The University of Alabama at Birmingham Chamber Trio consists of Dr. Denise Gainey, clarinet, Dr. James Zingara, trumpet and Dr. Christopher Steele, piano. The group was established in 2012 and has performed throughout Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia including appearances at the Alabama Music Educators Conference, the College Music Society Southern Region Conference, the Birmingham Art Music Alliance, the National Association of Composers USA Conference, and the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors National Conference. The title Many New Trails to Blaze has a double meaning; as an unusual chamber grouping with little available published works, the UAB Chamber Trio actively seeks out new music, many of which are featured on this recording. Secondly, the people and sports teams of the University of Alabama at Birmingham proudly carry the nickname Blazers, and the title is an acknowledgment of the support and positive creative environment provided by our university, college, and department.
Dr. Denise Gainey is Professor of Clarinet and Instrumental Music Education and Associate Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She serves as the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the International Clarinet Association. An avid proponent of chamber music, she tours regularly with the Amicitia Duo and the UAB Chamber Trio. An active clinician and performer throughout the United States and abroad, Gainey has compiled and edited a collection of clarinet solos, Solos for Clarinet, published by Carl Fischer. Her book, Kalmen Opperman: A Legacy of Excellence was released by Carl Fischer in January 2018. She received the Bachelor of Music Education from Florida State University, the Master of Music in Clarinet Performance from the University of North Texas, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Clarinet from the University of Kentucky. Gainey is an Artist/ Clinician for Backun Clarinets, D’Addario Woodwinds, and Silverstein Works.
Dr. James Zingara has performed throughout the United States as well as England, Germany, the Czech Republic, Denmark, China, and Singapore. Currently he serves as Associate Professor of Trumpet at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where his responsibilities include applied trumpet and brass methods, coaching and conducting brass ensembles, performing with the UAB Faculty Brass Quintet and UAB Chamber Trio, and coordinating the annual Trumpet Symposium. Former positions include Associate Professor of Trumpet at Troy University, and principal cornet/trumpet soloist with the US Air Force Heritage of America Band. He has recorded on the Telarc, Zephyr, Capstone, and Mark labels, and his recording of modern works for trumpet entitled Textures was released on the Ravello label in 2016. Dr. Zingara currently represents Bach Trumpets as a performing artist/clinician and also serves as instructor of trumpet at the Alabama School of Fine Arts.
Chris Steele is Staff Pianist and Aural Skills Instructor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has held previous positions at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts as Staff Pianist, and at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as both Lecturer of Music Theory and Ear Training as well as Faculty Fellow for the UNCG Grogan College Music Learning Community. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Accompanying and Chamber Music from UNCG where he studied with Andrew Harley and James Douglass, and held assistantships in both accompanying and music theory/ear training. He received two Masters degrees from The Florida State University in Piano Performance and Music Theory where he studied with Carolyn Bridger. An active performer, Steele is a member of the UAB Chamber Trio, and has collaborated with members of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra.
Composer Jeff Boehm, currently teaching and conducting at Bath Spa University in the United Kingdom, grew up in upstate New York and southwest Ohio. He spent ten years teaching 4-12 music in Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin before embarking upon a career in higher education. He is an eclectic composer who writes for everything from solo and chamber ensembles to wind bands and big bands. His compositions reflect influences of classical, jazz, and electronic music. Boehm’s music has been recorded and performed internationally. Sonata for Three was written for piano and two other instruments. The three movements reflect a combination of classical and jazz influences. The outer two movements contain some of the quartal harmonic influences of the 2nd, but are grounded in the classical tradition. The 2nd movement is influenced by cool jazz. The piece as a whole is designed to move the listener through different listening experiences.
Valentin Mihai Bogdan is a pianist and composer originally from Romania who currently resides in the United States. His compositions have been performed in Europe and North America, with premieres by musicians of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Beta Collide, Grambling State University Wind Ensemble, Grambling Chorale, Black Bayou Brass Trio, and the AWC Wind Ensemble. City Scenes is a three movement work meant to serve as an homage to the city of Detroit, Michigan, where the composer spent his formative years. The opening movement, “Riffs”, features short, percussive motifs that serve as thematic material through the entire movement, hinting toward the industrial, blue collar, character of the city. The second movement, “After Midnight” is meditative and lyrical, employing elements of jazz and also Balkan and Middle Eastern modes. The last movement, “Zoom” is a study of consonance vs. dissonance, inspired by the struggles and the eventual rebirth of the city during the early part of the 21st century.
Award-winning composer Robert J. Bradshaw’s music has been heard around the world from Lincoln Center to Australia. Evidenced by his cutting edge steampunk opera DEUS EX MACHINA (www.capeannopera.org), which was recently awarded two gold medals and named one of the top ten albums of 2015 by the Global Music Awards, Bradshaw continues to push the boundaries of modern art music. Socially conscious and relevant to our daily lives, Bradshaw’s music is infused with modern culture, historical significance, and speaks with a vibrant and engaging musical language. Commissions include works for the James Pappoutsakis Flute Competition and the New England String Ensemble Musical Heritage Initiative. Crepuscular Rays (subtitled Watching the angel’s light stream through gaps in the clouds at twilight) is an original work for clarinet, flugelhorn, and piano, and was commissioned by the Cape Ann Museum (Gloucester, Massachusetts) as part of a larger work entitled Sounds of a Working Waterfront; it was premiered in 2015.
William Price’s music has been performed in South America, Asia, and throughout the United States and Europe. An award-winning composer, Price’s music has received accolades and commissions from numerous organizations, including the Music Teachers National Association, ASCAP, the Percussive Arts Society, the Southeastern Composers League, and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Price serves as Associate Professor of Music at UAB Premiered by the UAB Chamber Trio in February 2012, I Don't Want to Dance (Dance-like) is a brief homage to the neo-classical works of Stravinsky and Poulenc. The piece was inspired by the idea of the unintentional dance that two people passing on the sidewalk have as they awkwardly avoid colliding with each other. As they avoid contact, they sometimes end up mirroring the other person's movements. To me that action resembles, just for a moment, some kind of highly irregular uncoordinated dance.
Virginia Samuel started her career as a violist, studying with Dorothy DeLay and Scott Nickrenz. She earned her Ph.D. in Music Composition from Harvard University, studying with Donald Martino, Leon Kirchner and Malcolm Peyton. Her composition awards include the Walter Hinrichsen Award and the Lakond Prize, both from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has had performances in the US, Canada, Europe and Israel. Her commissions include ones from EARPLAY, the Michael Foundation, and the Peabody Trio. Her music is published by Henmar Press (C.F. Peters Edition). Flying Over Water for clarinet, trumpet, and piano was premiered by the University of Alabama at Birmingham Chamber Trio in 2014.
Composer and pianist Juan Maria Solare, an Argentine living in Germany, is one of those musicians that open scarcely traveled paths. The originality of his music stems from the confluence between post-Piazzolian tango and classical contemporary music. His singular style represents a synthesis of North and South, classical and popular, wit and melancholy, performance and composition. “Art music and light music are not irreconcilable extremes, but poles in a force field,” says Solare about his “musical bilingualism.” He received degrees from the Instituto Universitario Nacional de Arte in Buenos Aires and the Hochschule für Musik Köln studying with Fritsch, Barlow, Humpert and Kagel. He also studied with Helmut Lachenmann in Stuttgart and Karlheinz Stockhausen in Kürten, Germany. During his career, Solare has received eleven compositional prizes in Argentina, England, Spain, Germany, and Austria. The title Sale con fritas is a common idiom in Argentina, equivalent to "it's a breeze,” which belies the inherent difficulty of the work. Musically, the piece is a milonga - a dance related to tango music.
Chris Steele’s Suite No. 1 (2015) was composed for the UAB Chamber Trio. Each theme in its three short movements is based on the same two three-note motives. Each movement contains an element of dance, and in the final movement, all themes from the first two movements are revisited.
Program notes provided by the composers
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