Caroline Shaw, composer

Caroline Shaw is a musician who moves among roles, genres, and mediums, trying to imagine a world of sound that has never been heard before but has always existed. She works often in collaboration with others, as producer, composer, violinist, and vocalist.

Caroline is the recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music, several Grammy awards, an honorary doctorate from Yale, and a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship.

This year’s projects include the score to “Fleishman is in Trouble” (FX/Hulu), vocal work with Rosalía (MOTOMAMI), the score to Josephine Decker’s “The Sky Is Everywhere” (A24/Apple), music for the National Theatre’s production of “The Crucible” (dir. Lyndsey Turner), Justin Peck’s “Partita” with NY City Ballet, a new stage work “LIFE” (Gandini Juggling/Merce Cunningham Trust), the premiere of “Microfictions Vol. 3” for NY Philharmonic and Roomful of Teeth, a live orchestral score for Wu Tsang’s silent film “Moby Dick” co-composed with Andrew Yee, two albums on Nonesuch (“Evergreen” and “The Blue Hour”), the score for Helen Simoneau’s dance work “Delicate Power”, tours of Graveyards & Gardens (co-created immersive theatrical work with Vanessa Goodman), and tours with So Percussion featuring songs from “Let The Soil Play Its Simple Part” (Nonesuch), amid occasional chamber music appearances as violist (Chamber Music Society of Minnesota, La Jolla Music Society).

Caroline has written over 100 works in the last decade, for Anne Sofie von Otter, Davóne Tines, Yo Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, LA Phil, Philharmonia Baroque, Seattle Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Aizuri Quartet, The Crossing, Dover Quartet, Calidore Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Miro Quartet, I Giardini, Ars Nova Copenhagen, Ariadne Greif, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Britt Festival, and the Vail Dance Festival. She has produced for Rosalía, Nas, and Kanye West.

Her work as vocalist or composer has appeared in several films, tv series, and podcasts including The Humans, Bombshell, Yellowjackets, Maid, Dark, Beyonce’s Homecoming, Tár, Dolly Parton’s America, and More Perfect. Her favorite color is yellow, and her favorite smell is rosemary.

Evelin Ramón, composer

Ramón was born in Cuba and finished her doctoral studies in composition at l’Université de Montréal. She studied under the direction of composer Pierre Michaud.

She has had the honor of seeing her music played in Canada by famous ensembles like the Ensemble Transmission, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, and UltraViolet Ensemble. Plus orchestras including the University of Montreal Symphonic Orchestra, as well as in Spain, Germany, Venezuela, France, Denmark, Colombie, Chile, Mexique, and Cuba.

She has presented her music as a performer and composer in Paris, Denmark, Canada, Cuba, and Mexico.

Ramón’s current work focuses on musical production, taking Cuban and Afro-Cuban music as the main inspiration and mixing it with electronic music.

Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout

This piece was written for string quartet in 2001 and arranged for string orchestra in 2003.

Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout draws inspiration from the idea of mestizaje as envisioned by Peruvian writer José María Arguedas, where cultures can coexist without the subjugation of one by the other. As such, this piece mixes elements from the western classical and Andean folk music traditions.

“Toyos” depicts one of the most recognizable instruments of the Andes, the panpipe. One of the largest kinds is the breathy toyo which requires great stamina and lung power, and is often played in parallel fourths or fifths.

“Tarqueda” is a forceful and fast number featuring the tarka, a heavy wooden duct flute that is blown harshly in order to split the tone. Tarka ensembles typically also play in fourths and fifths.

“Himno de Zampoñas” features a particular type of panpipe ensemble that divides up melodies through a technique known as hocketing. The characteristic sound of the zampoña panpipe is that of a fundamental tone blown fatly so that overtones ring out on top, hence the unusual scoring of double stops in this movement.

“Chasqui” depicts a legenday figure from the Inca period, the chasqui runner, who sprinted great distances to deliver messages between towns separated from one another by the Andean peaks. The chasqui needed to travel light. Hence, I take artistic license to imagine his choice of instruments to be the charango, a high-pitched cousin of the guitar, and the lightweight bamboo quena flute, both of which are featured in this movement.

“Canto de Velorio” portrays another well-known Andean personality, a professional crying woman known as the llorona. Hired to render funeral rituals even sadder, the llorona is accompanied here by a second llorona and an additional chorus of mourning women (coro de mujeres). The chant Dies Irae is quoted as a reflection of the comfortable mix of Quechua Indian religious rites with those from Catholicism.

“Coqueteos” is a flirtatious love song sung by gallant men known as romanceros. As such, it is direct in its harmonic expression, bold, and festive. The romanceros sing in harmony with one another against a backdrop of guitars which I think of as a vendaval de guitarras (“storm of guitars”).

—Gabriela Lena Frank

Gabriela Lena Frank, composer

Currently serving as Composer-in-Residence with the storied Philadelphia Orchestra and included in the Washington Post’s list of the most significant women composers in history (August, 2017), identity has always been at the center of composer/pianist Gabriela Lena Frank’s music. Born in Berkeley, California (September, 1972), to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Gabriela explores her multicultural heritage through her compositions. Inspired by the works of Bela Bartók and Alberto Ginastera, Gabriela has traveled extensively throughout South America in creative exploration. Her music often reflects not only her own personal experience as a multi-racial Latina, but also refract her studies of Latin American cultures, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework that is uniquely her own.

Moreover, she writes, “There’s usually a story line behind my music; a scenario or character.” While the enjoyment of her works can be obtained solely from her music, the composer’s program notes enhance the listener’s experience, for they describe how a piano part mimics a marimba or pan-pipes, or how a movement is based on a particular type of folk song, where the singer is mockingly crying. Even a brief glance at her titles evokes specific imagery: Leyendas (Legends): An Andean WalkaboutLa Llorona (The Crying Woman): Tone Poem for Viola and Orchestra; and Concertino Cusqueño (Concertino in the Cusco style). Gabriela’s compositions also reflect her virtuosity as a pianist — when not composing, she is a sought-after performer, specializing in contemporary repertoire.

In 2020, Gabriela was a recipient of the prestigious 25th-anniversary Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanity category with an unrestricted cash prize of $250,000, a meaningful portion of which was donated by Gabriela to the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music. The award recognized Gabriela for breaking gender, disability, and cultural barriers in the classical music industry, and for her work as an activist on behalf of emerging composers of all demographics and aesthetics.

Winner of a Latin Grammy and nominated for Grammys as both composer and pianist, Gabriela also holds a Guggenheim Fellowship and a USA Artist Fellowship given each year to fifty of the country’s finest artists. Her work has been described as “crafted with unself-conscious mastery” (Washington Post), “brilliantly effective” (New York Times), “a knockout” (Chicago Tribune) and “glorious” (Los Angeles Times). Gabriela is regularly commissioned by luminaries such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, soprano Dawn Upshaw, the King’s Singers, the Cuarteto Latinoamericano with guitarist Manuel Barrueco, Brooklyn Rider, and conductors Marin Alsop and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. She has also received orchestral commissions and performances from leading American orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony. Before her current residency with the Philadelphia Orchestra for which she will compose the 45-minute Chronicles of the Picaflor (Hummingbird), in 2017 she completed her four-year tenure as composer-in-residence with the Detroit Symphony under maestro Leonard Slatkin, composing Walkabout: Concerto for Orchestra, as well as a second residency with the Houston Symphony under Andrés Orozco-Estrada for whom she composed the Conquest Requiem, a large-scale choral/orchestral work in Spanish, Latin, and Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs.

Gabriela’s most recent premieres have been Pachamama Meets an Ode for chorus and orchestra commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra and unveiled at Carnegie hall under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Seguín; Haillí-Serenata for Chicago Symphony under the baton of Andrés Orozco-Estrada; Las Cinco Lunas de Lorca (“The five moons of Lorca”) commissioned by Los Angeles Opera; Apu: Tone Poem for Orchestra commissioned by Carnegie Hall and premiered by the National Youth Orchestra of the United States under the baton of conductor Marin Alsop; and Suite Mestiza, a large-scale work for solo violin premiered by Movses Pogossian.

In the season of 2022-23, co-commissioners San Diego Opera and San Francisco Opera will premiere Gabriela’s first opera, El último sueño de Frida y Diego (“The last dream of Frida and Diego”), utilizing words by her frequent collaborator Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Nilo Cruz. Other upcoming projects include recording the Conquest Requiem with the Nashville Symphony under the baton of Giancarlo Guerrero for the Naxos Records label; a new work with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for voice and orchestra with texts by the award-winning scientist/birder/poet J. Drew Lanham; a string quartet for the Fry Street Quartet; and others.

Gabriela is the subject of several scholarly books including the W.W. Norton Anthology: The Musics of Latin America; Women of Influence in Contemporary Music: Nine American Composers (Scarecrow Press); and In her Own Words (University of Illinois Press). She is also the subject of several PBS documentaries including “Compadre Huashayo” regarding her work in Ecuador composing for the Orquestra de Instrumentos Andinos comprised of native highland instruments; and Música Mestiza, regarding a workshop she led at the University of Michigan composing for a virtuoso septet of a classical string quartet plus a trio of Andean panpipe players. Músic Mestiza, created by filmmaker Aric Hartvig, received an Emmy Nomination for best Documentary Feature in 2015.

Civic outreach is an essential part of Gabriela’s work. She has volunteered extensively in hospitals and prisons, with her current focus on developing the music school program at Anderson Valley High School, a rural public school of modest means with a large Latino population in Boonville, CA.

Gabriela is also a climate activist, co-authoring a regular column on climate action within the music industry for Chamber Music America Magazine and creating a Climate Initiative for GLFCAM. She has also written about her hearing loss as a guest columnist with the New York Times, “I think Beethoven encoded his deafness in his music.”

In 2017, Gabriela founded the award-winning Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music whose history and mission can be found here.

Gabriela attended Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she earned a B.A. (1994) and M.A. (1996). She studied composition with Sam Jones, and piano with Jeanne Kierman Fischer. At the University of Michigan, where she received a D.M.A. in composition in 2001, Gabriela studied with William Albright, William Bolcom, Leslie Bassett, and Michael Daugherty, and piano with Logan Skelton. She currently resides in Boonville, a small rural town in the Anderson Valley, with her husband Jeremy on their mountain farm, has a second home in her native Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has traveled extensively in Andean South America.

Gabriela is a member of Wise Music/G. Schirmer’s prestigious roster of artists, exclusively managed and published.

— September 2022

The renaissance of Marianna Martines

They say that brilliant minds touch the lives of all that surround them. This was especially true for Vienna-born composer Marianna Martines (sometimes referred to as Marianne von Martinez). Marianna was born in 1744 into a family of career soldiers. Her father Nicolo, who had grown up in Naples, served in Vienna as major-domo to the papal nuncio (the Pope’s embassy to the Austrian Empire). 

Marianna’s brothers both led distinguished military careers and, for their service to the Empire, their entire family was awarded a patent of nobility in 1774 (back then, you couldn’t have “von” in your  family name without this handy slip of paper). But Marianna (with her musical gifts both as a performer and composer) was the rising star of the family, and with the help of a family friend she would one day become a sensation throughout all of Europe.

During Marianna’s childhood, The Martines family lived in a large building on the Michaelerplatz in Vienna. Described by historians as “a stately building still standing in the Kohlmarkt”, the complex was arranged by the social class of its occupants: upper class members of society held soirees in palatial rooms on the bottom floors, while the lower classes lived in the cramped interiors of the building’s uppermost reaches. As an upper-middle class family, the Martines clan were privileged enough to live on the third floor. 

The neighbors of Marianna Martines included the dowager princess of the wealthy Esterházy family (1st Floor), the well-known Italian singing teacher and composer Nicola Porpora (who lived a few floors above Marianna), and Joseph Haydn (then a struggling composer and freelance musician who lived in the building’s attic). The figure who helped unite all these neighbors into a network of musical support for Marianna’s development was her father’s childhood friend Pietro Trapassi. Writing under the famous pen name “Metastasio”, Pietro lived with the Martines family for the rest of his life after being appointed Poet Laureate to the Austrian Empire in 1730. 

As the tutor responsible for Marianna’s practical and musical education in childhood, Pietro ensured that the education Marianna received was of a quality far superior to that of the “standard” provided to women of her social class at that time. Through her rigorous study of languages with Pietro, for example, Marianna became an incredibly well-versed quadrilingual of French, English, Italian, and German. Pietro arranged for Marianna to take keyboard lessons from Haydn (that brilliant young man from the attic) and encouraged her to take singing lessons at the age of ten. 

So it was that Marianna continued her musical training under Nicola Porpora, with Haydn serving as both her accompanist and assistant to her new teacher. Demonstrating potential as a gifted composer, Marianna was encouraged by her tutor Pietro to take lessons in composition from Johann Adolph Hasse and the Imperial court composer Giuseppe Bonno. She brought Haydn with her to meet both Hasse and Bonno, and the attic musician’s career flourished as a result.

Martines was a virtuosic player, even as a child, and regularly performed before the Imperial court. Her biographer Helene Wessely depicts the young Martines as having “attracted attention with her beautiful voice and [superb] keyboard playing”. Wessely also asserts that her compositions, particularly for voice, possess a “predilection for coloratura passages, leaps over wide intervals and trills indicat[ing] that she herself must have been an excellent singer.” As a rock star on the harpsichord, she developed such a reputation into adulthood that she was frequently requested to perform before the Empress Maria Theresa.

Despite being one of the most eligible bachelorettes in the Classical Viennese music scene, Marianna Martines never married. She never sought an appointed position at court either. There were barriers to women (as well as individuals of her social class) when it came to pursuing compositional employment that her friend Haydn simply did not have to contend with. Together with her sister (who also remained a lifelong bachelorette) she cared for her mentor Pietro until his death in 1782. That very year, Marianna’s Italian oratorio “Isacco figura del redentore” was premiered in a renowned concert series put on by the Tonkünstler-Societät. The librettist for this oratorio is credited to Pietro’s pen name of Metastasio.

The poet left his estate to the Martines family, and to his student Marianna he bequeathed 20,000 florins, his harpsichord, and his entire music library. Marianna used this money to fill the Martines home with her former tutor’s favorite music, hosting musical soirees with her sister that attracted distinguished guests (such as the Irish tenor Michael Kelly and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself!). The latter was a frequent guest to these musical get-togethers and composed four-hand piano sonatas to perform with Marianne. Never too proud to forget his roots, Haydn would often pop in for a bit of harpsichord-tickling and merriment-making.

As a composer, Martines penned four masses, six motets, and three litanies for choir. She composed several works for solo voice and wrote several secular cantatas (as well as two oratorios) to Italian texts. In the definitive fashion of the early Classical period, particularly in Vienna, she composed in the Italian style. Her harpsichord playing was compared stylistically to that of C.P.E. Bach, and her compositions were so well-regarded that some scholars suggest Mozart modeled his 1768 Mass after the “Christe” of her Mass No. 1 in D major. 

As she rightly deserved, Martines’ name and music were lauded throughout Europe, but after her death in 1812 her musical legacy faced an incredible amount of erasure. It is only in recent years that her music has, rightly, been unearthed to the delight of the musical world. It is primarily thanks to the efforts made by publishers such as “Furore-Verlag” (a German publisher that specializes in works by female composers) that we can enjoy so many of her compositions today. 

What’s happening at the Bassment

The Bassment is one of Canada’s premier jazz clubs and provides musicians of all skill levels a venue to showcase their talents in front of a live audience while accessing a variety of professional, concert-grade instruments. The club offers an intimate, personal concert space with a world-class stage for local, national, and international artists.

Here’s a sample of what’s happening next at The Bassment

Suzie Vinnick
October 15, 2022

BLUES SERIES • DOORS @6:30 • SHOW @7:30 • RUSH SEATING

www.suzievinnick.com

A Saskatoon native transplanted to the Niagara region of Ontario, roots and blues singer-songwriter Suzie Vinnick is the proud owner of a gorgeous voice, impressive guitar and bass chops, and an engagingly candid performance style. Her voice soars, it growls, it whispers, and it shouts from a deep, deep well of emotion. Suzie is a three-time JUNO nominee, a Canadian Folk Music award winner, a winner of 10 Maple Blues awards, and was the voice of Tim Horton’s commercials for five years. She’s toured with the Downchild Blues Band, Stuart McLean’s The Vinyl Café, and has performed for Canadian Peacekeepers in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf. Suzie will be performing songs from her latest release, Fall Back Home, as well as selections from her six previous albums.

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Christine Tassan et les imposteurs
November 6, 2022


GUITAR SERIES • DOORS @6:30 • SHOW @7:30

www.christinetassan.com

Christine Tassan has been steering her musical ship with boundless enthusiasm and confidence for over 20 years. Blessed with an absolutely contagious dynamism, she is one of the rare female jazz and gypsy jazz guitar soloists; and she stands out for her sensitive playing, her quiet strength, and her irresistible audacity. As a singer, composer, writer, director, and producer, she has contributed to numerous musical projects in Quebec and internationally, both as a leader and as a guest musician.

Classically trained, Christine became interested in gypsy jazz improvisation upon discovery of Django Reinhardt’s music in 1998. Her gypsy jazz group les Imposteures has performed in over 600 festivals and venues in Quebec, Canada, Europe, the United States, and China. The group has 7 albums to its credit, including Entre Félix et Django which was awarded the 2017 Opus Prize for Jazz Album of the Year.

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Ariel Posen
November 7, 2022


NORTHERN SOUL SERIES • DOORS @6:30 • SHOW @7:30 • RUSH SEATING

www.arielposen.com

Ariel Posen’s music occupies the space between genres. It’s a rootsy sound that nods to his influences — heartland rock & roll, electrified Americana, blue-eyed soul, R&B, Beatles-inspired pop — while still moving forward, pushing Posen into territory that’s uniquely his own.

Along the way, Posen has received standing ovations not only from his audiences, but also from outlets like Rolling Stone, who dubbed him “a modern-day guitar hero,” Music Radar who listed him as a fan voted top 10 rock guitarist of the year, and the Western Canadian Music Awards who nominated him for Breakout Artist of the Year in 2020 and 2021 and for both Rock Artist of the Year and Recording of the Year in 2022.

Alt-country singer songwriter Del Barber plays the opening set.

 

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Daniel Karlsson Trio
November 12, 2022

JAZZ TRAVELLERS SERIES • DOORS @6:30PM • SHOW @7:30PM • RUSH SEATING

www.danielkarlssonmusic.com

Since its album debut Das Taxibåt in September of 2013, The Daniel Karlsson Trio has been building a well-deserved reputation as being one of the leading groups in Swedish and European jazz. With a total of six critically acclaimed albums, the trio’s output has been recognized with the Swedish Radio’s Jazz Group of the Year Award, Swedish jazz magazine OJ’s Golden Disc Award, and a Swedish Jazz Grammy Award. Led by pianist/composer Daniel Karlsson, the trio also features Christian Spering (bass) and Fredrik Rundqvist (drums).

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Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar
November 13, 2022

BLUES SERIES • DOORS @6:30PM • SHOW @7:30PM

www.samanthamartinmusic.com

Samantha Martin is a dynamic front woman possessed with a stunning voice capable of summoning tidal waves of spine-tingling emotion in one instance, while delicately bringing out the nuances of a gut-wrenching lyric in the next. As lead singer, songwriter, and focal point of Delta Sugar, she takes audiences to emotional peaks leaving them amazed with her sheer pin-you-against-the-wall power. But the vocal alchemy of Delta Sugar is not the work of a single talent – it’s the vocal blend produced by Samantha and her co-vocalists that creates pure, unadulterated gospel-tinged, neuron-tingling magic.

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JazzLab Orchestra
November 19, 2022

JAZZ TRAVELLERS SERIES • DOORS @ 6:30PM • SHOW @7:30PM

www.jazzlaborchestra.com

Montreal’s JazzLab Orchestra has been a respected and creative force of the Canadian jazz scene since 2004. The group explores musical writing in many styles, each time supported by stunning composers and musicians. Always keen on staying original, always gravitating to a core of esteemed artists, each subsequent JLO project teems with inspiration and audacity. The group has released 7 albums and given more then 300 concerts, performing at major jazz festivals and in prestigious venues in North America and Europe, including New York’s Jazz at the Lincoln Center and Rome’s Casa del Jazz..

Band leader and bassist Alain Bedard has assembled an orchestra featuring the talents of eight of the most respected jazz artists in Quebec. JLO has been honoured by its peers with nominations from the JUNOs, Prix OPUS, JazzMan, ADISQ, and Downbeat Magazine.

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Michael Kaeshammer
November 27, 2022

PIANO SERIES • DOORS @6:30 • SHOW @7:30

www.kaeshammer.com

Michael Kaeshammer has invested a lot – countless hours at the keyboard, hundreds of recordings, thousands of live performances, and millions of miles in the air and on the road – all in pursuit of a mastery of 12 notes across 88 keys. Over the course of decades as a professional performer, Kaeshammer has developed a style that weaves threads of classical, jazz, blues, boogie-woogie, stride, and even pop into a signature and sought-after sonic tapestry. Born and bred in Germany, Kaeshammer began performing club, theatre, and festival stages throughout Europe in his early teens and continued on that trajectory after emigrating to Canada’s West Coast with his family in the mid-‘90s. His first studio album, Blue Keys, dropped in 1996 and spurred a consistent sequence of heralded releases and high-profile international performances. Through it all, the world watched as he grew from child prodigy to full-fledged phenom; from unparalleled pianist to virtuosic songwriter.

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