CHARLES GRIFFIN -
AN AMERICAN IN LATVIA
First of all, some explanations:
About the title - From the Faraway Nearby is the name of a Charles Griffin work from 1998 for two guitars. It also seemed the best title for a newsletter about an American composer living in Liepaja, Latvia. This also explains the photos of Liepaja you see at the top of the page and the bottom.
Now, about Charles Griffin - A native New Yorker, his works have been regularly performed throughout the U.S. as well as Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Canada, Europe and Asia. He has received grants from ASCAP, Meet the Composer's Commissioning Music/USA, Queens Council on the Arts and New Dramatists, and commissions from Ethos Percussion Group, the Piedmont Choirs, and the Dale Warland Singers, among others. His work has been included on several CDs and has regularly been aired on major radio stations in the U.S. His "Agnus Dei" was recently included on the program with which the Peninsula Women's Chorus of Palo Alto, California captured Third Prize in the Béla Bartók International Choir Competition in Debrecen, Hungary.
His several residencies have included Faith Partners, an interfaith residency where he composed four choral works for three major houses of worship in New York City, another choral residency at New York's Frank Sinatra High School for the Arts, and most recently, during the Summers of 2004 and 2006 at the International Festival for Young Latvian Musicians, in Ogre, Latvia.
He will shortly begin a blog for Sequenza21 webmagazine about his experiences as an American in Latvia. Please keep an eye on http://www.sequenza21.com/ for developments.
THE CONCERT HALL
Charles Griffin is a busy composer whose works are being performed around the world. Here's a sample of recent and upcoming performances of his music:
Earlier this year, The Long Island (NY) Composers Alliance included Griffin's Set Fire to Have Light for string orchestra, led by Tito Muńoz, on their noontime concert at Queens College, New York on February 8.
The University of Alaska at Fairbanks Flute Ensemble, led by Dorli McWayne performed Moon of the Floating World on February 1 during UAF's 2006 Festival of New Music. The Viksnes Piano Duo performed Do Not Go Gentle at Jurmala's Music School in Latvia on January 28. The Truman State University Percussion Ensemble, led by Michael Bump, performed The Persistence of Past Chemistries at the Missouri Music Educators State Conference on January 25. They also included the piece on their tour of Missouri and Illinois in February. Pianist Ana Cervantes performed Prelude: Homage to Chopin at the Instituto Internacional in Madrid, Spain on January 18.
Not Waving but Drowning, a new work commissioned by the City of Liepaja, Latvia for the inaugural concert of Oleksiy Demchenko's ensemble, Cetri Veji (Four Winds) received its premiere on July 8 in Liepaja as part of a three-day music and art festival.
The Moon of the Floating World was performed by the University of Alaska at Fairbanks Flute Ensemble on Thursday, August 10 in Pittsburgh as part of the 2006 National Flute Association Convention. The piece was written in 2005 and is a setting of Ihara Saikaku's enigmatic Haiku. The piece also exists in a choral setting, which the Latvian vocal ensemble Putni performed on May 1 in Jaunais Rigas Teatris in Riga, at Maza Gilde on May 19 and at Riga's Dome Cathedral on June 16.
On August 22, Tilta Rekviems (Requiem for a Bridge), an event with music, video and poetry took place at the base of the Karosta Channel Bridge in Liepaja. Elegy, by Charles Griffin, composed in the weeks following the bridge's destruction (it's a Russian tradition that a memorial service is performed 40 days after a death), was premiered by 11 musicians from the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, with Mr. Griffin conducting. Scored for 5 strings, 4 brass and 2 winds, the piece quotes from the grand choral music of the late Renaissance master, Claudio Monteverdi. The video, by Aivis Neimans, was projected on a screen at the base of the bridge on the Liepaja side.
Pianist Ana Cervantes has commissioned 17 composers to write short piano pieces to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of Pedro Paramo, an important proto-magical-realist novel by Mexican author Juan Rulfo. Charles Griffin's Murmuring in Comala was written for this project. All 17 pieces will be recorded on compact disc and presented at the 34th Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato, Mexico in October, 2006.
Charles has just completed a piano 4-hands arrangement of From the Faraway Nearby that is already scheduled for performance by the Viksne Piano Duo.
For a complete list of Charles Griffin's compositions, please visit here.
FREE CHARLES GRIFFIN
No, don't worry, Charles isn't in some sort of dire situation - this is just let you know that you can download a (free) selected piece by Charles Griffin in PDF format every month on his website homepage.
The selection for September is Cambiando Paisajes for piano trio. Score and parts are in one PDF.
There is a substantial library of Griffin's works that can be heard online at here.
MORE CHARLES GRIFFIN
ON THE WEB
For more information about composer Charles Griffin, including bio, performances and much more, visit http://www.charlesgriffin.net. You can also contact Jeffrey James Arts Consulting at 516-586-3433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.