Composer Nathan Hall is fascinated with the huge, vibrant paintings of abstract painter Clyfford Still. Nathan recently set out to compose music about about Still, and combed through the painter's writings to set some of the colorful passages to music. Hear "Notes From Clyfford Still," performed by the Playground Ensemble in the CPR Performance Studio -- and hear how Nathan created the piece -- in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
“Centennial Sounds” spotlights contemporary classical music performed in Colorado.
The episodes also feature interviews with 21st-century composers who call Colorado home as well as internationally renowned composers whose work is performed here.
Composer Michael Ippolito tried an unusual approach when he wrote a piece for the Altius Quartet. He sat down with a cello, instrument he'd barely played since middle school. His experiments with an instrument he’d largely forgotten how to play took his music to surprising places. Hear Michael Ippolito’s String Quartet No. 4 performed by the Altius Quartet in the CPR Performance Studio -- and the backstory of this new piece -- in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
Composer Julia Wolfe lives in Lower Manhattan, just blocks from where the Twin Towers once stood. She and her family watched 9/11 unfold around them, and dealt with the aftermath. She wrote one of her most stark, concise works as a response. She called it “Compassion.” Hear the piece performed in concert by pianist Conrad Tao at the Aspen Music Festival and School -- and more of Julia's story -- in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
Composer Loretta Notareschi remembers early motherhood as one of the hardest moments of her life. She felt completely in love with her infant daughter but she also grappled with a frightening postpartum mood disorder. She decided to use music to tell her story, and start a conversation with others going through the same thing. Hear Loretta’s piece, “String Quartet OCD,” performed by the Playground Ensemble String Quartet in the CPR Performance Studio, and the story behind the composition, in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
Composer Kevin Michael Olson used to work in a lab that developed military technology. And he wrote about that experience in his music. It sounded pretty dark. So one day, he wanted to write something that sounded less heavy. The piano music that came out sounded more complicated than he intended. It’s filled with stark contrasts. He called it “Dichotomiae.” Hear pianist Hsing-ay Hsu play the piece in an exclusive CPR Performance Studio session, and the story behind the composition, in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
Composer Egemen Kesikli spent last summer in his home country of Turkey. He was waiting to return to the United States, where he studied composition at the University of Colorado. Then Egemen heard about the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Forty-nine people died at the popular gay club. Egemen, who is gay, felt horrified. He dealt with the shock by writing a string quartet. Hear an exclusive CPR Performance Studio recording of the piece played by Playground Ensemble -- and the story of how Egemen shaped his sadness into music -- in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
The contemporary chamber ensemble yMusic set out to make a different kind of classical record with its latest release. The group enlisted one of its favorite collaborators, Son Lux, to compose an album of compositions with the feel of a rock LP. The result is called "First." Hear a CPR Performance Studio recording of two pieces from the album, and the story of the record's creation, in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
A few years ago, composer Carter Pann heard the saxophonists in the Capitol Quartet in concert. The music blew him away. He convinced the group to collaborate with him, and the resulting piece -- called "The Mechanics" -- made Carter a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Hear a CPR Performance Studio recording of the piece by the up-and-coming Black Diamond Saxophone Quartet -- and the story of what inspired Carter's piece -- in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
Caroline Shaw's 'This Might Also Be A Form Of Dreaming' With Roomful Of Teeth And Playground Ensemble
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw writes music for the voice that catches you off guard. The singers in Roomful of Teeth talk over each other, break into huge chords and use stunning vocal techniques from all over the world. Caroline has a new piece for Roomful of Teeth, called "This Might Also Be a Form of Dreaming." Here's a live recording of that composition, featuring Roomful of Teeth and Denver's Playground Ensemble -- plus a look at why Caroline is so excited about the new piece -- in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.
She’s a composer in Los Angeles who blends her favorite sounds from Indian and Western classical music. He’s a musician in Boulder who plays the 14-string viola d’amore -- a unique instrument that captivated composers more than 300 years ago. Their collaboration created an extraordinary piece of music called “Nishani.” Hear an exclusive recording of it captured in the CPR Performance Studio -- and the story of how the music came together -- in the debut episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.