Program Notes/Composer Bios (2.2)

NICKOS HARIZANOS was born in Athens. He studied Composition, Orchestration, Harmony and Counterpoint in Athens . He then continued his studies in Composition at Manchester University graduating with a research Master’s degree (MMus) in Composition. In 2014 he started his studies for PhD in Composition at University of Bangor (U.K.).His music has been performed in 34 countries. He has received numerous of first prizes and distinctions in International and National Composers Competitions. ​He is the General Secretary of the Contemporary Music Research Centre (KSYME) (founded by Iannis Xenakis) (Greece) and Director – member of KSYMEnsemble. He is also member of the Greek Composers Union (GCU) and the Hellenic Electroacoustic Music Composers Association (HELMCA) (Greece). As a Professor of Composition and Advanced Theoritical Studies of Music, he has been teaching at En Organis Conservatory in Athens, Greece since 2008 and he’s been also teaching Stage Music at Prova School of Drama Studies in Athens, Greece. His works are released on cds by Naxos (UK), WDR Cologne (Germany), Taukay Edizioni Musicali (TEM) (Italy), Fly Note (USA), Musica Ferrum (U.K.), Sheva Collection (Italy), Subways Music (Greece), Hellenic Electroacoustic Music Composers’ Association (HELMCA) (Greece). Works are published by Schott (Germany), Musica Ferrum (U.K.), Rowman and Littlefield (U.S.A.), Da Capo Music Ltd (U.K.), Les Procuctions d’ Oz (Canada), Gold Branch Music Inc. (U.S.A.), Arcomis (U.K.) and Contemporary Music Research Centre (Greece). 

“Iho” refers to the verb form of the word “echo”. Thus, the work explores the procedure of sound production. It begins with the breath of the flute player and little by little the musicians develop one by one its own sound quality and timbres. Another fundamental characteristic of the work is the use of instrumental colour and textural writing.



NICOLE MURPHY’s music has been described as “exquisite and sensitive” (Sydney Morning Herald), “strong and compelling” (Loudmouth) and “full of exhilarating tension” (Arts Knoxville). She has been commissioned by eminent arts organisations including the Australian Ballet, the Royal Academy of Dance (London), Experiments in Opera/Symphony Space (New York), the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Wild Rumpus (San Francisco), Chamber Sounds (Singapore), and the Definiens Project (Los Angeles). Nicole is the recipient of various awards, including the ICEBERG International Call for Scores (2017), Nief Norf International Call for Scores (2016), the MAFB International Commissioning Prize (2015), the Theodore Front International Orchestral Prize (2013), and the Definiens C3 International Composer’s Award (2011). She was chosen as the young composer to represent Australia at the 30th Asian Composers League Festival in Tel Aviv (2012). Nicole is the Composer-in-Residence at the Queensland Academy for Creative Industries. She holds a PhD from the University of Queensland, and a Master of Music and Bachelor of Music (Hons I) from the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. She is represented by the Australian Music Centre and her music is published by Wirripang.


Parched Paddock uses text taken from three haiku written about the Australian landscape, with kind permission from poets Karen Phillips, Quendryth Young, and John Bird. The work was influenced by the austere, drought-stricken landscapes that I experienced during residency projects in remote outback Australian communities.


last of winter                                        parched paddock

the wattles’ gold crackles                       a butcherbird clasps

underfoot                                             the barbed wire

Karen Phillips                                          Quendryth Young


the dead centre –

a disappearing road train

lowers the stars

John Bird





MORTON FELDMAN began his compositional studies with Wallingford Riegger, an early American adopter of Schoenberg’s twelve-tone technique (and friends with Henry Cowell and Charles Ives) and with Stefan Wolpe, a student of Anton Webern. In his mid-20s, Feldman attended a New York Philharmonic concert to hear Webern’s Symphony. Upset by the audience’s lack of enthusiasm for this piece, he left early and happened to run into John Cage in the lobby, who likewise had decided to step out after the Webern performance. They became good friends and Cage encouraged Feldman to begin to write music with graphic notation. In fact, this encouragement went both directions, with Feldman, in turn, helping to inspire Cage’s use of chance methods. In the 1970s, Feldman began to turn to more conventional notational methods, but with no less experimental results. In fact, the music he wrote in the last decade of his life is often over an hour in length, and is rarely, if ever, above a pianissimo dynamic marking (the extreme example being his six-hour long string quartet written in 1983).


Viola in My Life 3 is part of a four piece cycle, which Feldman scores for a combination of the viola and various accompanying instruments. The first piece is for viola, flute, percussion, piano, violin, and, cello; the second for viola, flute, clarinet, celesta, percussion, violin, and viola; the third for viola and piano; and the fourth for viola and orchestra. In regards this particular piece, Feldman writes, ““The compositional format is quite simple. Unlike most of my music, the complete cycle of The Viola in My Life (I-IV) is conventionally notated as regards pitches and tempi. I needed the exact time proportions underlying the gradual and slight crescendo characteristic of all the muted sounds the viola plays. It was this aspect that determined the rhythmic sequence of events.”

-Trevor Berens


MEL POWELL began his musical career as an aspiring classical concert pianist, but this interest changed at an early age when he witnessed the “ecstatic” music of jazz pianist Teddy Wilson and later, Benny Goodman. By his early teenage years, he was working as a professional jazz pianist in New York City, and soon after, joined the Benny Goodman band. Around age thirty, his musical interest began to shift to composition, prompted by a diagnosis of muscular dystrophy and ending his ability to work as a travelling jazz pianist, although his interest in jazz (including as a performer) continued through much of his life. Compositionally, Powell quickly became interested in atonal music, studying with Paul Hindemith at Yale from 1948-1952. His compositions include works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, chorus, and voice. In 1969, he became a founding dean of California Institute of the Arts, was provost from 1972-1976, and thereafter was a composition teacher until shortly before his death in 1998. Powell won the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his piece, Duplicates: A Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in 1990.


Levertov Breviary was one of Mel Powell’s final compositions, written for the soprano Judith Bettina. This piece is based on nine of Denise Levertov’s short poems, which Levertov shared with Bettina shortly after their publication. Bettina shared these same poems with Powell, with the hope that he might consider setting them for voice and piano. He completed the piece in 1996 and was able to hear it performed in his living room in Los Angeles, sung by the dedicatee, shortly before his death in 1998. The term “breviary” refers to the succession of musical pieces sung by Roman Catholic monastics throughout the day (e.g. Matins, Vespers). Powell’s setting of these poems recollects the slow and seamless progression of these monastic songs while also signifying Levertov’s coming to terms with Christianity, as well as her love of the outdoors.



PAOLO TORTIGLIONE is an Italian composer whose works have been performed in contemporary music festivals and venues including Olympia International Festival (Athens), Esoterics Festival (Seattle), ALEA III Contemporary Music Festival (Boston), Contemporary Brass Festival (Sacramento), Grenoble Institute, Naples Contemporary Music Festival, Assisi Festival, British Music Information Center, Milan’s Pomeriggi Musicali (Milan), X° Electroacustic Music Festival (Stockholm & Uttersberg), Athens National Gallery, Milan theatres, Rome Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, University Contemporary Music Festival (Edinburgh), Musica Duemila, Sweden Vaxjo Media Artes Festival, Musica Oggi (Rome), Milano Triennale, NED Ensemble, Italian Cultural institute of Tokyo, Istanbul University of Music, and Eisenstadt Conservatory of Music. These have been broadcast by the Second Channel of Swedish Radio, first Channel of Greek Radio, italian RAI Radio3, Radio Seattle, and Swiss Radio Second Channel.
His works, many of which have been awarded first prizes in national and international competitions, include pieces for solo instruments, video art, organ, orchestra, oratorio, ballet, theatre, film, advertising, chamber music for various ensembles, and electronic music. He also works as film and theatre composer and has taught master classes in various cities including Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Olso, Stockholm, Geneva, Zurich, Abu Dhabi, New Delhi, Dubai, New York, Jerusalem, , Wien, Prague, Budapest, , London, Birmingham, Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf. Paolo has degrees in Composition, Organ Performance, Electronic Music, and Choral Conducting/Composition. His book, Semiography and Semiology of Contemporary Music can be obtained via Amazon. He is a full time professor of Film Music and Composition at Milan’s Conservatory of Music.


Five Music for Cello & Piano is comprised of 5 short movements, each exploring a different kind of interaction between the two instruments. Originally it had the subtitle of “5 improvisations” as they where written during a period of 5 months. The movements are based on the first impressions generated by a series of chords and melodies that are the basis of which the entire work is developed. Performing this work requires a very high technical performing level and a strong relationship between performers. The unique sound quality, especially in the slower central movements, transform the music material, based on the note Db (that may correspond to the origin of the universe, according to theories of the “Harmony of the Spheres”), into a sonic atmosphere, in which we can perhaps hear the roots of our own lives.

– P.T.



BOB CLENDENEN is an ASCAP Award winning composer with music degrees from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and the California Institute of the Arts. Bob was born in 1961 in Atlanta, GA., and is a composer and singer-songwriter. In addition to song-writing Bob writes chamber music and has had commissions from the Percussion Group Cincinnati, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the California E.A.R. Unit, The Arroyo Ensemble, and various professional musicians and college ensembles around the nation. A co-founder of the L.A. Jam Band FOOD (1996-2001), Bob has worked with numerous musicians from Grammy award winning jazz bassist Charlie Haden to psychedelic pop singer/songwriter Stew. Bob has also opened for or shared a festival spot with artists as diverse as Frank Black (of the Pixies) to experimental guitar legend Fred Frith.


Dirt Roads is a piece for cello and percussion I wrote in 2013 at the request of then CalArts cello student Thea Mesirow. It is a piece in memory of John Bergamo who was a wonderful percussionist, long time CalArts Instructor, life teacher and friend. Dirt Roads is an episodic piece that transitions from phrase to phrase in a way that is melodic and colorful. Suggesting a scenic journey. Each movement has a distinct character, and the music is intended to be beautiful.

– B.C.


LOU HARRISON was an American composer who is known for his work with different musical tuning systems and with non-Western instruments and musical styles. This interest was sparked by being exposed to music from around the world as a young man in San Francisco, in particular by taking Henry Cowell’s college course, “Music of the Peoples of the World”. (It was in this class that he befriended a fellow student, John Cage.) Like Cage, he would also soon study composition with Arnold Schoenberg at UCLA. When he later moved to New York City, he befriended Charles Ives, and with help from Cowell, prepared and conducted the premiere of Ives’ Third Symphony, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1943. He returned to California in 1947 where he lived the rest of his life with his partner and fellow instrument-maker, William Colvig. In the last decades of his life, Harrison’s interest in such topics as alternate tunings, Asian musics, pacifism, and Esperanto found its way into much of his music.

Varied Trio, one of Harrison’s major works, brilliantly combines Eastern and Western influences in its five movements. The first movement is named for the Javanese city of Gending, and clearly evokes the music of a Javanese gamelan. The second movement is scored for tuned rice bowls and chopsticks, with musical punctuations throughout provided by the other instruments. The third movement is a soaring piece for (nearly) solo violin. In the fourth movement, Harrison turns to Baroque music as his inspiration, along with the French Rococo painter, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, known for his playful and hedonistic subjects. The fifth movement is a rollicking piece scored for bakers pans, tambourines, drums, plucked violin, and piano.

–T. B.