College of Music Program Book 2011-2012: Ensemble & Other Performances, Volume 1 Page: 63
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PROGRAM NOTES (cont'd)
Richard Thompson is a performer and composer whose work resists a single stylistic
category. His compositions combine formal structures of European classical music with
African-American idioms. Originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, Mr. Thompson made his
piano debut at the Purcell Room, in the Royal Festival Hall in London. He has appeared in
live broadcasts for BBC Jazz and Classical Radio, Italian National Television and Radio and
also given concerts at La Piccola Scala in Milan, among many other venues. His orchestral
appearances include The Harlem Festival Orchestra, The Boston Orchestra and Chorale,
The Glasgow Chamber Orchestra and The Aberdeen Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Thompson
has received numerous grants, including from Meet the Composer and The Brooklyn Arts
Council, which in 1999 awarded him the first Individual Artist Award for classical music
composition. His CD of original compositions, Poetry Prelude, was released in 2006 by
Albany Records, and includes song cycles set to the poetry of Langston Hughes ("Dream
Variations") and Paul Laurence Dunbar ("The Shadow of Dawn"), Six Preludes for Piano
Solo and a jazz quartet arrangement of the spiritual "Wade in the Water." In 2006 he
recorded, with his New York jazz group Mirage, a CD of arrangements of spirituals, Swing
Low, Sweet Chariot, which was released in February 2008 on the Arabesque label. He is
currently working on a chamber opera, "The Mask in the Mirror," based on the courtship and
marriage of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore. Mr. Thompson is associate
professor of music at San Diego State University, where he teaches jazz performance and
history, and music theory. He performs frequently in both jazz and classical concerts, as
a soloist as well as with many chamber groups, including his jazz quintet. He earned his
undergraduate degree in music from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and a master's
degree from Rutgers University, where he studied jazz piano with Kenny Barron and classical
piano with Theodore Lettvin. He also holds a jazz diploma from The Berklee College of
Music in Boston.
The piece to be performed is Cadenza for Solo Violin, which is the first section of a tripartite
piece. The second part of the piece is a solo piano cadenza and the third combines both
instruments. Thompson plans to write several pieces under the general title of Cadenza,
Soliloquy and Dialogue. This cadenza is principally a meditation upon the blues. The
composer wanted to examine and express that particular feeling within the broader context
of twentieth-century music. There are elements in the writing that clearly refer to the history
of violin writing. Thompson also used scordatura; the G string has to be tuned down to
F#. He heard the piece in F# minor and really wanted the sound of the open A string as
the minor third of the key.
Andrew May is an associate professor of composition at the University of North Texas,
where he directs the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia. He is best known for
chamber music that combines instrumentalists with virtual "musicians" using interactive
computer music systems; he also writes a wide range of purely acoustic music. May's music
has been performed in at least a dozen European and Asian countries and throughout the
United States. May has performed internationally as a violinist and conductor, specializing
in adventurous new music and avant-garde improvisation. Born and raised in Chicago,
May studied composition with Roger Reynolds at UC San Diego, Mel Powell at CalArts,
and Jonathan Berger at Yale. For more information, visit http://cemi.music.unt.edu/may.
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University of North Texas. College of Music. College of Music Program Book 2011-2012: Ensemble & Other Performances, Volume 1, book, 2012; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc114723/m1/64/: accessed March 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Music Library.