A TO Z: AMERNET PLAYS ZAIMONTA Strange Magic (Quartet No.2), Sestina, Sonata-Rhapsody, The Figure, Verse
Judith Lang Zaimont
AMERNET STRING QUARTET
[Misha Vitenson & Franz Felkl, violins; Michael Klotz, viola; Jason Calloway, cello]
MISHA VITENSON, solo violin
JASON CALLOWAY, solo cello
JOHN WILSON, piano
World Premiere Recordings
“Along with [Zaimont's] angularity, her modernism tends toward tonality, which is present in the background and on more than one level (and occasionally at the surface). There are three string quartets and a substantial two-movement work for violin (Verse) as well as an explosive work for solo cello (Sestina, 1998), impressively played by Jason Calloway... These are compelling works requiring concentration by the listener—all good music. Performances are superb.”
Gimbel, American Record Guide [January/February 2020]
"Not only is every work heard herein masterfully composed, there is not even a weak measure in any of them. Consistency of inspiration is one of Zaimont’s hallmarks, and every one of her pieces is worthy of repeated hearing—and will repay the listener accordingly. Highest recommendation all around."
David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare [November/December 2019]
"For 50 years Zaimont has stayed the course through every means at her disposal; besides composing and teaching, she is an accomplished pianist who counts Rosina Lhévinne among her early teachers. But I kept coming back to those two essential qualities, an ear and an imagination, that shine from Zaimont’s most captivating music. She is a composer of considerable gifts, and it is no wonder that this highly recommendable disc is the latest in a long line, many of which have been reviewed at Fanfare."
Huntley Dent, Fanfare [November/December 2019]
"This is a superb disc, excellently recorded throughout, and yet another acknowledgement of Zaimont’s status."
Colin Clarke, Fanfare [November/December 2019]
"The performances of this demanding music seem ideal—expressive, intense, and technically secure. The recorded sound is natural and well balanced, and James’s notes are helpful introductions... All in all, this is a rewarding disc for the adventurous listener willing to explore music of complexity and originality."
Henry Fogel, Fanfare [November/December 2019]
[ * * * * ] "[Zaimont's works] ultimately spring from a similar desire to engage an audience while exploring the capabilities of the violin and cello... Zaimont’s music is complex but approachable, and it sustains well even at the nearly half-hour length of the Sonata-Rhapsody... Like Vivaldi, but several centuries later, Zaimont is a very consistent composer, her voice distinctive throughout each of the chamber works heard on this disc."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [November 2019]
"My personal overall impression of this album appreciated much of the diversity that cuts across these five selections."
Stephen Smoliar, The Rehearsal Studio [October 2019]
PROGRAM NOTESWatch YouTube video realization of "A Strange Magic" HERE:
The music of Judith Lang Zaimont is dramatic and color-forward, expressing a wide range of distilled emotion with immediate impact. Even when it moves towards non-tonality, the way it develops to reach the eventual goal reveals underlying tonal pulls. Only in the last two decades has Zaimont’s music turned clearly string-forward. Both her second and sixth symphonies are for orchestral strings, and her two string quartets, which she terms “emblem” works, were written within the past eleven years. Each quartet serves as overt contrast to the other, and each reveals a particular aspect of Zaimont’s artistic personality.
The Amernet String Quartet has garnered recognition as one of today’s most highly regarded chamber ensembles. Consisting of violinists Misha Vitenson and Franz Felkl, violist Michael Klotz and cellist Jason Calloway, they have performed across the Americas and in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, appearing at prominent venues and international festivals. Amernet has collaborated with many of today’s most prominent artists and ensembles, including the Tokyo String Quartet and Ying Quartet, as quartet soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under Alan Gilbert, and with Shmuel Ashkenasi, Roberto Diaz, Gary Hoffman, Ida Kavafian, Anthony McGill, Sherrill Milnes and Michael Tree of the Guarneri Quartet. Early in their career, the ensemble won the Gold Medal at the Tokyo International Music Competition and First Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition. The Amernet Quartet, always committed to the music of our time, has commissioned works from today’s leading composers, including Anthony Brandt, Guillermo Carbo, John Corigliano, Orlando Garcia, John Harbison, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Pierre Jalbert, Bernard Rands, Morton Subotnick, Dmitri Tymoczko, Chinary Ung and Judith Lang Zaimont – with all working closely in performance and recording. Currently Ensemble-in-Residence at Florida International University in Miami, the quartet has previously enjoyed appointments with Northern Kentucky University and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and as the Ernst Stiefel Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for the Arts. Their current season includes tours throughout Europe and Latin America, return engagements throughout the United States and Israel, and premieres of several new works.
[ www.amernetquartet.com ]
Violinist Misha Vitenson has given recitals and chamber music concerts throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Israel and South America. A native of Uzbekistan, he began violin studies with his father, with later in Israel and at The Juilliard School. Vitenson’s numerous awards include prizes in international competitions, including the Aspen Music Festival Concerto Competition, National Society of Arts and Letters Violin Competition, Premio Paganini and Città d’Andria International Violin Competition in Italy, Pablo de Sarasate in Spain and HARID Conservatory Joseph Gingold Award for Excellence. Recent solo engagements include appearances with major orchestras in Israel, including the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta and the Israel Chamber Orchestra, a Brazilian tour with the Padova e Veneto Orchestra, and with the Aspen Music Festival orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan and the HARID Philharmonia. He is currently Artist-in-Residence at Florida International University.
Cellist Jason Calloway has performed to acclaim throughout North America, Europe, Middle East and in the Caribbean as a soloist and chamber musician. Calloway has also appeared at numerous festivals, including Spoleto USA, Blossom, Brevard, Encore, Great Lakes, Kingston, Music Academy of the West, Rockport, Sarasota, Sedona and Valencia, and abroad at Darmstadt and Klangspuren in Austria, Perpignan in France, Lucerne in Switzerland, Città della Pieve in Italy, Casals in Puerto Rico and Jerash in Jordan. A native of Philadelphia, Calloway is a graduate of The Juilliard School and the University of Southern California. He made his Carnegie Hall recital debut under the auspices of Artists International, and has performed in most of the major venues in the United States, including Alice Tully Hall, Steinway Hall, Museum of Modern Art, Disney Hall, Kennedy Center, Academy of Music and Kimmel Center. A dedicated advocate of new music, Calloway collaborates with and premieres with leading ensembles around the world hundreds of works by many of today’s most prominent composers, including Luciano Berio, Harrison Birtwistle, Elliott Carter, Mario Davidovsky, Oliver Knussen, Hans Werner Henze, Toshio Hosokawa, Karel Husa and Wolfgang Rihm. Currently Artist-in-Residence at Florida International University, Calloway was previously a member of the Biava Quartet.
Pianist John Wilson maintains a successful career as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral pianist. A participant in the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra’s performances at Carnegie Hall in 2018, he is a top prize-winner in local and international piano competitions, and has performed extensively in major recital halls throughout the Western hemisphere and in Europe. As a chamber musician, Wilson has partnered with prominent soloists, including violinist Joshua Bell and soprano Audra McDonald. Also a dedicated advocate of contemporary music, Wilson has given world premiere performances of solo piano and small ensemble works by noted composers, including Michael Tilson Thomas and Reinbert de Leeuw.
The music of Judith Lang Zaimont, performed world-wide, is distinguished by a spirit of rhapsody, featuring sudden shifts in texture, instrumental coloring and atmosphere; it is widely acclaimed for its dynamism and emotion. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, and growing up in New York, Zaimont began piano studies with her mother, and then continued at Juilliard’s Preparatory Division with Rosina Lhevinne. Formal composition study was undertaken in graduate school at Columbia University with Otto Luening and Jack Beeson. Her large catalog of more than 120 works, many of which are prizewinners, includes music in every genre. Her awards in composition include a Guggenheim Fellowship, Aaron Copland Award, awards from both National Endowments, the Debussy Fellowship of the Alliance Française de New York, Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. Her music has also taken first prize in numerous composer competitions, including The American Prize, McCollin International Competition and the Gold Medal in the Gottschalk Centenary Competition. In recent years, her commissions have become required works for international and national performance competitions. Zaimont’s oeuvre includes six symphonies, music for wind ensemble, works for solo voice and chorus, a wide variety of solo instrumental and chamber music and two works on Century Lists. As writer and editor, she has published five books, including essays, several articles (including the 2009 Article of the Year in American Music Teacher magazine) and the three volumes of The Musical Woman: An International Perspective. A gifted pianist herself, Zaimont has been a professor of composition for 36 years at CUNY and the Peabody Conservatory, the music department chair at Adelphi University, and head of the composition program at the University of Minnesota. Zaimont has been the subject of nearly 30 dissertations, book chapters and interviews, and is actively commissioned and recorded. [ www.judithzaimont.com ]
All compositions published by Subito Music Corp.
PROGRAMJUDITH LANG ZAIMONT
A STRANGE MAGIC – STRING QUARTET NO.2 (2016)
VERSE for Solo Violin (2008)
STRING QUARTET “THE FIGURE” (2008)
I. In Shadow
II. In Bright Light
SESTINA for Solo Cello (from “Tanya” Poems) (1998)
SONATA-RHAPSODY for Violin and Piano (2010)
I. Nocturne (Romantic)
II. Thinking 1
III. Aria (Sad)
IV. Thinking 2
V. Dance (Twisted)