Joshua Rubin


Friday,  April 19, 2024
7:00 p.m. Doors Open; 7:30 p.m. Start

Music  Center Recital Hall, UC Santa Cruz

More event details here




John Zorn's Cobra (40th Anniversary Performance), Fay Victor's Factions, and a new work by Pierre Eghdami


Clarinetist Joshua Rubin, founding member of International Contemporary Ensemble (NYC), presents an evening of adventurous new music — a limited seating event at 4:00 PM featuring our very own Willie Winant in an historic performance of John Zorn's Cobra - and an electroacoustic solo concert including works by composers Alvin Singleton,  Michi Wianko, Kaija Saariaho, and UC Santa Cruz Music Department faculty and graduate students.

This event is curated by Matthew Schumaker and presented by the UC Santa Cruz Digital Arts and New Media and Music Department as part of the April in Santa Cruz Festival.


Olivier Messiaen: Chant (dans le style Mozart), for clarinet and piano (1986)


Forrest Balman: ••  •—— •• ••• ••••🤞  —•—— ——— ••—  —•—• ——— ••— •—•• —••  —•• • —•—• ——— —•• •  — •••• • ••• •  ••• •••• ——— •—• — •••  •— —• —••  •—•• ——— —• ——• ••• (I wish 🤞 you could understand my shorts and longs) (2024),

for clarinet, electronics and projection

Michi Wiancko: Island in the Sky, for clarinet (2022)

Olly Wilson: Echoes (1974) , for clarinet and electronics


Alvin Singleton: Argoru V/a, for bass clarinet (2011)


Kaija Saariaho: Figura, for clarinet and piano (2016)


Nina Barzegar: Emancipation Pondering, for clarinet (2023)


Matthew Schumaker: Stream_l__i___n____e_____s (after Robert Lawrence, Jr.), for clarinet and electronics (2019)


Joshua Rubin, clarinets

Joshua Nathan Rubin is clarinetist of the International Contemporary Ensemble, where he previously served as the Program Director and then Artistic Director from 2011-2018, overseeing the creative direction of more than one hundred concerts per season in the United States and abroad. The New York Times has praised him in performances as, "incapable of playing an inexpressive note."

Joshua has worked closely with many of the prominent performers and composers of our time, including George Crumb, Matana Roberts, Alvin Lucier, David Lang, Chaya Czernowin, Du Yun, Christian Wolff, Cory Smythe, George Lewis, Vijay Iyer, Steven Schick, Claire Chase, Kaija Saariaho, Craig Taborn, Pauline Oliveros, Okkyung Lee, Nathan Davis, John Zorn and Tyshawn Sorey. Joshua can be heard on recordings from the Nonesuch, Kairos, New Focus, Mode, Cedille, Naxos, Bridge, New Amsterdam, and Tzadik labels. His album There Never is No Light, available on the Tundra label, highlights music that uses technology to capture the human engagement of the performer and the listener.

Joshua holds degrees in Biology and Clarinet from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and a Master's degree from the Mannes School of Music. He served on the faculty of the Banff Music Centre's Ensemble Evolution summer program, soundSCAPE Festival at the Hindemith Institut in Blonay, Switzerland, and Ensemble Evolution in New York. He is also on the faculty of the College of the Performing Arts at The New School.

This season he will perform on modern and historical clarinets in New York with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Teatro Nuovo, the American Composers Orchestra, at Harvard University, in Los Angeles with Wild Up, Monday Evening Concerts, Tesserae Baroque, at the Ojai Music Festival with Rhiannon Giddens, and in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Berlin, Miami, Boston, Houston, Kansas City, San Diego, and Chicago.

His passion for technology in arts led Joshua to develop LUIGI, management software that is available to ensembles and other arts organizations who value transparency and collective management, as well as his ongoing work to make electronic music technologies easier to use for performers and composers. He maintains an artistic presence in New York and Los Angeles.

Suejin Jung, piano

Noted for "stepping outside the box - artistically and personally", (Jacques Goddijn, Goodmesh Agency) and praised for her “exhilarating, alternately mysterious, lighthearted, but also profound, contemplative playing” (Opus Klassiek), Suejin Jung leads a distinctive international career as a concert pianist and multimedia artist. Her multimedia project, "Breathmark,” received first prize at the Goodmesh Concours and is showcased in her debut album released by the TRPTK label. As a collaborative pianist, Suejin has been featured at festivals such as Music Academy International, Ecoles d’Art Américaines de Fontainebleau, and New York International Piano Competition. She has been a featured soloist with Ensemble Calliopée , Ruse Philharmonic Orchestra, Rutgers Symphony Orchestra, The Discovery Orchestra, Monmouth Symphony Orchestra and her performances have been broadcasted and live-streamed on PBS, NPO Klassiek and The Strad.

Jung received Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School as a recipient of Kamiya Sisters, Paul Jacobs Memorial, and G.G. Ulmer Memorial Scholarships. She furthered her studies at the École Normale de Musique de Paris as a Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship recipient of the Fondation des États-Unis. She completed her Doctorate in Piano Performance from Rutgers University. As an educator, Suejin teaches at the Montecito Music Festival and previously served as a faculty member at Drew University, Rutgers University Extension Division, New York Music School, and PS 11 in Manhattan as an Education Outreach Fellow through the Juilliard School.  

She is a co-founder of MIMA, dedicated to designing meaningful art forms and realizing their hidden potential through collaboration.

Nicholas Houfek, lighting designer

Nicholas Houfek (he/him), Lighting Designer, is a NYC based Lighting Designer. Frequent and recent collaborations include: International Contemporary Ensemble, Marcos Balter’s Oyá with the New York Philharmonic, Claire Chase, Nathalie Joachim, Ojai Music Festival, Silk Road Ensemble, Marc Neikrug’s A Song by Mahler, Anohni’s She Who Saw Beautiful Things, Suzanne Farrin’s La Dolce Morte, George Lewis’ Soundlines, Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s In The Light of Air, Ash Fure’s The Force of Things. Recent creations include the ColorSynth and other applications of live lighting for performance. Mr. Houfek has also designed for the Martha Graham Dance Company, Cedar Lake Contemporary Dance, and Ian Spencer Bell Dance. He is an ensemble member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, a member of USA829, and a graduate of Boston University.


Olivier Messiaen: Chant (dans le style Mozart), for clarinet and piano (1986)Olivier Messiaen, who had a long career as a composer, also worked an educator. He taught analysis and (eventually) composition at the Paris Conservatoire for over 40 years. While this predilection is not reflected in his music, except perhaps obliquely, Messiaen had a great respect and love for the music of Mozart. In his classes, he analyzed Mozart’s operas, symphonies, and concertos. In 1989, he composed a short orchestral work, Un Sourire (A Smile), for the 1991 Mozart bicentenary celebrations.

In 1986, the Paris Conservatoire asked Messiaen to compose a short work for one of their student competitions. The composer complied with a short work for clarinet and piano. For anyone familiar with Messiaen’s music, this Chant dans le style de Mozart may come as quite a surprise, for it contains none of the characteristics one would expect: the rich harmonies, the birdsong melodies and textures, etc. Instead, the music is tonal, lyrical, a gem of clarity. The phrasing has the songful quality of Mozart’s music. Indeed, there are passages alien to Mozart’s style, such as some doubling of the clarinet and piano, and certain unusual turns of phrase. Nevertheless, the resemblance in style is indeed striking. This piece is a wonderful homage, and may lead listeners to hear Messiaen’s more original music in a different manner. [James Harley]

OlLIVIER MESSIAEN considered himself as much an ornithologist as a composer, organist and pianist. Inspired in large part by his study of birdsong and his strong catholic faith, his output counts among the most fascinating of the twentieth century.

From the age of 11, Messiaen attended the Paris Conservatoire where, a few years later, he was awarded various first prizes (including counterpoint and fugue, piano accompaniment, organ and improvisation, history of music, and composition). A student of Charles-Marie Widor, Paul Dukas and Marcel Dupré, he became Organist at the Église de la Sainte-Trinité in 1931, a position he held until his death in 1992.

In the 1930s, he taught at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris and at the Schola Cantorum. There, he met André Jolivet, Daniel-Lesur and Yves Baudrier with whom he formed the famous Jeune France movement in 1936.

In 1941, after a year imprisoned as a POW in Stalag VIII-A, he returned to the Conservatoire as professor of harmony and then professor of composition in 1966. His students included Pierre Boulez, George Benjamin, and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

A devout Catholic, much of his output was influenced by his faith, as many works testify (such as La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ, l’Ascension, Le Banquet Céleste, Méditations sur le Mystère de la Sainte-Trinité and even his only opera Saint François d’Assise).

Above all, Messiaen was fascinated by the birdsong that he heard and transcribed in his garden, and then featured in his compositions: Catalogue d’oiseaux, Petites Esquisses d’oiseaux and Traité de rythme, de couleur et d’ornithologie all conceived in this way. He said "nature offers an exhaustible treasure of colours and sounds, forms and rhythms, an unequalled model of total development and perpetual variation, nature is the supreme resource!”

Messiaen received numerous accolades throughout his career. He was elected Membre de L’Institut de France in 1967, he was awarded the Calouste Gulbenkian Prize in 1969, the Erasmus Prize in 1971, and Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 1975. He also won the Wolf Prize in Arts in 1983, The Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy in 1985, and the International Paul VI Prize in 1988, all testimony to, and recognition of, his having created some of the greatest French music of the era. [Wise Music Classical]

Forrest Balman: ••  •—— •• ••• ••••🤞  —•—— ——— ••—  —•—• ——— ••— •—•• —••  —•• • —•—• ——— —•• •  — •••• • ••• •  ••• •••• ——— •—• — •••  •— —• —••  •—•• ——— —• ——• ••• (I wish 🤞 you could understand my shorts and longs) (2024)

FORREST BALMAN: I am a composer who strives to craft unique sonic experiences that focus on accessibility and interaction. I understand music accessibility’s importance in countering the exclusivity of Western traditions. Through my immersive compositions, I strive to foster a deeper connection to music for all, regardless of their abilities or challenges.

Michi Wiancko: Island in the Sky, for clarinet (2022)

I completed this piece while driving across America with my family, from west to east through 15 states. We lingered long in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico, and I found deep musical inspiration in the majestic specificity of each windswept mesa, ancient desert, winding canyon and rock formation we explored along the way. It was finally against the backdrop of the Island in the Sky mesa, located in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, that my piece for solo clarinet carved a space for itself, inspired by the power and persistence with which water and wind can cut through rock. – Michi Wiancko

MICHI WIANCKO is a composer, arranger and violinist whose work has been performed by ensembles, bands and orchestras around the world. She has collaborated with artists from across a wide musical spectrum and performed with some of the great musical artists of our time.

She has been commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Lyric Theater, On Site Opera, Ecstatic Music Festival, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Camerata Bern, The SPCO’s Liquid Music series, Aizuri Quartet, Enso Quartet, Sybarite5, East Coast Chamber Orchestra, and Metropolis Ensemble. She also composes music for short and feature-length films, commercials, and for her own band, Kono Michi.

Michi’s first opera, Murasaki’s Moon premiered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in May of 2019. This work was created in collaboration with librettist Deborah Brevoort and director Eric Einhorn from OnSite Opera. Michi is a 2018 recipient of an Opera America Commissioning Grant.

Michi co-composed, performed, engineered, and mixed the original score of the film The Mend, profiled by Time Magazine as one of the Top 10 films at SXSW. She has worked closely with the indie rock band Wye Oak, re-imagining their songs for electro-acoustic ensemble. She has also arranged for the band EL VY (comprised of Brent Knopf and The National’s Matt Berninger), whom she joined for an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Michi’s arrangements have been performed by the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Arkansas Symphony, Spokane Symphony, Harvard Chamber Orchestra, Burlington Chamber Orchestra, Boston Conservatory Orchestra, and The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

A passionate collaborator and performer, Michi has been fortunate to work with artists across a vast musical spectrum: Missy Mazzoli, Steve Reich, Silkroad, Yo-Yo Ma, Wye Oak, Emily Wells, Laurie Anderson, William Brittelle, Daniel Wohl, Emanuel Ax, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Judd Greenstein, David T. Little, Gabriela Lena Frank, Vijay Iyer, International Contemporary Ensemble, The Knights, A Far Cry, Alarm Will Sound, Mark Morris Dance Group, and the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, among others.

Described by Gramophone Magazine as an “alluring soloist with heightened expressive and violinistic gifts,” Michi gave her violin solo debuts with the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, performed her recital debut in Weill Hall, and released a solo album of works by Émile Sauret on Naxos. More recently, she recorded two different projects for Nonesuch Records: a new string quartet composed by Laurie Anderson, and a new work by Steve Reich entitled “Pulse” with the International Contemporary Ensemble, which they performed in Carnegie Hall as part of Steve Reich’s 80th birthday celebration.

Michi holds a Bachelor’s degree in music performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Master’s degree from Juilliard, where she studied with Donald Weilerstein and the late Robert Mann, respectively. Her early teachers include Sharon Holland and Haroutune Bedelian.

A native of California, Michi shares her time between New York and Gill, a small farming community in western Massachusetts, where she and her husband, composer Judd Greenstein have created a music festival and artistic retreat at their home – 100 acre hilltop former dairy farm, Antenna Cloud Farm.

Olly Wilson: Echoes (1974)

Olly Wilson’s groundbreaking 1968 piece Cetus is entirely built from electronic sounds created in the studio. Electronic tools for composers were developing rapidly and Wilson’s piece is a radical sound world blended both from the noisy output of physical tapes and filters and from Wilson’s melodic improvisations made from synthesized tones. It’s a spacious and limitless musical environment.

In the piece you'll hear tonight, Echoes, Wilson introduces the clarinet into that sound world. The echoes of the title are stamped all over the music, from the back-and-forth between him and the clarinetist for whom the piece was written, Phillip Rehfeldt (who literally wrote the book on new clarinet techniques during that time), to the interplay between the actual clarinet and the its synthesized counterpoint in the electronic music coming from the speakers.

In an interview with Caroline Crawford, Olly Wilson said, “...there’s a real dichotomy between the experience of hearing something that comes from speakers and something that comes naturally. Because the acoustical properties are very different… If you take the live sound and you perform it…so that it’s also coming through the speakers, then it has some of the same qualities that the electronic sound does, and yet it retains some of the vitality that you have in the live moment. That was something that I discovered way back in the early seventies.” —Joshua Rubin

OLLY WILSON was a prominent member of the UC Berkeley Music Department faculty from 1970 to 2002. He was a renowned composer and an indefatigable advocate for diversity in the Arts.

“Olly was very important for the department, for the campus, and for the study of African American music more broadly, in addition to his significant impact as a composer and professor of composition,” said Music Professor Ben Brinner. “Knowing him first as a teacher during my graduate school days, I came to consider him a mentor, a valued colleague, and a friend after I joined the Berkeley faculty.”

A native of  St. Louis, Missouri Wilson showed a keen talent for music at an early age. He attended Washington University earning his B.M. degree in music in 1959. Wilson went on to earn his M.M. degree in music composition in 1960 from the University of Illinois, then onto the University of Iowa to earn his PhD.

Following stints at Florida A&M University and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Wilson joined the UC Berkeley Department of Music in 1970. He served as Chair of the department from 1993-1997.

“Olly was indeed a model for all around excellence; I have never met anyone close to his unique combination of compositional, musicological  and administrative skills,” noted Wilson’s colleague Michael Senturia, who conducted the University Symphony Orchestra from 1962-1992.

A prolific composer, musician, and scholar Wilson was a member of the The American Academy of Arts and Letters and won numerous awards and prizes including two Guggenheim fellowships and the Rome Prize. His establishment of the TIMARA (Technology in Music and Related Arts) program at Oberlin Conservatory was a pioneering accomplishment as the first-ever conservatory program in electronic music. A profoundly skilled composer, Wilson’s pieces spanned from electronic music to works for chamber ensembles and orchestra. He was commissioned by Black Music Repertory Ensemble, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, and Boston Musica Viva. 

New York Times: Olly Wilson, 80, Dies; Composer Meshed African and Western Music

Alex Coughlin, UC Berkeley Department of Music

Alvin Singleton: Argoru V/a, for bass clarinet (2011)

Alvin Singleton says, “The title, Argoru, comes from Twi, a language spoken in Ghana, and means 'to play'.” His set of eight Argoru pieces are extraordinary contributions to the solo repertoire. Argoru V/a alternates between mellow and warm melodies and the wailing high tones that immediately recall the musical territory of legendary bass clarinetist Eric Dolphy.  Singleton sets up a breathless sequence of rhythmic cycles and games that propel the music forward and capture the agility and range of moods of the bass clarinet.  —Joshua Rubin

ALVIN SINGLETON was born in Brooklyn, New York, and attended New York University and Yale. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied with Goffredo Petrassi at Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy. After living and working in Europe for fourteen years, Singleton returned to the United States to become Composer-in-Residence with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (1985-88). He subsequently served as Resident Composer at Spelman College in Atlanta (1988-91), as UNISYS Composer-in-Residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1996-97), and was the 2002–03 Composer-in-Residence with the Ritz Chamber Players of Jacksonville, Florida. In addition, he has served as Visiting Professor of Composition at the Yale University School of Music.

Singleton has amassed numerous awards throughout his compositional life. He is the recipient of a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship and was commissioned by The Serge Koussevitsky Music Foundation and American Composers Orchestra for the orchestral work When Given a Choice, which premiered at Carnegie Hall in April 2004. His other awards include the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis by the City of Darmstadt, Germany, twice the Musikprotokoll Kompositionpreis by the Austrian Radio, the Mayor’s Fellowship in the Arts Award by the City of Atlanta, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Also in Spring 2004, Singleton joined the American Composers Orchestra as “Music Alive” Composer-in-Residence and Artistic Advisor for the IMPROVISE! Festival. His music has been published exclusively worldwide by Schott Music since 1977, and is recorded on the Albany Records, Elektra/Nonesuch, First Edition, Tzadik, and Innova labels.

Singleton has composed music for theatre, orchestra, solo instruments, and a variety of chamber ensembles. TRUTH, a work for chorus, ensemble and dance based on the life of Sojourner Truth, was premiered in 2006 at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota by the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers and TU Dance. Singleton’s latest CD “Sing to the Sun” was released in February 2007 on Albany Records and is the fourth all-Singleton disc. His recent work, Through It All, was commissioned by The ASCAP Foundation and Spivey Hall, and was premiered by the Grammy-nominated ensemble Imani Winds in February 2008.In October, 2008, Singleton served as Composer-in-Residence in Tirana, Albania. He was invited by the cultural organization Eurynome Corp., who presented the Albanian premieres of selected works performed by the Orchestra of Albanian Radio and Television conducted by Oleg Arapi. Singleton also conducted a Masterclass at the Fine Arts Academy in Tirana. In November, 2008 Singleton’s Brooklyn Bones, written in commemoration of the Fort Greene Park Prison Ship Martyrs Monument and setting an original text by Patricia Hampl, received its world premiere at the Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City, performed by the Monmouth Civic Chorus and Orchestra, tenor Cameron Smith, and conducted by Mark Shapiro. 

His compositions have been performed by the symphony orchestras of Boston, Pittsburgh, Houston, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Detroit, Oregon, Baltimore, Syracuse, Louisville, and Florida, the American Composers Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, l’Orchestre de Paris, das Guerzenich-Orchester Koelner Philharmoniker and also the Kronos Quartet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Nash Ensemble of London, the Asko Ensemble of Amsterdam, Ensemble des 20. Jahrhunderts of Vienna, the London Sinfonietta, Trio Basso of Cologne and the Bremer Tanztheater. Important international festivals have also programmed Singleton’s music. They include Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, OR, Tanglewood, Aspen, Bravo! Colorado, Music from Angel Fire in New Mexico, Cincinnati May Festival, Cabrillo Music Festival, Bang On A Can, the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Other Minds in San Francisco, Festival Miami, the Vienna Summer Festival, Pro Musica Nova in Bremen, the Styrian Autumn Festival in Graz, Nuova Consonanza Festival in Rome, the Brussels ISCM World music Days, and IRCAM in Paris.

Kaija Saariaho: Figura, for clarinet and piano (2016)

Figura is a piece with a layered history, as are many of Kaija Saariaho’s works. Her clarinet concerto D'Om le Vrai Sens (Man's True Sense), written in 2009, was a theatrical work inspired by medieval tapestries  that depict the five traditional human senses, and the additional undefined “sixth sense.”

Musical material from her concerto made its way into Duft (scent) (2012), a clarinet solo piece whose movement titles—pollen, blossoming, and fleeting—evoke ephemeral things carried on the air, like the musical sounds from the clarinet.

And Figura, for string quartet, piano and clarinet, is a hybrid of both of these previous pieces, mostly drawn from the music of Duft, but incorporating accompanying elements from the original concerto. Saariaho gives additional programmatic context in her titles. The movements Animus and Anima are Jungian ideas of the persona and the unconscious. There is a connection to the ephemerality of Duft too–Anima is derived from the Greek word for breath.

I have performed Duft many times since it was published and was fortunate to have had the chance to work closely with the composer in my performance of her pieces. This version of Figura is my reduction of the ensemble for piano and clarinet, drawn closely from the materials of the ensemble version, Duft, and the concerto.  Joshua Rubin

KAIJA SAARIAHO (1952-2023) was a leading voice of her generation of composers, in her native Finland and worldwide. She studied composition in Helsinki, Freiburg and Paris, where she lived from 1982 to her death. Her studies and research at IRCAM, the Parisian center for electroacoustic experimentation, had a major influence on her music, and her characteristically luxuriant and mysterious textures were often created by combining live performance and electronics.

After her breakthrough piece Lichtbogen for ensemble and electronics in 1986, Saariaho gradually expanded her musical expression to a great variety of genres, and her chamber pieces and choral music have become staples of instrumental and vocal ensembles, respectively. She rose to international preeminence as the composer of works taken up by symphony orchestras around the world, such as Oltra Mar (1999), Orion (2002), Laterna Magica (2008) and Circle Map (2012), as well as six concertos (including Graal Théâtre for violin in 1994 and Notes on Light for cello in 2006), and five major symphonic song cycles (e.g. Château de l’âme in 1995 and True Fire in 2014), all of which bear the mark of her relentless attempt to blend the scientific, technological and rational with an approach grounded in poetic inspiration and resulting in deeply sensorial and associative experiences.

Saariaho’s broadest public and critical recognition came from her work in the field of opera: L’Amour de loin (2000), Adriana Mater (2006), La Passion de Simone (2006), Émilie (2010), Only the Sound Remains (2016) and Innocence (2020), the latter of which was termed Saariaho’s ‘masterpiece’ by The New York Times, were all warmly received at their premieres, and have enjoyed the rare privilege of global tours and multiple stage productions. Their ever-expressive treatment of voice and orchestra, as much as their commitment to renewing the form and the array of stories being represented on the largest stages, have made these six very different opuses classics of 21st-century opera already in the composer’s lifetime.

Saariaho claimed major composing awards such as the Grawemeyer Award, the Nemmers Prize, the Sonning Prize and the Polar Music Prize and two of her recordings have received Grammy Awards. She was named ‘Greatest Living Composer’ in a survey of her peers conducted by the BBC Music Magazine in 2019.

Kaija Saariaho’s life was prematurely interrupted by a brain tumor in 2023. Her musical legacy is carried forward by a broad network of collaborators with whom she has worked closely over the years, and her publisher Chester Music Ltd.

January 2024 [Wise Music Classical]

Nina Barzegar: Emancipation Pondering, for Bb Clarinet (2023)

This piece explores a musical form shaped by the “non-repetitive repetition” of three distinct figures derived from Persian melodies, all within the homayoun mode of the Persian music modal system. The two main degrees of this mode, C and F, serve as focal points around which the composition revolves and concludes. In this composition, musical elements, confined to specific registers, engage in free improvisational dialogues devoid of repetitive rhythmic patterns. Ultimately, they dissipate without reaching consensus or a common point.

NINA BARZEGAR is an Iranian composer and pianist. Her diverse musical styles encompass concert music, film, and theater compositions. In her music, she attempts to integrate diverse resources, creating a blend of traditional and contemporary musical ideas. Barzegar experiments with Iranian musical figures and aesthetics, exploring their potential when combined with Western Classical and New Music elements. Since her arrival in the United States in 2021, she has worked with esteemed performers and ensembles, and her works have been performed in various concerts and festivals in the United States, such as the Ojai Music Festival 2023. Her collaborations as an actress and film scorer have also been featured at various international film festivals. She holds a bachelor's degree in piano and a master's degree in composition from the University of Tehran and is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree in music composition at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Matthew Schumaker: Stream_l__i___n____e_____s, for clarinet and electronics (2019)

In 1967, Robert Henry Lawrence Jr. was the first African-American selected for a space program, the Air Force’s Manned Orbital Laboratory (MOL). He had flown thousands of hours in jets like the Lockheed F104 Starfighter, and studied a difficult steep-descent gliding technique called the flare maneuver, work that contributed significantly to the development of the Space Shuttle. But tragically, just months after he was assigned to the MOL program, Lawrence died in a training accident.

This music envisions Lawrence flying in the sky, conducting research on the flare maneuver. I conceived of four different views of the aircraft, each paired with its own musical material. One view, from the tarmac, gives a sense of the sound of these massive jets nearby; another view is of contrails, the white streaks in the sky coming from an aircraft at high altitude; a third view conveys a sense of turbulence; the final view depicts the balletic maneuvers of the plane flying overhead at a distance. These musical views recur and are juxtaposed with one another in varying ways throughout.


The jet metaphor also carries over into the work’s musical material. By way of partial-tracking analysis, I drew my harmony directly from audio recordings of the F104 Starfighter plane itself. I also derived musical lines in the clarinet part from the contours of curved aerodynamic streamlines flowing off a plane’s wing. I developed this last technique following an introduction into streamlines that I received from Professor Wesley L. Harris of MIT’s AeroAstro Department. The electronic accompaniment in this piece seeks to reinforce all of these views, projecting a sense of proximity or distance and transforming the agile clarinet line into something larger, more metallic, and formidable.

Commissioned by Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble. Premiere performance by Diane Heffner, clarinet, on April 14, 2019. [MS]

MATT SCHUMAKER’s music engages with research into computer-assisted composition and mixed works for acoustic instruments and computer technologies. He received a doctorate in Music Composition from UC Berkeley (UCB), where he studied with composers Edmund Campion, Cindy Cox, Franck Bedrossian, Ken Ueno and David Wessel. Early on in his studies, Schumaker spent a formative year in Amsterdam, studying with Louis Andriessen. In 2014, he moved to France through UCB’s Prix de Paris program, where he worked closely with composer Martin Matalon.

In recent years, Schumaker’s music has been performed by the Radius Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Winsor Music, Eco Ensemble, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra. Schumaker’s music has also been presented at festivals and curated events, including by clarinetist Rane Moore at the Virtual SICPP 2020, by pianist Chia-Lin Yang at the April in Santa Cruz Festival, by members of Dog Trio at the klub katarakt Festival for Experimental Music in Hamburg, Germany, by clarinetist Joshua Rubin at the soundSCAPE festival in Blonay, Switzerland, and by pianist Eric Huebner as part of a concert of Schumaker’s work at the Gassmann Electronic Music Series at UC Irvine. Schumaker’s multimedia work for music and computer graphics has been shown at Zeitgeist Gallery in Nashville and at the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum in Saint Austine and will also be presented as part of the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival in June, 2024.

During 2018-20, Schumaker was a Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Scholar at MIT. He has taught at MIT and UC Berkeley. In fall 2021, he joined the Music Department at UC Santa Cruz as Assistant Professor.

Joshua Rubin

Photo by Mandee Johnson 

Olly Wilson

Alvin Singleton

Kaija Saariaho

Olivier Messiaen

Michi Wiancko

Nina Barzegar

Forrest Balman

Matt Schumaker