Jonah and Delphine

Jonah and Delphine are twins, and as such, share a unique and binding connection that those who are not twins will never fully understand. And yet, as similar as they are, they are still individuals, each one unique, specific.

Jonah and Delphine were also the inspiration for Derek Bermel’s Twin Trio, written after visiting them as newborns (the children of his friends, Aaron Kernis, a fellow composer, and Evelyne Luest). Reflecting their similarities, the work is written for two instruments of the same family—woodwinds—flute and clarinet (it also happened to be commissioned by the Flute/Clarinet Duos Consortium), set against the backdrop of the piano, which could be imaginatively interpreted as Continue reading

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Ravel’s Piano Trio

A brief biographical sketch of Maurice Ravel reveals a happy childhood with parents who nurtured and supported his talent and aspirations, and a tumultuous career as a student at the Paris Conservatoire where his piano evaluations revealed “a good pupil…but not always in control,” “needs to be held in check.” Failing to win prizes in piano fugue/composition, or the Prix de Rome, Ravel was repeatedly dismissed as a student from the Conservatoire in 1895, and 1900, subsequently being forced to simply audit further composition classes. Eventually finding his footing, he blossomed in the literary and musical culture surrounding him, immersing himself in the Symbolist movement, and finding friendship and inspiration as part of a collective known as “les Apaches” (The Ruffians). Descriptions of the composer indicate a fastidious, yet humorous character (as a driver when he served in the war, he named “his vehicle Adélaïde after his ballet”), a compact man (5’3,” 108 pounds, described as a “jockey” and a “squirrel”) with exquisite tastes (“exotic dishes, cocktails, and fine wines,” “he was among the first to wear paste-colored shirts in France”). Continue reading

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Ah, Yeah

Originally from Flint, MI, Jonathan Bailey Holland began studying composition while a student at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he received a school-wide award for his very first composition.  Upon graduation from Interlochen, he continued his composition studies with Ned Rorem at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree.  He went on to receive a Ph.D. in Music from Harvard University, where his primary teachers were Bernard Rands and Mario Davidovsky.  He has also studied with Andrew Imbrie, Yehudi Wyner, Robert Saxton and Robert Sirota.  Currently, he is Associate Professor of Composition at the Berklee College of Music, and a founding faculty member in the Low Residency MFA in Music Composition program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Writes Jonathan, Continue reading

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