Welcome to UCA's new events blog!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Crystal Young-Otterstrom

Wednesday, March 7, 2012



SALT LAKE CITY -- Bringing the works of Utah Composers to the limelight, the Salty Cricket Composers Collective will host its first-ever concert of works for organ on Monday, March 12, 2012 at the Libby Gardner Concert Hall at the University of Utah.  The performance begins at 7:30pm.

Organists Neil Thornock and Haruhito Miyagi will perform ten works by Utah composers, half of which are world premieres. Dr. Neil Thornock is an assistant professor of composition at Brigham Young University and received his DMA from Indiana University. Haruhito Miyagi is a Ph.D candidate in composition at the University of Utah and holds a BM in Organ Performance from Brigham Young University and an MM in organ performance from the University of Notre Dame. Miyagi has performed extensively as a recitalist in Germany, Hungary, Romania, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

“Organ is an incredible instrument, physically the largest of them all,” said board president M. Ryan Taylor. “It is thrilling to address the challenges and advantages of the organ. You’ll hear works that nod to traditional organ literature -- Bach, toccata, fugue, fantasia -- and you’ll also hear new sounds and effects that you didn’t know were possible on the instrument!”

Additionally, Salty Cricket will have copies available for purchase of the recently released cd ORG, a CD retrospective of Christian Asplund’s organ music played by Neil Thornock on Libby Gardener’s Lively-Fulcher organ and produced by Comprovise Records. Packaging is designed by graphic novelist and painter, Danijel Zezelj.  Of this recording, Boston-based composer-organist Carson Cooman said, "Tremendously inventive organ music. Some of the most creative writing for the instrument I know. Beautiful, compelling works brilliantly realized by organist-composer Neil Thornock." Copies of the CD will be available at the Salty Cricket event for only $5 for ticket holders.

Tickets for the performance are $15, $10 for students. Organ and composition majors may take $5 off. Advance tickets may be purchased by calling 801.652.0737 or at the door. More information can be found at www.saltycricket.org

Program Order:
M. Ryan Taylor: The Necromancer, a fugue macabre 
John Newman: The Penitent (world premiere)
Crystal Young-Otterstrom: Homage-ish in the Key of 8-9 (world premiere)
Christian Asplund: Miltenberg Suite
Haruhito Miyagi: Franciscan Flour (world premiere)


Scott Wasilewski: ...and you'll find naught but a spectre (world premiere)
Neil Thornock: Perpetual Undulation
Joseph Sowa: Marginalia (world premiere) 
M. Ryan Taylor: Fantasy for Organ on a fractal algorithm
Christian Asplund | Org
Neil Thornock: Restless Iteration


Haruhito Miyagi was born in Japan and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in composition at the University of Utah.  He received his B.M. in Organ Performance from Brigham Young University, Provo and M.M. from the University of Notre Dame, du lac with studies under Douglas Bush, Craig Cramer, and David Dahl, respectively.  Miyagi is also certified through the Organization of American Kodály Educators and was a visiting researcher at the University of Debrecen Conservatory of Music in 2010.  Miyagi currently serves as the member-at-large and composer liaison for the Utah Fellowship of Local Kodály Specialists. 

As a recitalist, Miyagi has performed extensively throughout Germany, Hungary, Romania, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  He is currently the assistant organist at the Cathedral of the Madeleine and has served as the interim assistant organist at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.

In 2010, Miyagi was selected as the first non-Hungarian composer to be published with the exclusive Kontrapunkt Music Publishing, Budapest.  Miyagi has been a featured composer on WSND radio and has had works commissioned by Musica Nostra Kórus for their 15th anniversary concert, the Von Trapp Children for their 2012 Asia tour, the 2011 International Tuba and Euphonium Association Conference, and various other ensembles.

Neil Thornock was born in Washington State – the rural, agricultural side – in 1977. He received degrees in organ performance and composition from Brigham Young University and a Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University.

Current projects include a full opera about the Biblical figure Enoch, a work for seven trumpets, narrator, and orchestra, an all-saxophone CD for Innova Records, and an accordion trio for Eric Bradler. Recently completed works include Plutoids for orchestra, Fractured Compound for the U.S. Coast Guard Saxophone Quartet, and movements for piano with electronics.

Neil Thornock is assistant professor of music composition and theory at Brigham Young University. He and his wife Tammy are the parents of five children.  He is also a recently recovered unicyclist turned bicyclist.


Christian Asplund: Org (2008)
When I discussed the possibility with Neil Thornock of his doing a recording of my complete organ music, he said he would do it if I composed a new piece for the project.  Org, a virtuoso one-movement work was the result.  It begins with a plaintive imitative introduction, followed by the toccata-esque body of the piece.  Endings of pieces have always been my favorite parts, so I have ended Org with a series of codas. 

Christian Asplund: Miltenberg Suite (2005) was commissioned by Doug Bush and the Vleugel organ building company of Germany for the rededication of the organ in the St. Jakobus Church, Miltenberg, Germany.  Each movement was inspired by elements of the architecture and décor of the church from different eras of its existence and renovation:

I. Conductus (9th century)
II. Canon (15th century)
III. Motet and Dance (16th century)
IV. Toccata (17th century)
V. Fugue (18th century)
VI. Chorale (20th century)

Haruhito Miyagi: Franciscan Flour is a sonic sketch depicting the organ in the Grand Liszt Ference Hall at the Debreceni Egyetem, Conservatory of Music in Debrecen, Hungary.

John Newman: The Penitent uses an extrapolation of the name of Mary Magdalene as the basis for the main themes. She is also known as Mary the Penitent because she repented of her sinful life and was frankly forgiven by Jesus Christ. Her continued faith and actions make one of the most important women in Christendom.

M. Ryan Taylor: Fantasy for Organ on a fractal algorithm was written with the help of the fractal plotting software FractMus 2000 which allows you to choose from various algorithms, tweek their variables, choose scales to apply them to, and much more. Each section of the piece represents different tweeks that were made along the way, in addition to choices of voicing, etc. Once the basic form of the piece was realized, I took to carving away and editing at the block of music that was generated to craft a piece that has a lot of forward energy. I am grateful to Neil Thornock, who not only gave the Utah premiere of this work over a decade ago, but also made a point to resurrect it for this concert.

M. Ryan Taylor: The Necromancer, a fugue macabre is based solely an the octatonic pitch set. I was trying to evoke the playfulness of the famous Danse Macabre of Saint-Saens. Much thanks goes out to Stephen Jones, my 20th century counterpoint teacher back in 2000, who not only gave the fugal assignment that spawned this work, but also kept prodding me to take it further; what you'll hear is the work's fifth incarnation. I am also grateful to Haruhito for playing the role of the necromancer and bringing the 'dead page' of music to life.

Neil Thornock: Perpetual Undulation & Restless Iteration
Perpetual Undulation and Restless Iteration are part of a set of three pieces based on poetry by Wallace Stevens.  All three pieces are intended as virtuosic show-pieces for the organist.  Perpetual Undulation makes particular use of textures familiar to Romantic-period French toccata, while Restless Iteration is inspired by the bizarre, unstable forms of Italian Baroque toccata by such composers as Claudio Merulo.

Joseph Sowa: Marginalia
I love libraries. Big ones filled with old books. And the best books are the ones with notes scribbled in the margins. Not only do you get to read whatever the authors intended, but you also get to eavesdrop on their dialogue with readers long gone. Some readers simply nod their assent, underlining passages and adorning them with affirmative check marks or—when particularly swept away—offering a "true" or a "yes." Other readers like to debate the author, answering his or her assertions with salvos of their own arguments that lay siege to the printed page. Still others leave hidden messages ("I love Tony Robbins!") or cultivate the pages' bare ground into gardens of doodling.

What I think I value most about marginalia is the sheer humanness of it. In contrast to the black, precise type, you see rainbows of ink and pencil and their corresponding personalities: tidy, graceful, innocent, effusive, indifferent, sloppy, angry, or inquisitive. You find a friend, sometimes two or three, with whom to travel from Foreword to Epilogue and along the way, trade thoughts about the seven habits, debate aspects of social justice, or listen to how something the author said reminded your companion of her (of his?) favorite cat Smokey.

Marginalia creates a space to dwell, to reread, and to ponder. It sweetens all those times when you savor special passages only to realize, ten minutes later, that you’ve been stuck on the same line the entire time

Marginalia was commissioned by Neil Thornock.

Scott Wasilewski: ...and you'll find naught but a spectre
I wrote this piece a few years ago as a piano trio, and having just relocated to Utah, I didn't know any performers, so I did what most composers do with their un-performed work; I forgot about it, moved on, and lost most, if not all evidence that the piece ever existed.

Luckily for me, I rediscovered my notes for the piece at a time when I was struggling to write down even a single note for organ and decided it would make great source material for an organ piece. Whether I was right or wrong, it drove me to finish a four handed organ piece which I stripped down further until the version you're hearing tonight emerged.

For better or for worse, this piece has very little resemblance to the pieces I had written before it and even less resemblance to the music I have written since then, making it a unique experience for me, and I hope it will be a unique experience for you, the audience, as well.

Crystal Young-Otterstrom: Homage-ish in the Key of 8-9 (2011)
I’m fairly obsessed with the organ. In fact, I think I was an organ groupie as an undergraduate. Pretty sure. Two of my best friends (one of whom is now my sister-in-law) were organ majors, so not only did I hang around them and their practice rooms a lot, I regularly attended their group master classes for fun. On Sundays, I pretend to play the organ. Hence I wanted this piece to show my deep and abiding love for the instrument and its literature. In my piece, there are several references to different types of music for organ (fugue, chorale, german/french improvisation, toccata, etc.), some reverential, some poking fun. On an organizational level, I decided to play with the idea of a set of notes as a key or tonal center to connect the sections. Nothing earth shattering, but fun. My tonal center is the set that is in Forte notation, 8-9 which is: [0,1,2,3,6,7,8,9]. There is a rather cool effect used throughout the piece, which is a wooden board placed on the bottom few notes in the foot petal, which makes for a fantastic tone cluster. This is actually a baroque invention, but it sounds so wild and modern. I am largely a contrapuntal composer with a penchant for complex rhythm so major thanks and kudos to Haruhito for bringing this bad boy to life with his mad skills. 

Crystal Young-Otterstrom
Vice-president & Marketing Director

M: 801.652.0737

The Salty Cricket Composers Collective
450 E 100 S #29
SLC, UT 84111

No comments:

Post a Comment