Monday, March 9, 2020

Fourth Annual Interational Music by Women Festival

Thursday, 3/5/2020
Poindexter Hall
Mississippi University for Women
Columbus, Mississippi

9:00-9:25 am in room 211
Paper by Jackson Harmeyer (University of Louisville)
Intersections of Timbre, Harmony, and Melody in the Liminal Compositions of Kaija Saariaho for Flute and Cello

10:00 am Concert No. 1 in Kossen Auditorium
Folium 2 and Folium Squared for Flute and Cello (2015) ... Mara Gibson

Insomnia for Solo Cello (2013) ... Nilofaur Iravani

Converse with Rain (Yu Yu Yu) for Flute and Cello (2019) ... Tao Li

Zendra J. White de Velazquez, flute
Paul Christopher, cello

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Invited Guest Artist Recital & Master Class

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
School of Music
Recital Hall
Lafayette, Louisiana
Monday, March 3, 2020

MASTER CLASS at 10:00 am

PROGRAM at 7:30 pm

Patterns in a Chromatic Field (1981) ... Morton Feldman (1926-1987)

Paul Christopher, cello
Dr. Chialing Hsieh, piano

Click here to read program notes by Jackson Harmeyer

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Celebrating 250th Anniversary of Beethoven's Birth

Shreveport Symphony Orchestra
Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 7:30 PM
RiverView Theater
Shreveport, Louisiana


MILHAUD ....  Le Boeuf sur le Toit
MILHAUD .... La Creation du Monde

Orchesis Dance Company Dianne Maroney-Grigsby, artistic director

BEETHOVEN .... Symphony No. 7

You’ll be transported to 1920’s Paris by these jazz and Brazilian-inspired scores by Milhaud, including The Creation of the World,uniquely brought to life by Grambling’s Orchesis Dance Company. Then, we’ll celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with his lively Symphony No. 7, appropriately dubbed The Apotheosis of the Dance.

Click here to read the program notes.

Dr. Paul Forsyth

Alumni Brett Andrews

NSU Cello Ensemble

MUS 1500 Student Recitals
3/3/2020 at 12:30 pm
Magale Recital Hall
Natchitoches, Louisiana

PROGRAM includes:

Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 ....  JS Bach

Aill Harris, Cello

Tango .... Carole Neuen-Rabinowitz

Canción de Sueños .... Carole Neuen-Rabinowitz

Mr. Christopher's Cello Studio Ensemble:
Aill Harris, Alejandro Restrepo, Kelton Spurgeon, Santiago Uribe-Cardona

L to R: Harris, Restrepo, Spurgeon, Uribe-Cardona

Monday, February 24, 2020

Invited Guest Artist Recital

Southeastern Louisiana University
Pottle Auditorium
Hammond, Louisiana
Wednesday, 2/26/2020, at 7:30 pm


Patterns in a Chromatic Field ... Morton Feldman

Paul Christopher, cello
Chialing Hsieh, piano

Click here to read program notes by Jackson Harmeyer

Saturday, February 22, 2020

2/22/2020 at 7:30 pm

Texarkana Symphony Orchestra
Perot Theatre
221 Main Street
Texarkana, Texas


Felix Mendelssohn: The Hebrides, op. 26 (“Fingal’s Cave”)

DJ Sparr: Violet Bond: Concerto for Orchestra and Electric Guitar

Anatoly Liadov: The Enchanted Lake, op. 62

Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite (1919)

Dr. Thompson and Paul Christopher

Anthony Robinson

Best Friends!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Contemporary Music Faculty Recital

2/17/2020 at 6:00 pm
LSMSA Recital Hall
715 University Parkway
Natchitoches, Louisiana

Paul Christopher, cellist
Chialing Hsieh, piano
Michael Young, piano


Nocturne for Cello and Piano ... Michael Young

Cello Song Variations ... Christian Wolff (b.1934- )

Cello Sonata in E-flat Major .... Arnold Bax (1883-1953)

Natchitoches Parish Journal article



Program Notes by Jackson Harmeyer

Tonight NSU Associate Professor of Cello, Paul Christopher,
plays three contrasting works written for cello since the turn
of the twentieth century. The first is by Natchitoches-based
pianist and composer Michael Young, who also serves as
Mr. Christopher’s musical partner tonight. Young has
written the following about his new piece, Nocturne for
cello and piano, which he and Mr. Christopher premiered at
the Sugarmill Music Festival in May 2019: “My Nocturne for
cello and piano is a lyrical piece in ternary form. After a brief introduction in the piano, the cello presents the principal theme, a nostalgic melody tinged with poignant
chromaticism. The piano soon abandons its accompaniment
role as the two instruments engage in a dialogue centered
around five motives that form the basis for the rest of the
piece. In the middle section, two features in the treble
broken chord figuration in the piano—one rhythmic and one
harmonic—contribute to the section’s rise and fall in
tension. The figuration progresses from six to eight
subdivisions of the beat and then slows to quintuplets.
Meanwhile, the figuration creates a harmonic arch from
seventh to thirteenth chords and then back to triads.
Throughout the middle section, the two instruments
continue their lively dialogue around the five motives, now
supplemented by their inversions. One of these motives
generates the chromatic key scheme of the middle section
(B major, C minor, A Lydian, B-flat minor, G major, and G-
sharp minor), which is supported by a series of bass pedal
points that outline the six notes of the whole tone scale. In
the final section, the principal theme dissolves into pensive
solos for the cello and then the piano. After a final
impassioned dialogue the music fades to a delicate end.”

The next piece we hear is Cello Song Variations (“Hallelujah,
I’m a Bum”) by American experimental composer, Christian
Wolff (born 1934). This work for solo cello, composed in
1978, reflects Wolff’s interests in political subjects and
protest songs which, in the 1970s, became significant
factors in his music. Previously, Wolff had, like his mentor
John Cage, kept his music “free of propaganda” and
concerned only with musical matters, although his works of
the 1960s already demonstrated a certain social
consciousness in the way they allowed performers to
contribute to decision-making processes. As of the 1970s,
however, Wolff’s social consciousness had aligned with the
new political awareness in folk music, jazz, and other
popular idioms as well as that of fellow experimental
composers, like his colleagues Cornelius Cardew and
Frederic Rzewski. These composers were particularly
concerned with workers’ rights, and Wolff, in a 1980 article
entitled, “On Political Texts and New Music,” comments on
their allegiance to democratic socialism. Yet, here, Wolff
also admits two problems that experimental composers face
when they assert political stances. These are extreme
individualism and esotericism, both of which can prevent
the music from communicating to the same mass audience
for whom it claims to advocate. These are issues which
ultimately drove Cardew to renounce his earlier
experimental music, although Wolff seems to have been
satisfied with a compromise of sorts.

Works by Wolff creatively integrate folk, work, and protest
songs into their musical fabric without abandoning the
experimental language. Often, as in Cello Song Variations,
the original song is heard straightforwardly before these
materials are, in the industrial terms used by Michael Hicks
and Christian Asplund in their biography of Wolff, melted-
down and recast. In other pieces where the songs are not
presented openly in this fashion, Wolff simply instructs his
players to perform the song itself prior to the new work. The
song, “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum,” appears in Songs of Work and
Protest by Edith Fowke and Joe Glazer, a popular 1973 Dover
reissue of a 1960 anthology of folk music, as well as in Carl
Sandburg’s 1927 collection, The American Songbag.
“Hallelujah, I’m a Bum” is attributed to Harry McClintock, a
singer-songwriter associated with the labor union, the
Industrial Workers of the World whose members are known
as the Wobblies. McClintock claimed that he added the
irreverent text, which describes the beggar’s life asking for
handouts, to a Presbyterian hymn when he himself was a
hobo in the late 1890s; soon, it was so popular, it was
assumed to be an anonymous folksong and McClintock had
to sue for his authorship. In Wolff’s Variations, the cello
plays the presumably familiar melody stringently before
initiating variations which effectively deform the tune.

Throughout the piece’s more than ten-minute span,
fragments of the original can be heard and they become the
basis for Wolff’s disjoint variations. Eventually, the
independent parts build to an emotional intensity, although
the tune itself never truly returns.

Sir Arnold Bax (1883-1953) has been called the most Celtic
of British composers. Although born in London, Bax found
his inspiration in the landscape, folklore, and literature of
Ireland and the elements of Celtic culture that still endured
on that neighboring island. It was through the poetry of his
Irish contemporary William Butler Yeats that Bax first
discovered Ireland and the wider Celtic tradition. Then,
while living in Dublin from 1911 to 1914, he adopted the
pseudonym Dermot O’Byrne, as if an Irishman, and began
publishing poetry, short stories, and plays. Although, in the
end, Bax made his career as a composer, his music shares
much in common with poetry: as one commentator has
remarked, “It is the musical equivalent of the lyrical impulse
in poetry, the attribute which causes utterance to take
spontaneously beautiful forms, irrespective of all else.” And,
while many other composers in the early twentieth century
were intent on breaking with the Romantic past, Bax was
content for his music to remain lush in its orchestrations and
driven in its harmonies. At the height of his popularity in the
1920s, he was briefly regarded as Britain’s leading
symphonist; indeed, he completed seven symphonies,
fourteen tone poems, and numerous other orchestral works
throughout his career. He composed fewer and less-
demanding works in his later years, wishing to “retire, like a
grocer” as he put it. Despite his knighthood in 1937 and
appointment as Master of the King’s Music in 1942, his
compositions fell into general neglect after his death, and
only recently have they seen a renewal of interest from
listeners, performers, and scholars alike.

The Cello Sonata in E-flat major, which concludes our
program tonight, was completed on November 7, 1923 and
premiered on February 26 of the following year by cellist
Beatrice Harrison and pianist Harriet Cohen. Harrison was a
revered cellist who was the soloist in the first festival
performances and recordings of Elgar’s Cello Concerto.
Cohen, meanwhile, was a formidable pianist and also Bax’s
lover, for whom he had abandoned his wife and children;
Cohen remained a steadfast advocate of Bax’s music
throughout her career and he would continue to write for
her, even after he became romantically involved with
another younger woman. The Sonata is in three movements,
the first marked, Moderato. It applies a rough sonata form,
complete with exposition, development, and recapitulation,
but with many contrasts between individual and often
conflicting materials. The opening is fearsome and troubled,
while the second subject has the delicacy of a nocturne;
later, the recapitulation begins, unexpectedly, as a slow
lament. The second movement, Poco lento, borrows from a
tone poem, Spring Fire, which Bax had written ten years
earlier but would not be performed until 1970. Bax
described the music of its opening section, reused here, as
suggestive of “the uncertain and pensive hour immediately
before daybreak in the woodland. It has been raining. The
branches drip softly, and a damp, delicate fragrance rises
from the earth.” The gentle passagework heard in the piano
evokes rainfall while the elegiac melody introduced by the
cello sets the mood and hour. The third movement, Molto
vivace ma non troppo, begins in a lively, folkdance fashion
unlike either the conflicted first movement or tranquil
second. After much excitement, the Sonata closes with a
reflective epilogue which incorporates familiar material, a
narrative device which Bax often employed.

© Jackson Harmeyer 2020

Read additional program notes by Jackson at

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Musicale

Sunday Afternoon Musicale
Shreveport, Louisiana
February 9, 2020, at 4:30 pm

Paul Christopher, cello
Dr. La Wanda Blakeney, piano


Song without Words in D Major, Opus 109 .... Felix Mendelssohn

Sonata No. 1 in B flat Major, RV 47 .... Antonio Vivaldi

Insomnia for Solo Cello (2013) .... Niloufar Iravani

The Swan .... Camille Saint-Saëns

Allegro Appassionato, Opus 43 .... Camille Saint-Saëns

Brecceno String Quartet Recital

Wednesday, 2/12/2020 at 5:30 pm
Varnado Hall Ballroom
 Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457


String Quartet No. 21 in D Major K.575 .... W. A. Mozart
Menuetto: Allegretto

Dania Briceno, violin I
Josias Ramos, violin II
Ruth Garcia, viola
Santiago Uribe-Cardona, cello

String Quartet No.3 in D Major Op.18, No.3 .... L. V.  Beethoven
Andante con moto

Josias Ramos, violin I
Dania Briceno, violin II
Ruth Garcia, viola
Santiago Uribe-Cardona, cello


Friday, February 7, 2020

2/11/2020 at 12:30 pm

MUS 1500 Student Recitals
Magale Recital Hall
Natchitoches, Louisiana

PROGRAM includes

Solo Violoncello Suite No. 5 in C Minor (BWV 1011) .... JS Bach (1675-1750)

Santiago Uribe-Cardona, cello