Archive for October, 2011


John Wilcox

John Wilcox trained at Florida State University under Richard Bergen and is currently Associate Professor of Violin studies and Director of the Dana Chamber Orchestra at Youngstown State University. He is a past member of the first violin section of the National Symphony in Washington D.C., Concertmaster of the Warren Chamber Orchestra. and former Concertmaster of the Youngstown Symphony. He has also served as Primarius of the Youngstown Symphony String Quartet.

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Calvin Lewis studied violin with Bernhard Goldschmidt, David Updegraff and David Cerone at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He is Concertmaster of the Youngstown Symphony, Primarius of the Youngstown Symphony String Quartet and Associate Concertmaster of the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also served as Principal Second with the Wheeling and Canton Symphonies, and has played in the First violin section of the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra. He has performed at a host of festivals including the Lancaster Festival, Kent/Blossom Festival, Spoleto, and Breckenridge.

Joseph Edwards holds degrees from Youngstown State University and Michigan State University where he studied clarinet performance with Robert Marcellus, Principal Clarinet of the Cleveland Orchestra; renowned teacher, Keith Stein and Elsa Ludwig Verdehr of the Verdehr Trio.Edwards joined the
faculty in 1969 after his tenure at Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa. He has participated in several professional recordings, and appears frequently as guest soloist and clinician with high school and college ensembles. He has also served as Principal Clarinet of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the American Wind Symphony. Sioux City Symphony, Detroit Concert Band, Blossom Festival at Band and the Cleveland Symphonic Winds. Currently, he is a member of the Warren Chamber Orchestra and the Dana Woodwind Quintet.

Timothy Ehlen received his training with John Perry at the University of Southern California and with Paul Schenly at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He served as Schenly’s teaching assistant while earning his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He is currently on the piano faculty of the University of Oklahoma at Norman.

Ehlen has concertized widely in the USA and abroad as a piano soloist, in chamber music. and as part of the Ehlen-Oltmann’s Piano Duo. His 1987 Alice Tully Hall debut in New York City received critical acclaim.

A participant in many international competitions, Ehlen recently served on the international jury of the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati. He has performed frequently on major radio stations in Los Angeles, New York and Ohio and has premiered several new works for piano or piano duo, including Robert Rollin’s Two Contrasts for Two Pianos. His recordings include a CD of chamber works on the Crystal label.

[Note: this CD-jacket bio was written in 2000 before Walter Mony’s passing. Visit www.waltermony.com for more information on this deeply-missed musician and educator.]

WALTER MONY was born in Winnipeg, Canada, where at an early age he studied violin with George Bornoff and John Waterhouse and was a frequent winner of festival competitions. Subsequently, he was awarded the overseas scholarship based on the examinations of the Board of the Royal School of Music, where he went to study under the renowned Albert Sammons, Henry Holst, and later with Max Rostal. He was also a master class student of Henryk Szeryng. Mony was soon involved in the music industry, where he became the Assistant Principal of the London Symphony Orchestra and a member of the world-renowned touring Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Thomas Beecham.

He was the founder member of a number of professional chamber groups. It was a recital tour that took him to South Africa. Apart from the extensive involvement there with chamber groups such as the Nederburg Trio, with which he recorded extensively on major labels, he toured the whole of southern Africa giving concerto performances He performed the South African premieres of the concertos of Stravinsky, Walton, Suk, Shostakovich and Bartok, as well as the standard repertoire. Foremost South African composers such as Graham Newcater and Carl van Wyk, have composed concertos for him. He is equally versatile on the violin and viola.

Mony is active as a string clinician, adjudicator of international competitions, and lecturer throughout Africa, North America, South America and Europe. He also pursues a busy career as a conductor of professional and youth orchestras. Since 1982 he has served as Professor in the Chair of Music and Head of the Department at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The University has conferred on him the status of Professor Emeritus and Honorary Professorial Research Fellow. Many of his Students hold prominent teaching and playing positions in Europe, the UK, USA and southern Africa. He was also Director of the Total Oil Recording Project, which produced a number of CD’s of orchestral works by living South African composers. In recent years he has been involved in outreach programs for the disadvantaged children of South African townships.

06: THE RAVENS: THE KEEPER IN SUMMER

(John Wilcox, violin / Walter Mony, viola) • These two pieces are part of a set of three violin/viola duos commissioned by Walter Mony. Greensleeves Variations, the first piece of the set was written for Susan Rollin the composer’s daughter, and is recorded by the Mony/Wilcox Duo on Dana Recording Project/Nemus Records CD 2001.

The Ravens, second in the set, is a theme and five variations on the sad and courtly love song, The Three Ravens, composed in the early 1600’s by Thomas Ravenscroft.

The Keeper in Summer employs two early English pieces, the folk song The Keeper and Sumer is Icumen In, a Thirteenth Century English Round. The setting consists of the following quodlibet form:
Keeper theme + var. 1; Sumer theme + var. 1; Keeper variations 2 & 3; Sumer variations 2 & 3; 2 bar interjected Schumann paraphrase; Keeper and Sumer in simultaneous counterpoint; 2 bar interjected Schumann paraphrase; Keeper and Sumer in simultaneous inverted counterpoint.

05: SUITE CONCERTANT

(Walter Mony, violin / Tomoko Long, piano) • The Suite Concertant is a transcription by the composer of his Violin Concerto, which was premiered by Gwyneth Rollin and the State of Jalisco Philharmonic under its conductor Jose Guadaloupe Flores in the beautiful Degollado Theater in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Suite Concertant was premiered in Youngstown, Ohio by Gwyneth Rollin with the composer at the piano. It is in three contrasting movements, each with its own solo violin cadenza. The first movement, Blues, incorporates original themes with two old American folk songs, Every Night When the Sun Goes Down and Careless Love. The second, Barcarolle, a Venetian boat song, employs original themes and an old Sicilian lullaby with counterpoints and harmonization by Rollin. It has the unusual feature of ending with a solo violin cadenza fading into silence. The third movement, Rhapsody, beginning with original themes, leads into paraphrases of two Russian/Jewish folk songs (Margaritkes and Die Mezinke Oysgegeben), one very sad and wistful about a young maiden deserted by her lover, and the other, a rousing dance by a proud father as he gives away his daughter in marriage and celebrates with abandon in a large catered party. There follows a cyclical return to original opening material of the first movement interspersed with fragments of the two folk songs. A virtuoso solo violin cadenza ensues, followed by an exciting closing tutti suddenly cut off by six powerful syncopated chords for full orchestra.

04: THREE SPANISH SOUND IMAGES

(Michal George, guitar) • The Three Spanish Sound Images for solo guitar were derived from the three cadenzas of Rollin’s Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra. In the first, original material is followed by a haunting ancient Ladmo melody (Cuando El Rey Nimrod) presented with the composer’s harmonization. The second employs original themes. The third hints at a corrido theme from the Texas-Mexico border region, but never quotes it directly. The pieces close with a delicately transformed Phrygian cadence associated with Spanish music.

Roman Castillo

03: ROMAN CASTILLO

(Walter Mony, violin / Tomoko Long, piano) • Roman Castillo is a corrido, a ballad which originally came from the Spanish Romance poetic form. It is a much beloved lyric throughout Mexico. The modern Mexican Corrido may take the form of a singer/guitarist wandering from table to table in a quiet, walled, outdoor restaurant, or a lively mariachi ensemble filling a town square with its exuberant sounds. Rollin encountered the melody during his several composer residencies in Guadalajara, Mexico. The strophic setting joins the traditional melody with attractive invertible counterpoints.

Klezmer Dance

02: KLEZMER DANCE

(Walter Mony, violin / Tomoko Long, piano) • Klezmer Dance is a lively theme and variations on the Russian/Jewish Chassidic folk song, Hulyet, Hulyet Kinderlach! (Play Children, Play!). In the song an old woman is watching a group of young children at play and exhorts them to enjoy themselves while they can because the time “from spring to winter passes by as quickly as the jump of a cat.” Invertible counterpoint, asymmetrical phrase extensions, and some interesting modulations are present.