tumblr page counter

Robert Aitken, artistic director


Sunday February 4, 2018 @ 8 Introduction @ 7:15
John Lowry violin Beth Root Sandvoss cello Susanne Ruberg-Gordon, piano
with special guests Robert Aitken flute James Campbell clarinet
Gallery 345 at 345 Sorauren Avenue [MAP]


Max Oppenheimer – Portrait of Anton Webern (1909)


Hope Lee (China/Canada b.1953) – Imaginary Garden VII (2017)
Sean Clarke (Canada b.1983) – Delirium Nocturnum (2017)
Matthew Ricketts (Canada b.1986) – Graffiti Songs (2010)
Arnold Schoenberg (Austria/USA 1874-1951) – Kammersymphonie Op. 9* (1906)
* 1922 chamber arrangement by Anton Webern (Austria 1883-1945)


Hope Lee (Taiwan/Canada b.1953) Imaginary Garden VII (2017)

Hope Lee is a Canadian composer of Chinese origin. As a “cross- cultural explorer”, her work often reflects her interdisciplinary interests and her views of creativity as an endless adventure of exploration, research and experimentation; a challenge to one’s breadth and depth. “Things change constantly and continuously” she says, “therefore each work should be approached from a fresh angle. Growth is a natural phenomenon reflected in my compositional technique. Not unlike disciplined organic growth – a most fascinating phenomenon – it is the secret of life, the source of true freedom.”

Hope Lee received formal music training at the McGill University in Montréal and at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany as a recipient of a DAAD scholarship and a Canada Council Grant. Her main teachers in composition are Bengt Hambraeus, Brian Cherney and Klaus Huber. Between 1987-90, she studied Chinese traditional music and poetry, as well as computer music in Berkeley, California.

Imaginary Garden, a sonic garden of discovery, growth, imagination and recollection, is a series of short chamber pieces written for unusual instrumental combinations, with the intention of exploring musical gestures with motion, images, and emotion.

Imaginary Garden VII ...until another year, another bloom...
is written for flautist Robert Aitken and Land’s End Ensemble.
“God gives us memories that we have rose gardens in winter” — Obituary, Rosalind W.Y. Lee (1927-2017)
—Hope Lee

Sean Clarke (Canada b.1983) Delirium Nocturnum (2017)

Sean Clarke is a composer, theorist and flutist from Calgary, Alberta. Having previously studied flute and composition at the Royal Northern College of Music, England and the University of Calgary, he completed a doctorate in instrumental composition at the University of Montréal under the co-direction of Ana Sokolovic and Jonathan Goldman. His works have been played in the United States, France, and across Canada, and his theory research has been featured at numerous regional and national conferences. Sean is the recipient of a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Delirium Nocturnum depicts a feverish range of emotional states and cycles through five different sections: a lamenting Dirge, a lyrical Aria, a grotesque Caprice, a strident Fanfare, and a fiery Allegro con fuoco. Each section is transformed over the course of the piece, as when the Fanfare returns only to morph into a delicate duet between the violin and flute, or when the Caprice becomes light and dance-like before leading to a lively moto perpetuo. Midway through the piece the Aria slowly builds to a roar, before the Allegro that had previously failed to gain any traction takes over the work. During this last tumultuous section, elements of the Caprice, Aria and Fanfare all make final appearances. — Sean Clarke

Matthew Ricketts (Canada b.1986) Graffiti Songs (2010)

Matthew Ricketts is a Canadian composer. A graduate of McGill University’s Schulich School of Music (B.Mus. 2009) and Columbia University (DMA 2017), Matthew has studied with Brian Cherney, John Rea, Chris Paul Harman, George Lewis and Fred Lerdahl. His music has been featured on festivals and concerts across North America and in Europe. Ricketts is the recipient of numerous awards for his compositions, including eight prizes in the SOCAN Foundation’s Awards for Young Composers. Matthew is currently collaborating with renowned writer and playwright Tomson Highway on a multilingual chamber opera to be toured throughout Nunavik and Côte-Nord. Matthew is Composer/Collaborator-in- Residence at East Carolina University’s New Music Initiative, 2016-2018.

Graffiti Songs was composed using scraps from several unfinished or early pieces of mine – namely, the completed movement of an unfinished larger piano piece (incidentally one of the first pieces I wrote, in my last year of High School) as well as an even more unfinished descending chord sequence (sketches for raw material of an incomplete and largely un-started orchestra piece, this one more recent and dating from the end of my undergrad).

I was struck by the similarity of these pieces, and although my music has changed a good deal since those early pieces, both the harmonic material of my early Piano Prelude and the sketches for the orchestral piece Still Burning were largely diatonic and mostly rooted in quintal – that is, finding various ways to vertically and horizontally fetishize the interval of a fifth – material. I thus conceived of this piece as a sort of mashing-together of these two pieces, one from the start of my interest in composition and the other quite recent. Materials from both pieces are used throughout and constantly allowed to interact with each other – in this way, both the piece itself and my compositional process drew on the process of “defacing” or sketching atop existing material, so that the earlier material serves as an original document on top of which this music now scribbles, inscribes, vandalizes or comments – hence, Graffiti songs.

This piece was written in the summer of 2010, at the request of flautist, friend and all-around incredible musician Jeff Stonehouse, as well as his Ensemble Paramirabo, to whom it is most warmly dedicated. — Matthew Ricketts

Arnold Schoenberg (Austria/USA 1874-1951) Kammersymphonie Op. 9 (1906)

Arnold Schoenberg (born Vienna 13 September 1874, died Los Angeles 13 July 1951) was a revolutionary Austrian composer and painter, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and the leader of the Second Viennese School of composition. Schoenberg was admired early in his career for simultaneously extending the traditionally opposed German Romantic styles of Brahms and Wagner. Later, his name would come to personify radical innovations in atonality (Schoenberg preferred the term pantonality) that would become the most polemical feature of 20th-century art music. In the 1920s, Schoenberg developed the twelve-tone technique, an influential compositional method of manipulating an ordered series of all twelve notes in the chromatic scale. Following the election of the Nazi Party in 1933 Schoenberg’s works were denounced as degenerate Jewish music and he left Berlin for the United States in 1934. Schoenberg was also a painter, an important music theorist, and an influential teacher of composition; his students included Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Hanns Eisler, Egon Wellesz, and later John Cage, Lou Harrison, Earl Kim, Leon Kirchner, and other prominent musicians. Many of Schoenberg’s practices, including the formalization of compositional method and his insistence that audiences should listen analytically are echoed in avant-garde musical thought throughout the 20th century.

Schoenberg singled out his Kammersymphonie Op.9 as a “true turning point” in his compositional style: “After having finished the composition of the ‘Kammersymphonie’ it was not only the expectation of success which filled me with joy. It was another and a more important matter. I believed I had now found my own personal style of composing and that all problems [...] had been solved and that a way had been shown out of the perplexities in which we young composers had been involved through the harmonic, formal, orchestral and emotional innovations of Richard Wagner” (“How One Becomes Lonely”, 1937). Completed on 25 July 1906, the symphony was “the last work of my first period that existed as a single through-composed movement.” The extended tonality of Schoenberg’s E-major symphony is remarkable for its prominent use of a principal theme based the interval of the perfect fourth. Originally scored for an ensemble of ten wind instruments pitted against five solo strings, the premiere in Vienna’s venerable ‘Großer Musikvereinssaal’ on 8 February 1907 provoked Richard Strauss (at that time a benefactor of Schoenberg) among others to complain that the instrumentation of the ensemble was not suitable “for large orchestral concerts without soloists” and “must absolutely be played in a smaller hall.” Schoenberg subsequently planned several alternative versions of the work and also assigned his acolyte Alban Berg to create an edition for two pianos. Between 1922 and 1923, Schoenberg’s disciple Anton Webern made two different arrangements of this composition; the first of these was scored for violin, flute, clarinet, cello, and piano and was performed alongside the similarly scored Pierrot Lunaire (1921) at a concert in Barcelona in 1925. — Daniel Foley


Juno-nominated Land’s End Ensemble of Calgary (John Lowry, violin; Beth Root Sandvoss, cello; Susanne Ruberg-Gordon, piano; Vincent Ho, Artistic Director) is dedicated to introducing audiences to new music by Canadian and International composers, and to performing landmark chamber works of the 20th and 21st centuries. Over the years, LE Ensemble has featured an extraordinary array of guest artists, including Hans Graf, James Campbell, Joel Sachs, Onalea Gilbertson, Barry Shiffman, Robert Aitken, François Houle, Laura Jayne Bowler and many others. The ensemble has performed the works of over a hundred Canadian and Alberta composers; in addition LE Ensemble sponsors a nation-wide Composers Competition annually in partnership with the University of Calgary. LE’s discography includes two winners of the Western Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Classical Recording, as well as a Juno nomination for My Life in Widening Circles, music by R. Murray Schafer.


Quoted by the Chronicle Herald as “A superb musician”, Swedish- born pianist Susanne Ruberg-Gordon is a highly regarded chamber musician and collaborative artist. She has performed with artists such as Andres Cardenes, Andras Diaz, Ron Leonard, James Campbell, Desmond Hoebig, Ian Swensen, Alain Trudel, Jens Lindemann, Ning Feng, Catherine Monoukian, Ni Tao, Arnold Choi and Nikki Chooi.


John Lowry has been Associate Concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra since 1987. He was Concertmaster of the Edmonton Symphony for the 2002-2003 season, and has served as Guest Concertmaster of orchestras in Halifax, Winnipeg, Kitchener-Waterloo, Red Deer, and the Adelaide Symphony of South Australia.


Cellist Beth Root Sandvoss has a notably varied career as a recitalist, chamber musician and pedagogue. Beth’s early professional activities took her to Hong Kong, where she became a member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the Victoria String Quartet, performing throughout Asia.


World renowned Canadian flutist, composer and conductor Robert Aitken has been honoured with the Order of Canada and is a Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France). He has more than 70 recordings to his credit and such notables as John Cage, George Crumb, Elliott Carter, Toru Takemitsu, Gilles Tremblay, John Beckwith and Bruce Mather have dedicated works to him. In 2003 he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Flute Association (USA) and in 2009 received the prestigious Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts. His compositions are published by Universal Edition, Salabert, Ricordi and Peer Music. Robert Aitken was director of the Banff Centre Winter Program in Music, founder and artistic director of Music Today, Music at Shawnigan and co-founder, with Norma Beecroft, of New Music Concerts which he has directed since its inception in 1971.


James Campbell has followed his muse to five television specials, more than 40 recordings, over 30 works commissioned, a Juno Award, Canada’s Artist of the Year, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and Canada’s highest honour, the Order of Canada. Campbell has performed as soloist and chamber musician in over 30 countries with string quartets, orchestras and luminaries like the Boston Pops, London Symphony, the Guarneri, Allegri and St Lawrence Quartets, Glenn Gould and Aaron Copland. Campbell has been Artistic Director of Ontario’s Festival of the Sound since 1984 and is Professor of Music at the prestigious Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University.