Santa Barbara Music Club Free Concerts

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Santa Barbara Music Club Free Concerts
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Saturday, November 4, 2017 - 15:00

On SATURDAY, November 4 at 3 PM, the SANTA BARBARA MUSIC CLUB will present another program in its popular series of concerts of beautiful Classical music.  This concert will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA.  Admission is free. 

One of the highlights of Santa Barbara Music Club's concerts is the opportunity for audiences to hear great music from a variety of historical periods, with a diversity of musical forms, performed by excellent artists. This concert celebrates renowned composer Emma Lou Diemer’s 90th birthday with a program of works by her for piano, organ, and violin, performed by violinist Phil Ficsor, pianists Tachell Gerbert and Bradley Gregory, and the composer herself on piano and organ. 

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Emma Lou Diemer received her degrees in music composition from the Yale School of Music (BM, MM) and the Eastman School of Music (PhD). She studied in Brussels on a Fulbright Fellowship and at Tanglewood. Her music has been published since 1957 and includes works for orchestra, band, chamber ensembles, solo instruments, voices, and electronic pieces. She has received annual ASCAP awards since 1962 for performances and publications. Other recognitions include a Louisville Orchestra Student Award, a Ford Foundation Young Composers Grant for a 2-year composer-residency in the Arlington, VA schools, an NEA fellowship in electronic music, a 1992 Kennedy Center Friedheim award for her Concerto in One Movement for Piano which was written for Betty Oberacker and premiered by Dr. Oberacker with the Santa Barbara Symphony, a “Composer of the Year” award from the American Guild of Organists, and others. She is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she taught theory and composition from 1971 to 1991.  In addition, she was Composer-in-Residence with the Santa Barbara Symphony from 1990 to 1992, and organist at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara from 1984 to 2000. 

The concert will feature excerpts from Travels Through Sound, for piano, performed by Emma Lou Diemer; Suite for Violin and Piano (2008) and Aria (for St.Valentine’s Day), performed by Phil Ficsor and Dr. Diemer; Variations for Piano, Four Hands (Homage to Ravel, Schoenberg, and May Aufderheide), performed by Tachell Gerbert and Bradley Gregory and Toccata for a Joyful Day, Morning has Broken, and Fiesta, for organ, performed by Dr. Diemer. 

Travels Through Sound is one of several collections written by the composer to introduce young players to various contemporary musical elements. After the excerpted pieces the composer will attempt a brief improvisation on some of the ideas found in them. 

Suite for Violin and Piano (2008) is the first of several works written by the composer for Philip Ficsor.  The titles of the movements are self-explanatory: “Summer Day” is lighthearted, carefree, and generally tonal, although moving around quickly among various tonal centers. “Elegy” is an expressive soliloquy for the violin, with the piano offering warm chordal support. “Jazz Romp” is drivingly rhythmic and upbeat. All three movements make flexible use of meter changes.

Aria (for St. Valentine’s Day), originally written for organ, and heard in this concert in an arrangement for violin and piano, is unabashedly quiet and melodic—a contrast to the works that surround it on the program 

Variations for Piano, Four Hands (Homage to Ravel, Schoenberg, and May Aufderheide) was written for Marjorie and Wendell Nelson in 1987. Wendell was the teacher of Tachell Gerbert and Bradley Gregory at UCSB. The work is an evocation of some of the sonorities and techniques possible with two performers at one keyboard. The composers in the subtitle are not imitated in any literal sense and were “thought of” after the music was written, as it brought to mind certain of their qualities and contributions to the spirit of piano writing. The Ravel of Daphnis and Chloe finds echoes in the blurred, broken-chord texture and melody fragments

of the opening and closing sections of Variations. A 12-tone row (the theory courtesy of Schoenberg) serves as the basis of the entire piece in the form of a series of 12 chords, each of which lasts for several measures, and a series of pitches derived from the roots of those chords. Various devices of counterpoint are used during the seven sections of the work. May Aufderheide was a composer of rags in the early 1900s, and her style contributes joviality and syncopation to the atmosphere.  Toccata for a Joyful Day is one of several organ pieces that the composer wrote for various weddings at First Presbyterian Church where she was organist for 16 years. The piece is light and undemanding and fairly loud. Morning Has Broken is one of many hymn settings that the composer has written over the years. “BUNESSAN” is the hymn tune name. Fiesta was written for one of the concerts at Trinity Episcopal that took place each year during the Old Spanish Days Fiesta. It suggests guitar strumming in the middle section and is quite rhythmic — and loud.

The mission of the Santa Barbara Music Club is to contribute to the musical life of our community through the following:

•   Presentation of an annual series of concerts, free to the public, featuring outstanding solo and chamber music performances by Performing Members and invited guests;

•   Presentation of community outreach activities, including bringing great music to residents of area retirement homes;

•   Aiding and encouraging musical education by the disbursement of scholarships to talented local music students.

For information on this or other Santa Barbara Music Club programs and performing artists, visit

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