As the environmental movement took hold in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and “save the whales” became more than just a bumper sticker, George Crumb’s groundbreaking Vox Balaenae provided a distinct musical voice to this cause while creating a richly vivid landscape (or seascape) of sound and texture. Crumb puts the contemporary relationship between man and whale on a much broader scale, painting a picture that encapsulates the vast spans of history that predate man’s interaction with the sea and its inhabitants before introducing the inevitable conflict. This chronological musical journey touches upon elements of science, history, religion and existential philosophy, as well various moral and ethical questions. The players each wear black half-masks throughout the performance of the work. In Crumb’s own words, “by effacing a sense of human projection, [the masks] will symbolize the powerful, impersonal faces of nature,” while the oft-used blue lighting enhances the figurative immersion into the sea. Although inspired by recordings of humpback whale song, Crumb bypasses the use of tape and instead calls upon the three musicians to produce sounds naturally aided by amplification and extended technique, allowing for a remarkable scope of range in dynamics, color and emotion.
Voice of the Whale
Cello, Flute, and Piano
Recorded Date: 22-09-2013
Canadian cellist Arlen Hlusko began her studies with Anne Vallentyne at the Hamilton Suzuki School. She is currently a student at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, USA, where she is the recipient of the Jacqueline du Pre Memorial Fellowship, and Principal Cellist of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. She studies with both Carter Brey (Principal of the New York Philharmonic), and Peter Wiley (former cellist of the Guarneri String Quartet). She has also studied with Andres Diaz, John Kadz, Ronald Leonard, David Hetherington, and Roberta Janzen.
Arlen has performed extensively as soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician throughout North America, and in Ireland, Germany, and China. She has performed solo with many orchestras, including the Calgary Philharmonic, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique de Sherbrooke, and the Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Orchestra. She has also been awarded top prizes in several competitions, including Calgary Kiwanis’ prestigious “Rose Bowl”, and Best Performance by a Cellist at the Kingsville International Music Competition. Arlen is an avid chamber musician, and has collaborated with such artists as Lynn Harrell, Andres Diaz, Ronald Leonard, Daniel Phillips, Roger Tapping, and the Tokyo String Quartet.
In the 2012-13 season, Arlen will be performing throughout the United States, Canada, Korea, and China, and appearing with such artists as the Borromeo String Quartet and Roberto Diaz. She will also be performing as Principal Cellist of the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in December 2012.
Arlen was a cello teacher for 2 years with “Youth Orchestra Los Angeles”, and was asked to speak at a symposium called “Composing Change: YOLA and the El Sistema Movement” at the Los Angeles Philharmonic in May 2010 because of her work there. Since her move to Philly, she has become involved as a teacher with “Play on, Philly!”, and also has experience teaching advanced placement music theory and ear training in the Colburn School of Performing Arts alongside Douglas Dutton.
Arlen plays on a Giovanni Battista Guadagnini cello, generously on loan to her by the Curtis Institute of Music.
Mimi Stillman is one of today’s most celebrated flutists. She has been hailed by The New York Times as “a consummate and charismatic performer” and by The Diario de Yucatán as “an amazing flutist” praising her “exquisite purity of sound and depth of emotion”. Ms. Stillman is “a magically gifted flutist, a breath of fresh air”, writes The Washington Post. Critically acclaimed for her dazzling artistry, technical brilliance, and penetrating interpretation, she has performed as soloist with orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, Bach Collegium Stuttgart, Orquesta Sinfónica de Yucatán, Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra 2001, Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, Delaware County Symphony, and as recitalist and chamber musician at venues including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, The Kimmel Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art, New York’s Symphony Space, Brooklyn’s Roulette, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard Musical Association, Princeton University, Cornell University, La Jolla Chamber Music Society, Verbier Festival, Kingston Chamber Music Festival, Lake George Music Festival, Bay Chamber Concert Series, and Israel radio Kol HaMusica.
Mimi Stillman is a Renaissance woman – acclaimed artist, entrepreneuse, historian, writer, and educator. At age 12, she was the youngest wind player ever admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Julius Baker and Jeffrey Khaner. A Yamaha Performing Artist, she was the youngest wind player ever to win Young Concert Artists. She has won numerous other prizes, awards, and competitions including Astral Artists, fellowships from the Earhart and Bradley Foundations, the Arthur W. Foote Award, and the 2012 Women in the Arts Award from Women for Greater Philadelphia. She can be heard on several CDs and recorded a film score for Kevin Bacon. Her recording “Odyssey: 11 American Premieres for Flute and Piano,” a 2-CD set with pianist Charles Abramovic (Innova), has received rave reviews and radio plays on four continents.
Ms. Stillman holds an MA in history from the University of Pennsylvania and is a published author on music and history. Her articles have appeared in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World, The Flutist Quarterly, and other journals. She is the author of Nuits d’étoiles: 8 Early Songs, an award-winning book of arrangements of Debussy’s songs. She has given flute masterclasses, lecture-recitals, and new music symposia at institutions including the Eastman School of Music, University of California, University of Arizona, National Flute Association, Texas Flute Society, the Escuela Superior de Artes de Yucatán (ESAY), New York Flute Society, Cornell University, George Mason University, San Diego Flute Society, Upper Midwest Flute Society, and as flute masterclass and chamber music clinician for Yamaha. Ms. Stillman’s unique project Syrinx Journey, a tribute to Claude Debussy on his 150th anniversary through her daily recordings of Syrinx on her blog, garnered an international following.
Ms. Stillman is on faculty at Curtis Institute of Music Summerfest, where she teaches in programs devoted to chamber and orchestral music for adults, flute masterclass, and the Young Artist Summer Program (YASP), and is Distinguished Faculty Chair of the Shirley Curtiss Center for Woodwind Studies at Settlement Music School.
As Artistic and Executive Director of Dolce Suono Ensemble, which she founded in 2005, Mimi Stillman has presided over its establishment as a highly regarded pioneering force in the music world. In addition to performances including venues in Philadelphia, New York, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Chicago, Rhode Island, and at Bard College and the premieres of 32 commissioned works in 9 seasons, Dolce Suono Ensemble won the 2013 Knight Arts Challenge for its “Música en tus Manos” engagement initiative with the Latino community of Philadelphia. Dolce Suono Ensemble enjoys a partnership with the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program of Washington National Opera at the invitation of Plácido Domingo.
Ms. Stillman’s 2014-2015 engagements include recitals, masterclasses, and chamber music performances at the Kingston Chamber Music Festival, for the National Flute Association, on the Young Concert Artists series at Merkin Hall in New York, on the Laurel Hill Candlelight Concerts series in Philadelphia, as soloist with the Old York Road Symphony and with Anthony Newman’s Bedford Chamber Concerts ensemble, on a recital and masterclass tour presented by Yamaha at Indiana University, DePaul University, Indiana State University and other venues in Illinois and Indiana, and as flute masterclass clinican at Yamaha’s Music for All Festival in Indianapolis and performer and coach at the new chamber music initiative of Music for All. With the Dolce Suono Ensemble, she gives performances on the DSE Presents series in Philadelphia, for Curtis Presents, in a residency at Lake George Music Festival and on a tour of South Carolina. Ms. Stillman’s two forthcoming CDs for release this season include “Music of Freedom” with her duo pianist Charles Abramovic in premiere recordings by Richard Danielpour, David Finko, and Mieczyslaw Weinberg and DSE’s “Mahler 100 / Schoenberg 60” project with soloist Eric Owens, bass-baritone in works by Mahler and commissions by David Ludwig, Steven Mackey, and Steven Stucky. www.mimistillman.org
Hailed by Harris Goldsmith of The New York Concert Review as "a magnificent
artist and poet", pianist Amy Yang is already a seasoned performer and collaborator. A
rising star who, “artistically, has fully arrived” (Philadelphia Inquirer), Ms. Yang’s
performances “elevate joy to the edge of rapture” and “convey the exuberance and
enthusiasm of youth” (Star-Telegram).
This summer, she performed at OK Mozart, Chamber Music Northwest, Music in
May, and Olympic Music Festivals; and looks forward to the next season of concerts
across the United States. She will make her debut with The Great Hall Chamber Orchestra
playing Schumann’s Piano Concerto in March, 2012. Founder of The Schumann Project,
Ms. Yang is curating a special series of concerts and lectures to present Schumann’s
complete major solo piano, chamber, and vocal works.
An experienced performer, Ms. Yang has concertized in major concert halls
throughout the U.S. and abroad in Spain, Poland, Turkey, Switzerland, and China. She has
soloed with the Houston Symphony; attended the Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia
Festival, Prussia Cove Master Classes, Verbier Academy; and been a guest artist at Music
from Angel Fire, Canandaigua Lake Festival, OK Mozart Festival, Chamber Music
Northwest, Music in May, and Olympic Music Festivals.
Passionate about chamber music, she has shared the stage with extraordinary
artists as Richard Goode, David Soyer, Peter Wiley, Arnold Steinhardt, Michael Tree, Ida
and Ani Kavafian, David Shifrin, Miriam Fried, Ida Levin, Philip Setzer, Judith Serkin, Fred
Sherry, Tara Helen O'Conor, Paul Neubauer, Anne-Marie and Kerry McDermott, Marina
Piccinini, Cynthia Raim, Joseph Lin, and Kim Kashkashian.
Three recordings expect imminent release: a CD with violinist Chen Xi (Chinese
National Record Label) and a live CD and DVD documentary from a tour of Spain with
clarinetist Jose Franch-Ballester (Itinerant Records).
Ms. Yang is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, and
The Yale School of Music, where she received the Parisot Prize for an Outstanding Piano
Student as well as the Alumni Association Prize. Her principal teachers are Timothy
Hester, Claude Frank, Robert McDonald, and Peter Frankl.
She loves literature, psychology, art history, drawing and painting and often
contributes artwork to benefit concert series. www.amyjyang.com