Events« All Events
- Stephen Girko, clarinet
- April 7-8, 2017 8:00 PM
- where: Dell Hall directions
- conductor: Peter Bay
The Austin Symphony will perform pieces by Aaron Copland, John Corigliano and Antonin Dvorák. These pieces were written because the composers were influenced by the sounds of the country they were living in at that time. The evening will be highlighted by ASO Principal clarinetist, Stephen Girko performing Copland’s Clarinet Concerto.
Still want more? How about playing on some string instruments provided by our friends at Violins Etc.? We also have a wonderful pre-concert talk given by Bob Buckalew at 7:10 pm. How about “tweeting” with our musicians and ASO staff? Take a photo in front of our photo wall. The Austin Symphony wants you to get the most out of your concert experience, which starts…
All artists, programs & dates subject to change
|Aaron Copland||Lincoln Portrait|
|John Corigliano||Music from the Edge|
|Aaron Copland||Clarinet Concerto|
|Antonín Dvorák||Symphony No. 8 in G Major|
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Composed in 1942
Approx. 14 minutes
“Lincoln Portrait” belongs to the patriotic works of Aaron Copland. In the years 1939-1950 the composer increasingly turned to American folksongs for his thematic material, without, however, abandoning his personal style and technique. During the second world war in 1942, Andre Kostelanetz commissioned a series of musical portraits of great Americans. Copland’s idea was to present spoken excerpts from Lincoln’s letters and speeches pertaining to the ideas of freedom and democracy. Even a part of the Gettysburg address is included.
The composition begins purely orchestral. After an introductory free section the folksong “Springfield Mountain” is used, however rhythmically changed and artfully harmonized. A contrasting fast part is based on the vivacious, “Camptown Races” by Stephen Foster. Copland develops this melody freely and adds many of his own themes. Immediately before the entrance of the speaker “Springfield Mountain” is heard again, this time in grandiose augmentation. The speaker delivers an oration as the last section of the work. Sentences are accompanied or interrupted by fitting orchestra motives, many of them taken from the introduction which contributes to the rounding up of the formal structure. The combination of recitation and music, in Europe not rare since the 19th century and there called “Melodrama,” seems a successful attempt of fusion between theater and concert. Copland shows in this work enough strong emotion to appeal to the professional musician and layman alike.
Music from the Edge
John Corigliano (1938-)
Composed in 2009
Approx. 9 minutes
“Music from the Edge” is a score to an unmade film. The subject, as in so many of the composer’s mature works, is loss. Corigliano’s music makes a passionate reply to the passing of a loved one, and depicts all the emotional states from mourning through wrath and finally to reconciliation. Corigliano’s imaginary protagonist suddenly, tragically, loses his daughter. Wounded by the loss, seeking to avenge her death, he ultimately brings about his own.
The suite performed tonight brings together three short cues, assembled by Peter Bay in consultation with the composer.
Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra (with Harp)
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Composed in 1947-48
Approx. 18 minutes
Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto was commissioned by Benny Goodman and is dedicated to him. Copland began work on it in 1947, finished the first movement in Rio de Janeiro while on a good-will tour of South America, and completed the whole concerto in New York State early in the autumn of 1948.
The composer has supplied the following analysis of the work: “The Clarinet Concerto is cast in a two-movement form, played without pause, and connected by a cadenza for the solo instrument. The first movement is simple in structure, based upon the usual A-B-A song form. The general character· of this movement is lyric and expressive. The cadenza that follows provides the soloist with considerable opportunity to demonstrate his prowess, at the same time introducing fragments of the melodic material to be heard in the second movement. Some of this material represents an unconscious fusion of elements obviously related to North and South American popular music. (For example, a phrase from a currently popular Brazilian tune, heard by the composer in Rio, became imbedded in the secondary material in F major.) The over-all form of the final movement is that of a free rondo, with several side issues developed at some length. It ends with··a fairly elaborate coda in C major.”
Arthur Berger, discussing the Clarinet Concerto in his book on Aaron Copland, remarks that since the work was written for Benny Goodman, “it inevitably exploits the ‘hot’ jazz improvisation for which that clarinetist is noted. But the very episodes that evoke the sharp-edged, controlled, motoric style of Goodman’s brilliant old sextet are often the ones recalling most strongly the stark, dissonant devices that gave Copland the reputation for being an esoteric in the early thirties …. The jazz elements make their entrance into the Concerto in the course of an extended cadenza that connects the two movements, and they dominate the fast, second part of the work. The tender first movement is of lyrical cast, with the grace of ballet and the general mood of a slow dance. It was not at all surprising that a work with a first movement of this character and a second movement evocative of jazz should have established itself by 1951 (shortly after its concert and radio premieres) in ballet repertory as musical underpinning for The Pied Piper of Jerome Robbins. Yet, with all its readily assimilable exterior and the unproblematic dance content that render it serviceable to the theater, the slow section, like the jazzy part, has its subtleties, too. These are contained largely in the instrumentation, which is confined to strings, harp and piano. From a piano reduction of this score one would never suspect the luminosity that is imparted to the string sonority by the delicate edging of figures in the harp.
Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
Composed in 1889-90
Approx. 34 minutes
Dvořák wrote the Symphony No. 8 between August 26 and November 8, 1889, at his country home, Vysoká, in Bohemia. The score was dedicated “To the Bohemian Academy of Emperor Franz Joseph for the Encouragement of Arts and Literature, in thanks for my election [to the Prague Academy].” The composer led the National Theatre Orchestra in the premiere in Prague on February 2, 1890.
From its inception, Antonín Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony was more than a composition; it signified, in musical terms, all that made Dvořák a proud Bohemian. Dvořák’s German publisher, Simrock, wanted to publish the symphony’s movement titles and Dvořák’s name in German translation. This might seem like an unimportant detail over which to haggle, but for Dvořák it was a matter of cultural life and death. Since the age of 26, Dvořák was a reluctant citizen of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, whose ruling Hapsburgs reigned over the Czech people; both Czech language and culture were vigorously repressed. Dvořák, an ardent Czech patriot who chafed under the oppressive rule of the Hapsburgs, refused Simrock’s request.
For his part, Simrock was not especially enthusiastic about publishing Dvořák’s symphonies; the music publisher wanted the Czech composer to produce more Slavonic dances and piano music, which were guaranteed moneymakers. Simrock and Dvořák also haggled over the composer’s fee (Simrock had paid 3,000 marks for Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7, but inexplicably and insultingly offered only 1,000 for the Eighth Symphony). All these factors contributed to Dvořák’s decision to offer his Symphony No. 8 to the London firm Novello, which published it in 1890.
Dvořák broke new ground with the Symphony No. 8, a work, as he explained, meant to be “different from the other symphonies, with individual thoughts worked out in a new way.” The music is steeped in the flavor and atmosphere of the Czech countryside. Within the music, Dvořák included sounds from nature, particularly hunting horn calls, birdsong and dramatic fanfares that suggest nonmusical images.
The Symphony abounds with Czech folk tunes and the sounds of the Czech countryside, most notably utilizing different wind instruments to sound a number of birdcalls. Another unusual feature of this symphony is the oblique manner in which Dvořák approaches harmony. The music begins with cellos, accompanied by horns, bassoons and trombones, intoning a stately chorale in G minor. A solo flute, imitating a bird, then ushers in the symphony’s “true” key of G major.
Serenity floats over the Adagio, yet a hint of melancholy pervades even when the full orchestra is playing. Dvořák was most at home in rural settings, and the music of this Adagio evokes the tranquil landscapes of Dvořák’s homeland, and particularly the garden at Vysoká, Dvořák’s country home. In a manner similar to Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, the music suggests an idyllic summer’s day, interrupted by a cloudburst, after which the sun reappears.
The finale begins with a trumpet fanfare and continues with a theme and several variations. The theme, introduced by the cellos, is a natural subject of such deceptive simplicity that it cost its normally tuneful composer nine drafts before he was satisfied. The variations, which incorporate everything from a sunny flute solo to a determined march in the minor mode, eventually fade to a gentle farewell before Dvořák adds one last rip-roaring page to ensure the audience enthusiasm that, by 1889, he had grown to expect.
Gloria Harrison Quinlan, a native of Houston, Texas, received the Bachelor of Music Education degree in Voice from Texas Southern University, the Master of Music in Voice from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice from The University of Texas at Austin. After a position as Assistant Professor of Music at Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee, she was Associate Professor of Music at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and later served as Chair of the Music Department. She also served as Chair of the Humanities and Fine Arts Department at Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, Texas, and is currently Professor of Music, Voice/Choral and Director of the Huston-Tillotson UniversityUniversity Concert Choir.
She studied Voice with Ruth Stewart (Texas Southern University), Larry Day (Colorado State University) and the late Martha Deatherage (University of Texas), and coached with Gerard Souzay, the late Darryl Hobson-Byrd and the late David Garvey. Dr. Quinlan studied choral conducting with the late Ruthabel Rollins at TSU.
Dr. Quinlan has enjoyed success as a performer, in opera, as a soloist with ensembles, and as a recitalist, throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Significant performances include: Soprano soloist in a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Caribbean Chorale and Puerto Rico Symphony; Soprano soloist with the Austin Civic Chorus and Symphonietta in a performance of the Brahms Requiem; Soprano Soloist with the Capitol City Men’s Chorus; and Soprano Soloist with the Austin Singers in a performance of the Brahms Requiem. She recently recorded with the Trombone Choir of The Butler School of Music, University of Texas at Austin. She has also performed with the Scott Joplin Orchestra of Houston, Texas.
Dr. Quinlan has received acclaim as a choral conductor. She founded the Concert Choir of the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Her choir at Huston-Tillotson University performed for President Jimmy Carter. President George W. Bush invited the Huston-Tillotson University Choir to perform at the opening of the Texas State Museum (a performance broadcasted nationwide). Dr. Quinlan was also selected as the choir conductor for the Lady Bird Johnson funeral service. She served as Minister of Music for Ebenezer Baptist Church from 1997 to 2008. She served as a Regional Conductor for the 105 Voices of History Historically Black Colleges and Universities National Concert Choir in 2009 and 2010, and made her conducting debut at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in September, 2011, directing the 105 Voices of History. She currently serves as the Vocal Coach for the 105 Voices of History.
Her University choir performed the Duke Ellington Sacred Concert with an All Star Jazz Band in 2009 and 2010, in collaboration with the Austin Chamber Music Center. In 2009, members of her choir also appeared in a production and recording of Duke Ellington’s opera, Queenie Pie, in collaboration with the Opera Department of the Butler School of Music, University of Texas at Austin.
Honors include the Danforth Compton Fellowship, Graduate Opportunity Fellowship, and a Graduate Scholarship Award from General Conference, Seventh Day Adventist Church. She also received the Fine Arts Award as an outstanding Music Educator by the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc., Delta Beta Chapter, and the Outstanding Achievement in Fine Arts award from the National Women of Achievement, Inc. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Music Educators National Conference, Texas Music Educators Conference, American Choral Directors Association and Texas Choral Directors Association. Dr. Quinlan is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Dr. Quinlan and husband Quincy Quinlan make their home in Austin, Texas with their son Mykal.
Presently principal clarinetist with the Austin Symphony, Stephen Girko was appointed as principal clarinetist with the San Antonio Symphony for the 1999-2000 season. Prior to that, he was the principal clarinetist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1975 through 1998. He made his debut appearance with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra by performing the Clarinet Concerto of Aaron Copland, with the composer conducting. Since then Mr. Girko has appeared as soloist performing the concertos of Mozart, Nielsen, & Weber, as well as the Introduction, Theme & Variations of Rossini & the Premiere Rhapsodie of Debussy.
Stephen Girko was born in New York City. He attended the State University College of New York at Potsdam, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in music education in 1965. The following year, he received his Master of Music degree in performance from The Manhattan School of Music. After a year of teaching, Mr. Girko fulfilled his military obligation by performing with the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, N.Y. While at West Point, he also played principal clarinet with both the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra. Upon leaving the military, Stephen was appointed principal clarinetist with the Oklahoma City Symphony, a position he held for four years. He subsequently served as associate principal clarinetist with the Houston Symphony Orchestra for a year before coming to Dallas.
Mr. Girko has also enjoyed an active career as a teacher, having taught at Oklahoma University for four years as well as Southern Methodist University for 18 years. His students are represented in orchestras and colleges throughout the United States. Mr. Girko is a frequent soloist and clinician at various clarinet symposia, as well as having been a member of Music in the Mountains, a summer chamber orchestra festival held in southwestern Colorado and The Carmel Bach Festival.
Mr. Girko is presently on the faculty of San Antonio College, Our Lady of the Lake University, The University Of The Incarnate Word and Saint Mary’s University as well as teaching clarinet in the San Antonio public schools.
Mr. Girko, a skilled cook, owns and operates a small catering company called “Eat My Pizza!” Steve takes to his client’s home the ingredients with which to make New York style pizzas as well as an incredibly delicious salad. After the guests have observed his culinary skills and have filled themselves with the fruits of his labor, he will then entertain them by performing both classical and popular music on his clarinet.
Maestro's choice recordings, Purchase recommended recordings from Amazon.com and help support the ASO
Copland: Orchestral Works- Fanfare for the Common Man / Rodeo / The Red Pony / Lincoln PortraitPurchase at Amazon
Music From The EdgePurchase at Amazon
Benny Goodman Collector's EditionPurchase at Amazon
Dvorák: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9Purchase at Amazon