Margaret Lancaster & Elliot Simpson
perform solo works by Larry Polansky
P R O G R A M
Piker (1997–8) – five pieces for solo piccolo
MARGARET LANCASTER, piccolo
Songs and Toods (2005) – five pieces for the Lou Harrison National Just Intonation Resophonic guitar
ELLIOT SIMPSON, guitar
“Songs and Toods” is a set of five pieces, including three song settings (“Sweet Betsy from Pike,” “Eskimo Lullaby” and “Dismission of Great I”) and two more abstract studies (85 Chords (The “Historical Tuning Problem”) and Schneidertood). The five pieces explore various and extreme possibilities of the guitar’s tuning structure and are demanding for the guitarist, who also sings. Songs and Toods has recently been released (Spring, 2015) in its first full recording by ELLIOT SIMPSON on Microfest Records, Los Angeles. Simpson is so far the only guitarist who has played the entire set.
“Piker” is an earlier work, written for MARGARET LANCASTER, with a parallel structure to Songs and Toods: five pieces, three of which are song settings (of Shaker songs). Margaret Lancaster premiered the piece, and has played it often, and recorded it on the New World Records CD entitled Io.
Guitarist ELLIOT SIMPSON has given premieres of works by such iconic and diverse composers as Sofia Gubaidulina, Alvin Lucier, and Michael Finnissy, and has collaborated with many acclaimed young composers including Hugo Morales, Ezequiel Menalled, Benjamin Staern, and Sahba Aminikia. He has been a guest of organizations including the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble, the San Francisco Symphony, the New European Ensemble, Ensemble Modelo62, the György Ligeti Academy, and the Verband für aktuelle Musik Hamburg, as well as festivals and concert series throughout the United States and Europe in performances ranging from early music to free improvisation. Originally from New Mexico, USA, Elliot studied with David Tanenbaum at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and with Zoran Dukic at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. His Master’s degree in The Hague, as both soloist and chamber musician, was awarded “with distinction for his extraordinary contribution to new music.
“He is a spectacular player and artist, fully up to the demands of this music. He has an impeccable technique, the intellect to comprehend and convey the works, and enough heart to hear the beauties behind the forbidding exterior… This is some remarkable music making.” — American Record Guide
MARGARET LANCASTER has built a large repertoire of new works composed for her that employ extended techniques, multi-media, and electronics, fusing music, theater and movement. Performance highlights include Lincoln Center Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, Ibsen Festival, Santa Fe New Music, Edinburgh Festival, Tap City, New Music Miami, and Festival D’Automne. A member of Either/Or and Fisher Ensemble, she has been a guest of many groups including Argento, American Modern Ensemble, and the New York Philharmonic. She has recorded on New World Records (including her solo disc IO which features Larry Polansky as composer and performer), OO Discs, Innova, Naxos and Tzadik, and was selected for Meet the Composer’s New Works for Soloist Champions project. Noted for her interdisciplinary performances, Lancaster, who also works as an actor, dancer, and amateur furniture designer, presents solo and chamber music concerts worldwide. Recent collaborations include projects with Jean-Baptiste Barrière, ArmitageGone!Dance, BMP’s Kocho, and playing Helene in the 7-year worldwide run of OBIE-winning Mabou Mines Dollhouse…www.margaretlancaster.com
Larry Polansky is a composer, theorist, performer, editor, writer and teacher. He is the Emeritus Strauss Professor of Music at Dartmouth College, the co-founder and co-director of Frog Peak Music (A Composers’ Collective), and is currently Professor of Music at UC Santa Cruz. He has also taught at Bard College and several other schools. His solo CDs are available on New World Records, Artifact, and Cold Blue, and his music is widely anthologized on many other labels. His works are performed frequently around the world. He was the inaugural recipient (with David Behrman) of the Henry Cowell Award from the American Music Center. As a performer (primarily as guitarist and mandolinist), he has worked in many different ensembles, genres and contexts, premiered and recorded important contemporary works by composer colleagues Christian Wolff, Barbara Monk Feldman, Michael Parsons, James Tenney, Lou Harrison, Lois V Vierk, Ron Nagorcka, Daniel Goode, David Mahler, and many others.