LIVELY AND INNOVATIVE CHAMBER MUSIC PROGRAMS FOR LISTENERS OF ALL AGES
Music's Recreation is devoted to exploring new concert formats that integrate educational commentary and an informal atmosphere with high level performance in order to spread a love of, and cultivate a new audience for, classical music.The organization seeks especially to reach what we see as an under-served population of families who are otherwise offered few opportunities to expose their children to the rich experience of hearing live classical music.Music's Recreation is committed to making concert-going a pleasurable, family-friendly, educational activity. We also aim to appeal to seasoned concert-goers who relish a change from the usual formal milieu of classical music.Music's Recreation is not associated with any one musical ensemble but sponsors various local ensembles in its mission to provide the area's talented reserve of musicians with more performing opportunities and a chance to engage in an unusual kind of connection with their listeners.
  • Our Previous
    Concerts
  • Audio
    Samples
  • Recent
    Commissions
  • Recent
    Collaborations
  • Outreach
    Programs
Previous Programs:   Here are brief descriptions of some of our Music's Recreation productions from past seasons.

My Father's Dragon April 2013
Hundreds of fans of all ages can once again enjoy the triumphs of Elmer Elevator, the boy hero who outwits fierce but fickle rhinos, tigers, wild boars and crocodiles to rescue a baby dragon held captive on Wild Island. By popular request, Music's Recreation will present a freshly staged musical version of the much loved children's classic written by Ruth Stiles Gannett, aka Ruth Kahn of Trumansburg. With an original and lively score by Eric H. Feinstein interwoven with Marie Sirakos' graceful adaptation, it played to packed houses in 2003 and again in 2005 This performance will herald the author's 90th birthday year. It stars two of Ithaca's most versatile actors - Joey Steinhagen and Holly Adams and the always remarkable ensemble of Music's Recreation musicians conducted by Ubaldo Valli with overall direction by Ms. Sirakos

Schickele in the Mix November 2012
American composer Peter Schickele has long been the two-for-one deal of the musical world. Audiences of his own fine chamber music, and audiences of his researches into the musical farces of P.D.Q Bach will both find much to love in this concert. For the delight of all ages, we present Schickele's setting of "The Emperor's New Clothes," and some other wonderful little works. The usual suspects in the pit join narrator Camilla Schade.

Tasty Tunes April 2012
Our April Fool's concert features J.S. Bach's "Coffee Cantata" and other works Come and see if our smorgasbord of pieces inspired by and describing the delights of food can stimulate your appetite as they satisfy your ear. The main feature of this musical feast is Bach's "Coffee Cantata" but morsels from the Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" will whet the appetite.

The Art of Making Music February 2012
Here's Music's Recreation in action: an inside look at musical interpretation. How do musicians work with a composer's score and bring to life a version which is intelligible, playable and beautiful? The notes are only the starting point and, with careful work, a truly inspiring performance emerges.

Facade( an Entertainment of poetry and sly tunes) November 2011
William Walton composed a kaleidoscopically varied set of tunes from soft-shoe to ballad to waltz, to mesh with the very expressive, though nonsensical, poetry of his friend Edith Sitwell. The resulting Entertainment is humm-ably entrancing. With Patrice Pastore, narrator, and ensemble conducted by Ubaldo Valli.

The Chordal Connection (Music a la Mode- Part II) April 2011
How chords outline the plot of the story line of a musical composition... The ancient Romans said harmony is the sound of stars moving in the heavens. Old songs called "sweet harmony" the soul of music. What is harmony? How do we put chords together? Why does music need harmony? We'll demonstrate a variety of ways that chordal connections work in music from "three-chord tunes" to Beethoven and beyond. We'll even show how mathematics underpins the nature of harmony.

Totally Tuba November 2010
Dave Unland, tuba professor at Ithaca College school of music, and collaborators put on a great show including that wonderful favorite, "Tubby the Tuba"

Pinocchio's Adventures in Funland April 2010
A narrated, musical version of the zany exploits of Carlo Collodi"s rascally wooden marionette brought to life by the imaginative, evocative music of composer Michael Gandolfi and lively language of Dana Bostrom"s narrative, delivered by Camilla Schade.

Rags to Riches- and all that Jazz! February 2010
Join us as we sample the tremendous vitality and excitement that jazz brought into the world of concert music. Starting from the roots of ragtime with Scott Joplin's music for a ragtime band, we'll go to Igor Stravinsky's outrageously irresistible tango, waltz and rag from The Soldier's Tale. Jazz great Bix Beiderbecke's hit "In a Mist" will be followed by the music of Claude Debussy that fascinated Bix and inspired his composition. The clarinet concerto by the fabulous clarinetist and jazz innovator, Artie Shaw, will bring us into the heart of the Swing era, along with songs by George Gershwin and other jazz-flavored treats from modern masters.

Kick Up Your Heels: Music for the Dance November 2009
Gotta Dance! That's how you will feel as Music's Recreation also opens you eyes and ears to how specific elements in dance music are wedded to the character of the movement of the dances they accompany in "Kick Up your Heels: Music for the Dance," on Sunday afternoon, November 22 at 2pm at CSMA's third floor performance space. Guest artist dancer Maren Waldman will demonstrate the variety of formal movement patterns, body stance and movement "personalities" involved in dances from the Minuet to the Waltz, Tango and Swing with music by Handel, Brahms, Dvorak, Bartok, Piazzolla and Duke Ellington.

And yet more from earlier times...

Dance Rhythms
The first listeners of our favorite classical music knew something that we don't--they knew how to dance to it! Yes, the composers usually did want their audience to stay seated.  But imagine seeing a marquise interpret a dance form like a gavotte at a court ball.  After that, the sound of a gavotte would never be the same.  Find out what you have to do with your feet when you waltz and see why composers couldn't resist sneaking the waltz rhythm into their music.  Travel in time with the help of dancer Joyce Morgenroth, and see what such courtly dances as a minuet or bourree looked like.  See the gestures of the tango that Argentinian composer Piazzolla had in his mind's eye when he wrote his piece, History of Tango. Then, conjure dance movement in your own imagination while listening to the music of local composer Ann Silsbee in her Journey, a suite drawn from a longer dance music work.

Musical Conversations
If you went to a play and all the characters spoke their lines at the same time, the resulting chaos would drive you to ask for your money back.  When you go to a concert, the instruments  always "talk" at the same time, and what they say-to you and to each other-can be great fun.  Come and join the Devon Quartet in exploring some of the differences between spoken and musical conversations.   Start by listening to a musical impression of spoken chatter by local composer Margaret Fairlie Kennedy and then learn about some of the conversational rules of music as you listen to works by Mozart, Haydn, Bartok, Dvorak and Shostakovich.

Patterns & Rounds & Symmetrical Sounds: The Math Hiding in Music
As anybody who reads or plays music knows, you have to be able to "count" in a special way, keep track of how many beats fit into a measure, know that one quarter note equals two eighth notes and other such math-like things.  That is pretty simple stuff compared to the mathematical systems that composers often employ to create shapes, patterns, proportion and symmetry in their music.  Musicians and listeners may not be conscious of the mathematical games composers play in constructing their pieces, but they certainly respond to the pleasing effects of creations based on structured invention and logical solutions.  Come join Elizabeth Alexander, concert tour guide and composer of our featured work, to ferret out the mathematical games at work in pieces by Bach, Mozart, Haydn, and Saint-Saens and hear how fractal patterns, their methods of generation and their evocative names inspired her piece, "Fractals," for bassoon and=20 piano.

With A Song
Guest artist, Judith Kellock, will demonstrate what a solo voice can convey with a song--one of humankind's most felicitous forms of communication.  She will continue our Casual Classics concert series' theme of programme music by presenting a sampling of songs for solo voice.  She will explain how songs have been used over the centuries, from folk songs to operatic arias.  Works by Adam, Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, and Bartok will be among the varied fare.  The piece-de-resistance will be Judith Weir's "King Harald's Saga" a miniature, ten-minute opera in which Ms. Kellock will narrate the story and play all the characters!

All That Jazz and More
"Take One"
In a farewell nod to the 20th century, "All That Jazz and More" checks out some of the influences of popular music on classical music during the last century.  A tidy boundary between the two didn't exist for the likes of Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, Sondheim and Ellington, the featured composers in "Take One," and Elizabeth Alexander will point out the inventive ways they moved about the rich middle ground between the two genres.  Carol Buckley and Rosalind Feinstein promise lively and sassy renditions of their songs.  The program will be rounded out by a Joplin Rag, Gershwin "Preludes" and Claude Bolling's "Baroque and Blues."

"Take Two"
Jazz was one of 20thcentury America's greatest gifts to music.  Jazz performers reached Europe early in the century and instantly inspired "classical" composers to play with this exciting new musical language.  "Take Two" explores some of the many links between European classical music and American jazz.   Join us for some very energetic and even danceable music!  We'll have piano rags from Scott Joplin and Artie Matthews, blues from Maurice Ravel, a really hot piece written by Bela Bartok for the "King of Swing", Benny Goodman, lighthearted humor for two pianos from Darius Milhaud, and tango, waltz and ragtime dances from Igor Stravinsky's "The Soldier's Tale," brought to life by dancers choreographed by Rachel Lampert.   Musical influences also came back across the ocean and a piece from 1910 by Claude Debussy illustrates the lush, impressionistic French music that influenced such jazz masters as Duke Ellington.

"Take Three"
In this last farewell nod to the twentieth century, "All that Jazz and More, Take 3" features the saxophone, the youngest member of the wind instrument family that came into its own in twentieth century music, both popular and classical.   The Empire Saxophone Quartet will show off the richness and versatility of the saxophone in a program that leans heavily on the popular music side, playing arrangements skillfully tailored for a quartet of both mellifluous and sassy saxophones.  In addition to playing works by Joplin, Gershwin, Cohan, Monk and Lennon/McCartney and others, they will play a recent work by William D. Pardus written just for the group.  They will also tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the saxophone.


The Magic of Melody
"Part One:  Songs to Words and Words to Songs"
Whether you call it the tune, the song, the  line  or the melody, the thing that tends to grab you first off and that you go away humming is the part of music Casual Classics is going to focus on in its 2001-02 concert series.    Since songs with words are their specialty, our guest artists, the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble, will show you some of the nifty ways the words of songs inspire and shape their melodies. They'll show you how Thomas Weelkes depicts the ups and downs of life in the ups and downs of the melodies in his madrigals.  They'll demonstrate James Cohn's witty way of  making words and melody go together in his "Statues in the Park"  and they'll even show you how a verbal pun can be matched by a musical pun!

Part Two:
"Part Two: Songs With and Without Words: What a Melody Can Do"
Whether you call it the tune, the song, the  line  or the melody, the thing that tends to grab you first off and that you go away humming is the part of music in focus in"The Magic of Melody"concert series.  Part II, "Songs, With and Without Words," will explore the happy marriage between melodies and their word-companions in works by Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart and Schubert.  Melodic gems by Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Debussy and Bartok will show what  melodies without words can do to move us in magical ways.

Part Three:
"What You Can Do to a Melody"
In our last two "The Magic of Melody" concerts we explored what a melody is, and what it can do.  Now we'll look at what you can do to a melody.  Sometimes a melody is so good that you want to keep hearing it again and again.  A clever composer can take a good melody and make a big composition out of it, like a sonata, a fugue, a set of variations, or a song with many different verses.  At the heart, there is always a melody that keeps coming back in new ways.   Come hear the ingenious ways Haydn, Bach, Purcell, Mozart, Vaughan Williams and others give their melodies new guises.

"Telling Stories with Music"
Music's Recreation takes its informal, family-friendly chamber music concert series in a new direction this year  by exploring ways that music can help to tell stories in consort with words, dance, mime and masks.   We are excited to have as collaborators many talented local artists working in the other lively arts who will help make this year's series unique.  Come prepared to hear our usual spirited music-making by professional musicians,  lively educational commentary and much more!

 "My Father's Dragon"
"My Father's Dragon," the children's classic by Ruth Stiles Gannett, beloved Trumansburg resident known locally by her married name, Ruth Kahn, will take on a new guise.  Set to original music composed by Eric Feinstein and performed by Music's Recreation musicians, a version of the story will be crafted for this production by Marie Sirakos who will also direct narrators/actors Joey Steinhagen  and Damien Carter.  Experience the way music and narration can make Wild Island's characters, action, setting and atmosphere come alive.

 "Red and Brown"
The mysterious and haunting Haitian folk tale, "Red and Brown," is told by masked actors who never speak a word but who use movement and gesture choreographed to music to recreate the story.  This magical merging of music and mime is conceived and directed by Italian-Swiss actor and mask-maker, Davide Giovanzana, and will be performed by The Notorious Company and Music's Recreation musicians playing a score consisting of selections from the classical music repertoire woven together by local composer Mark Simon.

"Dance That Story"
Choreographer/Director Rachel Lampert's charming and witty choreography takes on unexpected subjects including baseball, canines and falling objects. In a concert of music by Haydn and Mozart and choreography by Lampert, arpeggios become leaps, sustained passages become slides into the floor and pizzicato becomes tip-toeing over rocks. A company of local dancers and members of the New England Ballet will join Rachel and Music's Recreation musicians.

Cornell Summer Concert Series / July 2009

Women's Works and Music's Recreation brought our enthusiastically received March 2009 concert "An Afternoon with Fanny" (Mendelssohn Hensel) to the Cornell Summer Concert Series.

An Afternoon with Fanny treats the audience to a sample of the 19th century musical salon of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Felix Mendelssohn's older sister. While growing up, the sister and brother received musical training together. But, while a musical career was laid out for Felix, music careers were thought "unseemly" for women. On Fanny's 15th birthday, Fanny's father expressed his feeling that the only calling of a young woman was to be a housewife, "Music will perhaps become his profession, whilst for you it can and must only be an ornament, never the root of your being and doing."

Music's Recreation and Women's Works will host this family-fare concert which celebrates Women's History Month by bringing you a program of music entirely by this composer. Performed by five women and two fine gents, vocal and instrumental works are spiced with readings from letters by Fanny as well as by other members of this remarkable family. These offer insights into Fanny's musical prowess, as well the obstacles to her publishing as a legitimate composer.

Helping to create the ambiance of a musicale in Fanny's home, Lauren Cowdery is providing period dress for the performers. Pianist Karen Melamed Smith will help define Fanny, the eldest child, and pianist Bill Cowdery her exalted brother Felix. Also performing are Music's Rec regulars Elisa Evett, Rosalind Feinstein, and guest Bill Hurley; while Women's Works sopranos Karen Dumont and Kristen Park lend their voices to the lieder.

With grant support from the Community Arts Partnership.

Can Wolfgang come out and play? / April 2009

How often does music make you chuckle, giggle or guffaw? Probably not very often. Most likely some music has put a smile on your face, filled you with a sense of mirth, made you feel jolly or simply amused you with its playfulness. It's this last quality that Music's Recreation will illuminate with examples from the music of P.D.Q. Bach, Beethoven, Bolcom, Haydn, Milhaud, Mozart, Schickele, Stravinsky and others, all bound to tickle your musical funny-bone.

An Afternoon with Fanny Mendelssohn / March 2009

Music's Recreation and Women's Works present a profile of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, the talented, but lesser known sister of Felix Mendelssohn. The concert will include intimate chamber works (like those performed during in the musicales hosted by Fanny in her home) and readings from her letters, and other sources, to enlighten her musical and personal life. This concert celebrates Women's History Month by bringing you a program of music devoted to the music a remarkable woman composer.

POETIC REJUVENATIONS / November 2008

Music's Recreation is thrilled to present the world premiere of new music by local composer Christopher Morgan Loy at 2 pm, Sunday Nov. 23 at the Unitarian Church, Ithaca. Music's Recreation is known for presenting adventurous musical programs that enhance the love of music with commentary designed to introduce and make music accessible to a wide audience from children to seniors. This program will, in a way, turn this method on its head- the music will "explain" the words! The new work is called "Poetic Rejuvenations". It consists of eight short poems, each followed by a piece of music. The poems selected by the composer include two by poet Jay Leeming, who will read them all; the others are by Ernestina Snead, Mary Oliver, Kenneth McClane, Thirnicas Tepho and Billy Collins. The music written for each "comments" on the poem in many ways, illuminating both the sense of the poem and also its rhythms and shape, and the intangible aspects of poetry that defy explanation with words. The composer has said that music is language without words, and this music indeed carries the poems onward beyond the endings of their words.

The music is composed for five players, flute, clarinet (and bass clarinet), violin, cello and piano, but in only one of the pieces- the last and most elaborate- are all five used. The other sections employ various combinations of two, three and four instruments, choosing the particular characters of the instruments to illuminate each poem. Among other treats for the ear and mind, the audience will hear the dark tones of the bass clarinet illuminating a poem called "Seven White Butterflies".

The performers will be Laura Campbell, flute, John Greenly, clarinet, William Hurley, violin, Elisa Evett, cello, and, sharing piano duties, Karen Melamed Smith and William Cowdery. Mr. Morgan Loy was commissioned to compose this major new work by Music's Recreation with the generous support of Joan Sears, and with a grant from the Community Arts Partnership. The production of this concert was also made possible in part with grant support from the Community Arts Partnership.

LE BOEUF SUR LE TOIT / April 2008

Music's Recreation is mounting a new version of the ballet Le Boeuf sur le toit ("The Ox on the Roof") originally created in Paris, 1920, by composer Darius Milhaud and director Jean Cocteau. The musical score is a witty, upbeat mix of samba and tango tunes that Milhaud discovered while traveling in Brazil. Music's Recreation's chamber ensemble version of the piece, arranged by William Cowdery, will be joined with choreographer Maren Waldman's spontaneous, playful, rollicking dance piece, created just for this performance, in which early Brazilian samba meets modern dance. Costume maker Lauren Cowdery has provided the colorful attire for the dancers.

Darius Milhaud composed Le Boeuf sur le toit in homage to Brazilian pop music of the early twentieth century. During the First World War he spent two years in Rio de Janeiro, where he fell in love with the exotic world of Latin American music and dance. Back home in Paris, he decided to compose a symphonic work of "uninterrupted movement, colorful and torrential," drenched in the tropical rhythms of Brazil.In the score Milhaud actually quotes some two dozen tunes that he "stole" from the dance halls of Rio. He even "stole" the title of one of the tunes, "Le Boeuf sur le toit," making it the title of his own work.

When Parisian producer Jean Cocteau heard the music, he immediately designed a ballet production around it. The scene of the ballet was an American speak-easy of the prohibition era, and the surrealistic action involved customers, street people and a "police bust." The ballet played with great success in Paris and London in 1920. Rather than recreating Cocteau's dated production, Maren Waldman's new choreography starts afresh with the Brazilian dance idiom, and combines it with high-energy, free-form movement.

All programs by Music's Recreation feature spoken commentary by the performers. This concert is no exception, sporting three "tour-guides," John Greenly, Bill Cowdery and Waldman herself. Together they will illuminate the world of Brazilian pop music, the origins of Milhaud's score, and the process of creating a new version of "Le Boeuf" for modern audiences. The finale of Music's Recreation's three-concert series on rhythm, this program will delight young and old alike.

Guest choreographer Maren Waldman has over 20 years dance experience in jazz, modern, tap, swing, and salsa. She completed an intensive modern training program at the Limon Institute in NYC and danced professionally for modern dance company AdrienneCelesteFadjoDANCE out of Brooklyn. Her choreography has been performed in NYC and in Rochester, and with this piece, she is making her Ithaca debut as a choreographer.

Ithaca audiences who have had wide exposure to William Cowdery's tickling of the ivories on every conceivable kind of keyboard instrument may be less acquainted with his behind-the-scenes skills as an arranger. For this performance Cowdery has reduced the instrumentation from twenty-five pieces to nine, without compromising Milhaud's detailed musical structure. Rather than sitting "in the pit," the players constitute part of the scenery and action of the production, in full view of the audience.

Costumer Lauren Cowdery has crafted recent Ithaca High School productions of Beauty and the Beast, Into the Woods, The Secret Garden, and Titanic, all with careful research, imagination and flair. For Le Boeuf sur le toit she has worked directly with Waldman to create an exotic world of color and surprise. The nine-member orchestra consists of Max Buckoltz-viola; Laura Campbell-flute; Sarah Cummings-violin; Elisa Evett-cello; John Greenly-clarinet; David Unland-tuba, Ryan Zawel-trombone, and duo-pianists William Cowdery and Rosalind Feinstein. The dance troupe includes Maia Aitken, Mayling Gonzalez, Britta Lee, Kate Shearman and Maren Waldman.

COUNT ME IN! / MARCH 2008

Did you know that you can tango to the medieval music of St. Hildegard? Just change the meter! Music's Recreation and Women's Works team up to reveal meter's musical impact. Come feel the differences between 3/4 and 6/8 and hear the metric pattern of a poem work its way into a song. You can learn from experts and hear wonderful music in the same afternoon on Sunday, March 2, 3:00 pm at the First Baptist Church in Ithaca. Using examples ranging from medieval chant to 20th century rap music, Music's Recreation and Women's Works will illustrate how meter can lead you to waltz, march or boogie, or make you wonder which to do. This concert celebrates Women's History Month by bringing you a program of music entirely by women composers.

FASCINATIN' RHYTHM / NOVEMBER 2007

Our first concert of our 2007-8 series, "Fascinatin' Rhythm", will be a playful look at a revolution in music that started in the Ragtime era at the beginning of the twentieth century. Ragtime is all about syncopation, the musician's term for offbeat accents that make unexpected and exciting changes to the smooth flow of the beat. We'll introduce those "ragged" rhythms with Scott Joplin's famous "Maple Leaf Rag". Syncopated rhythms spread like wildfire in popular music, and a song without clever syncopated rhythms began to sound hopelessly old-fashioned. The greatest songs of that era- we'll do George Gershwin's "Fascinatin' Rhythm"- still have that toe-tapping excitement today.

Classical composers caught the syncopation bug too, and classical music emerged from a century or more of mostly straight-ahead rhythms to wildly fractured syncopation like the relentlessly offbeat drums of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring". We'll do the opening of Stravinsky's "Soldier's Tale", a march that nobody could march to because it's full of tripping-up offbeats, and continue with more music from Milhaud, Bartok and Gershwin, and an elegant modern-day rag by William Bolcom. It's hard to find much syncopation in the work of the classical masters, but Beethoven provides a striking exception to the rule in his piano sonata, Op. 31 no. 1.

We'll also have some very old syncopation from Vivaldi and even earlier music to show that before the classical era, music had plenty of offbeat excitement. Tapping your foot to keep track of the beat seems to be the natural response to offbeat rhythms, and the audience will find plenty of toe-tapping inspiration in this varied program.

CARNIVAL OF THE SUBATOMIC PARTICLES / April 2007

Music composed Mark G. Simon; with poetry by N. David Mermin; narrated by Barbara Mink (biographies below)

Music's Recreation will present the world premiere of Mark G. Simon's newly composed piece, "Carnival of the Subatomic Particles." Commissioned by Music's Recreation, and inspired by that famous old favorite "Carnival of the Animals" by Saint-Saens, this imaginative new work consists of a suite of 13 short musical portraits of subatomic particles, ranging from the well-known protons, neutrons and electrons to the more exotic kaons, pions and even the quarks possessing evocatively named qualities such as "charm" and "strangeness").

The pieces (scored for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano) are introduced and tied together by witty, lovely, funny and information-packed poetry written by David Mermin, Professor of Physics Emeritus at Cornell University and author of Boojums All The Way Through: Communicating Science in a Prosaic Age (Cambridge University Press, 1990). Prof. Mermin was awarded the first Lilienfeld prize of the American Physical Society "for his remarkable clarity and wit as a lecturer to non-specialists." Barbara Mink, visionary founder and artistic director of "Light in Winter" is the narrator.

Music's Recreation regulars, Laura Campbell, flute, William Cowdery, piano, Sarah Cummings, violin, Elisa Evett, cello, and John Greenly, clarinet will be coaxing a variety of evocative sounds from their instruments to interpret Simon's score with its complex rhythms and melodic themes portraying the different properties of these elusive, minuscule particles.

This concert is being linked to the 30th anniversary of the first beam injection into the storage ring at the Wilson Synchrotron Laboratory at Cornell University, the underground site where scientists "watch" these particles do their thing. The concert will open with brief remarks by Prof. Jim Alexander, Director of Cornell University's Laboratory for Elementary-Particle Physics, who will pull back the curtain on some of the ways the lab explores the behavior of the subatomic particles. Prof. Alexander will also be available after the concert (along with the composer and musicians) to answer questions over refreshments.

MARK G. SIMON's (composer) compositions include piano music, chamber music, vocal and symphonic music, as well as musical theater. He grew up in Detroit during the heyday of Motown, and his musical tastes were shaped by this music as well as the classical masters he ultimately chose to follow. His principal influences are the music of Joseph Haydn and Igor Stravinsky, whom he admires for their clarity, logic and wit. Among popular musicians he admires George Gershwin and the Beatles for their spontaneous flow of melody. For Simon, the incorporation of rock into his otherwise classically constructed compositions helps stimulate in him the feelings of childlike play and creativity. He frequently makes use of a special harmonic system based on a chord known technically as the 5-29 set, which he associates with extraordinary apparitions and wonder. He hopes that audiences will come away from the Carnival of the Subatomic Particles, with a feeling of awe at the intricacies of nature.

Recently performed compositions include Red and Brown, a theatre piece with music and dance, and a series of rags which he has performed with the CSMA Clarinet Ensemble and the Ezra Quartet. A set of Five Emily Dickinsongs, was premiered by Steve Stull in 2004. His song cycle Ode on a Grecian Urn, which won honorable mention in the International Clarinet Association's 1998 composition contest, has been performed by sopranos Linda Larson, Sherry Scanza, and most recently by one of Larson's students. His musical Jennie's Will was composed to commemorate the bicentennial of Dryden, New York in 1997.

N. DAVID MERMIN (poetry) has been a professor in Cornell's Physics Department since 1964. He is not an authority on subatomic particles, but he checked his verses for accuracy with a colleague who is. His other major effort in physics poetry has been reprinted in his semi-popular collection of essays, "Boojums All the Way Through". His meditations on offbeat aspects of science occur from time to time in the magazine Physics Today. Among them can be found his definitive analysis of the proper way to pronounce the term "quark". In 2005he published "It's About Time", a little book on relativity for the general reader. His more technical book on quantum computation for computer scientists will appear later this year. He retired in July 2006, and now plays the piano more than he used to do.

BARBARA MINK (narrator) is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Light in Winter Festival, an annual weekend that explores the intersection of art and science (www.lightinwinter.com). She has taught oral and written communication for MBAs at Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management since 1986. She is also a guest lecturer on American-style presentations at ESCP-EAP in Paris, France. Mink was News Director of WHCU radio in Ithaca for eight years, and received the 1982 Associated Press Award for a program on ethics in journalism. In 1989 Mink was elected to the Tompkins County Legislature, and served as Chair of the Board for five years, stepping down in 2002. She is also an active painter (www.barbaramink.com).

YOUNG AT ART / February 2007

In a concert full of youthful energy and early shimmer of talent, Music's Recreation will collaborate with twelve young Ithaca musicians, ages 8-16, to perform works by Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Mendez, written in the composers' younger days. These students of the piano, violin, viola, cello, flute and trumpet, along with Music's Recreation's pros, will also share their views of the nature of musical talent, the sources of musical material and inspiration, and the historical context of musical lives. Musical fun and education are wrapped up in one package for young and old alike.

What is musicality? Is it a human birthright? What is a prodigy's talent all about? How do composers and improvisers come up with musical ideas? What is the influence of time and place on the creative musical imagination? Views on these and other questions will be aired by more than a dozen young local musicians, ages 8-17, who will be the featured performers in "Young at Art," Music's Recreation's second Casual Classics concert of this season.

This program doubles its emphasis on youthful music making by presenting pieces written by Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Rafael Mendez during their youth, giving us a chance to listen for what is actually youthful about these compositions. For comparison's sake, at the end of the program, we will hear a very early set of variations by Beethoven, written on a march by Dressler, and played by Julian Eng, followed by the stunningly mature variations of the Op. 111 piano Sonata, performed by young-ish Community School of Music & Arts (CSMA) faculty member, Claudia Tomsa.

Collaborations with several Music's Recreation old-timers include a movement of the Mozart C Major Sonata for four hands, played by Sarah Beckwith (13) and Bill Cowdery (we're not saying). Flutists Maria Brackin and Ellie Bayles will be joined by cellist, Elisa Evett in Haydn's "London" Trio Sonata No. 1. Flutists, Anastasia Zygarowicz and Hannah Oros will each play movements from Sonatas by Mozart, accompanied by pianist, Bill Cowdery.

Solo pieces include the first movement of Beethoven's Sonata Op. 2, No. 1, played by pianist Ben Miller, and La Virgen de la Macarena, by Mexican prodigy, Rafael Mendez, played by trumpeter, Sean Unland.

Mozart's String Quartet in G Major, K, 156, will be presented by our "fab four," violinists, Jonathan Fenwick and Anjelika Romeo-Hall, violist, Erin Mathios and cellist, David Fenwick.

Please join us as we meet a bit of the future of classical music in the enthusiasm, interest and talent of our young musical friends.

MAJOR MINOR MAGIC

 /November 2006

Musical sounds cover an infinite range of pitches or notes. Scales are the particular, limited collections of notes that people have chosen to use for the construction of music. Music of different times and cultures has evolved many different scales, but our western music of the last couple of centuries, from folk songs to the most exalted classical masterpieces, is made mostly out of two scales, major and minor. During this period, our choice of notes to work with has supported a spectacular explosion of variety in musical form and beauty. Major Minor Magic will use music from Bach to Gershwin, Mozart to Brahms, to show how these scales are made, and how they have been used by great composers.

Why have these scales been so favored? Do major and minor scales naturally produce music with particular moods or feelings — why are  somber funeral marches always in minor? How does such a limited  collection of notes generate such a tremendous range of different kinds of musical form and expression? The program will explore these questions with examples ranging from the sunniest, most innocent piano tune by Mozart to floor-shaking and ferocious organ chords by Bach. A set of "variations", different versions, of a simple tune by Beethoven will show the tremendous range of moods that can be produced when major and minor are both used.

  Often composers mix or alternate major and minor in a single piece of music, producing a kaleidoscope of musical colors and moods, as will be heard in Brahms' Hungarian dances and Mozart's "Turkish" sonata. But, though there are plenty of sad minor pieces and happy major ones, it's not so simple as that, and the program will include music that goes in the opposite direction entirely. Then there is the Blues, as transformed by George Gershwin, stirring major and minor up together so tightly that they can't be separated. The magic of the major and minor scales underlies all these things, and the audience will leave with a heightened awareness of these fascinating underpinnings of all our music.

CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS! / APRIL 2006

Camille Saint-Saens' famous masterpiece of invention and fun with musical portraits of animals of all sorts from elephants to fish, kangaroos to cuckoos, donkeys to pianists (an exotic animal for sure!) will be our next production. The animals and their portraits will be introduced with illustrations of the sources of Saint-Saens' inspiration, which came from the sounds of the animals themselves, and also from his own and other composers' music. The Music's Recreation ensemble will play Saint-Saens' original version of the "Carnival" for two pianos, flute, clarinet, strings and percussion.

Camille Saint-Saens' comic masterpiece is one of the best-loved classics for children and grown-ups alike. With its fourteen musical portraits of animals of all sorts from elephants to fish, kangaroos to cuckoos, donkeys to pianists (an exotic animal for sure!), this piece never fails to excite the imagination and produce giggles.

Everybody loves this music (or surely will when they hear it), but did you know that Saint-Saens refused to allow public performances of this piece in his lifetime? Why? Music's Recreation concert tour guides Bill Cowdery and John Greenly will take the audience behind the scenes to expose some of the secrets of Saint-Saens' creation of the Carnival. The composer not only used very realistic imitations of animal sounds, like the braying of donkeys and the cackling of chickens, but also transformed and made fun of the music of other composers of his time. Bits of music by Offenbach, Berlioz and Rossini, as well as French nursery rhymes and even one of Saint-Saens' own serious works, are used in rather naughty ways that magically manage to portray their animal subjects, poke fun at the originals, and produce miniature musical masterpieces all at once.

Most recordings of the Carnival are of a later version for full orchestra, but Music's Recreation will play Saint-Saens' original, more intimate version for two solo pianos and strings, with flute, piccolo, clarinet, xylophone, and a mystery instrument in place of the original glass harmonica. The fourteen sections will be performed in several groups, each proceeded by explorations of the animal sounds and moods, and the musical materials they incorporate. Visual aids (we dare say no more) that may produce giggles themselves, will serve to remind the audience of the connections between the commentary and the music.

The Cuckoo will be performed in a way never heard before, in order to transport the audience to the deep, dark woods of Europe where this sneaky bird has eluded birders for centuries. The discovery that the Elephant is evoked by music that started life as an ethereal waltz of wood-nymphs by Hector Berlioz, and that the painfully slow motion of Tortoises is portrayed by an amazing transformation of a wild can-can (think Radio City Music Hall) that Saint-Saens stole from Offenbach, will forever enhance the fun and wonder of this music for the listener. What music could possibly portray Fossils? And why might Saint-Saens' solution be rather embarrassing to certain famous composers? These questions and more will be answered during the concert.

MUSICAL CONVERSATIONS / February 2006

Musical conversations? What kind of conversation can you have when there are no words involved? What makes up a musical sentence? How do our ears pick out the topics of a musical conversation? Furthermore, in a spoken conversation people have to take turns talking; you can't communicate if you are all talking at once. And yet in a musical conversation all the instruments can play at the same time! Why doesn't it sound like a big mess?

Some answers to these questions were explored in "Musical Conversations". Noting both similarities and differences between spoken and musical conversations, the musicians focused on the special "rules" of musical conversations. Ernst Toch's "Geographical Fugue" (for speaking/shouting chorus) demonstrated a unique combination of the back-and-forth of spoken conversations and the at-the-same-time nature of a musical canon.  The musicians then introduced purely wordless musical conversations. They first showed how Beethoven gives a string quartet a musical "sentence" to toss back and forth in a canonic way to create a rich musical conversation that leaves the listener fascinated with the "subject."

The visual connection between the two hands playing the two musical lines in a Bach two-part invention helped the audience identify its two "voices."  The musicians showed how Beethoven begins a musical dialogue with a simple statement and response- back and forth- and then gradually weaves a more complex exchange in which the various instruments  combine the original statements in all kinds of unexpected ways. String quartets by Haydn and Shostakovich demonstrated how short musical phrases can grow into interesting conversations even when the same things are "said" over and over again. The musicians also showed how one voice may have the floor while other voices gently support and provide "polite comments" on the topic. A sample from a quartet by Shostakovich demonstrated how contentious musical "arguments" can sound!

Elisa Evett, cellist, was the program tour guide for this concert. She was joined by violinists Sarah Cummings and William Hurley and violist Melissa Stucky to play the varied examples from the string quartet literature. In addition to performing the Bach invention, pianist Bill Cowdery was joined by other Music's Recreation  regulars using their voices (rather than their usual instruments) for the hilarious "Geographical Fugue."

LULLABIES AND WAKE-UP CALLS / November 2005

Music's Recreation ushered in its twelfth season of its informal, kid-friendly Casual Classics concert series with "Lullabies and Wake-up Calls." The concert served up a widely varied program of short musical gems to demonstrate the ability of music to wake us up, or to lull us to sleep. Ranging from rousing march to some of the most loved childrens' lullabies, the program explored the ways music can stir the blood and quicken the heartbeat, or help slumber take hold. Fast and loud wake-up calls included the Brahms Hungarian Dances Nos. 3 and 5 and a Schubert march, as well as pieces by Bach and even a brief, wild jazzy gallop by Stravinsky. The slow and quiet antidotes to all this excitement included Brahms' beloved Lullaby and a medley of children's bedtime favorites to sing along with, as well as a lovely soothing Cradle Song by Gliere, and a haunting, serene piece by the American composer Peter Schickele.

All the players, including violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet and piano with four hands (and two heads) joined in a new arrangement by Music's Recreation's own music master William Cowdery, of Franz von Suppe's "Poet and Peasant" overture. This music contrasts episodes of lulling calm and rousing racket to produce a very dramatic effect. The richness of alternating moods was also heard in a beautiful movement from the Piano Trio Opus 90, "Dumky" by Dvorak, as well as in the contrasting minuet and Badinerie from the French Suite No. 2 for flute, by J.S. Bach.

Concert guide and clarinetist John Greenly illustrated the musical elements that produce these opposite moods as he transformed the fast, jazzy third of the "Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo" by Stravinsky from a wake-up call to a lullaby, by progressively changing the ingredients of tempo, rhythm, melody and expression that are used to such great effect that it is nearly impossible for us to resist being roused or calmed as the composer wishes. All the musicians helped to show that this ability to regulate our mood is perhaps the most basic power of music. All great music, whether rock, folk, classical, jazz or any other kind, uses this power to communicate to us on a level beyond the reach of words.

Are we worried that revealing the composers' secrets will spoil the effect? Not at all! Music connects to us so directly that its effect is not the least bit weakened by examining it. Even when we know how it is being done, it still works just the same. In fact, if there is a secret to tell, it is that the musicians themselves are affected more than the audience, even though their business is to "look under the hood" and know how it all works. By talking with the audience as well as by their playing, the musicians of Music's Recreation revealed this secret.

Brief descriptions of our earlier productions:

Dance Rhythms

The first listeners of our favorite classical music knew something that we don't--they knew how to dance to it! Yes, the composers usually did want their audience to stay seated.  But imagine seeing a marquise interpret a dance form like a gavotte at a court ball.  After that, the sound of a gavotte would never be the same.  Find out what you have to do with your feet when you waltz and see why composers couldn't resist sneaking the waltz rhythm into their music.  Travel in time with the help of dancer Joyce Morgenroth, and see what such courtly dances as a minuet or bourree looked like.  See the gestures of the tango that Argentinian composer Piazzolla had in his mind's eye when he wrote his piece, History of Tango. Then, conjure dance movement in your own imagination while listening to the music of local composer Ann Silsbee in her Journey, a suite drawn from a longer dance music work.

Musical Conversations

If you went to a play and all the characters spoke their lines at the same time, the resulting chaos would drive you to ask for your money back.  When you go to a concert, the instruments  always "talk" at the same time, and what they say-to you and to each other-can be great fun.  Come and join the Devon Quartet in exploring some of the differences between spoken and musical conversations.   Start by listening to a musical impression of spoken chatter by local composer Margaret Fairlie Kennedy and then learn about some of the conversational rules of music as you listen to works by Mozart, Haydn, Bartok, Dvorak and Shostakovich.

Patterns & Rounds & Symmetrical Sounds: The Math Hiding in Music

As anybody who reads or plays music knows, you have to be able to "count" in a special way, keep track of how many beats fit into a measure, know that one quarter note equals two eighth notes and other such math-like things.  That is pretty simple stuff compared to the mathematical systems that composers often employ to create shapes, patterns, proportion and symmetry in their music.  Musicians and listeners may not be conscious of the mathematical games composers play in constructing their pieces, but they certainly respond to the pleasing effects of creations based on structured invention and logical solutions.  Come join Elizabeth Alexander, concert tour guide and composer of our featured work, to ferret out the mathematical games at work in pieces by Bach, Mozart, Haydn, and Saint-Saens and hear how fractal patterns, their methods of generation and their evocative names inspired her piece, "Fractals," for bassoon and piano.

With A Song

Guest artist, Judith Kellock, will demonstrate what a solo voice can convey with a song--one of humankind's most felicitous forms of communication.  She will continue our Casual Classics concert series' theme of programme music by presenting a sampling of songs for solo voice.  She will explain how songs have been used over the centuries, from folk songs to operatic arias.  Works by Adam, Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, and Bartok will be among the varied fare.  The piece-de-resistance will be Judith Weir's "King Harald's Saga" a miniature, ten-minute opera in which Ms. Kellock will narrate the story and play all the characters!

All That Jazz and More / "Take One"

In a farewell nod to the 20th century, "All That Jazz and More" checks out some of the influences of popular music on classical music during the last century.  A tidy boundary between the two didn't exist for the likes of Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, Sondheim and Ellington, the featured composers in "Take One," and Elizabeth Alexander will point out the inventive ways they moved about the rich middle ground between the two genres.  Carol Buckley and Rosalind Feinstein promise lively and sassy renditions of their songs.  The program will be rounded out by a Joplin Rag, Gershwin "Preludes" and Claude Bolling's "Baroque and Blues."

"Take Two"

Jazz was one of 20thcentury America's greatest gifts to music.  Jazz performers reached Europe early in the century and instantly inspired "classical" composers to play with this exciting new musical language.  "Take Two" explores some of the many links between European classical music and American jazz.   Join us for some very energetic and even danceable music!  We'll have piano rags from Scott Joplin and Artie Matthews, blues from Maurice Ravel, a really hot piece written by Bela Bartok for the "King of Swing", Benny Goodman, lighthearted humor for two pianos from Darius Milhaud, and tango, waltz and ragtime dances from Igor Stravinsky's "The Soldier's Tale," brought to life by dancers choreographed by Rachel Lampert.   Musical influences also came back across the ocean and a piece from 1910 by Claude Debussy illustrates the lush, impressionistic French music that influenced such jazz masters as Duke Ellington.

"Take Three"

In this last farewell nod to the twentieth century, "All that Jazz and More, Take 3" features the saxophone, the youngest member of the wind instrument family that came into its own in twentieth century music, both popular and classical. The Empire Saxophone Quartet will show off the richness and versatility of the saxophone in a program that leans heavily on the popular music side, playing arrangements skillfully tailored for a quartet of both mellifluous and sassy saxophones.  In addition to playing works by Joplin, Gershwin, Cohan, Monk and Lennon/McCartney and others, they will play a recent work by William D. Pardus written just for the group.  They will also tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the saxophone.

The Magic of Melody / Part One:  "Songs to Words and Words to Songs"

Whether you call it the tune, the song, the  line  or the melody, the thing that tends to grab you first off and that you go away humming is the part of music Casual Classics is going to focus on in its 2001-02 concert series.    Since songs with words are their specialty, our guest artists, the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble, will show you some of the nifty ways the words of songs inspire and shape their melodies. They'll show you how Thomas Weelkes depicts the ups and downs of life in the ups and downs of the melodies in his madrigals.  They'll demonstrate James Cohn's witty way of  making words and melody go together in his "Statues in the Park"  and they'll even show you how a verbal pun can be matched by a musical pun!

Part Two: "Songs With and Without Words: What a Melody Can Do"

Whether you call it the tune, the song, the  line  or the melody, the thing that tends to grab you first off and that you go away humming is the part of music in focus in"The Magic of Melody"concert series.  Part II, "Songs, With and Without Words," will explore the happy marriage between melodies and their word-companions in works by Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart and Schubert.  Melodic gems by Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Debussy and Bartok will show what  melodies without words can do to move us in magical ways.

Part Three: What You Can Do to a Melody

In our last two "The Magic of Melody" concerts we explored what a melody is, and what it can do.  Now we'll look at what you can do to a melody.  Sometimes a melody is so good that you want to keep hearing it again and again.  A clever composer can take a good melody and make a big composition out of it, like a sonata, a fugue, a set of variations, or a song with many different verses.  At the heart, there is always a melody that keeps coming back in new ways.   Come hear the ingenious ways Haydn, Bach, Purcell, Mozart, Vaughan Williams and others give their melodies new guises.

Telling Stories with Music

Music's Recreation takes its informal, family-friendly chamber music concert series in a new direction this year  by exploring ways that music can help to tell stories in consort with words, dance, mime and masks.   We are excited to have as collaborators many talented local artists working in the other lively arts who will help make this year's series unique.  Come prepared to hear our usual spirited music-making by professional musicians,  lively educational commentary and much more!

 My Father's Dragon

"My Father's Dragon," the children's classic by Ruth Stiles Gannett, beloved Trumansburg resident known locally by her married name, Ruth Kahn, will take on a new guise.  Set to original music composed by Eric Feinstein and performed by Music's Recreation musicians, a version of the story will be crafted for this production by Marie Sirakos who will also direct narrators/actors Joey Steinhagen  and Damien Carter.  Experience the way music and narration can make Wild Island's characters, action, setting and atmosphere come alive.

 Red and Brown

The mysterious and haunting Haitian folk tale, "Red and Brown," is told by masked actors who never speak a word but who use movement and gesture choreographed to music to recreate the story.  This magical merging of music and mime is conceived and directed by Italian-Swiss actor and mask-maker, Davide Giovanzana, and will be performed by The Notorious Company and Music's Recreation musicians playing a score consisting of selections from the classical music repertoire woven together by local composer Mark Simon.

Dance That Story

Choreographer/Director Rachel Lampert's charming and witty choreography takes on unexpected subjects including baseball, canines and falling objects. In a concert of music by Haydn and Mozart and choreography by Lampert, arpeggios become leaps, sustained passages become slides into the floor and pizzicato becomes tip-toeing over rocks. A company of local dancers and members of the New England Ballet will join Rachel and Music's Recreation musicians.

LULLABIES AND WAKE-UP CALLS / November 2005

PLAY MP3: Concert Opening; Stravinsky, third of "Three Pieces for Clarinet"; John Greenly, clarinet
PLAY MP3: John Greenly turns Stravinsky into a Lullaby
PLAY MP3: Introduction to Dvorak; "Dumky" trio
PLAY MP3: Dvorak Performance; Sarah Cummings, violin; Elisa Evett, cello; William Cowdery, piano
Music's Recreation ushered in its twelfth season of its informal, kid-friendly Casual Classics concert series with "Lullabies and Wake-up Calls." The concert served up a widely varied program of short musical gems to demonstrate the ability of music to wake us up, or to lull us to sleep. Ranging from rousing march to some of the most loved childrens' lullabies, the program explored the ways music can stir the blood and quicken the heartbeat, or help slumber take hold. Fast and loud wake-up calls included the Brahms Hungarian Dances Nos. 3 and 5 and a Schubert march, as well as pieces by Bach and even a brief, wild jazzy gallop by Stravinsky. The slow and quiet antidotes to all this excitement included Brahms' beloved Lullaby and a medley of children's bedtime favorites to sing along with, as well as a lovely soothing Cradle Song by Gliere, and a haunting, serene piece by the American composer Peter Schickele.

All the players, including violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet and piano with four hands (and two heads) joined in a new arrangement by Music's Recreation's own music master William Cowdery, of Franz von Suppe's "Poet and Peasant" overture. This music contrasts episodes of lulling calm and rousing racket to produce a very dramatic effect. The richness of alternating moods was also heard in a beautiful movement from the Piano Trio Opus 90, "Dumky" by Dvorak, as well as in the contrasting minuet and Badinerie from the French Suite No. 2 for flute, by J.S. Bach.

Concert guide and clarinetist John Greenly illustrated the musical elements that produce these opposite moods as he transformed the fast, jazzy third of the "Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo" by Stravinsky from a wake-up call to a lullaby, by progressively changing the ingredients of tempo, rhythm, melody and expression that are used to such great effect that it is nearly impossible for us to resist being roused or calmed as the composer wishes. All the musicians helped to show that this ability to regulate our mood is perhaps the most basic power of music. All great music, whether rock, folk, classical, jazz or any other kind, uses this power to communicate to us on a level beyond the reach of words.

Are we worried that revealing the composers' secrets will spoil the effect? Not at all! Music connects to us so directly that its effect is not the least bit weakened by examining it. Even when we know how it is being done, it still works just the same. In fact, if there is a secret to tell, it is that the musicians themselves are affected more than the audience, even though their business is to "look under the hood" and know how it all works. By talking with the audience as well as by their playing, the musicians of Music's Recreation revealed this secret.

POETIC REJUVENATIONS / November 2008

Music's Recreation is thrilled to present the world premiere of new music by local composer Christopher Morgan Loy at 2 pm, Sunday Nov. 23 at the Unitarian Church, Ithaca. Music's Recreation is known for presenting adventurous musical programs that enhance the love of music with commentary designed to introduce and make music accessible to a wide audience from children to seniors. This program will, in a way, turn this method on its head- the music will "explain" the words! The new work is called "Poetic Rejuvenations". It consists of eight short poems, each followed by a piece of music. The poems selected by the composer include two by poet Jay Leeming, who will read them all; the others are by Ernestina Snead, Mary Oliver, Kenneth McClane, Thirnicas Tepho and Billy Collins. The music written for each "comments" on the poem in many ways, illuminating both the sense of the poem and also its rhythms and shape, and the intangible aspects of poetry that defy explanation with words. The composer has said that music is language without words, and this music indeed carries the poems onward beyond the endings of their words.

The music is composed for five players, flute, clarinet (and bass clarinet), violin, cello and piano, but in only one of the pieces- the last and most elaborate- are all five used. The other sections employ various combinations of two, three and four instruments, choosing the particular characters of the instruments to illuminate each poem. Among other treats for the ear and mind, the audience will hear the dark tones of the bass clarinet illuminating a poem called "Seven White Butterflies".

The performers will be Laura Campbell, flute, John Greenly, clarinet, William Hurley, violin, Elisa Evett, cello, and, sharing piano duties, Karen Melamed Smith and William Cowdery. Mr. Morgan Loy was commissioned to compose this major new work by Music's Recreation with the generous support of Joan Sears, and with a grant from the Community Arts Partnership. The production of this concert was also made possible in part with grant support from the Community Arts Partnership.

CARNIVAL OF THE SUBATOMIC PARTICLES / April 2007

Music composed Mark G. Simon; with poetry by N. David Mermin; narrated by Barbara Mink (biographies below)

Music's Recreation will present the world premiere of Mark G. Simon's newly composed piece, "Carnival of the Subatomic Particles." Commissioned by Music's Recreation, and inspired by that famous old favorite "Carnival of the Animals" by Saint-Saens, this imaginative new work consists of a suite of 13 short musical portraits of subatomic particles, ranging from the well-known protons, neutrons and electrons to the more exotic kaons, pions and even the quarks possessing evocatively named qualities such as "charm" and "strangeness").

The pieces (scored for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano) are introduced and tied together by witty, lovely, funny and information-packed poetry written by David Mermin, Professor of Physics Emeritus at Cornell University and author of Boojums All The Way Through: Communicating Science in a Prosaic Age (Cambridge University Press, 1990). Prof. Mermin was awarded the first Lilienfeld prize of the American Physical Society "for his remarkable clarity and wit as a lecturer to non-specialists." Barbara Mink, visionary founder and artistic director of "Light in Winter" is the narrator.

Music's Recreation regulars, Laura Campbell, flute, William Cowdery, piano, Sarah Cummings, violin, Elisa Evett, cello, and John Greenly, clarinet will be coaxing a variety of evocative sounds from their instruments to interpret Simon's score with its complex rhythms and melodic themes portraying the different properties of these elusive, minuscule particles.

This concert is being linked to the 30th anniversary of the first beam injection into the storage ring at the Wilson Synchrotron Laboratory at Cornell University, the underground site where scientists "watch" these particles do their thing. The concert will open with brief remarks by Prof. Jim Alexander, Director of Cornell University's Laboratory for Elementary-Particle Physics, who will pull back the curtain on some of the ways the lab explores the behavior of the subatomic particles. Prof. Alexander will also be available after the concert (along with the composer and musicians) to answer questions over refreshments.

MARK G. SIMON's (composer) compositions include piano music, chamber music, vocal and symphonic music, as well as musical theater. He grew up in Detroit during the heyday of Motown, and his musical tastes were shaped by this music as well as the classical masters he ultimately chose to follow. His principal influences are the music of Joseph Haydn and Igor Stravinsky, whom he admires for their clarity, logic and wit. Among popular musicians he admires George Gershwin and the Beatles for their spontaneous flow of melody. For Simon, the incorporation of rock into his otherwise classically constructed compositions helps stimulate in him the feelings of childlike play and creativity. He frequently makes use of a special harmonic system based on a chord known technically as the 5-29 set, which he associates with extraordinary apparitions and wonder. He hopes that audiences will come away from the Carnival of the Subatomic Particles, with a feeling of awe at the intricacies of nature.

Recently performed compositions include Red and Brown, a theatre piece with music and dance, and a series of rags which he has performed with the CSMA Clarinet Ensemble and the Ezra Quartet. A set of Five Emily Dickinsongs, was premiered by Steve Stull in 2004. His song cycle Ode on a Grecian Urn, which won honorable mention in the International Clarinet Association's 1998 composition contest, has been performed by sopranos Linda Larson, Sherry Scanza, and most recently by one of Larson's students. His musical Jennie's Will was composed to commemorate the bicentennial of Dryden, New York in 1997.

N. DAVID MERMIN (poetry) has been a professor in Cornell's Physics Department since 1964. He is not an authority on subatomic particles, but he checked his verses for accuracy with a colleague who is. His other major effort in physics poetry has been reprinted in his semi-popular collection of essays, "Boojums All the Way Through". His meditations on offbeat aspects of science occur from time to time in the magazine Physics Today. Among them can be found his definitive analysis of the proper way to pronounce the term "quark". In 2005he published "It's About Time", a little book on relativity for the general reader. His more technical book on quantum computation for computer scientists will appear later this year. He retired in July 2006, and now plays the piano more than he used to do.

BARBARA MINK (narrator) is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Light in Winter Festival, an annual weekend that explores the intersection of art and science (www.lightinwinter.com). She has taught oral and written communication for MBAs at Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management since 1986. She is also a guest lecturer on American-style presentations at ESCP-EAP in Paris, France. Mink was News Director of WHCU radio in Ithaca for eight years, and received the 1982 Associated Press Award for a program on ethics in journalism. In 1989 Mink was elected to the Tompkins County Legislature, and served as Chair of the Board for five years, stepping down in 2002. She is also an active painter (www.barbaramink.com).

 Red and Brown

The mysterious and haunting Haitian folk tale, "Red and Brown," is told by masked actors who never speak a word but who use movement and gesture choreographed to music to recreate the story.  This magical merging of music and mime is conceived and directed by Italian-Swiss actor and mask-maker, Davide Giovanzana, and will be performed by The Notorious Company and Music's Recreation musicians playing a score consisting of selections from the classical music repertoire woven together by local composer Mark Simon.

 My Father's Dragon

"My Father's Dragon," the children's classic by Ruth Stiles Gannett, beloved Trumansburg resident known locally by her married name, Ruth Kahn, will take on a new guise.  Set to original music composed by Eric Feinstein and performed by Music's Recreation musicians, a version of the story will be crafted for this production by Marie Sirakos who will also direct narrators/actors Joey Steinhagen  and Damien Carter.  Experience the way music and narration can make Wild Island's characters, action, setting and atmosphere come alive.

An Afternoon with Fanny Mendelssohn / March 2009

Music's Recreation and Women's Works present a profile of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, the talented, but lesser known sister of Felix Mendelssohn. The concert will include intimate chamber works (like those performed during in the musicales hosted by Fanny in her home) and readings from her letters, and other sources, to enlighten her musical and personal life. This concert celebrates Women's History Month by bringing you a program of music devoted to the music a remarkable woman composer.

LE BOEUF SUR LE TOIT / April 2008

Music's Recreation is mounting a new version of the ballet Le Boeuf sur le toit ("The Ox on the Roof") originally created in Paris, 1920, by composer Darius Milhaud and director Jean Cocteau. The musical score is a witty, upbeat mix of samba and tango tunes that Milhaud discovered while traveling in Brazil. Music's Recreation's chamber ensemble version of the piece, arranged by William Cowdery, will be joined with choreographer Maren Waldman's spontaneous, playful, rollicking dance piece, created just for this performance, in which early Brazilian samba meets modern dance. Costume maker Lauren Cowdery has provided the colorful attire for the dancers.

Darius Milhaud composed Le Boeuf sur le toit in homage to Brazilian pop music of the early twentieth century. During the First World War he spent two years in Rio de Janeiro, where he fell in love with the exotic world of Latin American music and dance. Back home in Paris, he decided to compose a symphonic work of "uninterrupted movement, colorful and torrential," drenched in the tropical rhythms of Brazil.In the score Milhaud actually quotes some two dozen tunes that he "stole" from the dance halls of Rio. He even "stole" the title of one of the tunes, "Le Boeuf sur le toit," making it the title of his own work.

When Parisian producer Jean Cocteau heard the music, he immediately designed a ballet production around it. The scene of the ballet was an American speak-easy of the prohibition era, and the surrealistic action involved customers, street people and a "police bust." The ballet played with great success in Paris and London in 1920. Rather than recreating Cocteau's dated production, Maren Waldman's new choreography starts afresh with the Brazilian dance idiom, and combines it with high-energy, free-form movement.

All programs by Music's Recreation feature spoken commentary by the performers. This concert is no exception, sporting three "tour-guides," John Greenly, Bill Cowdery and Waldman herself. Together they will illuminate the world of Brazilian pop music, the origins of Milhaud's score, and the process of creating a new version of "Le Boeuf" for modern audiences. The finale of Music's Recreation's three-concert series on rhythm, this program will delight young and old alike.

Guest choreographer Maren Waldman has over 20 years dance experience in jazz, modern, tap, swing, and salsa. She completed an intensive modern training program at the Limon Institute in NYC and danced professionally for modern dance company AdrienneCelesteFadjoDANCE out of Brooklyn. Her choreography has been performed in NYC and in Rochester, and with this piece, she is making her Ithaca debut as a choreographer.

Ithaca audiences who have had wide exposure to William Cowdery's tickling of the ivories on every conceivable kind of keyboard instrument may be less acquainted with his behind-the-scenes skills as an arranger. For this performance Cowdery has reduced the instrumentation from twenty-five pieces to nine, without compromising Milhaud's detailed musical structure. Rather than sitting "in the pit," the players constitute part of the scenery and action of the production, in full view of the audience.

Costumer Lauren Cowdery has crafted recent Ithaca High School productions of Beauty and the Beast, Into the Woods, The Secret Garden, and Titanic, all with careful research, imagination and flair. For Le Boeuf sur le toit she has worked directly with Waldman to create an exotic world of color and surprise. The nine-member orchestra consists of Max Buckoltz-viola; Laura Campbell-flute; Sarah Cummings-violin; Elisa Evett-cello; John Greenly-clarinet; David Unland-tuba, Ryan Zawel-trombone, and duo-pianists William Cowdery and Rosalind Feinstein. The dance troupe includes Maia Aitken, Mayling Gonzalez, Britta Lee, Kate Shearman and Maren Waldman.

COUNT ME IN! / MARCH 2008

Did you know that you can tango to the medieval music of St. Hildegard? Just change the meter! Music's Recreation and Women's Works team up to reveal meter's musical impact. Come feel the differences between 3/4 and 6/8 and hear the metric pattern of a poem work its way into a song. You can learn from experts and hear wonderful music in the same afternoon on Sunday, March 2, 3:00 pm at the First Baptist Church in Ithaca. Using examples ranging from medieval chant to 20th century rap music, Music's Recreation and Women's Works will illustrate how meter can lead you to waltz, march or boogie, or make you wonder which to do. This concert celebrates Women's History Month by bringing you a program of music entirely by women composers.

Dance That Story

Choreographer/Director Rachel Lampert's charming and witty choreography takes on unexpected subjects including baseball, canines and falling objects. In a concert of music by Haydn and Mozart and choreography by Lampert, arpeggios become leaps, sustained passages become slides into the floor and pizzicato becomes tip-toeing over rocks. A company of local dancers and members of the New England Ballet will join Rachel and Music's Recreation musicians.

Sciencenter / Spring 2007

We took an abbreviated version of “Carnival of the Subatomic Particles,” a unique merging of science and art, to the Sciencenter’s amphitheater.

Newfield Elementary School / Spring 2005

Marie Sirakos and Elisa Evett received a Local Capacity Building Grant through the Community Arts Partnership to collaborate in a week long Arts in Education Residency at Newfield Elementary School. With their guidance, the students in four third-grade classrooms created a theatrical retelling of My Father’s Dragon, the classic children’s book by local author, Ruth Stiles Gannett. They used Marie Sirakos’ adaptation of the story as their script and developed their own music-like sound effects. Characters were created though theatre games and exercises exploring the use of movement and voice. Improvisations led to ways of conveying the action of the story. And through sound-making and sound-manipulating exercises, the children explored how music can enhance the action, underline a character trait, or create a mood. They performed their theatrical creation for their parents as well as for the author, who was an honored guest, and with whom they could discuss their work as well as hers. A few days later, Music’s Recreation presented its own performance so that the students could compare the two versions and increase their awareness of the artistic process.

Beverly J. Martin Elementary School / 2003-2004

We performed all three concerts of the series entitled “Telling Stories with Music,” for the entire school population of the Beverly J. Martin Elementary School.

South Seneca Elementary School / Fall 1998

We took Fall concert, “Birds and Beasts: A Musical Feast” to the South Seneca Elementary School, a school with a limited music program and whose students have little opportunity to hear live classical music, orbenefit from the kind of engaging and educational commentary our performance offered.

Sciencenter / Fall 1999

We created “C” for the Sciencenter’s Saturday morning series, “Showtime.” John Greenly and Elisa Evett used ropes, cardboard tubes, a Slinky, wooden slats, toilet paper, and other props to demonstrate and help kids explore and understand the ways instruments produce sound and how the physics of sound is related to the distinctive qualities (timbres) of various instruments.They then took this portable show to three 4th grade classrooms at Caroline Elementary School and to the Northside Community Center After SchoolProgram.“Twang, Bang and Toot” was later developed into a full-fledged Music’s recreation concert showing how composers exploit different instrumental timbres.