contrapuntal, kaleidoscopic texture. McKean appears regularly with the groups BeaucoupChapeaux, Tumble, Chickenbonz, Jim Bratt’s Blue Shadows, the Earles of Newtown, and Power of 12.

Singer/songwriter Toon Vandevorst will perform songs from his recent CD Little Worlds, along with a few others accompanied by Steve Nicholson on electric bass. Think Radiohead and you have a handle on where Toon is going.




Two additional selections that reflect on Vandevorst’s experience in the new music scene will be premiered as well. He studies Indian Raga with composer Terry Riley and is Assistant Music Director for the Sierra Master Chorale.

Jesse Haennelt presents, Our Backyard, a string quartet inspired by the filming of “River Music” during the Young Composers cooperation with Sierra Streams Institute. The work comments on the beauty of the area we call home, and the adventure it provides. Performing are Franklyn D’Antonio, violin, Nancy Hill, violin, Kristin Autry, viola, Viola and Jia-mo Chen, cello.

Toby Thomas Rose performs piano on his string quintet, Salmon Rebirth Pt. I. The inspiration also is the Yuba River and the cycle of the spawning salmon.

The 20th anniversary celebration begins at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Besemer House, 11417 Red Dog Road. in Nevada City. Tickets for adults are $30 and students are $10. For more information call 530-478-0983, or visit http://www.nevadacountycomposers.org.


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