David Griffin and Mio Nakamura 

David Griffin, horn

Mio Nakamura, piano

May 5, 2021

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts

David Schwan, host

Program:

Johan Kvandal – Introduction and Allegro, Op. 30 (7′)

Karl Davidoff – Romance Without Words, Op. 23 (4′)

Eugène Bozza – Sur Les Cimes (8′)

Reinhold Glière – Nocturne, Op. 35, No. 10 (3′)

Quinn Mason – Horn Sonata (14′)

I. Restrained

II. Relaxed

III. Unleashed

David Griffin is the fourth horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Upon graduating from Northwestern University in 1987, Griffin began his career with the Rochester Philharmonic and followed with positions in the orchestras of Montreal and Houston before joining the Chicago Symphony in 1995. Griffin has served as guest principal horn of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Shanghai Radio Orchestra. In September 2017, Griffin travelled to Japan for a solo tour, performing recitals in Tokyo, Nagasaki, and Osaka. 

With the wind quintet Prairie Winds, he has performed in more than 25 states and has released two CDs with the group. With the CSO Brass Quintet, Griffin has toured Japan, China, Taiwan, and Mexico. In June 2012, Griffin soloed with the National Orchestra of Brazil. He debuted as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony in Schumann’s Konzertstück at the Ravinia Festival in 2010. He has released the solo album For You, featuring the world-premiere recording of the Sonata for Horn by Bruce Broughton, which is available at cdbaby.com and iTunes.

Griffin is artist faculty of French horn at Roosevelt University and has previously taught at McGill University and Northwestern University. He has given master classes recently at the Colburn School in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Conservatory.  Summer festival engagements have included Sun Valley, Grand Teton, Tanglewood, Manchester (VT) and Madeline Island. Griffin has also been a featured artist and clinician at the annual symposium of the International Horn Society.  

Griffin, his wife Susan Warner, and their children, Henry and Pearl, live in Oak Park, Illinois.

 

A native of Kyoto, Japan, Mio Nakamura has established herself as an in-demand soloist, collaborative artist, and chamber musician in the Chicago area and abroad. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance with honors, as well as a performance diploma, from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. Her mentors include Mary Sauer, Ludmila Lazar, Mitsuko Uchida, David Schrader, and John W. W. Sherer.

Nakamura’s solo appearances include recitals with Chicago’s Musicians Club of Women Artists in Recital and Fourth Presbyterian Church’s Noon Concert series; on WFMT-FM radio; concerto performances with the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, the Evanston Symphony Orchestra, and the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest. 

A collaborative enthusiast, Nakamura served as principal piano of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. In June of 2018, Nakamura performed in the Negaunee Institute’s Concert for Peace and at the League of American Orchestras conference with Yo-Yo Ma. She also frequently appears as supplementary keyboardist and rehearsal pianist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and has performed in Symphony Center, Ravinia, Millennium Park, and Carnegie Hall. Nakamura plays on the CSO’s All-Access Chamber Music, MusicNOW, Fourth Presbyterian Church Friday Noon Concert and St. John’s Episcopal Church Concert Series.

Currently, Nakamura maintains a private piano studio, serves on the piano faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago, performs as organist for St. John’s Episcopal Church, and is the Music Director of Emerging Artists Chicago.

Johan Kvandal (1919-1999)

Introduction and Allegro,

Op. 30 (1971) 

From an early age Johan Kvandal benefited from a rich artistic environment. Summers during his youth were spent in the mountain valley Østerdalen, a vibrant artists’ colony. The cultural influences and beautiful mountain landscapes were abundant sources of inspiration throughout Kvandal’s life. He graduated from the Music Conservatory in Oslo as a conductor in 1947 and as an organist in 1951. 

Through studies with Nadia Boulanger at the Conservatoire de Paris, he was exposed to a progressive musical style. He became familiar with the works of Bartók, Stravinsky and Messiaen. In the 50s and 60s he integrated elements from the international contemporary music scene but without employing atonality or electronic aids. The result was a far greater compositional freedom. Kvandal inevitably came to represent an opposing voice in the prevailing experimental modernist environment. In 1988, Kvandal publicly criticized the favoring of atonal music in the Norwegian Society of Composers. His Introduction and Allegro for horn and piano was composed in 1971. This often-performed recital piece exploits the full range of the horn featuring a melodic line that is both original and occasionally unpredictable.

Karl Davidoff (1838-1889)

Romance Without Words,

Op. 23 (1875) 

The Russian cellist, composer, and teacher Karl Davidoff was born in Goldingen (now Kuldiga, Latvia) in 1838. He earned a degree in mathematics at Moscow University while simultaneously studying cello. After his graduation in 1858, Davidoff decided to devote himself to musical composition so he enrolled the following year at the Leipzig Conservatory. Davidoff played his own Cello Concerto in B minor with the Gewandhaus Orchestra. A year later, he was appointed Principal Cellist of the Gewandhaus and professor at the conservatory. He returned to Russia in 1862 to join the St. Petersburg Conservatory faculty and at the same time became Principal Cellist of the Imperial Italian Orchestra and a member of the Russian Musical Society’s quartet. He was appointed Director of the conservatory in 1876, a post he held until his retirement in 1887. His Romance Without Words was composed originally for the cello and has been beautifully transcribed for the horn.

Eugène Bozza (1905-1991)

Sur Les Cimes (1960) 

Eugene Bozza was a French composer most remembered for his wind chamber compositions. He studied music between World War I and World War II when French music was moving away from romanticism and impressionism and moving towards ideas of wit and eclecticism. In addition to his composition career, Bozza was also director of the École Nationale de Musique in Valenciennes, where he composed many instrumental solo and chamber works for his students. Within Sur Les Cimes, an ominous theme appears throughout the piece in between contrasting cadenzas. Bozza makes reference to the horn’s ancestral roots as an instrument used in hunting with frequent call and response moments mimicking a hunting horn. The piece closes with an exciting fanfare-like arpeggiation playing within the limitless bounds of the horn’s range.

Reinhold Glière (1875-1956)

Nocturne, Op. 35, No. 10 (1908) 

Reinhold Glière was a Soviet-era composer who studied violin, composition, and theory at the Moscow Conservatory. He was the director of the Kiev Conservatory until 1920 when he returned to Moscow as a professor of composition, a post he held until 1941. Glière composed predominantly in the Russian Romantic tradition with expressive melodies, sensitivity, beauty, and use of color. Though he is a contemporary of both Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky, he composed with the grandeur and romanticism of the nineteenth century and thus, never fell out of favor with the oppressive communist regime. Glière’s Nocturne is a short Romantic character piece in simple A-B-A form. Nocturne demonstrates the player’s ability to produce the naturally beautiful, lyrical, and singing qualities of the horn.

Quinn Mason (b. 1996)

Horn Sonata (2017) 

Quinn Mason is a composer and conductor based in Dallas, Texas. Mason has been described as “a brilliant composer just barely in his 20s who seems to make waves wherever he goes.” (Theater Jones) and “One of the most sought after young composers in the country” (Texas Monthly). 

His orchestral music received performances in concert by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, South Bend Symphony Orchestra, New England Conservatory Philharmonia, Orchestra Seattle, New Texas Symphony Orchestra, and the Mission Chamber Orchestra. 

The Sonata for Horn and Piano was originally composed for Chicago Symphony Orchestra Principal horn David Cooper. The composer has offered some insights into this work:

“The first movement, Restrained, is laid back, cool and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It wants to burst out with energy but holds itself back multiple times. The second movement is a canzonetta, or a soft song with a bluesy feel to it. The general mood is relaxed, hence the name of this movement (Relaxed). Finally, the beast is let out of the cage in the last movement, Unleashed. Here, the virtuosity of the player and the pianist is on full display and it is truly no holds barred.”

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts are made possible through the generosity of the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and the Union League Club of Chicago.
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts are presented in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and 98.7 WFMT

Don’t miss William Welter and Winston Choi

next week on the

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts!

Wednesday May 12, 12:15pm

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