Archive for December, 2011

A note from composer Hayg Boyadjian

I received this note on December 19th from composer Hayg Boyadjian.  I premiered his new lullaby, “Cancion de Cuna” on December 10 & 18 in Cambridge & Nashua.  I recorded and performed his ‘Mi Tango’ on an Albany Records release in 2010 (Listen or Watch)

Dear Aaron:

I was very impressed in a number of ways at your New Lullaby Project Premiere Concert at the New Music School on Saturday evening where you performed twelve lullabies for guitar solo, a good number of them world premieres, including my lullaby “Cancion de Cuna”.
Performing twelve mostly new works by twelve living composers is in my mind a great accomplishment, given the amount of work involved in learning these twelve pieces, which must have required a great deal of commitment on your part. I should say that we composers are lucky to have a musician of your caliber and dedication in presenting these new works to audiences. One would have a hard time to imagine the challenges that you faced in learning these works written in a musical language that is not traditional, as the concert of Saturday demonstrated. I would wish that other musicians were as dedicated as you are in promoting the works of living composers, it is a priviledge to have you as a champion of our compositions.
Finally I should add that I enjoyed the performances of all the twelve lullabies. Each one of them written in a different musical idiom and each one communicating a different mood made the concert very interesting for its given variety.
Thank you for all your dedication to new music,

Hayg Boyadjian-composer

Hayg Boyadjian

Hayg & Aaron, Wellfleet 2010

2011 – A Musical Year in Review

El Show de Fernandito w/Marisela Marrero & Leonard Caplan

Welcome to my first Year-in-Review.  All of the names words with underlines are links.  Please check out the amazing collaborators, awesome publications and very cool video and recordings.   Enjoy,


2011 started off with a bang with a program titled, “A Minor Concert of Major Works”.  The last third featuring the awesome Kai-Ching Chang on piano for the Concierto de Aranjuez.  The concert earned my first review with the Boston Musical Intelligencer (Read Here). I also returned to El Show de Fernandito for a performance & interview (Watch).  Got moving on Twitter:  @AaronLC

John McDonald

February: A return to Harvard University’s Pusey Room Series, directed by Carson Cooman with the wonderful Duo Diavolo (Orlando Cela).  My debut at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester (cupcakes included) was followed by a return to John McDonald’s Composition Seminar at Tufts University for a new lullaby sharing, and a trip out west to CSU Bakersfield, where Jim Scully & Roger Allen Cope hosted me for a recital and master class on their Guitar Arts Concert Series. Reviews of my New Lullaby CD appeared in Classical Guitar Magazine, Fanfare Magazine (2x), The Triangle, American Record Guide.

Woodville H.S., New Hampshire

Explaining the magic of nails at Lakeway Elem., Littleton, NH

March: A concert of contemporary music and a master class at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas was made possible by the wonderful New Lullaby composer Nolan Stolz (listen & watch on YouTube).  I returned to Colorado for concerts with the Alamosa Live Music Association (go Lucas Salazar!) at Adams State College, house concerts in Denver and Boulder, as well as much needed downtime in some amazing hot springs.  My return to Boston heard concerts for the Ligue Francophone and one of the most fantastic endeavors of 2011: a 13-performance, 3-concert and 3-workshop (20 events!) residency in one week in Northern New Hampshire (900 miles of driving!), sponsored by the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire (AANNH) and NEFA.  Amazing!

Alamosa after-party, Mexican style

Gabriela Granados

April: After a giant blizzard, the AANNH Residency finished with a concert by Duo Diavolo.  The magical dancer Gabriela Granados & I brought ¡Con Fuego! to Springfield for a lively concert with City Music Springfield.  I appeared solo on Canary Burton’s ‘The Latest Score’ on WOMR, Provincetown.  Reached 600 fans on Facebook!

May: Premieres of New Lullabies by Thomas Schuttenhelm and Michael Veloso in Cohasset & Boston, Mass.  Started Greater Boston House Concerts with the first performance by violinist Shaw-Pong Liu. Joined the faculty of the Boston Conservatory with Berit Strong and Olav Chris Henriksen to revamp the classical guitar program; a very cool month!

Thomas Schuttenhelm

June: Repeat performance of the May New Lullabies and ¡Con Fuego! was joined by cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer for its debut, during a downpour, at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, CT.  A repeat performance in Cambridge rocked!  WATCH Polo by De Falla (cello & guitar)

Rafael Popper-Keizer at Arts Ideas

July: Demonstrated how to say ¡Olé¡ at an Enrichment Program in the Berkshires (watch). Read review.  I gave a Spanish themed performance for the 2nd Greater Boston House Concert. (Read review)

Teo Morca, Catherine, Gabriela, Cee Bearden

August: ¡Con Fuego! set out west with Gabriela Granados, Catherine Larget-Caplan as navigator, for performances in Taos, NM (Taos Academy of Arts), & Alamosa (KRZA), Leadville (Tabor Opera House) and Centennial, Colorado.

September: Hurricane moved concerts and I moved people, musically speaking, on Cape Cod and at the University of Vermont in Burlington, where I premiered the first two 12-tone New Lullabies by Jacob Mashak and Patricia Julien and a 3-voice lullaby by Alan Fletcher.

October: Performances with pianist John Thomas and a solo enrichment program on the Cape and New Hampshire.  A new lullaby by Canary Burton was premiered as well.  Went down to Texas for debut performances at Esquina Tango in Austin & the Greater Houston Guitar Guild (radio too LISTEN). Sadly, Fort Worth fell through thanks to United/Continental (not fun!).  Texas premieres by Hayg Boyadjian, Jonathan Feist, Alan Fletcher, and Michael Veloso.  My work as an Artist Entrepreneur was featured in an article in the International Music Fraternity Mu Phi Epsilon’s magazine, The Triangle:  Building a career through talent and savvy.

Valerie Hartzell & GHGG

Apple Store Boston

November: Duo Diavolo teamed up for more concerts with Greater Boston House Concerts performing in Boston, Newton and Cape Cod the awesome music of Ravi Shankar, Astor Piazzolla, Enrique Granados and Toru Takemitsu. Reached 800 fans on Facebook!

Aaron & Orlando - Duo Diavolo

December: Duo Diavolo performed for the NEFA Idea Swap. The awesome chamber work Sextour Mystique (Mystic Sextet) by Villa-Lobos was performed by myself and  students from the Boston Conservatory.
• I recorded & released my first digital single:  Summertime by Gershwin arranged by Takemitsu (click to listen).
New Lullaby Project Concert was featured in the Jewish Advocate and the Dorchester Reporter.
A solo performance at the Apple Store was followed by a New Lullaby Project Premiere Concert of 12 New Lullabies (#’s 18-30) in Cambridge, MA and at Studio 99 in Nashua, NH, with seven composers present and milk & cookies.  The year ended with a performance and interview on Jewish Perspectives, a monthly program on Boston NBC 7.

New Lullaby Concert, 12/10/11, Francine Trester, Hayg Boyadjian, John McDonald, Martin Schreiner, Demetrius Spaneas, Patricia Julien and Jacob Mashak

2011 turned out to be pretty darn awesome!

***I know none of this would not be possible with the great love and support I receive from my wife Catherine Larget-Caplan and her sister Caroline. Thanks to the amazing composers who entrust their music to me; my duo partner Orlando Cela; all the organizations and people listed for making the concert/piece/article possible.  And to each person who takes a moment to just listen.  You rock!

Most Photos & Video courtesy of Catherine

Jewish Perspective on NBC, Dec. 25, 2011

I had the great honor of being interviewed and performing a few pieces on the Boston’s NBC 7 for the monthly show, Jewish Perspective.  I spoke mainly about the New Lullaby Project but wonderful questions got me speaking about sound, how we listen and my own background prior to classical music.  Playing live, with only the camera as audience, is a wonderful challenge that was both exhilarating and daunting.  

I performed two New Lullabies from the New Lullaby CD, Leaky Roof and No Time (listen), both by Jonathan Feist.  I also performed a beautiful arrangement by Toru Takemitsu of George Gershwin’s Summertime (iTunes).  I had recently recorded Summertime and seeing that it was winter I found it timely.

Jonathan Feist & Aaron on Jonathan's pond

It aired at 6am on Sunday morning and though I was up working until 3:30am I did not get to see it.  I hope to have some video from the show in early January.  If you did see the show please tell me what you thought. Thanks!

“ps. I should add that it is a bit ironic to have Gershwin and Jonathan Feist on a Jewish show on Christmas. Born Jewish, both have no use for religion. Feist recommended “It Ain’t Necessarily So” for an encore…”

JP photos by Catherine

Thoughts on the New Lullaby Project Premiere Concerts

On December 10th, I had the great honor of performing 12 New Lullabies:  five world premieres, seven Cambridge premieres.  It was fascinating!
The oldest lullaby was written in 2009 and the rest come from 2010-2011.  Also present at the recital were 7 of the 12 composers, a great honor, and a milk & cookies reception (thank you cookie composers and Catherine & Caroline!)  The program was repeated on 12/18/11 at Studio 99 in Nashua.  The Milk and Cookies were quite a wonderful treat.  Organic milk is always a must!   Read on for my thoughts on the pieces and some video.

The Program:

Wiegenlied (2011) by Thomas Schuttenhelm
The Moon Through The Window Shines Down (2009) by Thomas L. Read
Lullaby in Three Voices (2011) by Alan Fletcher
Song for Daddy* (2011) by Francine Trester
Cancion de Cuna* (2010) by Hayg Boyadjian
Upward* (2011) by John McDonald
Whispers (2011) by Canary Burton
A Lullaby for Restless Times* (2010) by Martin Schreiner
Little Dancer (2010) by Michael Veloso
After Many Days Without Rain (2011) by Patricia Julien
Lulubye (2011) by Jacob Mashak
A Child Sings at Thanksgiving *(2010) by Demetrius Spaneas
* World Premiere

Aaron and New Lullaby Project Composers: Trester, Boyadjian, McDonald, Schreiner, Spaneas, Julien, Mashak

Played without an intermission and a minimum of talking, relatively speaking, the concert was just about an hour.  I found the greatest challenge to the program to be actually creating an order to the program.  Though each piece was unique in its musical language of a lullaby the pacing of the concert was a concern.  A flashy start and finish was impossible, yet the basic of a program needed to be present:  beginning, middle and end.

I found myself creating rough descriptions of the pieces either in their harmonic qualities or their construction, i.e. 12-tone, contrapuntal, repetitive, tonal, warm vs. sparse.

My Thoughts (these are not final and do not represent the composer’s, see their program notes for that)

I opened with Wiegenlied by Thomas Schuttenhelm, as since its premiere in May 2011 it has received repeated performances, so I felt very comfortable, but also it has qualities that I love, harmonics, unusual harmonies, and a lulling middle section that I think exemplifies the New Lullaby Project: it is contemporary music and clearly a lullaby.  Thomas also writes some mean program notes (click here to read)

Thomas L. Read‘s lullaby received its premiere in 2010 and though simple in its construction (repetitive bass figure and heart breaking melody) it is actually quite a challenge.  In an effort to keep lines legato and the bass figure consistent the left hand does some wonderful acrobats.  Though I find the piece full of a restrained passion it is hypnotic.  A real gem.

Alan Fletcher’s Lullaby in 3 Voices is the most technically difficult of this program and possibly of the whole batch of New Lullabies.  I don’t say that as a criticism, for I find it quite beautiful and though I have heard the moments of magic they don’t always occur in the concert!  A mere 30 measures, the piece requires the performer to hear and respect each of the three voices (each singing a lullaby or do the three together make the lullaby or both?).  I look forward to the continued discoveries in this finger twister.

Song for Daddy is Francine Trester’s second New Lullaby.  The first being My Darling’s Slumber recorded on the New Lullaby CD.  I find it amazing to play a second piece by a composer especially soon after the first.  The language is understood from the start, signs and symbols are no longer a mystery but something to be fulfilled.  I also like to think that the composer is writing with their last experience of me in mind.

Song for Daddy on Youtube

Cancion de Cuna by Hayg Boyadjian is the second work I have played of his but the first lullaby.  (I recorded his Mi Tango for his Albany CD Vientos, 2010).  Hayg’s language is unique and playful.  Often using the guitar as a single voice the player moves quickly throughout the range of the fretboard with vibrato, thick sound and unusual rhythms.  As in every piece of Hayg’s, there is a moment of sheer difficulty.  Four bars of this lullaby took many, many hours.  The biggest challenge though was having to sing the finally melody, in Spanish, as I played.  The first time was rough but it creates an amazing effect.  To many more!

Upward is John McDonald’s second New Lullaby as well.  His first being You Are Alone To Sleep recorded on the New Lullaby CD.  Probably the sparsest of this set of new lullabies, John has each phrase move in a lulling rhythm from the lowest notes upward to three octaves above harmonics all in the space of 4 or 5 notes.  A great effect and I got to work on my LH thumb technique à la cello.  I found the sparse textures of this work to be a good compliment to follow Hayg’s. (His program note is beautiful)

Whispers is a sweet work by Canary Burton that reminds me of Provincetown and how the wind can whip by or massage your face.  From a single melodic line the music takes on unusual phrasing and odd intervals before relaxing on harmonics and lulling arpeggio.  The tossing and turning of an exciting dream or not deep sleep almost finishes the piece but just at the last moment calm returns, much as the sun on a summer afternoon on the Cape.  (I can’t say this is what she  imagined but as a performer I can take liberties.)

Martin Schreiner’s lullaby is the 2nd of the contrapuntal lullabies though it comes in and out as the restlessness of the title is due the contra-rhythms of the voices 3/4 and 6/8.  Sometimes the voices move together and then they quickly move apart to return to each other.  I find the dynamics of his writing be just right with the repetitiveness complimented but the color and dynamic changes.  Though the piece begins simply each new section, in essence, expands on the melody and harmony: a new bass note, larger dynamic.  All said, I found the harmonic section though all natural harmonics to be quite challenging in the balance of the harmonics and accompanying strings.  This lullaby will continue to grow and be explored.

Michael Velosos’ Little Dancer, as its title suggests contains both the lullaby aspects of the genre and a bit of dance.  The lullaby starts sweet with fleshy chords and a nice wide melody before the 4th string motif begins, but then a little dance sneaks in, and before we know it we are accelerating and moving along in an accented 6/4.  The climax of this section though is followed by some ultra-sweet harmonies and an awesome melody on the second string.  The coda has us back in a lulling rhythm though are melody still moves throughout 2-2.5 octave range.  I found the extra movement in this piece very helpful in making the program move to the final three works.

After Many Days Without Rain is the first 12-tone lullaby on the program.  As testament to Patricia Julien’s abilities the work is so much more than just a mere theory exercise.  It is beautifully written, not a note needed to be changed, lush in its voicing, free in its positioning and also demanding.  The rhythm is 5/4 and the resolution of sleep is a wonderful find.

Lulubye is the 3rd submission by Jacob Mashak, and my favorite.  Also a 12-tone lullaby, Jacob’s varies greatly from Patricia’s.  In two voices most of the work, the work begins quite quietly with short phrases.  Each section has a similar figure that grows in notes and harmonically before coming back down to pp.  The shape of the whole work being a big hairpin < > .  One of the listeners on Sunday 12/18 in Nashua was particularly moved by this work.

A Child Sings at Thanksgiving by Demetrius Spaneas came to me as the closer of the main program for a number of reasons.  Its repetitive and great harmonies, lulling rhythms, singing melody and a second half of beautiful harmonics.  It also re-imagines the” Thanksgiving Hymn “We Gather Together” in an abstracted and fleeting way, the work perhaps evokes an adult’s distant memories of holidays past.”  I have not received many work that are arrangements or re-imagining (see Trester and McDonald’s first lullabies) and I found that quality quite becoming.  A Child Sings is brief, sweet and beautiful, and a lot of fun to play.

VIDEO A Child Sings At Thanksgiving, 12/10

As an encore I performed Toru Takemitsu’s Summertime by George Gershwin.  This work inspired the New Lullaby Project back in 2006 and so I found it to be a fitting end for this one.  I also just recorded it:

Lullabies aren’t just for kids – The Jewish Advocate, 12/9/11

Jewish Advocate Article 12/9/11

New Lullaby Project – 12/10 Program & Notes

New Lullaby Project Premiere Concert
December 10, 2011 • New School of Music
Aaron Larget-Caplan, guitar


Wiegenlied (2011)            Thomas Schuttenhelm

The Moon Through The Window Shines Down (2009)            Thomas L. Read

Lullaby in Three Voices (2011)            Alan Fletcher

Song for Daddy* (2011)            Francine Trester

Cancion de Cuna* (2010)            Hayg Boyadjian

Upward* (2011)            John McDonald

Whispers (2011)            Canary Burton

A Lullaby for Restless Times* (2010)            Martin Schreiner

Little Dancer (2010)            Michael Veloso

After Many Days Without Rain (2011)            Patricia Julien

Lulubye (2011)            Jacob Mashak

A Child Sings at Thanksgiving *(2010)            Demetrius Spaneas

* World Premiere

Tonight’s concert features the premiere of New Lullabies numbers 26-30.

Special Thanks to Catherine Larget-Caplan, Caroline Larget, all of the composers, and all of the the active listeners and supporters.

About the Performer

Aaron Larget-Caplan is a guitarist and educator. He has commissioned dozens of new compositions for guitar. His solo albums include New Lullaby (2010) and Tracing a Wheel on Water (2006). He is also featured on the CDs Vientos – Music of Hayg Boyadjian (Albany, 2010) and Classic American Songs (2011) with baritone Donald Wilkinson.  His latest release is a digital single of George Gershwin’s “Summertime” arranged by Toru Takemitsu.  Aaron founded the New Lullaby Project in 2006.  He teaches at Boston Conservatory and has an active private studio in Boston. Visit his website at

Composer Biographies & Program Notes

Thomas Schuttenhelm is an American composer and guitarist whose compositions exhibit an exquisite craft and richness of style and are celebrated by many leading artists in contemporary music. His compositions can be heard on numerous recordings and have been performed throughout the country and abroad by a broad range of artists. He has performed with the FIREWORKS Ensemble, Purple Rock Productions, and the Boston Public Works Contemporary Music Series. In addition to his creative and performance career he is active as a scholar and has lectured at numerous universities in the UK, Germany, and in the US. In 2007 he was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to the U.K. and he is currently completing his second book Meaning and Identity in the Orchestral Music of Michael Tippett for Cambridge University Press.

Weigenlied (Ger. Lullaby) is a brief but significant work. Its quietness and delicate textures stand in opposition to the aggression and excessive violence that too easily overtake our attention. Short and contemplative, it is nonetheless developmental and many of the technical aspects could have programmatic subtexts: the ¾ ‘rocking’ rhythms, the transparent harmonics (child) heard above (in context of) the more ‘solid’ roots or fundamentals (parent), and even the descending or falling lines (as in falling to sleep). Perhaps most importantly, it affirms Mr. Larget-Caplan’s broader mission of commissioning and collecting works that have these qualities, and thus buck trendiness in favor of creating a new tradition.

Premiered at First Parish Cohasset, May 15, 2011

Thomas L. Read

The Moon Through The Window Shines Down

Premiered at Salem State University on November 1, 2010

Alan Fletcher is President and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School and a respected composer. He holds doctoral and masters degrees from The Juilliard School and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, and has studied with distinguished composers such as Roger Sessions, Milton Babbitt, Edward T. Cone, and Paul Lansky, and pianists Robert Helps and Jacob Lateiner. He has won numerous composing awards and commissions, including recent commissions for the Pittsburgh Symphony and the National Gallery of Art. He lectures nationally and internationally on music, and is published widely on musical and cultural issues. Mr. Fletcher gives frequent seminars for the Aspen Institute on a wide range of musical and cultural topics. He chaired the 1997 Salzburg Seminar Music for a New Millennium: The Classical Genre in Contemporary Society.

Lullaby in Three Voices – One doesn’t immediately think of a lullaby as contrapuntal, or a contrapuntal piece as natural for the guitar, but that is the design of my lullaby, written for Aaron Larget-Caplan and his New Lullaby Project. The piece grows into its three-part texture as the simple lullaby theme is drawn into longer lines. The opening three-note motive becomes an accompaniment and then emerges as the conclusion – and the conclusion of a lullaby should properly be very dream-like. I am grateful to Aaron not only for the idea of the piece but for invaluable suggestions on the registration of the music.

Premiered at the University of Vermont on September 29, 2011

Francine Trester is Associate Professor of Composition at Berklee College of Music. Trester received her BA, MA and DMA from Yale University and later was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study composition in Cambridge, England.  She has been the recipient of an ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award as well as awards from the Fromm Foundation and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her works have been premiered at venues worldwide including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, recorded on Albany and Crystal Records, and published by Clear Note Publications. Her chamber opera, “334 Bunnies,” will be premiered by the Mockingbird Trio (and guests) Jan. 26, 2012 at the Longy School of Music.

Song for Daddy is written in celebration of my daughter Chloë, and her Daddy, my husband Charlie Carrano. It is a simple song without words.

Hayg Boyadjian was born in 1938 in Paris, France. At an early age he immigrated with his family to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he started his musical studies at the Liszt Conservatory. In 1958 he immigrated to the USA, and presently lives in Lexington, Massachusetts. In the USA he continued his musical studies as a special student first at the New England Conservatory and later at Brandeis University. Among his teachers were Beatriz Balzi (student of Alberto Ginastera, with whom Boyadjian had several consulting meetings), Seymour Shifrin, Alvin Lucier, and Edward Cohen. He has received awards from ASCAP, Meet the Composer, the Lexington Arts Council-MA, the New England Foundation-Meet the Composer, the Fiftieth Anniversary Commission Project-American Music Center, a Grammy nomination, and others.

Cancion de Cuna – After having worked with Aaron Larget-Caplan on the recording of my guitar solo piece “Mi Tango” issued a year ago by Albany Records, I with pleasure accepted the challenge of writing a lullaby for his Lullaby Project, and dedicated the piece to him.

My idea for this present piece, “Cancion de Cuna” (Spanish for lullaby) was to use a slow waltz rhythm that would rock a child to sleep, although with some twists to it as the child refuses to fall asleep (I used to be that way as a child), that is where some more active phrases are introduced in the piece. I also wanted to bring in the piece a Latin element (from my background of living my youth in Buenos Aires, and also to the why I chose the Spanish title), borrowing some musical language of the Villancico form. Argentinean Villancicos are often considered Christmas Carols, which of course brings in mind the idea of the Christ child.

The harmonies of the lullaby fluctuate constantly in the same way that a child changes moods on a whim, but then at the end settles down in a quiet way as sleep overtakes the child and everything becomes quiet, the final resting tonality.

John McDonald is a composer who tries to play the piano and a pianist who tries to compose. He is Professor of Music at Tufts University, where he teaches composition, theory, and performance. His output concentrates on vocal, chamber, and solo instrumental works.

Upward, Op. 470 (2011) was composed almost entirely on a classroom dry-erase board immediately following an inspiring seminar that Aaron Larget-Caplan presented for my composition students at Tufts. Aaron demonstrated each phrase as I wrote it! All of the phrases go up toward harmonics, and change according to a short verse form. The dedication reads “To Aaron Larget-Caplan: the rocking continues.”

Canary Burton studied music at the University of Idaho at Moscow in the 1970’s forming several bands both rock and jazz. After moving to Washington DC to listen to the musicians in the fabulous jazz scene, I moved to the Cape finding peace and a supportive environment for concentrated composing. My work progressed through jazz, pop and sound art into classical music based on these roots.

Whispers I was surprised and pleased to be asked by Aaron to write a lullaby to play on his guitar. He said, “I like things to be a little odd” so that’s what Whispers is, a little odd. Although it starts off normal, the phrases start landing on beats and measures unexpected, but hopefully incorporated as if they were normal.

Premiered at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House of Provincetown on Oct. 9, 2011

Martin Schreiner is a composer of diverse musical experience and interests.  His works include music for symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber groups, choral and solo vocal pieces, solo instruments and for traditional Japanese instruments.  Martin’s music has been heard in concert programs across the U.S. and in Europe and Japan.  Awards for his music include a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Award, the New England Reed Trio’s International Chamber Music Composition Competition and a Bryant Fellowship from Harvard University.  His Symphonic Journey was recorded by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra for the MMC label.  Since 1994, Martin has also been writing for traditional Japanese instruments and his Concertino No.3 for Koto and Orchestra premiered in March by the Cape Ann Symphony.

A Lullaby in Restless TimesThrough the form of a lullaby I convey a musical story of an uneasy time in getting to sleep.  The tune is simple and direct but encounters restless musical moments where there is ambiguity and conflict between 6/8 and 3/4 meter.  Restlessness is further portrayed by a chromaticism that keeps the harmony from settling down until the end of the piece.  Through the course of the piece, calmer restful moments gradually take hold.  In the final measures a restful sleep comes in the form of a stable and quieted ending in C major.

Michael J. Veloso’s music education began with piano lessons at age 6, which eventually blossomed into composition while at Williams College, where he primarily studied with David Kechley. Since getting his Master’s from NEC as a student of Michael Gandolfi, he’s written concert and theater music for a wide variety of ensembles, and is currently writing his first video game soundtrack for indie game Point of Descent, to be released later this year. In his spare time, he works for Harmonix Music Systems, makers of the Rock Band series of music games.

Little Dancer was composed for my son Julian; I started the piece while he was in the womb, and finished it just before his birth. “Little Dancer” was one of our nicknames for him after seeing him wiggle and dance during his first ultrasound. It has a simple arc, beginning gently and gracefully before giving way to more turbulent, energetic music, eventually returning to crystalline calm.  Little Dancer was commissioned as part of Aaron Larget-Caplan’s New Lullaby Project. Thanks to Aaron for the opportunity to be a part of it!

Premiered at First Parish Cohasset, May 15, 2011

Patricia Julien is an associate professor of music at the University of Vermont, where she teaches courses in music theory, jazz improvisation, and jazz composition and arranging. Before arriving at UVM, Ms. Julien taught at Skidmore College, George Washington University, and University of Maryland, College Park. Ms. Julien has presented her continuing research at the national conference of the Society for Music Theory, at regional New York State and New England SMT meetings, and, by invitation, at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, and various U.S. universities.

I wrote “After Many Days Without Rain” for Aaron Larget-Caplan’s New Lullaby Project. I was captivated by his evocative descriptions of lullabies and what they portend as they usher a listener to sleep. Aaron also was extraordinarily welcoming in his expansive ideas about what can be embraced in the musical idea of lullaby. As I began to experiment with ideas for this work, I knew I wanted to write a twelve-tone lullaby in 5/4 meter. I think, though, that neither feature is particularly evident when hearing this work. The lilting nature of 5/4 is brought to the surface in just a few places, and my overall approach to serial procedures permits immediate repetition of not just single pitch classes but small cells of notes, in order. My inspiration for this piece is connected to how physical sleep can be, especially intensified when one needs sleep. The lack of sleep, with the feeling of sandpaper eyes and powerful physical sense of need, strikes me as a lot like thirst. Sleep is like thirst quenched. The title is based on the idea that the earth is sometimes greedy for rain and that rain (like sleep) can be necessary for physical repair. The relationship for me is also present in the idea of sinking into sleep and rain soaking into the ground. These are deep, downward, weighty gestures. The piece is written in two voices (twinning sleep and rain). It begins with row forms that are incomplete but toward the middle of the piece, begins to offer complete statements of the row forms earlier left wanting. This lullaby is meant to send the listener into the relief of sleep, the satisfaction of the need for sleep.

Premiered at University of Vermont on September 29, 2011

Jacob Mashak is a composer, conductor and recorder player from far upstate New York. His works are wide-ranging in scope, from Sonatina fur Conductor Seul, a humorous work for solo conductor, to Agnus Dei: Threnody, for soprano, string quartet and orchestra and his style pulls from a wide variety of musical interests and passions, from the Beatles to John Cage (not too terribly unrelated, see “The Beatles 1962-1970” by Cage) with strong doses of Feldman, Crumb and Penderecki. He has studied at the Crane School of Music and Boston University, and his teachers have included: David Heinick and Paul Siskind, composition; Charles Peltz and Christopher Lanz, conducting; Richie Henzler, recorder; and Tyrone Breuninger, trombone.  He was born in Vermont and has rather recently returned from a long stint in Boston and New York.

Lulubye One day, several months ago, Aaron posted an inquiry wondering if it were possible for there to be a 12-tone lullaby. I jumped at the notion. I had an earlier 12-tone piece (that was an abomination) for oboe, recorders, viola and guitar, and one movement (the only one worth remembering) began with a beautiful guitar solo. I decided I should resurrect that one spark from the otherwise dull piece, and Lulubye was expounded from those original four bars. It was important for me to, in this particular setting, invoke the Romantic of the Second Viennese School, Alban Berg. Though really a reference to Bach (through Berg), I’ve quoted the chorale “Es ist genug” (as Berg had done in his Violin Concerto). The title itself is a reference to Berg, as “Lulubye” can be read as lullaby or “Lulu-bye”.

Premiered at the University of Vermont on September 29, 2011

Award winning composer and performer Demetrius Spaneas travels the world as a musical ambassador, connecting classical, jazz, and traditional music throughout the US, Eastern Europe, and Asia to create international dialogue through artistic collaboration. He has been featured soloist, composer, and guest lecturer at major venues, academic institutions, and international festivals throughout the three continents.

A Child Sings at Thanksgiving was adapted and rewritten for guitar from the final selection from my “Songs for Children,” composed for solo piano in 1994. By presenting the Thanksgiving Hymn “We Gather Together” in an abstracted and fleeting way, the work perhaps evokes an adult’s distant memories of holidays past.