«My music is a voyage of self-discovery. In every piece I ponder deeper inside my self, a self which is, of course, social. Every piece has to be a window for something beyond music.»

Carlos José Castro, in conversation with Laura Falzon



Composer Carlos José Castro


 

 

 

Carlos José Castro’s new flute work Nocturno to recieve its World Premiere by Laura Falzon on July 29th 2014 in New York City

A new piece by Costa Rican composer and Latin Grammy winner, Carlos José Castro will be premiered by Laura Falzon in New York City at Somethin' Jazz Club during the Costa Rican CONCIERTico organized by CRNGNYC, and curated by Edmundo Ramirez.

“As the name of this new work states,” explains Carlos José Castro, “it has to do with night music and it also reveals romantic resonances.” In an interview with Laura Falzon, the composer reveals that he was thinking of Orpheus's loss of Euridice. “In the music there is a thematic relationship between the B and the A. At the end only the B remains, even though it recalls the A with nostalgia.”

Costa Rican composer Carlos José Castro is the recipient of the prestigious Latin Grammy award in the category of “Best Composer Contemporary Classical Music”, which he received in 2008 for his Concierto del Sol. His work has been performed across the globe: in Cuba, Mexico, the United States, Germany, Poland, Spain, France, Italy, and Costa Rica. He studied with a number of prestigious teachers including Benjamín Gutiérrez, Rand Steiger, Blas Emilio Atehortúa, Leo Brouwer, David Vayo, and Bernal Flores. Castro teaches at the Instituto Nacional de la Música and the University of Costa Rica and freelances in composing, music producing, and scriptwriting.

Composer Carlos José Castro rehearsing Nocturno with Laura Falzon

Laura Falzon talks to Carlos José Castro about Nocturno for Alto Flute

In preparation for her premiere of Castro’s Nocturno, flautist Laura Falzon discussed several aspects of this new work with the composer himself. She explored with him his intentions and what he had in mind when he created this new work. More so, she discussed several compositional aspects of his works and how he approaches a new piece.

LF: How do you compose? Do you jot down ideas and then develop them later?
CC: I usually compose a sketch of the whole piece before writing a note. This sketch is a melodic shape, [whether] I do it just in my head, or takes the form of a guitar piece, or both. In the case of this piece I worked on the melody by singing it ... until it became a whole.

LF: Where do your ideas come from? What inspires you to write music? Do you find inspiration from other composers or perhaps you get inspiration from nature, art, and literature?
CC: My ideas come from very different interests. The avatars of personal experience, nature, literature, arts, drama and, of course, other musics. Also the mythic dimension is important to me. I believe music is a path and a channel to truths beyond language.

LF: Are there any particular influences on your music?
CC: I take from everywhere, from Latin popular music, rock, folklore from all over the world, minimalism, expressionism, African tribal music, romanticism, classicism, protest songs, all kinds of jazz, Bach, et al. I don’t believe in barriers, musically speaking, and try in my musical language to integrate as many dialects as possible. I believe that this gives me the chance to express better the human experience.

LF: How would you describe your music?
CC: My music is a voyage of self-discovery. In every piece I ponder deeper inside my self, a self which is, of course, social. Every piece has to be a window for something beyond music. The melody is a very important part of my music. I believe that musical themes are meant to be remembered and treasured. Rhythm has to be vital. I like details and craftsmanship. Polyphony is ever present, even in a single line. Modality, tonality, atonality, classicism, romanticism, modernism, minimalism, impressionism, all coexist in my music.


LF: Do you tailor works towards a particular audience or do you write works with particular musicians in mind as interpreters of your music?
CC: A composer has to be aware for whom he writes and in what context. That's essential. But the end result is always my personal voyage under those circumstances.

LF: What inspired you to write Nocturno?
CC: A personal loss. The necessity to let go.

LF: Is there a particular reason why you chose to write this work for alto flute?
CC: The alto flute has a dark tone and register perfectly suited for the rendering of the particular expression of the melody.

LF: Is Nocturno inspired or based on anything in particular? How would you describe the piece?
CC: The same melodic shape is repeated and varied a few times keeping the same tonal center (A) but changing the scale of reference. There is always a relation between the tonic A and the note immediately over it B. At the end of the piece the tonic is removed leaving a sense of loss.



World Première of Nickos Harizanos's Honeycombs in New York City

Laura Falzon (flute); Edmundo Ramirez (viola) US/NY premiere performance at the NYSoundCircuit 5.2 concert in May 2014

On Friday May 9th 2014, flutist Laura Falzon together with violist Edmundo Ramirez performed the US PREMIERE of NICKOS HARIZANOS's Honeycombs at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York City, NY for NYSoundCircuit 5.2 concert series

Honeycombs-for flute and viola composed by Greek composer Nickos Harizanos —an active board member of the Greek, Xenakis founded,  KSYME, the Contemporary Music Research center  in Athens,  is a dialogue between the two solistic instruments. In the work many modal scales are involved resulting in a cosmos and reminiscences of  byzantine and  medieval music.




Composer Jan Gilbert

 



Premiere performance of Jan Gilbert’s The Indigo Rooftop of the Night

for soprano, alto flute, viola, and piano on February 19, 2013, at Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space, New York City


Jessika Kenney (voice); Laura Falzon (alto flute); Jen Herman (viola); Michael Haas (cello)
Premiere performance at Symphony Space, NY in February 2013

As part of New York’s city-wide festival, Composers Now!, the American Composers Alliance collaborated with Lunatics at Large, to present recent works by Richard Brooks, Richard Cameron-Wolfe, Eleanor Cory, Brian Fennelly, Thomas Flaherty, Jan Gilbert, and Louis Karchin. Amongst the works performed was the premiere performance of JAN GILBERTs The Indigo Rooftop of the Night for soprano, alto flute, viola, and piano performed by Jessika Kenney (voice); Laura Falzon (alto flute); Jen Herman (viola); Michael Haas (cello).

JAN GILBERT has been commissioned by many including Chanticleer, the Dale Warland Singers, Ars Nova Singers, LISTEN, the American Guild of Organists, St. Paul Civic Symphony, the University of Illinois Chamber Singers, the University of Maine Chamber Singers Hamline University A Cappella Singers, WomanVoice Choral Festival, and the United Nations Association International Choir of Houston. She has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Northwest Area Foundation, Walker Art Center, American Composers Forum and the Otto Bremer Foundation.

Gilbert's interest in experimental and non-western music has led her to create many works centering on cross-cultural themes, including choral works such as Let that day be darkness (set in Krio) and Nightchants (Native American, African and Sanskrit poetry), and orchestral works such as Nine in One (a setting of a Hmong folktale) and Khoj: the Search for Light (a collaboration with Asian Indian story teller Gita Kar).
The composer explains that THE INDIGO ROOFTOP OF THE NIGHT, dedicated to soprano Jessika Kenney who has been the featured vocalist on several CD’s of classical Persian music with ney master Ostad Hossein Omoumi, is the second work she has written celebrating Persian poetry. She adds that “The first, Songs of Transformation, was written for choir and ney, and premiered by Professor Omoumi. In this new setting of the Persian contemporary poet and Rumi scholar Fatemeh Keshavarz [The Indigo Rooftop of the Night], I am exploring writing in melodic modes (although not the exact dastgahs of Persian music, which follow complex musical form). In working with Persian poetry, I am searching for musical structures that convey the beauty of the Farsi language and the poet’s expression of love.”



Composer Bushra El-Turk & Laura Falzon
after the Concert

US Premiere of Bushra El Turk's MARIONETTE
in New York City

On January 12th 2013, flutist Laura Falzon together with pianist Kathleen Tagg performed the US PREMIERE of composer BUSHRA EL-TURK's MARIONETTE for flute and piano at the Lincoln Center in New York City.

MARIONETTE, for flute and piano depicts the struggle against constraints and doctrines of society, religious authority and all those who impose their beliefs upon others. The three 'Nos' one says in the Lebanese dialect of Arabic, 'hu'u', 'tut' and 'la'' are incorporated in the different contexts of the piece symbolising the Marionette's struggle against these constrains.

British born Lebanese Composer BUSHRA EL-TURK's music “forebears the influence of her Lebanese roots and straddles Eastern and Western idioms which seek to question Eastern cultural principles in contemporary Western contexts, all the while leaning towards the absurd and theatrical.” Her work has been performed by many including the London Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

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Composer Nickos Harizonos & Laura Falzon before the World Premiere in Thessaloniki, Greece



World Premiere of Nickos Harizanos's MEDEA-SPARAGMATA in Thessaloniki Greece

MEDEA-SPARAGMATA's World premiere performance vocalist Natassa Mare Moumtzidou,
double Bassist Agamemnon Mardas & flutist Laura Falzon

On Monday July 17th 2012, flutist Laura Falzon together with vocalist Natassa Mare Moumtzidou, double Bassist Agamemnon Mardas and percussionist Stelios Romanidis performed the WORLD PREMIERE of NICKOS HARIZANOS's MEDEA- SPARAGMATA op.135 at the Megaron Hall in Thessaloniki, Greece.

This project was the result of a collaboration between the US based Id-Dinja ensemble and the Greek, Xenakis founded, Contemporary Music Research Centre KSYME, based in Athens, Greece.

MEDEA-SPARAGMATA by Greek composer NICKOS HARIZANOS, a member of the Xenakis founded Contemporary Music Research Centre (KSYME) in Athens and Director of the KSYMEnsemble, is a 45 minute music-theatre work for voice, flute, doublebass, percussion, video projection and electronics, with lyrics from Euripedes's MEDEA, utilizes elements of the ancient voice metric, polymodal (polytropic) harmony and many extended techniques on the Flute. Interludes of free improvisation provide contrast between unpredictability and stability, imparting an unworldly character to the piece. Medea as a heroin is cast as aesthetically superior. Her cultural presence moving beyond her immediate being, representing the dense and often paradoxical expressions of our collective forms of representation. As a symbol, Medea embodies a collective unconscious-- she carries the unconscious psyche of humanity. The voice, representing fragments embodied in this collective unconscious, becomes a coded imprint of the history of the world.



June 23rd 2012. Live on Radyo Turkum, New York city.

Mert Sanivar interviews Laura Falzon on Radyo Turkum



Composer Andrea Clearfield


Composer Reza Vali


New York Premières of Andrea Clearfield's GAIA
and Reza Vali's PERSIAN SUITE

On Wed May 4th 2011, at the Interfaith Center's Concert series, flutist Laura Falzon together with soprano Dawn Padmore, and pianist Steve Beck performed the NEW YORK PREMIERES of two works: Andrea Clearfield's GAIA for soprano, flute and piano, & Reza Vali's PERSIAN SUITE for flute and piano

GAIA for soprano, flute and piano by compoer Andrea Clearfield
Text by Aura Fischbeck

American composer Andrea Clearfield, who has been praised by the New York Times for her “graceful tracery and lively, rhythmically vital writing”, explains that “GAIA is a prayer to the Earth and a prayer for peace. It was inspired by a poem written by a fourteen year old girl who invites the spirit of the Earth Mother to join her in a ritual of gratitude. The ritual grows from a chant into a dance celebrating the eternal pulsing of the earth. Witnessing also the destruction of the environment, the girl’s plea competes with more dense and dissonant material which threatens, but never silences, her prayer. The composition incorporates fragments of a Hopi Native-American lullaby.”

PERSIAN SUITE for flute and piano by Reza Vali

PERSIAN SUITE by Iranian born composer Reza Vali, currently a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh is in three movements. All movements feature authentic Persian and Armenian folk songs. The first movement is based on an Armenian folk song. The second movement Allegro Scherzando is more playful than the first and the melody is embellished with grace notes and glissandos, and syncopated rhythms. Material from the first movement reappears in the bridge of this movement. The movement comes to an end with a bird song played by the piano. The third movement is characterized by a vibrant rhythm of accented 16th’s and further syncopation.



Composer Nickos Harizanos

 




Two New York Premières: Nickos Harizanos & Munir Beken's works

On March 27th at a Concert as part of the Composers Voice Concert Series in New York City, Laura Falzon performed the US premiere of Greek composer Nickos Harizanos's STASIMA I for solo flute. During the same concert, Falzon, together with pianist Aysegul Durakoglu, also performed the New York Premiere of Turkish-American composer--Munir Beken's POTTERY SHARDS for flute & piano

STASIMA I for solo flute by Nickos Harizanos

Composer Nickos Harizanos's STASIMA I for solo flute is based on a five-note motive with which the work begins. This motive is an archetype gesture from ancient times and in Stasima I, its transformation and development gives shape to the whole piece.
Composer's comments following US premiere performance:
"Your performance is great ! very energetic and very powerful with a full range of dynamics level." & "I have received many many excellent comments for your performance. Andrew (...) characterized it as "evocative". Nickos Harizanos

Composer Munir Beken

POTTERY SHARDS for flute & piano by Munir Beken

Composer and Ud performer Münir Nurettin Beken teaches composition at UCLA. His career spans composition, ethnomusicology, and performance. POTTERY SHARDS, for flute and piano is based on Beken’s own work with the same name for orchestra. Beken’s music fuses elements of Turkish music with those of Western music. Very lyrical in nature, Pottery Shards’s is written in the quintuplet meter called türk aksa?? and uses rhythmic elements based upon Turkish music patterns.
This work recorded by Laura Falzon & pianist Aysegul Durakoglu is featured in a CD compliation of works by Beken to be released in 2012.
Composer's comments following NY premiere performance:
"Thank you very much for playing so beautifully." Munir Beken



New York Premiere at Symphony Space, New York City

ISSA Sonus ensemble recording with composer Munir Beken playing Ud

December 9, 2010. A Turk in Seattle, a work for flute, clarinet, violin and cello by UCLA based Turkish-American composer Munir Beken received it's NY premiere on December 9th at a concert at Symphony Space in New York City by ISSA Sonus ensemble (Flutist Laura Falzon, Clarinetist Moran Katz, Violinist Emily Ondracek and Cellist Adrian Daurov.

This work together with four other compositions by the same composer will be recorded in February 2011 for an upcoming CD by ISSA Sonus ensemble of composer Munir Beken's works.

Composer and Ud performer Münir Nurettin Beken, a professor of theory and composition in the Ethnomusicology Department at UCLA, has written compositions ranging from a Turkish state-commissioned ballet suite for orchestra, to music for film and television, for which he has won various awards. He is one of the founding members of the State Turkish Music Ensemble. A Turk in Seattle was commissioned in 2006, by the Seattle Chamber Players. It reflects several influences. Some of the rhythmic elements are based upon Turkish patterns. Certain melodies are from the Turkish Classical repertoire and they reflect composer’s time spent with the Turkish community in Seattle.



Composer Andrew Norman

Feature in Schott Music news

Schott Music's EAM features Laura's & ISSA Sonus ensemble's performance of Light Screens.

Laura Falzon & ISSA Sonus ensemble's performance of Andrew Norman's Light Screens at Peter Norton Symphony Space's Leonard Nimoy Thalia's concert hall in NYC this December 9th featured in Schott Music's EAM news.

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Composer Theodore Wiprud

World Première of THEODORE WIPRUD's SIRENS' SONG

Dec 3rd 2010

Flutist Laura Falzon together with Contralto Christina Ascher will perform the World Premiere of a new work written for them by New York composer Theodore Wiprud. The new work titled SIRENS' SONG is based on The Odyssey, with two voices alluringly entwined.

Composer Theodore Wiprud, who also plays important roles as concert presenter, educator, and music executive in his role as Director of Education of the New York Philharmonic, explians that “The Sirens are famous from the Odyssey, twin creatures half woman-half bird, luring sailors to their doom with their irresistible song. (...) I have worked with just a few words from their song’s brief lines, and used them more as sound sources than as exposition – “come,” “our twain voices,” “our sweet lips,” “all that shall be” (the temptation, as ever in Greek mythology, is to the pleasure of wisdom more than of the flesh). The music is alternately very quiet (as heard by Odysseus’ crew, their ears stopped with wax) and very loud (as heard deep in his psyche by Odysseus, lashed to the mast). I have exploited a variety of coloristic effects discovered to me by contralto Christina Ascher and flutist Laura Falzon to suggest the two Sirens’ weird allure. Bizarre modes arose as I composed, like scales from some ancient time. The result is a short work requiring virtuosity in its subtle moments as much as in its bravura flourishes.” Theodore Wiprud (December 2010)

The World premiere performance will be at the SOUNDS NEW Chamber Music Series on the VOICES! VOICES! program on Dec 3rd at Baruch Performing Arts Center, NYC

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Composer Alice Shields

Composer Dai Fujikura

 

Premières: Alice Shield's KOMACHI at SEKIDERA & Dai Fujikura's STILL SWEET...

Nov 18th 2010

Flutist Laura Falzon together with contralto Christina Ascher and cellist Ted Mook will perform the World Premiere of Alice Shields's work KOMACHI AT SEKIDERA, and the US Premiere of Dai Fujikura's work STILL SWEET… at The Tank in New York City, NY on Nov 18th 2010

KOMACHI AT SEKIDERA,for contralto, alto flute and cello with words and music by NY composer ALICE SHIELDS, is based on the Japanese Noh play Sekidera Komachi by Kanze Motokiyo Zeame (1363-1443). The protagonist of the Noh play, Ono no Komachi, was a woman famous for her poetry and her beauty, who lived at the Heian court in 9th-century Japan. She became a legend after her death, and many stories have accumulated around the few known biographical facts about her life.

In STILL SWEET....., for contralto, bass flute and cello, DAI FUJIKURA, born in Osaka, Japanand based in London, UK, creates a delicate, filigree texture in which the voice is often treated instrumentally. Short surges of vocalism and emotion reveal the text by Harry Ross.

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Composer Caspar René Hirschfeld

World Premiere of Caspar Rene Hirschfeld's OUT of CAGE at The TANK

Nov 18th 2010 Flutist Laura Falzon together with Contralto Christina Ascher will perform the World Premiere of Caspar René Hirschfeld 's work OUT OF CAGE at The Tank on Nov 18th 2010 in New York City

German composer Caspar René Hirschfeld explains that “The reason for me to make music is the fascination with sound and rhythm. I have never accepted boundaries in my musical work because I think the commitment to a certain style consequently leads to a limitation of musical means, thus to a limitation of the expressions possible.” Quite in keeping with this philosophy is Hirschfeld’s OUT OF CAGE written for contralto Christina Ascher and flutist Laura Falzon, which he composed to his own text.

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Launching and curating NEW chamber music series

Oct 29th 2010 Laura Falzon is curating a new contemporary classical chamber music concert series titles SOUNDS NEW at the Baruch Performing Arts Center.

This new contemporary classical concert series aims to celebrate and promote contemporary classical music by established as well as up-and-coming composers with performances of 20th century and contemporary music. The inaugural season of SOUNDS NEW will kick off with a concert on OCT 29th, followed by two further concerts; on Friday November 12th and Friday December 3rd.

The series is curated by Laura Falzon and produced by John Malatesta.

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Composer Faye-Ellen Silverman

World premiere of Faye-Ellen Silverman's Love Songs

June 30, 2010 Flutist Laura Falzon together with Contralto Christina Ascher will perform the World Premiere of Faye-Ellen Silverman's Love Songs with texts by Sara Teasdale, for mezzosoprano and flute at Mannes College Concert Hall, New York, NY

Performances in Europe

January 2010. Laura Falzon will perform during the CAMILLERI FESTIVAL with performances in London and Malta. (More details see Calendar)

The festival, a celebration of composer Charles Camilleri's (1932-2009) music takes place between the 14th and 17th of January. Laura's long term collaboration and friendship with Charles Camilleri resulted in many works written for her by the composer including Diaphainon and Interchangeable Galaxies for flute and piano , which she recorded on CD; solo flute works including Fractals (recorded on CD), Song of Olympus (published by Robertson), Desert Songs (published by Metropolis), Sonatina Rustica and Ritual Meditations; three works with orchestra including Espace Volante which she premiered with Spectrum Ensemble of London, the Flute Concerto and Divertimento for flute which is one of the works she will be performing during this Festival with conductor Brian Schembri, and other chamber works.

The Festival organiser and Artistic Director, Maria Blanco, said that the concept of the festival sprouted from a personal promise made to Charles Camilleri - that of ‘keeping his music alive’.


Remembering Charles Camilleri (1931-2009)

We celebrate the works of Charles Camilleri and Laura Falzon's collaboration with him. These photographs are included to remember Charles and his work. Click the images below.

1. Charles and Laura (University of Malta 1985); 2. Charles and Laura (at his 60th birthday party 1991);
3. Charles, Laura and Timothy Carey (London 1992); 4. Charles, Laura and conductor Joseph Sammut (Malta 1992);
5. Charles, Laura and colleague (Finland 1997); 6. Charles, Laura and friends visiting Sibelius's grave (Finland 1997);
7. Charles, Laura and pianist-composer John Galea (London 1989); 8. Charles and Laura (Greece 1985);
9. Charles, Laura and musicologist Ates Orga (Crossroads Mediterranean Music Festival, Valletta 1989); 10. Charles, Laura and clarinettist Freddie Mizzi (London 1989).

To read an Obituary written by Laura on the Music Research Institute website, click here.



Composer Eric Moe

New York Premiere of Eric Moe's Fled is that music.

December 2009. Laura Falzon together with pianist Steve Beck will perform the New York Premiere of Eric Moe's work Fled is that Music for flute and piano on Sunday December 13th, 2009, at Nicholas Roerich Museum Concert series, New York, NY.

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INTERVIEW: Laura is interviewed for AfriClassical.com

October 20, 2010. William Zick interviews Laura Falzon on AfriClassical.com
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Composer Alvin Singleton

Schott Music's EAM features Laura's California performance of Argoru

October 2010. Laura Falzon's performance of Alvin Singleton's Argoru III in Los Angeles, California this Fall featured in Schott Music's EAM news.

Schott EAM news feature
More about the Concert


Composer Mohammed Fairouz

Fairouz's Barcarolle is now Two Venetian Frescos

October 2010. Laura Falzon together with Brett Hodgdon performed the World premiere of Mohammed Fairouz's new work--Barcarolle for flute and piano (written for her) on Monday October 5th, 2009, at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York, NY. The composer wrote an additional movement to preceed this work which was also performed on Oct 5th. This additional movement is entitled Canzonetta and the work is now collectively titled Two Venetian Frescos.


Composer Joyce Moorman

Laura Falzon with composer Charles Camilleri

Premieres at UCLA

October 2010 Laura Falzon will perform the World premiere of Joyce Moorman's Jazz Sonatina for flute, piano and percussion on Thursday October 22nd, 2009, at Jan Popper Theater, University of California, Los Angeles, California.

Laura Falzon will perform the US premiere of Charles Camilleri's Sama'i for solo flute on Thursday October 22nd, 2009, at Jan Popper Theater, University of California, Los Angeles, California.


Composer Mohammed Fairouz

Premiere at Le Poisson Rouge.

September 2010. Laura Falzon will perform the World premiere of Mohammed Fairouz's work for flute and piano (which was written for her) on Monday October 5th, 2009, at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York, NY. The Concert will also include music of Danielpour, Fairouz, Fulmer, Pamies, Picker, and Tiensuu.

Performing at the NFA Convention

August 14, 2009. Laura Falzon performs at the National Flute Association 37th Flute Annual Convention. United Nations: Compositions from Around the World. Laura Falzon performs Scelsi. New York, NY

Grant recieved from New York Women Composers

June 2009. New York Women Composers, Inc. awarded its SEED-MONEY GRANTS ---- ISSA Sonus Ensemble—Laura Falzon, flute, Emily Ondracek, violin, Erik Peterson, violist, and Adrian Daurov—were awarded one of the grants for a chamber concert in New York City.

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