Trip*tych (trip'tik) n. a set of three panels with pictures, carvings, etc., often hinged: used as an altarpiece.
Ann Bingham, Ed Bingham, and Steve Hall formed Triptych 25 years ago when we were faculty members at Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Kentucky. Our friendship and musical collaboration have resulted in many performances of wide variety and several works composed specifically for the trio. Triptych exploits the immense variety of timbres that the woodwind and percussion instruments are capable of producing. All of the works on this program were written specifically for Triptych. Divertimento was composed in 1990 and the other three works in 2013 .
Because of its limited population (58 in 2010), Echo is defined not as a town but as a "census-designated place" in northern Utah. In some ways it feels like "ghost town" but because it sits at the junction of US Routes 84 and 80 it possesses several travel amenities such as a gas station built over the top of it. Nevertheless, largely it remains a quiet location in the rocky desert of northern Utah. While mostly nestled among hues of red rock, Echo also sports a surprising amount of brilliant greenery because of its proximity to fresh water sources.
Making its home in the desert and especially among people is the Black-billed Magpie, an iconic bird of the American West. Like their closely related cousins, crows and ravens, magpies are highly intelligent and frequently mischievous. They are beautiful birds that make themselves highly visible with their large size, long tails and their black and white coloration. In addition to making themselves visible, magpies make their presence known audibly and with their aforementioned eccentric behavior. It is this mix of beauty, intelligence and the seemingly enjoyment magpies get out of being annoying that makes me interested in these animals.
Rogue of Echo attempts to capture the remote yet wondrous landscape of northern Utah and chronicle the activities of a desert prankster who lives there. It combines lyrical melodies with harsh long tones and repetitive, short bursts of notes in an attempt to both captivate and irritate to a limited degree. -Notes by Zach Pfeifer
In 2010 I began writing Gestures, a series of works exploring various aspects of formal process, rhythmic notation, and improvisation, with the express goal of creating musical contexts that invite performers to be collaborators or co-creators and to capture the immediacy of improvisation in chamber music performance. Gestures II incorporates structured improvisation, and rhythmic notation that requires performers to coordinate events based on their visual placement in the score and temporal relationship in performance rather than adhering to 'strict' metric time. To date, Gestures II and IV have been performed and I have found the process of collaboration to be both challenging and rewarding. I thank Triptych for commissioning and premiering this work in its various stages and hope that you enjoy the result of our efforts. -Notes by Mark Zanter
The Divertimento was written for Triptych in 1990. I listened to a recording of the piece recently and it took me back to what my life was like then. I had recently finished my doctorate and was starting my first teaching job in Louisiana. It was a difficult adjustment moving to somewhere so far from home and to a very different culture. It was also the first time I had been on my own artistically. I completed the Divertimento shortly after I arrived in Louisiana. It turned out to be one of the last things I wrote for a while as I adjusted to my new life.
As a composer I had never been a serialist or part of other atonal styles. However, I did like the possibility of combining some of the ideas from these atonal styles in a more rhythmically simple style with strong thematic elements with an emphasis on lyricism and form. The Divertimento is just such a composition. While making use of some extended techniques it also emphasizes the formal structure of each movement. Though some of the music is episodic, there are clear repetitions of thematic ideas. The outer movements are lyrical expressions for the clarinet and tenor saxophone with the percussion providing a colorful background. The second movement features the marimba with accompaniment from the woodwinds. The third movement was written to show off the ensemble with a ghost-like march.
If this piece has a message I'm not sure what it is. After 23 years it is difficult to remember what my motivation was for writing it other than Ed and Ann asked me to write something for Triptych. What does strike me about it is how certain things have remained the same in my music over these past years: syncopated rhythmic energy, gauzy textures, lyricism and clearly articulated forms and themes.
The Divertimento was the first piece I finished after I left Kentucky and is an important milestone in my life, both professionally and personally. It marked the beginning of my life in the professional world and foreshadowed changes that would take place in my personal life. -Notes by Mark Francis
Mutation is one movement of a projected multi-movement suite. The title refers to the movement and alternation of the two principal themes and the interplay between the various percussion instruments, both to themselves and the wind instruments. Mildly non-tonal, the "mutations" of the melodies involve transformations such as retrograde, interval expansion, and inversion. At climactic points, the rhythmic and melodic structures converge. The movement of the colors of the temple blocks and tom-toms are the percussive equivalent of the melodic mutation found when the clarinet and saxophone trade parts. -Notes by Marshall Onofrio
Mark Francis' musical career has varied from teaching, composing, performing and writing to orchestral administration. He has studied composition with Walter Hartley and James Eversole, and guitar with Joanne Castellani, Clare Callahan and Joseph Fratianni. He holds a D.M.A. in composition from the University of Kentucky and has taught at Mississippi State University, Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, Centenary College, Northwestern State University, Emory University, Agnes Scott College, Midwestern State University and Power Academic and Performing Arts Complex. He has received 10 ASCAP Standard Awards and 8 ASCAP Plus Awards for his compositions. His works have been performed internationally and have been part of the Corcoran Gallery Contemporary Music Series in Washington, D.C. The Jackson State University Orchestra premiered his composition on the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., The Trumpet of Conscience, at the Library of Congress In 2007. Conners Publications and Imagine Music publish his compositions. Dr. Francis performs on guitar and mandolin, most recently as part of the Atlanta Mandolin Orchestra. He has frequently contributed to the contemporary music journal, 21st Century Music, reviewing concerts and recordings. He is past President of the Southeastern Composers League and Board Member for composition for the College Music Society, South Chapter. He has served as Executive Director of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra, Director of Education and Librarian for the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Director of Education and Community Outreach for The Florida Orchestra.
Dr. Marshall Onofrio joined Rider University as Associate Dean of Westminster Choir College in July 2006, becoming Associate Dean for Administration of the Westminster College of the Arts In spring 2009. Immediately prior to coming to Rider, Onofrio was Professor of Music and Chairman of the Department of Music at Marshall University from 1998-2006. Onofrio previously taught or served as an administrator at Plattsburgh State University of New York, The Ohio State University, Muskingum College and Midland College. He has been trained by the National Association of Schools of Music to serve as an external evaluator for collegiate music programs and has visited several colleges and universities as consultant, clinician, and composer-In-residence. He is a Professor in the Music Education Department at Westminster Choir College, and teaches courses In music education, theory/composition, and jazz studies.
Onofrio's compositions and arrangements have been heard in several Midwestern and Northeastern states and in Canada. Recent premiere performances have included Requiem Mass for chorus and orchestra, Of a Life for clarinet sextet, and Three Remembrances, a commissioned work for soprano, horn, and piano. The last was included on a composers program at the Mid-Atlantic Region of the College Music Society in March 2005. Portraits, commissioned in 2000 for oboe d'amore, English horn, and piano, was premiered in April 2001, and also has been performed at the 2001 International Double Reed Society convention, Thomas Stacy's English horn workshop, and the 2006 CMS Mid-Atlantic convention in a version for clarinet and soprano saxophone. Carmina Whitmania, set for singing actor and six players, was commissioned by the Delta Omicron Foundation, and was given its premiere performance at their July 2006 International conference in Illinois. More recently, his Requiem Mass for Chorus and Orchestra was performed at Westminster in a newly revised version utilizing brass, percussion, and piano accompaniment.
Onofrio has appeared as a guest artist, conductor, and clinician in 17 states, Canada and 7 European countries. He has been in residence at the University of Guelph and Laurentian University in Canada, giving lectures, performing in recital, and presenting original compositions. He has served as a band, brass, and jazz adjudicator for state music organizations in West Virginia, New York, Ohio, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois, and was director of the annual Plattsburgh State Jazz Festival and the Midlands Jazz Festival in Nebraska. He has worked with such internationally known figures as Frank Sinatra, Jr., Gene Bertoncini, Joanne Brackeen, Randy Brecker, and Gunther Schuller.
Zach Pfeifer was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and grew up just north in the rolling hills of York County, Pennsylvania. He played viola through grade school and attended Kutztown University of Pennsylvania where he initially became Involved In the school's jazz studies program under director Dr. Kevin Kjos as a jazz bassist. He studied jazz bass with Erik Unsworth and Scott Lee before his developing interest in orchestral music and composition caused him to switch his focus to writing music under the guidance of Dr. John Metcalf.
After undergraduate studies Zach earned his Master of Music degree at Louisiana State University under Dr. Dinos Constantinides. In 2010 Zach was the founder and served as department head and Instructor for the music composition program at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan. Zach now works at Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, California where he teaches music theory and composition. He lives In San Jose, California with his wife Megan and his cats, Bartok and Joplin.
Dr. Mark Zanter, composer/performer, has received commissions from the UIUC Creative Music Orchestra, CU Symphony, the American Composers forum, the WV Arts Commission, WVMTA, Due East, Solen Dikener, Rick Kurasz, Cetin Aydar, Ankara University Soloists, Lindsey Goodman and others. He has appeared on NPR's Live at the Landmark, WILL, IPR, Second Sunday concerts, on WVPN In Touch With The Arts, is published by Les Productions d'OZ, Schott Publishing, and MJIC Music publishing, and his works have been performed internationally at festivals including, MUSIC "X", June in Buffalo, The Cortona Contemporary Music Festival, NYCEMF and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. He is the recipient of grants/awards from The American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP), The American Music Center (AMC), The American Composers Forum (ACF), The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and WV Music Teachers Association. Dr. Zanter is Professor of Music at Marshall University, Huntington, WV, USA.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ed_bingham/12/