Composer Portrait – Steven R. Gerber
MUSIC FROM WYASTONE – STUDIO CONCERT SERIES
Gerber arr. Daron Hagen Sinfonietta No.1 (based on the Piano Quintet)
Gerber arr. Adrian Williams String Sinfonia No.1 (based on String Quartet No.4)
Gerber Two Lyric Pieces
– Soloist: Emily Davis (Violin)
Gerber arr. Adrian Williams String Sinfonia No.2 (based on String Quartet No.6)
Gerber arr. Adrian Williams Sinfonietta No.2 (based on String Quartet No.5)
English Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Kenneth Woods
Violin: Emily Davis
Available from 1930 GMT, Friday 26th February 2021
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A celebration of the music of the late American composer Steven R. Gerber, who passed away in 2015.
Steven R. Gerber was born on September 28, 1948 in Washington, D.C. He held degrees from Haverford College and from Princeton University, where he received a 4-year fellowship. Steven’s music composition teachers include Robert Parris, J. K. Randall, Earl Kim, and Milton Babbitt.
The ESO were excited to be giving the first performances of his two Sinfoniettas for Orchestra and his two Sinfonias for String Orchestra and his Two Lyric Pieces for Violin and Strings. The Sinfoniettas and Sinfonias are compelling arrangements of Gerber’s chamber music by composers Adrian Williams and Daron Hagen, commissioned by the Steven R. Gerber Trust
Critical Praise for Music of Steven R. Gerber
Steven R. Gerber’s Violin Concerto, which had its American premiere last night in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, is a major addition to the contemporary violin repertoire: lyrical, passionate, dramatic, beautifully tailored to the instrument’s character and capabilities. It was the highlight of a program that was always fascinating and often exhilarating: the 10th anniversary celebration of the National Chamber Orchestra…Amid so many competing attractions, the Gerber Violin Concerto still stood out as few contemporary works do in programs shared with older music. Gerber… has revived the spirit of romanticism in this work, with a strong sense of tonal melody and of the dramatic effects and surprises still possible in traditional forms…one of the year’s most memorable events.
Every once in a while, something comes along that is so striking that the usual list of influences, metaphors, and descriptors becomes superfluous. Such is the case with Steven Gerber’s First Symphony (1988-89). The three-movement work held me mesmerized and fascinated for its entire 25-minute length.
American Record Guide
Each work is an important addition to music in the late 20th century, its sense of evolution from previous generations welcome at a time when change seems to have become a virtue in itself.
Steven R. Gerber has one of the most direct and readily accessible voices in contemporary American music. The works on this disc…have distinctive and powerful melodic contouring. Gerber’s urgent, highly charged language arouses graphic emotions, even at first hearing.
This is music of our time that I most strongly urge you to hear.
Recorded at Wyastone Concert Hall, Monmouth, on 7th & 8th October 2020