March 14, 2006
at the REDCAT theater
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Scenes from Lemuria for clarinet and string quartet (2006)
Many years ago, Bill Powell gave me a recording of an amazing improvisation he did, which he had labeled, From Lemuria. Lemuria, I learned, was an ancient mythical place which disappeared into the sea much like Atlantis, but in Lemuria, the arts and creativity were the focus of civilization.
Bill's improvisation, done completely extemporaneously, seemed to be pulling magic out of the ether. That's really what composition (and perhaps all creativity) seems to be. We study and theorize about much preexisting music, but when composing becomes 'flow', it's almost as if one is accessing information on another plane. The music seems already to exist. (Which is not to imply that there is no sweat.) And the ability to access this plane seems to require various types of preparation.
Such was the process of this piece. Thoughts of an ancient mythological civilization also brought to mind music by another composer who resided in Los Angles, which I couldn't resist paraphrasing — you'll know it when you hear it.
Raised in upstate New York, JANE BROCKMAN is the first woman to have earned a Doctorate in Music Composition in the 150-year history of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She also studied in Paris with Max Deutsch on a Fulbright/Alliance Française fellowship and in Vienna on a Rackham Prize fellowship. She has been awarded honors and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony (3 years), the State of Connecticut, Meet the Composer, and the Composers Conference (directed by Mario Davidovsky). Her first orchestra piece won the Sigvald Thompson Prize for orchestral composition. Brockman's mentors include Pulitzer Prize winners Ross Lee Finney and Leslie Bassett, as well as George Balch Wilson, Wallace Berry and Eugene Kurtz. Brockman taught music theory and composition at the University of Connecticut for 9 years, where she founded the University's Computer Music Studio and produced electronic music concerts. She has also been on the faculties of the Hartt School of Music, the University of Rhode Island and the University of Michigan. She was one of four composers selected nationally for a Sundance Institute Film Composers' Lab fellowship, working with Henry Mancini, Bruce Broughton, Alan Sylvestri, David Newman and the Utah Symphony.
Afterward, she left her tenured professorship at the University of Connecticut to freelance as a composer in the Los Angeles are, writing concert music and scoring low budget films and television.
Today, in Santa Monica, her focus is entirely on concert music. That work is informed by the diversity of her experience with other media: dance, film, and television, as well as the formal structure of academia. Her music is recorded on the Loenarda, Opus One, Coronet, Drimala and Capstone labels, and published by Arsis Press, Washington, D.C. and Diaphanous Music, which is distributed by Theodore Front Music Literature Inc. Her music has been in the touring repertoires of Continuum and the New Music Consort in NYC, and virtuoso clarinetists F. Gerard Errante and William Powell.
She has served on the Boards of Directors of New York's Composers Concordance, as well as Women in Film, and the Society of Composers and Lyricists in Los Angeles. She also served for three years on review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C. and produced concerts with the LoCal Composers Ensemble.
© & ℗ 2005 William E. Powell
design by Miriam Kolar