This morning I was fortunate enough to attend the Jean Coulthard Readings where Maestro Gordon Gerrard and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra read through six orchestral scores (chosen by Gerrard and the VSO composer in residence, Edward Top) of composers who are in the early stages of their careers. The readings were named in honour of one of British Columbia’s most cherished composers, Jean Coulthard (1908-2000). Unfortunately, I could only stay to listen to the first four pieces Imagine - Riley Koenig, Omnia Causa Fiunt - Erik Engholm, Fantasia for Orchestra - Sam Kaplan and Garden of Shadow and Sorcery - Nicholas Ryan Kelly. It was a truly wonderful experience and we are very grateful to have such a wonderful program provide young composers with the chance of hearing their orchestral music in Vancouver! I had the pleasure of meeting composer Jocelyn Morlock, composer/professor Stephen Chatman, composer/student Matthew Emery and recent doctorate grad Kevin Zakresky. Also at the readings were my two fabulous composition teachers Rodney Sharman and David Gordon Duke with whom I am pictured with below.
On Thursday night Feb 20, I had the honour of meeting Dr. Corey Hamm at Place Des Arts, where he gave an amazing lecture on Contemporary Music. He described to us his own intimate development of taste for music of the 20th century and onwards from his early teen years to the present. He started with his early distaste at age 14, for the Barber Piano Concerto, which he now loves and moved through the years to the fantastic piano variations in Frederic Rzewski’s “The People United Will Never Be Defeated!” (Dr. Hamm is also releasing his own performance of the variations this March). Other pieces that he mentioned in the program were Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony, Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso No. 1, and David Hykes and the Harmonic Choir – Hearing Solar Winds: Arc Descents. It was an amazingly warm and thought-provoking lecture which everyone enjoyed immensely! The most beautiful part of his presentation was his comment on how classical music would never die and that there are still great masterpieces being created now, in the 21st century which will be recognized 100 years from now. After the lecture, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Hamm and taking a picture with him.
Gene Emerson & Dr. Corey Hamm
Some comments on Gene’s music
“In my forty years of teaching high school music, Gene was the only student that had the desire to pursue music composition and possessed the necessary theory skills to follow through. Also, having a playing knowledge of several instruments allows her to consider their suitability for her compositions. Gene appreciates the universality of music and its power to draw humanity together in the true spirit of love, compassion and brotherhood. Listen carefully and you’ll feel the love.”
- Glenn David
“Dear sweet soul, you brought tears to my eyes and goose bumps on my arms. I am so moved by your open heart and beautiful spirit. Your music is rich with innocence and freshness …I cannot listen to your music without being profoundly moved.”
- Robin Easton, Author, Speaker and Musician
“When passion and hard work meets talent, magic happens. Gene Emerson is a gift to music and through her music speaks. Gene is a developing as a wonderful pianist and a composer with a very clear and honest message. She is a true artist in a sense that she not only serves music, she embodies music itself. I am excited and delighted to be her piano mentor and I look forward to her continuous contribution to the beautiful world of music.
- Ross Salvosa, acclaimed pianist
I believe in beauty even sometimes its hard to find it. Watching this video moved me so much because I could see it. Congratulations Gene for your gifts and thank you for sharing this wonderful moment!
- Jorge Brizuela Sr.
I came to your Pre-Concert Recital on Nov 16th. 2013 It was wonderful to listen to some of your new and old compositions live and as always your music touches my heart. In my humble opinion, the Autumn Dance is one of your finest compositions. As usual, your music is full of melody. In your Autumn Dance you describe the joy of autumn so well; change of colors, leaves are falling, …. I love your creativity. Thanks again for the show and also a huge kudos to the violist.
- Lisa Armstrong
Concerning Piano trio II: yes! yes! yes! How dramatic it becomes for the Allegretto! At about 6:50 it becomes very special indeed, speaking to larger than just personal emotion…very mature and profound composing. It is too easy to get wistful and just rummage through your emotions, but the mature composer reaches for the bigger goals, the transcendent ebb and flow of history, even of existence. That is the difference between “songwriting” and “composing” in the deeper sense. This trio is composing! Wonderful composition that gives you a road forward, but of course you already know that, don’t you? Concerning Autumn Dance: yet another beautiful composition, very wonderful composing for both instruments, the development and sound is now becoming very nicely mature and your composition more wonderful and complex. How touching the 2nd movement is, thoughts of autumn and the French sound just before what I guess I would call the dance and “rondo” at the finish the theme 9:30 to 9:45 wonderfully realized, sound without pretension, very nicely done, it bears repeated listening.
- Roger Conner Jr
There are artisans, and there are artists. The difference is in the intangibles. Works of artisans may be complex in form but shallow in essence for lack of a “soul”. I call it a “soul” because it’s intangible. You write from your heart, you play from your heart, and your music resonates in my heart. That’s soul. You are a true artist. Your are mature way beyond your age. I adore you, I admire you, and I respect you… Concerning Piano Trio II: Truly amazing. Beautiful opening Adagio, it’s calm, lyrical, yet with a strong emotional undercurrent. Then comes Allegretto that finishes with passionate excitement. Lovely, lovely. Incredible. Concerning Suites D’Insectes: You never cease to amaze me with your enormous talent. Your music always touches my heart and evoke emotional response. That’s true artistry, not to mention how incredible you are technically as well. … As I said before, I adore you, I admire you, and I respect you. I know your last concert was a great success.
- Ren C
16 year old Young Canadian Composer presents for the first time three new original compositions accompanied by Vancouver Symphony Orchestra musicians Zoltan Rozsnyai (cello), Jeanette Bernal-Sing (violin) and Reg Quiring (viola). Also, Gene will present her original composition duet: Suite D’Insecte for piano and clarinet with distinguished clarinet player Gene Ramsbottom. Gene’s unique style and her emotional compositions have already created a sensation. We invite everyone to join us for this exciting one of a kind concert.
There would be a reception after the concert with complementary catering from the local popular restaurant: Pasta Polo, Fred Soofi
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