Cecilia McDowall - Works for Flute and Piano
I had the pleasure of meeting and working with the incredible British composer Cecilia McDowall on February 19, 2015 as part of the Cecilia McDowall Festival held at the UW-Madison School of Music. This was the first time I heard her music and instantly fell in love with it. She is a master of writing for the instrument due to her father, Harold Clarke, who was the principal flutist of the Royal Opera House, and professor of flute at Trinity College of Music. Her works range from contemporary solo pieces, to music for large flute ensembles.
The Moon Dances was commissioned by Susan Milan, a British flutist and professor at the Royal College of Music. Inspired by Spanish poetry, the piece uses contemporary techniques, complex rhythms and harmonics to conjure various colors and moods throughout the three-movement work.
Eleven is a piece that has very personal meaning to me. It was written during troubling times in former Yugoslavia, where I was born and raised. McDowall states: “I became obsessed with what happens to a culture when it is dispersed due to war. ‘Eleven’ means ‘alive’ in Hungarian, and I dedicated it to all those in danger of losing their cultural identity, in the hope that they can keep their cultural ‘voice’ alive.”
McDowall uses ethnic religious music of Eastern Europe in a powerful form to depict the suffering of Kosovo in the late 20th Century. Techniques such as glissandi are used in the flute part to mimic the sounds of a woman’s cries caused by a deep sadness of losing loved ones.
Born in London,1951, Cecilia McDowall has won many awards and been eight times short-listed for the British Composer Awards. In 2014 she won the British Composer Award for Choral Music. Much of McDowall’s choral music is performed worldwide, as well as her orchestral music. Recent important commissions include one for the BBC Singers, Westminster Cathedral Choir, London Mozart Players and a joint commission from the City of London Sinfonia and the Scott Polar Research Institute to celebrate the life of the British Antarctic explorer, Captain Scott in Seventy Degrees Below Zero. Three Latin Motets were recorded by the renowned American choir, Phoenix Chorale; this Chandos recording, Spotless Rose, won a Grammy award and was nominated for Best Classical Album. New commissions for 2016 include works for the BBC Singers, Choir of King’s, Cambridge and a new song cycle for Roderick Williams, amongst others. Earlier this year the BBC Singers premiered When time is broke, three Shakespeare settings. Oxford University Press has signed McDowall as an 'Oxford' composer and she is currently 'composer-in-residence' at Dulwich College, London. In 2013 she received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of Portsmouth.
Iva Ugrčić, flute
Serbian flutist Iva Ugrčić is one of the most exciting and adventurous young flutists in the international pantheon. Described as “a natural star on her instrument,” Iva has been featured as a solo artist at numerous music festivals including Belgrade Flute Fest, International Music Festival in Bosnia & Hercegovina, Classic Light Music Fest, Constantinus International Classical Music Festival, Cecilia McDowell Festival, Wisconsin Flute Festival, Miami Summer Music Festival, Atlantic Summer Music Festival, Caroga Lake Music Festival, Madison New Music Festival, International Sarajevo Chamber Msuic Festival, Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society Chamber Music Festival, La Crosse New Music Festival as well as others.
As a soloist and a chamber musician, Iva has performed in fourteen countries around Europe and the United States. In addition to her formidable work as a soloist, she is also passionate about playing in ensembles. She has performed and recorded in Europe with the Symphony Orchestra of Radio Television of Serbia, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, and the French Flute Orchestra. Since moving to the United States, Iva has performed with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra and La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, as well as chamber groups including the Wingra UW Madison Faculty Wind Quintet and Vitraž Woodwind Quintet. She currently plays with Black Marigold Wind Quintet, ID flute and percussion duo, and Sound Out Loud contemporary chamber music ensemble. Ms. Ugrčić has also worked as a flute educator in Belgrade, Paris, and Madison. She has performed and recorded with numerous jazz, blues and alternative music ensembles. A fearless musician, she is enthusiastic about music of all styles and nationalities.
After completing her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in 2005 at the University of Belgrade Academy of Music, Iva Ugrčić moved to Paris, where she received a full scholarship from the Albert Roussel Foundation. During three years in Paris, Ms. Ugrčić studied flute performance and chamber music at two music conservatories and worked intensely with legendary flutist Pierre-Yves Artaud and flutist George Alirol.
Satoko Hayami, piano
Native of Japan, Satoko Hayami is an active collaborative and solo pianist.She enjoys playing a wide variety of works for keyboard, including harpsichord and toy piano. Her varying activities include the following: she serves as a faculty member at Summer Music Study in Szeged, Hungary, teaching piano chamber music as well as accompanying vocal and instrumental repertoire; she performed and taught masterclasses at Samobor Music Festival in Croatia as a part of a piano-percussion duo; at Madison New Music Festival in WI, she performed a newly composed solo work along with other contemporary chamber music; she co-founded a contemporary chamber ensemble Sound Out Loud, performing and commissioning new works by living composers. Various musical projects brought her to different areas in the United States, and to many other countries including Canada, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Croatia, Hungary and Italy.
She is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at University of Wisconsin-Madison under the mentorship of Martha Fischer, and a recipient of Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Fellowship. She earned a Master of Music degree in Piano Chamber Music & Accompanying at Rice University as a recipient of Charlotte A. Rothwell Principal in Keyboard Award in 2014, having already received a master’s degree in Collaborative Piano from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She participated in numerous summer music festivals including Aspen Music Festival & School, Banff Summer Festival in Canada, and the Corsi Internazionali di Musica in Urbino, Italy. Her chamber music coaches included members of the Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, Cavani String Quartet, Cleveland String Quartet, and Pro Arte String Quartet.