Violin, Viola & Video Virtuosity
Recorded During a Live Webcast from Evergroove Studio, Thursday, April 26, 2012.
Next in program: LETTER TO AVIGDOR vimeo.com/44128217
"The Red Curtain Dance is an excerpt from my chamber opera The Dybbuk. The solo composition is written in a free ballad form, telling the story of two young individuals: Leah, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, and Hannan, a poor Yeshiva student. The two love each other secretly, but due to their different social status they cannot fulfill their desire to each other and unite in marriage. The composition depicts a scene in which Leah and Hannan cross paths in the synagogue and greet each other gently and silently. Understanding that he will never be able to realize his great love to Leah, Hannan starts dancing in a dream-like manner. The dance starts as a mixture of piety, melancholy and eroticism, but increasingly becomes more intense, obsessive and frenzied. At the end, Hannan is exhausted -- he loses his desire to live without his beloved." (Ofer Ben-Amots)
Born in Haifa, in 1955, Israel, OFER BEN-AMOTS gave his first piano concert at age nine and at age sixteen was awarded first prize in the Chet Piano Competition. Later, following composition studies with Joseph Dorfman at Tel Aviv University, he was invited to study at the Conservatoire de Musique in Geneva, Switzerland. There he studied with Pierre Wismer and privately with Alberto Ginastera. Ben- Amots is an alumnus of the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany, where he studied with Martin C. Redel and Dietrich Manicke and graduated with degrees in composition, music theory , and piano. Upon his arrival in the United States in 1987, Ben-Amots studied with George Crumb at the University of Pennsylvania where he received his Ph.D. in music composition. Currently on the faculty of Colorado College, Dr. Ben-Amots is a Professor of music composition and theory.
Ofer Ben-Amots’ compositions are performed regularly in concert halls and festivals Worldwide. His music has been performed by such orchestras as the Munich Philharmonic, ÖRF - Austrian Radio Orchestra, Bruckner Orchestra, Zürich Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Moscow Camerata, Heidelberg, Erfurt, Brandenburg, the Filarmonici di Sicili, the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Milano Chamber Orchestra, Portland Chamber Orchestra, and the Colorado Springs Symphony among others. His compositions have been professionally recorded by the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Barcelona Symphony, the BBC Singers, and the renowned Czech choir Permonik. Ben-Amots has received commissions and grants from the MacArthur Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, Maurice Amado Foundation, Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival, Fuji International Music Festival in Japan, Delta Ensemble from Amsterdam, Assisi Musiche Festival, and many others.
Ofer Ben-Amots is the winner of the 1994 Vienna International Competition for Composers. His chamber opera, Fool’s P aradise, was premiered in Vienna during the 1994 festival Wien modern and has become subsequently part of the 1994/95 season of Opernhaus Zürich. He is recipient of the 1988 Kavannagh Prize for his composition
Fanfare for Orchestra and the Gold Award at South Africa’s 1993 Roodepoort International Competition for Choral Composition. His Avis Urbanus for amplified flute was awarded First Prize at the 1991 Kobe International Competition for Flute Composition in Japan, and a required composition at the 1993 Kobe Flute Performance Competition. In 1999, Ben-Amots was awarded the Aaron Copland Award and the Music Composition Artist Fellowship by the Colorado Council on the Arts. In 2004 he won the Festiladino, an international contest for Judeo- Spanish songs, a part of the Israel Festival in Jerusalem. Dr. Ben-Amots is a member of the Advisory Board and the Editorial Board of the Milken Foundation American-Jewish Music Archive. In addition, he is a Jerusalem Fellow of the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity and its Artistic Director for North America since 1997.
Ofer Ben-Amots’ works have been repeatedly recognized for their emotional and highly personal expression. The interweaving of folk elements with contemporary textures, along with his unique imaginative orchestration, creates the haunting dynamic tension that permeates and defines Mr. Ben- Amots’ musical language. His music has been published by Baerenreiter, Kallisti Music Press, Muramatsu Inc., Dorn, and Tara Publications. It can be heard on Naxos, Vantage, Plæne, Stylton, and Music Sources recording labels.
KAREN BENTLEY POLLICK has performed as violinist with Paul Dresher’s Electro-Acoustic Ensemble since 1999 and performs a wide range of solo repertoire and styles on violin, viola, piano and Norwegian hardangerfele. A native of Palo Alto, California, she studied with Camilla Wicks in San Francisco and with Yuval Yaron, Josef Gingold and Rostislav Dubinsky at Indiana University where she received both Bachelors and Masters of Music Degrees in Violin Performance. She has several recordings of original music, including Electric Diamond, Angel, Konzerto and Succubus and Ariel View, for which she has received three music awards from Just Plain Folks, including Best Instrumental Album and Best Song. On her own record label Ariel Ventures she has produced Dancing Suite to Suite, , and Homage to Fiddlers and Bebop for Beagles. She filmed Dan Tepfer’s Solo Blues for Violin and Piano in Shoal Creek, Alabama, in June 2009.
Pollick was concertmaster of the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 1984 and has participated in the June in Buffalo and Wellesley Composers Conferences. She has appeared as soloist with Redwood Symphony in the world premiere of Swedish composer Ole Saxe’s Dance Suite for Violin and Orchestra, the Alabama Symphony, and orchestras in Panama, Russia, Alaska, New York and California. She has performed in recital with Russian pianist/composer Ivan Sokolov at the American Academy of Rome, Seattle, New York City and Colorado, throughout the Czech Republic with cellist Dennis Parker at the American Spring Festival, and in England at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Along with choreographer Teri Weksler and percussionist John Scalici, Pollick received a Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham 2008 Interdisciplinary Grant to Individual Artists. Pollick received a grant from the Alabama State Council for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts for her March 2010 Solo Violin and Alternating Currents concerts in Birmingham, Seattle and at Music Olomouc 2011. With Australian pianist Lisa Moore, Pollick formed the duo Prophet Birds in spring 2009 and the Double Duo with Paul Dresher and Joel Davel. Pollick performs on a violin made by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume in 1860 and a viola made in 1987 by William Whedbee. She currently resides in Evergreen, Colorado.
SHERI WILLS is an artist whose work is based in film, video performance & installation. Her work has been exhibited around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the London Film Festival, the Director’s Lounge in Berlin, the San Francisco Cinematheque and the International Film Festival in Rotterdam. Her work is featured in the Rizzoli book Sonic Graphics: Seeing Sound, by Matt Woolman. She holds an MFA in filmmaking & an MA in art history, theory & criticism, both from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her collaborations include video projects with music composed by Bright Sheng, Jan Jirásek, Charles Norman Mason, and Ofer Ben-Amots and video performances with music ensembles, including the Providence String Quartet and Luna Nova New Music Ensemble. Sheri Wills is a professor of art and the director of the film/media program at the University of Rhode Island. She lives in New York City.