AdZel Duo on NPR Performance Today

FOR MORE RECORDINGS:

Listen to Mariam Adam on Soundcloud here

Other recordings for Mariam here

Listen to Stephanie Zelnick on Soundcloud here

Other recordings for Stephanie here

 

Composers

Anne M. Guzzo (b. 1968) is Wyoming–based composer who draws on science and nature, playful absurdism, and interdisciplinary collaboration to create music that has been described as alternately moving and humorous. Anne has recently collaborated with vertical dancers, a geologist, a range-land ecologist, and a microbiologist, among others. An internationally performed composer and professor at the University of Wyoming—Guzzo is passionate about new music. She founded and directs the Wyoming Festival: New Music in the Mountains, a chamber music festival in Grand Teton National Park at the UW-National Park Service Research Station. Guzzo’s interests include the cartoon music of Carl W. Stalling, classical improvisation, and silent movie music. Her music has been heard on NPR’s Performance Today, and recorded and played by the AdZel Duo,Voices of Change; the Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Allégresse trio, the Empyrean Ensemble, the Divan Consort, Third Angle, and a number of other ensembles and performers. For more information, go to anneguzzo.com

      Antelope Pavane (2012) - Living in the high plains of Wyoming, I see pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) on a weekly, if not daily basis. These graceful animals—the color of snow and prairie—are always entrancing to me. They seem to either stand still, striking statuesque poses, or run (and appear to almost float) across the fields at their legendary speeds up to 75 miles per hour.  The composition employs a graceful fast/slow dichotomy into the structure, as well as improvisation for the performers. This duet was composed for the Adzel Duo, clarinetists Mariam Adam and Stephanie Zelnick. 

     The Color of Honey (2010) was written for the AdZel Duo, clarinetists Mariam Adam and Stephanie Zelnick. The players in AdZel asked for a piece that might combine Middle Eastern elements. My response to this commission was to use quotations of both composer, Shulamit Ran, and the famous  singer, Oum Khalthoum (via composer Mohammed Abdel Wehab) as building blocks for an original piece. The title refers to the honey-colored land of the Middle East and the deeply moving struggles and history of the region.

Jason Barabba

Inspired by a wide variety of unexpected places, impulses, and experiences, Los Angeles-

based composer Jason Barabba processes his encounters through a personal artistic lens to

create pieces that reflect his perception of the world around him. His music is sought out by

performers across the country. Collaborations have included performances by Wild Rumpus,

The AdZel Duo, HOCKET, The California E.A.R. Unit, Ensemble Green, clarinetist Richard

Stoltzman, The Krechkovsky-Loucks Duo, pianist Susan Svrcek, The Arneis Quartet, What’s

Next?, and The Verismo Trio. He has presented talks on composition and new music at The

University of Kansas, Chapman University, the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Tuscany

and The California State University at Bakersfield.

Works by a diverse range of authors including Ursula K. Le Guin, Tao Lin, Herman Melville,

Christopher Durang, David Bartone, and Terry Pratchett have all inspired his compositional

process. Le Guin has said of Barabba’s work, “Some composers use words as raw material.

Like Schubert or Vaughan-Williams, Jason collaborates with them...the texture of the music

and the tension in it are wonderfully effective; it’s spare and airy, but strong.”

He is also the Executive Director of Synchromy, a composers collective in Los Angeles

presenting innovative concerts and events. Through Synchromy, Barabba has a chance to

work on programs of music that is often unheard elsewhere in Southern California in addition

to supporting the home-grown efforts of Angeleno composers. The Crescenta Valley Weekly

called Synchromy “one of the most exciting new music projects in the Los Angeles area

today.”

 

    In the Summer of 2011, I had the good fortune of meeting Mariam Adam and Stephanie Zelnick who were performing as the AdZel Duo as part of ClarinetFest. We realized that a little over a month later we were all going to be guest artists at the same festival in Wyoming, and I offered to write them a short work. They very graciously agreed to premiere it. The challenge was, I really only had a week or so to write it if I was going to give them time to learn it.

   So, Catawampus was written in a week! In many ways, Catawampus is a sibling work to my flute and clarinet duo Organism written the year before. With both works, I did not plan anything in advance, but instead decided to let the piece go where it goes, and do my best to take advantage of the extraordinary flexibility and diverse sound worlds available from these instruments. Knowing that I had world-class players waiting for it gave me freedom to go pretty much anywhere I wanted.

   The end result with Catawampus is a piece that seems to travel through a few places on a journey you’re not going to be able to predict as a listener. The opening section, with its unsubtlely dissonant tritone, and slightly offbeat rhythms serves as a kind of connecting material between each different scene.[possibly serving a similar role as the Promenade in Pictures at an Exhibition, but I’m hesitant to make the comparison.] There are two inner sections (starting at measures 70 and 128) which could almost be considered internal movements of a multi-movement piece, but should be considered more like rooms in a gallery, where our duo peeks their heads in to see what’s up.

In the end, Catawampus was intended to be as fun and energetic as the two outstanding performers it was written for.

Mohammed Fairouz is writing innovative and imaginative compositions for a variety of instruments and ensembles. Hailed as "one of the most talented composers of his generation" by BBC World News, Mohammed has unified voices around the world with his brilliant ideas and execution. Through generous support from Jim Zakoura and Reach Out Kansas, Mohammed conceived of AdZel, written for the AdZel Duo. Combining quick and spirited dance rhythms with soulful harmonies, AdZel has been performed around the world, including at the Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, Northwestern University, and many others. 

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