Four Seasons – Spring 2017

Program
Spring: Allegro — Antonio Vivaldi
Soloist, Christopher Luther
Rustles of Spring — Christian Sinding
Spring — Jonathan Leshnoff
Scherzo — Jan Kalivoda
Spring Song — Frank Bridge
Scherzo — Louise Farrenc

Intermission

Spring: Largo e pianissimo sempre — Antonio Vivaldi
Soloist, Christopher Luther

Intermission

Jambo (“Hello” in Swahili) — Jeremy Cohen
To Spring — Edvard Grieg
The Flowers in Spring  — Christopher Marcus-Grano
Cello Suite #3 in C major: Gigue– Johann Sebastian Bach
Radiance Blooming  — Scott Allen Stewart
Spring in Buenos Aires — Astor Piazzolla
Spring: Allegro pastorale — Antonio Vivaldi
Soloist, Christopher Luther

Poetry — Veronica Patterson

Graphic Design — Scott Laumann

Video and Lighting — Nathan Johnson

Musicians
Violins –  Lola Kern, Christopher Luther, Christopher Marcus-Grano
Viola – Scott Stewart
Cello – Sarah Goodwin Hoskins
Bass – Daniel Smith
Piano – Gustav Hoyer

Actors
Jessica Crow, Dan Tschirhart

Sponsors
Doug Baldwin State Farm Insurance
Fred Hansen
Harry and Jody Love
Jim and Donelle Lowham
Lynn and Lois Matson
Betty and John Stewart
Robyn and Scott Stewart
Randy and Sue Zila

The Music

The Four Seasons: Spring — Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Antonio Vivaldi was an Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher, and cleric. Born in Venice, he is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe. Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi (who had been ordained as a Catholic priest) was employed for most of his adult life.

The Four Seasons is a group of four violin concerti each of which gives a musical expression to a season of the year. Unusually for the time, Vivaldi published the concerti with accompanying poems (possibly written by Vivaldi himself) that elucidated what it was about those seasons that his music was intended to evoke. It provides one of the earliest and most-detailed examples of what was later called program music—music with a narrative element.  Vivaldi took great pains to relate his music to the texts of the poems, translating the poetic lines themselves directly into the music on the page.

Rustles of Spring — Christian Sinding (1856-1941)
Christian Sinding was a Norwegian composer and violinist.  Sinding composed many works including 4 symphonies and three violin concertos.  Rustles of Spring remains his most widely known composition.  The piece is quite challenging for the pianist and paints a wonderful picture of spring bursting forth after a dreary Scandinavian winter.

Spring (From String Quartet #1, “Pearl German”) — Jonathan Leshnoff
Praised by the Washington Post as one of the “gifted young composers” of this generation, Jonathan Leshnoff is described by The New York Times as “a leader of contemporary American lyricism.” His compositions have earned international acclaim for their striking harmonies, structural complexity, and powerful themes. Leshnoff’s music has been lauded by Strings magazine as “distinct from anything else that’s out there” and by the Baltimore Sun as “remarkably assured, cohesively constructed and radiantly lyrical.”

Leshnoff’s first string quartet was commissioned by Mr. Jeremiah German in honor of his wife, Perl. The spring movement is rhythmically and harmonically complex with mysterious sounds and surprising outbursts.

To Spring — Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
Edvard Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is widely considered one of the leading Romantic era composers.  His use and development of Norwegian folk music in his own compositions put the music of Norway in the international spectrum, as well as helping to develop a national identity, much as Jean Sibelius and Antonín Dvořák did in Finland and Bohemia, respectively.

To Spring is one of 66 short piano pieces published in 10 volumes under the title Lyric Pieces.  The piece demonstrates Grieg’s deep understanding and love of the piano and his gift for beautiful melodies.

The Flowers in Spring — Christopher Marcus-Grano
This piece was inspired by the singular art of Jay Ryan, and more specifically, his portrayal of tulips for the album art included in The Mysterious Production of Eggs by folk violinist Andrew Bird.

The opening heralds the slow, sleepy awakening of spring flowers. The viola has the first true solo, indicating that the first flowers of spring are just opening. Soon the timbre of the piece becomes more thick as other flowers join the throng of salutations to the sun.

The development begins with pizzicato figures emulating the falling of dewdrops from petals, soon joined by tremolo figures as the buzzing of bees in search of floral mates. An echoing mordant figure playfully relates the hopping of grasshoppers from flower to flower. The development moves into a rocking, swaying triplet figure as we zoom out and see field upon field of flowers dancing in the wind.

When the cello returns with the opening melody, we see the full proliferation of spring in all its glory, rushing toward summer in bursts of sprightly 16th-note runs.

Radiance Blooming — Scott Stewart
This duet paints a picture of the feeling of awakening the world experiences in Springtime.  The title references the physical changes experienced by plants, flowers, and animals as well as how the changes in the angle the sunlight strikes the Earth play a role in how we perceive the world around us. The music starts dreamily with trills representing barely contained energy.  Later as the music shows the world and light in full bloom the trills take on a new character of blossoming energy.

Spring in Buenos Aires — Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)
Astor Piazzolla was an Argentine tango composer, bandoneon player, and arranger. His oeuvre revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music. A virtuoso bandoneonist, he regularly performed his own compositions with a variety of ensembles.

The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, are a set of four tango compositions written by Ástor Piazzolla, which were originally conceived and treated as different compositions rather than one suite, although Piazzolla performed them together from time to time. By giving the adjective porteño, referring to those born in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital city, Piazzolla gives an impression of the four seasons in Buenos Aires.  Spring focuses on lively driving rhythms.

Jambo — Jeremy Cohen
Jeremy Cohen’s electrifying jazz violin performances have earned him nationwide accolades. Classically-trained and a student of Itzhak Perlman and Anne Crowden, Cohen’s eclectic style reflects his respect for a wide range of violinists from Perlman and Fritz Kreisler to Joe Venuti and Eddie South.  Jeremy Cohen leads the non-traditional and eclectic Quartet San Francisco as violinist, arranger and composer.  Jambo is the Swahili word for hello.  It is almost impossible not to smile when listening to or performing this happy piece of music.

The Artists

Sarah Goodwin Hoskins was born into a family of professional musicians and was started on the cello at age 18 months because the family string quartet needed a cellist! She pursued music performance studies at Wheaton College and DePaul University, and has won many prizes including the Society of American Musicians and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, as well as other solo concerto competitions. She was previously adjunct professor of cello at Concordia University, Chicago. Sarah currently lives in Fort Collins, where she maintains a small private Suzuki cello studio; enjoys chamber music of all kinds as a member of NoCo Artists, and the Celtic string band, Zahatar; participates in and organizes church music and the arts; and most importantly, is a wife to her husband Steve, and mothers five beautiful, musical children.

Nathan F. Johnson was annexed into NoCo Artists in January of 2016 and has generally caused a ruckus of things ever since. He has no formally published writings, no distinguished musical pedigree, and really no clue what he’s doing, and probably has no business appearing alongside the people who do. Nonetheless, every artistic pursuit he’s stumbled into has brought him joy in its pursuit, and at the end of the day that’s been good enough for him.  His two-man rock band, The Unlikelihood, will never be famous enough to press anything to a limited edition vinyl, but they hope to play a show locally at some point. The same admiration for creative subversions of the norm which kept him lurking around NoCo Artists currently has him obsessed with the idea of converting a bus into a living space.

Lola Kern began violin studies at the age of 4 as a Suzuki student with Doris Preucil in Iowa City. She traveled with high school and youth orchestras to perform in Europe and later earned a degree in music performance at the University of Iowa. Lola has worked as a professional freelance performer for 29 years. Some of her most favorite past freelance performances include Smokey Robinson, Ray Charles, Rod Stewart, The Moody Blues and Donny Osmond. Lola moved to the Fort Collins area with her family in the fall of 2013 where she has rediscovered her love of her violin and particularly chamber music and enjoys performing with Classical Revolution and NoCo Artists. She is a core member of the Greeley Philharmonic and regularly substitutes with the Fort Collins and Cheyenne symphonies as well as wherever the gig takes her. Lola considers herself to be incredibly fortunate to be able to play great music with especially talented friends. When her violin isn’t attached to her chin, she loves to be a homebody with her daughter and husband.

Christopher Luther – Born in Denver, Luther began his performance career at the age of eight fiddling at the Colorado Renaissance Festival. He has continued his diverse musical training with an undergraduate degree in Violin Performance and Jazz Studies from the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. During the end of his undergraduate degree, he produced his first CD entitled Personality, consisting of virtuosic bluegrass music supported by jazz concepts and original compositions. He received his Doctorate of Musical Arts in viola performance from the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas. He received his Masters Degree from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California in violin performance. In Los Angeles Luther played in soundtracks with a few on-screen performances, most notably in The Soloist.

Equally comfortable teaching and inspiring all ages and abilities, Luther held teaching positions at the Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles and Gustavo Dudamel’s Youth Orchestra LA, where he has been a guest conductor for all three orchestras. With his father and sister, he founded, directs and teaches alternative styles at the Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, now entering its 16th successful season. He has completed certification for the entire Suzuki violin method, along with the upcoming Volume 9 for viola through the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

Christopher Marcus-Grano received two degrees from the University of Wyoming in music performance and music theory/composition, where he studied composition with Dr. Anne Guzzo.  He is a composer, arranger, and violinist in northern Colorado and a member of the band Zahatar with fellow local musicians Scott Stewart, Sarah Goodwin Hoskins, ‘Cille Lutsch, Shilo Stroman, and Emily Goodwin Smith.  His most ambitious work to-date is The Little Country: A Song Cycle, co-written with esteemed author and musician Charles de Lint, for mixed chamber ensemble, which was published, performed and recorded in 2015.  Chris is also featured as a guest soloist on two recordings by the gothic band Probe 7.  He had a most prolific year in 2016, composing several pieces that were debuted by NoCo Artists, including: 1925: Kandinsky for mixed strings, mixed woodwinds, and percussion;  Fantasia on “An Culyek Hos” for flute, harp, bodhran, and string orchestra; Sinfonietta: The Gammasphere for symphony orchestra; and Three Ancient Pantomimes for English horn and three percussionists.  

Veronica Patterson’s poetry collections include How to Make a Terrarium (Cleveland State University, 1987); Swan, What Shores? (NYU Press Poetry Prize, 2000), Thresh & Hold (Gell Poetry Prize, 2009), & it had rained (CW Books, 2013), and two chapbooks —This Is the Strange Part (Pudding House, 2002) and Maneuvers: Battle of the Little Bighorn Poems (Finishing Line, 2013). She is a writer, freelance editor, and teacher. She currently teaches creative writing for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Scott Stewart fell in love with the viola in the 5th grade after musicians from the Kansas City Symphony performed at his school in the suburbs of Kansas City, KS. Scott joined the Fort Collins Symphony in 1995 while studying viola with Carla Hager at Colorado State University where he had the pleasure of knowing and working for many years with the Fort Collins Symphony founder, Will Schwartz. Scott regularly performs with various regional orchestras and chamber groups and previously served as principal viola for the CSU Symphonic and Chamber Orchestras as well as the Longmont Symphony. Scott is the founder and Executive Director of the local non-profit organization NoCo Artists (www.nocoartists.org) where he organizes, performs, and composes music for unique and genre-defying events involving collaboration between musicians and other artists. What Scott enjoys most in life is making music with friends, cooking with friends and family, and spending time with his wife and four sons.