34th Season Opening Gala

« 2016 - 2017 Ridgewood Concert Band Season

Friday, October 28, 2016
West Side Presbyterian Church
Ridgewood, New Jersey

Featured Soloist

Joe Alessi

Prelude Concert - 7:30PM

Pascack Hills High School Concert Band

Joseph Alessi was appointed Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic, The Gurnee F. and Marjorie L. Hart Chair, in the spring of 1985. He began musical studies in his native California with his father, Joseph Alessi, Sr., as a high school student in San Rafael, California, and was a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony before continuing his musical training at The Curtis Institute of Music. Prior to joining the Philharmonic, Mr. Alessi was second trombone of The Philadelphia Orchestra for four seasons, and principal trombone of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for one season. He has performed as guest principal trombonist with the London Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, led by Pierre Boulez.

Mr. Alessi is an active soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. In April 1990 he made his New York Philharmonic solo debut, performing Creston’s Fantasy for Trombone, and in 1992 premiered Christopher Rouse’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Trombone Concerto with the Philharmonic, which commissioned the work for its 150th anniversary celebration. He performed the World Premiere of Melinda Wagner’s Trombone Concerto, conducted by Lorin Maazel in February 2007. In July 2013 he appeared with the Philharmonic as soloist in Bramwell Tovey’s The Lincoln Tunnel Cabaret for Trombone and Orchestra, written for Mr. Alessi, at Summertime Classics and at Bravo! Vail, both performances conducted by the composer.     Read More

Mr. Alessi has been a guest soloist with the Lincoln, Colorado, Syracuse, Virginia, Alabama, Santa Barbara, Puerto Rico, Hartford, and South Dakota symphony orchestras; New Japan, Seoul, Hague, and Helsinki philharmonic orchestras; National Repertory Orchestra; Orchestra of Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Sicily; Mannheim National Theater Orchestra; and National Symphony of Taiwan. Mr. Alessi has also participated in numerous festivals, including the Festivale Musica di Camera in Protogruaro, Italy; Cabrillo Music Festival; Swiss Brass Week; and Lieksa Brass Week in Finland. He was featured in the 1997 International Trombone Festival in Feldkirch, Austria, and the International Meeting of Brass Instruments in Lille, France. He is a founding member of the Summit Brass ensemble at the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute in Tempe, Arizona. In 2002 Mr. Alessi was awarded an International Trombone Association Award for his contributions to the world of trombone music and trombone playing.

Mr. Alessi was invited by the International Trombone Association to record a solo disc of newly composed works, which was distributed to the Association’s membership of 5,000 trombonists in early 1999 and is now available as Beyond the End of the Century through Summit Records. His recording of George Crumb’s Starchild on the Bridge record label, featuring Mr. Alessi as soloist, won a Grammy Award for 1999–2000. Other recordings featuring Mr. Alessi are with the Canadian Brass (Sony Classical and Philips Records). Further information about Mr. Alessi can be found on his website, www.slidearea.com.

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Program Highlights

Concerto for Trombone - Steve Bryant
Learn more   ►

Steven Bryant (b. 1972) is an active American composer and conductor with a varied catalog including works for orchestra, wind ensemble, electronics, and chamber music. Bryant states in his own words, "I strive to write music that leaps off the stage to grab you by the collar and pull you in. Whether through a relentless eruption of energy, or the intensity of quiet contemplation, I want my music to give you no choice, and no other desire, but to listen." In his Concerto for Trombone, which he wrote specifically for our featured artist, Joe Alessi, he has accomplished his goal. He nurtures Mr. Alessi's beautiful haunting tone in the melodic space of the work while allowing the artist's virtuosic skill to be revealed in the faster more energetic sections. The result is an undeniable success for a new concerto that will stand the test of time for exceptional artists who will step up to the challenge.

Program notes compiled by Marcie Phelan.

Rubies - John Harbison/Martin Learn more   ►

John Harbison (b.1938) is among America's most prominent artistic figures. He has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Pulitzer Prize. Harbison has composed music for most of this country's premiere musical institutions, including the Metropolitan Opera , the Chicago Lyric Opera, the New York Philharmonic, and the Chicago Symphony, just to name a few. His works include five string quartets, six symphonies, a ballet, three operas, and numerous chamber and choral works. When asked about his composition Rubies, Harbison replied, "Rubies is a version of Thelonious Monk's Ruby, My Dear, which he composed while still in his teens. When I was invited by the Seattle Symphony to make a short piece reflecting my first musical passions, my thoughts were of Bach and Monk. Since I had recently made some Bach-like chorale preludes, I chose to make a version of Monk's tune, first in a chamber-musical, contrapuntal manner, then in the grand orchestral style I had always heard lurking there."

Program notes compiled by Marcie Phelan.

October - Eric Whitacre (b. 1970) Learn more   ►

Eric Whitacre is an accomplished composer and major figure in contemporary music, having received awards from ASCAP and the American Choral Directors Association, and honored with a Grammy nomination in the contemporary classical composer category. October was commissioned by the Nebraska Wind Consortium, consisting of more than twenty-five high schools, colleges, and universities throughout the Midwest. The work captures the essence and mood of a crisp October day, with its beautifully natural harmonic language and flavor of the changing season. In the composer’s own words, "The simple pastoral melodies and subsequent harmonies are inspired by the great English Romantics (Vaughn Williams and Elgar), as I felt that this style was also perfectly suited to capture the natural and pastoral soul of the season."

Program notes compiled by Marcie Phelan.

Overture to Semiramide - Gioachino Rossini Learn more   ►

Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) wrote the opera Semiramide in 1823. It was the final Italian opera Rossini would write as after its completion he moved to Paris and wrote his last operas in French. Rossini was one of the fastest composers at that time, and composed the entire opera in only thirty-three days. By the late 1800's the opera was almost unknown. There have been various revivals of it, though it has not been performed very often. That can’t be said for the overture of the opera, as it remains to this day a popular selection for many concert halls. Rossini was one of the most popular composers of his day and his overtures remain crowd-pleasers. The visceral excitement of a Rossini crescendo, and his gift for beautiful melody will assure Rossini a place in many concert halls of the future.

Program notes compiled by Marcie Phelan.

Music from Silverado – Bruce Broughton Learn more   ►

Bruce Broughton (b. 1945) is a native of Los Angeles and has established a well-deserved place for himself in the Hollywood film industry as one of its leading composers. In addition to being awarded ten Emmys for his television works, he is most proud of his Academy Award nomination for his film score for Silverado in 1985. A good film score is one that helps advance the story and fills in an emotional dimension beyond what the acting and other elements can convey. Silverado delivers a sweeping, exhilarating soundtrack that pulses with classic Western flavor, yet has a distinctive sound all its own.

Program notes compiled by Marcie Phelan.

Honey Boys On Parade - E.V. Cupero Learn more   ►

E.V. Cupero (1877-1939) was an Italian-American composer, arranger, and cornetist, best known for his "screamer" Honey Boys On Parade, which he composed for the traveling band of George "Honey Boy" Evans. This march was first published in 1914 and is a classic example of marches from this era and was very popular with American minstrels and circuses. Marches known as "screamers" were particularly upbeat in tempo and were intended to stir the circus audience into a frenzy. Screamers are a very demanding type of music due to their extremely fast tempi and rhythms.

Program notes compiled by Marcie Phelan.

The Nightmare Before Christmas - Danny Elfman (b. 1953) Learn more   ►

Danny Elfman (b. 1953) is one of today's most successful creators of movie music and is also one of only a few who has managed to make the transition from rock music to orchestral score composer. The Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated writer has been working hard in the motion-picture arena since 1985 , when director Tim Burton and star Paul Ruebens who were both fascinated by Elfman's playfully macabre music for the cult rock band Oingo Boingo, called upon him to write the music for Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. The Elfman-Burton collaboration continued with five of Elfman's eight Grammy nominations coming for Burton films. Elfman also has a more serious side as demonstrated by his scores for such dramas as Good Will Hunting, Dolores Claiborne, and Men in Black to name just a few.

Program notes compiled by Marcie Phelan.