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New music by local composers

Four local master composers are featured at this year’s annual Wet Ink Festival of new music and each will have their composition performed by the visiting world class Portland Or. ensemble, Third Angle (this  feature article  is  on The Union website)

Third Angle performs,  Mark Vance’s, “Anawan 1938” for clarinet and piano along with Jay Sydeman’s “Quintet” for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, and  Howard Hersh’s “The Pony Concerto” scored for flute clarinet, piano, violin, and cello and finally Jerry Grant’s “Changing Light” for alto Fl, bassoon, cello and piano.  Each of these composers have degrees in music composition but bring a unique background to the world of music.

Born in Sacramento, Mark Vance has made Nevada City his home for over 35 years and has played an extensive role as a composer, conductor, educator, arranger and indefatigable advocate of new music with original compositions in every musical genre: vocal, choral, chamber and orchestral. Mark received his education at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He is the  Education Coordinator for Music in the Mountains, maintains, develops and implements their impressive list of education programs    Recent works include, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” for choir, piano, bbrass quartet and percussion (2010) premiered at Wet Ink June 2010. Vance has been the recipient of grants from the American Composers Forum. He has received numerous commissions from Music in the Mountains, Twin Cities Concert Association, Nevada Union High School Choral Program.  One of Vance’s pet projects is that the public can be, and are indeed, responsible for commissioning new music. This important concept has led to the formation of the new commissioning group, Tangible Applause, an ongoing commissioning group.



 William Jay Sydeman is one of America’s most prolific and inventive composers.  He has produced an output whose scope and variety are absolutely unique. His work is a prominent part of late 20th century American music.  There is a fluency and inspired craftsmanship illuminating Sydeman’s more than 400 compositions that is reminiscent of the Baroque and Classical eras.  He has written for just about every medium: “…two operas, scads of chamber music and ten orchestral pieces. But,” he adds , “it’s like every new piece is an exploration.”  Born and studying in New York , he received commissions from the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Tanglewood Music Center, and the Boston Symphony, “Sydeman uses a whole battery of far out techniques,” wrote the New York Times, “but he has an uncanny ability to throw in the whole avant-garde machinery as if it were the simplest, most normal way of making music in the world…..” In 1970, Sydeman left New York – and composition – to begin a journey of personal and artistic exploration, “I was looking for a new way of being, and the musician just came on the heels of that.”

Howard Hersh studied piano in Los Angeles and composition at Stanford University. Howard has composed concert and dramatic works for voices and instruments ranging from solo violin to full orchestra. After the 1993 premiere of his song cycle Earthly Prayers, the critic for Sacramento’s National Public Radio station called the work “an important contribution to the music world. Hersh has always given us thoughtful music of great depth that is filled with drama and beauty. Earthly Prayers….should be heard around the world.” His music has been presented at venues that include the Tanglewood Festival, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Monday Evening Concerts, Florida State University’s Festival of New Music, , UCLA, the Stuttgart State Theater, and the Bavarian Radio. His awards include  grants from Music Alive, and Meet the Composer, Meet the Composer’s Creative Connections Program, the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the American Composers Forum and  currently is Music Director of Music Now, a Sacramento based music ensemble.




 Jerry Grant, spans the music  world as a creator of music for television and film, with works for chorus and chorus with ensembles, 60 works for Nujazz Alternative Jazz Orchestra, Chamber Ensembles, Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. He blends jazz, symphonic and dramatic influences into an eclectic style that speaks with compelling imagery.  reviews include: “A fresh voice in composition,” Lalo Schifrin, film & jazz composer.

While serving in the U.S. Army, Jerry was  musical director and arranger for the Rolling Along Show, touring the world. Relocating to Los Angeles, he became a studio performing musician and arranger and began film scoring in 1978 for the next 25 yrs.  Concert music has been woven throughout his career. A recent work includes “But Have Not Love” for Choir and 4 percussion 2010.  Jerry taught Composing for Film at University of California, Los Angeles, for 12 years, the Dick Grove Music School, California State University, Chico, and co-teaches the Young Composers program for Music in the Mountains. His music is performed throughout the world. Currently, he is credited with the performance and production of the music for “The Full Monty” musical at the Nevada Theater.

The WET INK concert, part of the MIM Summer Festival, is at 7:30 p.m., Monday, June 20 where you will be called upon to be an active listener to a unique collection of new music.

For tickets and information call 530-478-0983, MIM at 530-265-6124 or visit http://www.composerscooperative.org.


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