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The program Libera me is very personal to Goran Končar, one of Croatia’s most prominent violinists. The piece Libera me for violin and organ was dedicated to Končar by Davor Bobić, Varaždin composer and director of the Varaždin Baroque Evenings, now celebrating its 50th anniversary. Now performed in one of the most beautiful early baroque churches, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Varaždin, the composition was premiered at the Zagreb Cathedral Organ Festival 2014.
In honor of Ludwig van Beethoven’s anniversary, Končar arranged two of the composer’s Romances originally written for the violin and orchestra, to be premiered tonight by violin and organ. Along with the Baroque Sonata by G. F. Handel and Allegro by J. H. Fiocco, we will hear the composition Monologue by Croatian composer Miroslav Miletić, which was also dedicated to Goran Končar, as well as compositions by contemporary American composers: J. E. Goodman’s Three Nocturnes and Bruce Reiprich’s Lullaby.
Goran Končar, one of the most prominent Croatian violinists, born 1954, studied at the Zagreb Music Academy in the classes of Martin Borić and Josip Klima. He achieved his M.A. degree in the class of Leonid Kogan at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. He continued his musical training with Max Rostal in Bern and Henryk Szeryng in Geneve. Then he continued studying under Yfrah Neaman in London to become his assistant at the Guildhall School of Music in the period 1981 – 1983.
He started his international soloist career in 1982, undertaking guest tours in most European countries, the USA, Japan and Israel.
In the period from 1984 to 1994 he was concert master of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, the Croatian Radio & Television Symphony Orchestra and the Zagreb Philharmonic. He also performed in many concerts with eminent orchestras and conductors throughout the world.
Končar is the recipient of many first and special awards at numerous national competitions in the country, as well as the Music Life award in Moscow (1980) for the performance of the Concerto for the Violin and Orchestra by Dmitri Shostakovich, the first prize at the International Competition in Bratislava (1984) and other top acknowledgments. The long list of his awards includes the outstanding Vladimir Nazor Award (2006).
Končar’s first disc was published in 1984 by EMI in London, and he has also recorded for the BBC, CBS, France Musique, HRT and other radio and television stations. Croatia Records published one of the rare integral performances of Eugène Ysaÿe’s solo violin sonatas.
From 1987 to 2012 he directed the Zagreb Quartet and for the quarter of the century he embedded his skill and art into the existence of this oldest chamber ensemble, not only in Croatia but in Europe as well. The Zagreb Quartet was established as far back as 1919, and for the period of almost a century it was a basis of the tradition of chamber music-making in Croatia; in this tradition Goran Končar is certainly one of the pivotal personalities. During this period he appeared in more than 2,000 concerts, and under his guidance the Zagreb Quartet had more than 1,000 performances, appearing on all continents in best known world concert halls, and cooperated with a large number of Croatian and foreign soloists. Končar also played the majority of first performances of works composed by Croatian composers written for the strings quartet, and he also published 15 albums. What should not be forgotten is the fact that the Quartet had to find a solution for their working space as a crucial problem. In the year 2007, supported by the City of Zagreb, the Zagreb Quartet was granted their own studio in 31 Ilica Street. Under Končar’s guidance the Zagreb Quartet performed all quartets composed by Shostakovich, Mozart, Prokofiev, Janáček, the majority of Haydn’s quartets and all quintets.
Edmund Borich-Andler has graduated from Music Academy in Zagreb, the piano in the class of professor Ida Gamulin, the organ in the class of professor Ljerka Očić and got his masters degree in organ in the class of professor Mario Penzar.
He has upgraded the organ interpretation in the master classes of Jaroslav Tuma, Pieter van Dijk and Daniel Roth.
In 1999 he was the absolute winner of the 2nd Croatian organ-player competition Franjo Dugan. He is prominent for his performances of virtuoso pieces of music from Romanticism as well as contemporary music. Being especially active as a concert player, he is the most prominent young organ player with several hundred concerts held around Europe, South Africa, the USA, Israel, Syria, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.
In 2010 he won the Franjo Dugan award for special contribution to preservation and promotion of Croatian organ heritage.
Besides being the guest performer on numerous festivals, he is the initiator of similar events in Croatia: he is director of festival Organ of the Zagreb Cathedral. He was initiator and eleven years the director of the international organ festival Arsorgani Sisciae in Sisak and Organs of the island of Vis and ZRIN festival. As a solo organ player he cooperates with the HRT symphony orchestra and the conductors Nikša Bareza and Pavle Dešpalj.
The record company Croatia Records published his first solo CD in 2009 and it won the Croatian record award Porin in 2010. In 2013 Croatia Records published his second solo CD. In 2013 Croatia Records published his second organ CD “ Sisak Organ Heritage”. In 2015 Croatia Records published his third CD “Organ of the Sisak Diocese-Sela”. In 2015 he got Croatian prize Milka Trnina by Croatian Association of Music Artists for the best organ project in Croatia. This year Croatia Records published CD Organ toccatas from Zagreb Cathedral.
Three Nocturnes for Violin and Organ are three separate pieces, intended to be played as a set in the order written. Like the Chopin nocturnes that inspired them, they are short pieces in what might be called a “nocturnal” mood. They are all based on the interval of the fifth (the interval from C up to G). The first nocturne begins with a rising fifth in the organ, and when the violin comes in, the same interval appears in descending form. In the second one, the fifth is used mainly harmonically — in the left hand of the organ. And in the third nocturne the organ plays a melody made up of fifths in succession, with the violin singing over it.
Jacob E. Goodman, founder of the New York Composers Circle in 2002, is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the City College of New York. He studied musical composition with, among others, Ezra Laderman and David Del Tredici. His works have been performed in Delaware, Nebraska, Toronto, Buenos Aires, and Tokyo, and various venues in both New York City and the Bay Area of California. Recent compositions include a set of variations for piano trio; three song cycles; a set of variations for orchestra on a Beethoven theme; a quintet for flute, piano, and strings; a set of intermezzi for piano; a prelude for saxophone and piano; two sets of variations for piano; a duo for cello and piano; a string quartet; and three bagatelles for piano; as well as the score for the documentary film Meet Me at the Canoe, produced for the American Museum of Natural History by his daughter Naomi Goodman-Broom.
I composed Lullaby for violin and orchestra in 2002, with revisions added in 2018, to celebrate the birth of Enrico Liva, the son of my friends Victor Liva and Jennifer Shaw. In keeping with the nature of a lullaby, I chose a lyrical and harmonically lush environment with violin solo, the instrument played not only by Victor but also by many generations of the Liva family. Today’s performance is an adaptation of my recent arrangement of Lullaby for violin and piano. Although Lullaby is a considerable departure from my usual compositional interests, it is my hope that it achieves what I set out to accomplish, namely, to embrace gently with wonder the beauty of the newborn child.
Lullaby for violin and orchestra is available on BENEATH THE TIDE from Navona Records (NV6216) with Goran Končar and the Croatian Chamber Orchestra conducted by Miran Vaupotić.
Bruce Reiprich’s music has been described as having “unapologetic lushness”(NewMusicBox), as “post-romantic radiance” (Danbury News-Times), “a contemplative mood, its sedate pace subtly dilating the flow of time” (Eagle Rock Patch), “a deeply personal mediation on the poet’s feelings” (San Francisco Classical Voice), “very powerful” (All Music Guide), “lovely and evocative” (Guitar Review-New York), “very impressive” (Cumhuriyet-Turkey), and “of special interest” (Guitar International-England). With compositions that span the gamut from overt tonality and metric regularity to atonality and pronounced rhythmic flexibility, he explores the beauty of lyrical lines, lush harmonies and colorful textures. Composers as diverse as Toru Takemitsu, Pierre Boulez, György Ligeti, Luigi Nono and Samuel Barber have been particularly influential in the development of his own style.
Much of Reiprich’s music is a reflection upon images of nature found in the Turkish poetry of Oguz Tansel and in classical Chinese and Japanese poetry. Recently, he has been influenced by the long sentences with spiraling subordinate clauses that Marcel Proust employed in his In Search of Lost Time, as well as the long, rhapsodic sentences of László Krasznahorkai, Claude Simon and Mircea Cărtărescu. Ultimately, it is the serene and contemplative–the unexpected moment of self-contained and quiescent beauty in nature and art–that serve as Reiprich’s inspiration.
His music has been heard abroad with performances in Brazil, China, Columbia, England, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Turkey, and Mexico, and throughout the United States in major cities such as New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, St. Paul, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco, and in numerous radio broadcasts. International, national, and regional festival performances include the Festival of New Music: Touchpoints (Portugal), Săptămâna Internatională a Muzicii Noi (Romania), Shenyang Conservatory Festival of American Music (China), Piano Spheres, Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at Mass MoCA, the International Double Reed Society Conference, the North American Saxophone Alliance National Convention, the International Contemporary Music Festival in Mexico City, the Society of Composers National and Regional Conferences, the Cambridge (England) Summer Recitals, the Chiron New Music Festival (New York), the Eleventh Annual New Music and Art Festival at Bowling Green State University, the Dorflinger Wildflower Festival (Pennsylvania), the University of Delaware Contemporary Music Festival, the John Donald Robb Composers’ Symposium (New Mexico), the Heidelberg College New Music Festival (Ohio), the Chaparral MusicFest (Arizona), the San Francisco Chamber Wind Festival, the New Directions Concerts (California), and the University of Nebraska at Kearney New Music Festival VIII.
His music has been performed by violinists Miranda Cuckson and Goran Končar, pianists Ana Cláudia de Assis, Gary Barnett, Stephen Gosling, Vicki Ray, and Mark Robson, guitarist Andrzej Mokry, Albuquerque Youth Symphony Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project (Club Cafe Series), Boston New Music Initiative, Bowling Green Philharmonia, California E.A.R Unit, Caulkins Guitar Duo, Chamber Mix, Civic Performers Innovative Music, Composers, Inc., Cobalt Saxophone Quartet, Croatian Chamber Orchestra, DaPonte String Quartet, Duo Sigma, Ensemble Flageolet, Ensemble Talea-Halle, Erasable Color, Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, Grand Circle New Music, Gregg Smith Singers, Hartt Contemporary Players Ensemble, Hradec Kralove Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), Indiana University New Music Ensemble, Ives Chamber Orchestra, Kithara Guitar Trio, Knox-Galesburg Symphony, Larson-Taylor-Allvin Trio, Lyric Consort, Mana Saxophone Quartet, Oakland Civic Orchestra, Oficina Música Viva (Brazil), Performing Arts Institute Symphony Orchestra, Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, Singers Guild of Scranton, Society for New Music, Soundings Percussion Duo, Third Coast Percussion, Washington Square Contemporary Music Society/League ISCM Chamber Players, Wyoming Valley Oratorio Society, and Zeitgeist, among others.
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