top of page

Program Notes for "5th Wave Plugged In" – April 3, 2021

Recorded at All Saints' Episcopal Church, Chicago, IL


Pleiades (2019) Mason Bynes (b. 1997) Braiding (2017) Asha Srinivasan (b. 1980)

kai uli (2018; rev. 2020) Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti (b. 1983)

Osculati Fourniture (2007) Eve Beglarian (b. 1958)

Serial Insomniac (2018) Vicki Leona (b. 1997)

Two Songs for Robyn (2020) Katherine Balch (b. 1991)

I. Apartment Sounds

Alter (2020) Yaz Lancaster (b. 1996)

Rave (2015) Molly Joyce (b. 1992)

Mason Bynes (b. 1997) - Pleiades (2019)

Photo of composer Mason Bynes
photo by Analise Debaie

"The Pleiades were the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas and the oceanic Pleione: Maria,

Electra, Target, Clean, Alcyone, Sterope, and Merope. These sisters form a constellation.

There are several myths explaining the death of these women. One myth says that they all

killed themselves out of grief over the death of their other sisters, the Hyades. Another myth

recounts that after seven years of being pursued by Orion, a Boeotian giant, they were turned

into stars by Zeus."

Mason Bynes is a composer and vocalist from Sugar Land, TX. In a post-modern tradition,

she pulls from various stylistic sources, blurring the line between traditionalism and modernism. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of North Texas, with a Bachelor of Music in composition. Mason will graduate with a master’s degree in composition from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee in May 2021.

Ms. Bynes has been commissioned by various ensembles and composer led initiatives,

including Kinds of Kings, Bass Players for Black Composers, The Westerlies & Festival of

New Trumpet Music (FONT), The Amorsima Trio and Ex-Aequo. Recently, Mason’s music has been featured with the North End Music and Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC), the International Society of Bassists, Dallas Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, BBC Radio 3, IDAGIO Live, Green Leaf Music Podcast, and WWFM- The Classical Network in Trenton, New Jersey. She has also appeared in different interviews with CBS, NBC -DFW and Fox 4 News.

Mason's current projects include a new collaboration with Lumedia Musicworks for a new song cycle for voice and guitar called, "Dowland Impressions". Mason is also looking

forward to: the premier of a new art song as part of The National Association of Teachers

of Singing (NATS) and Cincinnati Song Initiative; the premier of a new work for classical guitar with Ex-Aqueo; a new commission with WindSync, to be presented in October 2021;

and a commission with New York based ensemble, Parlando.

Pleiades, subtitled "an audio-visual 'entrance' piece", opens our program, and continues 5th Wave's efforts this season to add visual elements to our pre-recorded programs.

Asha Srinivasan (b. 1980) - Braiding (2017)

Braiding was commissioned in 2015 by oboist Sara Fraker. Writes Fraker,

“Creative interdisciplinary approaches in the arts and sciences are increasingly vital as we work to confront the most complex social and technological problems of our time.

In 2015, I commissioned composer Asha Srinivasan to write a 10-minute work for oboe, electronics, and natural sounds, based on the writing of plant ecologist Robin Wall Kimmerer. We were both inspired by Kimmerer's 2013 book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants….

...This project draws upon ideas from the emerging field of ecomusicology, defined by ethnomusicologist Jeffrey Todd Titon as ‘the study of music, culture, sound and nature in a period of environmental crisis.’ As Dr. Kimmerer said in her recent address to the United Nations General Assembly, ‘We will need to enlist artists and poets, storytellers and musicians to remind us of what we love, of what we value, what makes us deeply happy as humans; for the most powerful transformations are motivated by love."

Asha Srinivasan is an Indian-American composer and Associate Professor of Music (Theory/Composition/Electronic Music) at Lawrence University, Appleton, WI.

"I have been involved with music since my early childhood in India. My extended family on both of my parents' sides are musical. My mother Lalitha is currently a professional singer of Indian film songs and sings all over the U.S. When I was in India, at age 6, I started taking vocal lessons in Carnatic music (the classical music of Southern India).

After moving to the U.S., I was introduced to Western classical music through the public school system. In high school, I had the opportunity to take my first Music Theory class. What was supposed to be theoretical part-writing exercises turned into compositional experiments for me and thus sparked my passion for creating music. I am enthralled by the possibilities of integrating aspects of the Carnatic style into the Western music idiom. Thus, I draw from my Western musical training and my Indian heritage to create my compositional language."

Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti (b. 1983) - kai uli (2018; rev. 2020)

photo by Blaise Hayward Studio

“This work was originally part of a larger piece, Postcards II: Akari, that was commissioned by The Noguchi Museum in celebration of the exhibition Akari: Sculpture by Other Means. These light sculptures by Isamu Noguchi are made of washi paper and bamboo. The fixed media uses only natural sounds of rubbing, opening/closing, tapping the Akari so the audience can feel as though they’re inside the light sculptures, or perhaps overhearing their light conversations/adventures/dreams. The piece frames works of the past (on the original program), in the same concept as the Akari themselves which use traditional handcrafting/washi paper that is illuminated by new technology: electric light. The title of this postcard refers to the specific color of the ocean. Although modern Hawaiian has words for the color spectrum as described in English, there was originally only one word for the green/blue of the ocean.

uli. 1. nvs. Any dark color, including the deep blue of the sea, the ordinary green of vegetation, and the dark of black clouds; the black-and-blue of a bruise. . . . Also uliuli. Kai uli, the deep blue sea. — Hawaiian Dictionary. Edited by Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel H. Elbert. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986."

Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti is a Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) musician dedicated to the music of our time. A "leading composer-performer" (The New York Times), Lanzilotti is the recipient of a 2020 Native Launchpad Artist Award. Her “conceptually potent” compositions often deal with unique instrument-objects, such as The Noguchi Museum commissions involving Noguchi’s sound sculptures. Lanzilotti has been featured internationally on the Dots+Loops series and Sound School series in Australia (The Substation), and a guest composer at Thailand International Composers Festival. Her current commissions include a new work for the [Switch~ Ensemble], the development and performance of which is supported by a project grant from the MAP Fund, and a new work for Roomful of Teeth supported in part by the National Science Foundation.

Eve Beglarian (b. 1958) : Osculati Fourniture (2007)

photo by JW Photography

Beginning with the sound of a single, pre-recorded sitar, Osculati Fournitue slowly expands into vibrant cacophony as looped variations on the original theme bounce off one another. It is into this world that the acoustic instrument - Begalarian leaves this work open to any solo instrumentation - enters with subdued tones that match harmonically with the sitars. As the harmonic complexity grows, the soloist responds with increasing intensity, only diverging at the end as the solo instrument draws down and the sitars continue on to their final, striking chords.

“The title Osculati Fourniture comes from a mysterious query in a journal entry written by my mother, Joyce Heeney Beglarian, on 22 May 1981, while en route to Florence from Pisa. I cannot know why these two words came into her mind while riding along the autostrada, or what connection the phrase might have with shutters or Lucca, but it seems likely that the whole business has some obscure significance.

The music is a response to the gushe Zirkesh-e Salmak in the dastgah of Shur, part of the repertoire of Persian classical music. Its relation to all this is perhaps osculate in some sense.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, composer and performer Eve Beglarian is "a humane, idealistic rebel and a musical sensualist." A 2017 winner of the Alpert Award in the Arts for her "prolific, engaging and surprising body of work," she has also been awarded the 2015 Robert Rauschenberg Prize from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts for her "innovation, risk-taking, and experimentation."

Beglarian's current projects include a collaboration with writer/performer Karen Kandel about women in Vicksburg from the Civil War to the present, a piece about the controversial Balthus painting Thérèse Dreaming for vocalist Lucy Dhegrae, and a duo for uilleann pipes and organ that was premiered by Renae Louprette and Ivan Goff at Disney Hall as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 100th anniversary celebrations. Since 2001, she has been creating A Book of Days, “a grand and gradually manifesting work in progress…an eclectic and wide-open series of enticements." (Los Angeles Times)

Serial Insomniac (2018) : Vicki Leona (b. 1997)

“In 2017, I developed a serious case of insomnia due to jetlag. I was used to episodes of insomnia, but the experience would go beyond being unable to sleep. I developed an auditory hallucination; every time I would try to go to sleep, there was a terrible ringing in my ears. It would always crescendo until it was deafening and, as soon as I would notice it, the ringing would subside until seconds later. It had gone on for so long that I became paranoid about falling asleep, keeping myself busy regardless of what time it was. When I finally convinced myself to sleep, I would wake up with sleep paralysis most times. This piece is a representation of this experience, beginning and ending with an imitation of the ringing sound I heard.”

A native of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Vicki received her bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in Music Composition while also studying in pre-medicine. Vicki is currently earning her Masters at NYU, studying with Julia Wolfe, Robert Honstein, Molly Joyce, and Michael Gordon.

Vicki loves photography, art, and, more importantly, she is considered a Michelin-grade home cook by many.

Katherine Balch (1991) - Two Songs for Robyn I. Apartment Sounds (2020)

photo by Lanz Photography

The extended quarantine people around the world have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a multitude of reactions - some took to an extended hibernation, others felt the unique and insidious effects of isolation, and still others found inspiration in these strange new settings. Katherine Balch, a resident of NYC - one of the most severely impacted regions of the U.S. during the early stages of the pandemic - composed Two Songs for Robyn based upon the sounds she heard daily in her apartment during the first months of life under quarantine.

Two Songs for Robyn are short songs for violin and fixed media written for Robyn Bollinger. According to Katherine Balch, these "are sonic portraits of my time during the quarantine: the sounds in my New York apartment from March to June." The tape contains "the sounds of my day - wind chimes, raindrops on the air-conditioner unit, the toaster oven, music and sirens in the background - all sort of blended together in a haze that clouded my sense of time passing."

Called “spellbinding” (Seen and Heard International) with “glow and poise and electric tension” (The Daily Telegraph), the music of composer Katherine Balch captures the magic of everyday sounds, inviting audiences into a sonic world characterized by imagination, discovery, and stylistic variety. Often inspired by literature, nature, and science, she has been described as “some kind of musical Thomas Edison – you can just hear her tinkering around in her workshop, putting together new sounds and textural ideas” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Yaz Lancaster (b. 1996): Alter (2020)

Yaz Lancaster (they/them) is a transdisciplinary artist most interested in relational aesthetics; fragments and collage; and anti-oppressive, liberatory politics. They perform as a violinist, vocalist, and steel pannist in a wide variety of settings; and present work in many different mediums and collaborations. Yaz is a contributing writer for I Care If You Listen, a mentor/council member at Luna Composition Lab, and the visual arts editor at Peach Mag; and they have degrees in violin and poetry from NYU. Yaz has an Aquarius stellium and they love chess, horror movies, and bubble tea.

Molly Joyce (b. 1992) - Rave (2015)

photo by Shervin Lainez

“Written for pianist Vicky Chow, Rave incorporates an inverse relationship between live piano and pre-recorded electronics, exploring the sonic possibilities of this complex relationship as it evolves over the course of the piece. As the piece progresses, these separate and unusual inverse roles of the live piano and electronics gradually cross to ultimately supplant each other by assuming their more anticipated roles.

Rave was made possible by a grant from the American Composers Forum with funds provided by the Jerome Foundation. The work was written in the spring of 2015 in The Hague, Netherlands, and premiered at the 2015 Bang on a Can Summer Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA.”

Composer and performer Molly Joyce was recently deemed one of the “most versatile, prolific and intriguing composers working under the vast new-music dome” by The Washington Post. Her music has additionally been described as “serene power” (New York Times), written to “superb effect” (The Wire), and “unwavering” and “enveloping” (Vulture). Her work is concerned with disability as a creative source. She has an impaired left hand from a previous car accident, and the primary vehicle in her pursuit is her electric vintage toy organ, an instrument she bought on eBay which suits her body and engages her disability on a compositional and performative level. Her debut full-length album, Breaking and Entering, featuring toy organ, voice, and electronic sampling of both sources was released in June 2020 on New Amsterdam Records, and has been praised by New Sounds as “a powerful response to something (namely, physical disability of any kind) that is still too often stigmatized, but that Joyce has used as a creative prompt.”

Molly is a graduate of The Juilliard School (graduating with scholastic distinction), Royal Conservatory in The Hague (recipient of the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund Grant), Yale School of Music, and alumnus of the National YoungArts Foundation. She has studied with Samuel Adler, Martin Bresnick, Guus Janssen, David Lang, Hannah Lash, Missy Mazzoli, Martijn Padding, Christopher Theofanidis, and currently serves on the composition faculty at New York University Steinhardt and Wagner College.

*All quotes are given by the composer.

37 views0 comments


bottom of page