Vincent Persichetti was born on this day in 1915. A major figure in 20th century American music composition, Persichetti was a prolific composer and taught many notable students at Juilliard. He wrote 25 Parables spanning a range of instrumentations of which this is the twelfth. Dr. Kristen Stoner, Professor of Flute at the University of Florida, dedicated this performance to the memory of Jack Wellbaum, beloved piccolo teacher at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
Carl Nielsen was born on this day in 1865. Originally a violinist, Nielsen studied violin and composition at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, where he later became a professor and ultimately the academy director. He worked there until his death in 1931. The Concerto for Flute and Orchestra was written in 1926 for Holger Gilbert-Jespersen, the flutist for the Copenhagen Wind Quintet.
Performed by Brianna Futch, flute and Claudio Olivera, piano
Du Yun, born on this day in 1977, is one of the most successful composers of our time having won the Pulitzer Prize as well as many other awards and fellowships. Her piece Run in a Graveyard asks the flutist to interpret a score filled with both standard notation and graphic instructions in response to an electronic track carrying out a texture sweep from pointillistic bleeps to overexposed clipping. Kenneth (UofSC ’14) worked with Du Yun in his version of this piece and finds the mix of specific notes and graphic score rewarding to perform. The process of learning the piece showed Du Yun’s affinity for collaboration as she explored possible realizations with Kenneth.
A Tale of Four Dragons by Fang Man
To celebrate Chinese New Year, today we share a work by Fang Man, a Chinese-born composer. Fang is a prolific composer of both large- and small-scale works, including electro-acoustic music and opera, and she is currently a professor of composition at USC. Her music has been performed by such ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group and the Tokyo Philharmonic. Her piece A Tale of Four Dragons, commissioned by Mimi Stillman, is written for a solo flutist who also provides narration of the titular story, an ancient Chinese folktale, between sections of the music. The composition is excerpted for this video.
Performed by Jennifer Parker-Harley, flute and Mike Harley, narrator
Cécile Chaminade, born on this day in 1857, was the first female composer to receive the Légion d’Honneur, the highest order of merit from the French government. While better known for her flute Concertino, this smaller piece is a lovely example of her French romantic composition style.
Performed by Jennifer Parker-Harley
Recorded by Jeff Francis
Jacques Ibert, born on this day in 1890, was a successful French composer. Pièce, according to an oft-told legend, was supposedly written over the course of a dinner party celebrating the premiere of Ibert’s flute concerto and was sight-read by Marcel Moyse on the same night. Regardless of the legend, this charming solo is a perfect reflection of Ibert’s neo-classical style and represents a large body of work inspired by the master flutist, Moyse.
Brianna Futch received her MM degree from USC in 2018.
Today we celebrate the birthday of Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy. Dennehy is the founder of Crash Ensemble, Ireland’s premier new music ensemble, and serves on the faculty of Princeton University. fAt was written for Irish flutist, William Dowdall and electronics in 2000.
Jenny Davis is a DMA student at the University of South Carolina.
Philippe Gaubert, born on this day in 1879, is well-respected as a flutist, composer, and pedagogue. As the flute professor at the Paris Conservatory, he wrote many of his compositions and methods to help the students there. This shorter piece is less often played but exhibits the flutist’s knowledge of the sonority of the instrument.
Today we celebrate the birthday of Alfredo Casella, born in 1883 in Italy. Casella was an avid promoter of Vivaldi’s compositions and is sometimes credited with the 20th-century resurrection of this master composer’s works. Despite being a composer at the turn of the century, many of Casella’s works invoke older styles including the dance forms that inspire the Barcarola and Scherzo forms of this piece.
Emily Stumpf received her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from USC and now lives and teaches in Columbia, SC.
Ernst Dohnanyi, born on this day in 1877, was a Hungarian composer whose career was modulated significantly by the two World Wars and the political upheaval surrounding them. His compositions are often neoromantic and their extensive use of chromaticism couples intriguing harmonies with high technical demands. Many flutists are familiar with his Passacaglia but this piece adds a more lyrical item to his flute output offering a taste of his lush harmonic language.
Jenny Davis is a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at USC.