Newsletter of the Consortium of Vermont Composers

This edition of Consorting is sponsored by

WGDR-FM 91.1

in Central Vermont


July 1995


Directorís Column

by Gilles Yves Bonneau

Work is continuing toward the 1995 Festival. Look for our coordinator Ken Langerís report on progress so far on page two in Consorting.

On 10 July, a meeting was held at the Vermont Public Radio studio in Colchester, between the new programming director for VPR, Mike Crane, and me. Our goal was to explore avenues of mutual interest and possible interaction for mutual benefit. Several areas of common concern were discussed, to be taken up again after VPRís new facility is set up and in operation.

Several attempts to arrange meetings with appropriate personnel at the Vermont Community Foundation and WCFR (FM station in Plattsburgh, New York) have been unsuccessful to date. However, never fear! Dennis Bathory-Kitsz and David Gunn are already off the ground with their excellent radio program at Goddard (see page six in Consorting). Thanks and congrats, guys!

Michael Arnowitt has agreed to look at a number of piano scores from our membership, with possibilities for performance during the Festival. Thanks very much, Michael!

A temporary (until November or December) "secretary" (formerly "list-keeper") is still pending, and efforts to stabilize that position continue. We very much need someone for that task.

With everyoneís cooperation and a little work from each member, we will meet the current challenge. We need help with the Festival, with encouraging new membership, with day-to-day tasks, and with our budget. Itís really that simple. Letís all roll up our sleeves now and bend to the task. Our communityís vitality depends on it!

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Treasury Report

There is no report for this issue. Report for May through August will appear in the next issue.

Listkeeper Note

We need to resynchronize some of our records. Check your mailing label. If itís wrong -- name, address, expiration -- or if youíre not getting a newsletter and know youíre a current member and should be receiving it, please contact: David Gunn, Listkeepeur-Temporaire, 7B Huntington Place, Waterbury 05676, call 802-244-1747, or email to

Editor Request

The next deadline for Consorting is September 5. Please send material to: Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, 176 Cox Brook Road, Northfield, Vermont 05663, call or fax 802-485-3972, voicemail 802-485-1210, or email to

Contact Form

Note from Bea

Bea Phillips will be the guest on Kalvos & Damianís New Music Sesquihour on August 12. Her comment: "I was on WCAX radio in 1927 -- singing!"

Live Composing at Festival

Bill Harris is organizing an improvisation or "live composing" session for the November Festival, and would like to connect with any people interested in doing a solo piece or getting together this summer or fall for some duo work. He is reachable at 802-897-8624, or RR 1 Box 205A, Shoreham, Vermont 05770. Email to
-- and he is waiting! He says, "We all think about improv. Letís do some."

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1995 Festival:

The Coordinator Speaks

by Ken Langer

I am writing this note to all of you to let you know about some of our ideas for the upcoming festival, and how you can help and participate. At this point in the process, we are planning on having at least five events and a full meeting of all members within the two days of the festival. Itís November 3 and 4, in case you havenít put it in your calendar yet. Here is a listing of events and ways to participate.

These are just some ideas we have so far. If you have some other ideas, Iíd like to hear them. You may contact me in any of the following ways. Please leave messages as I am not always around (especially in the summer).

Mail: Ken Langer, P.O. Box 319, Lyndon Center, Vermont 05850.
Home phone: 802-626-3040
Work address: Music Department, Lyndon State College, Lyndonville, Vermont 05851.
Work phone: 802-626-9371, extension 235


The rest is up to you

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Next deadline: September 5. We stretch out two months ahead, so if you have anything planned between now and December, send info & a phone number. You can reach Consorting lots of ways. Email is best so I donít have to retype. But write!By mail, Consorting, c/o Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, 176 Cox Brook Road, Northfield 05663. By phone or fax, 802-485-3972. By email,
Contact Form.

On Writing in 1995:

A Forum

by Arpad Elo

In Consorting VI:5, you raised the question, "Why would a composer working in the 20th century adopt the forms and techniques of an earlier century?" For me, the answer is simple and straightforward: music that doesnít get played is of no use to anyone.

I donít think I have ever written a piece of music without having a particular group of performers in mind and trying to adapt the music to their abilities and preferences. I donít consider this artistic prostitution. In most fields of human endeavor, one must work within constraints of some sort. Indeed, I find little art in creation without constraint. It seems to me that the essence of art is to find expression within predetermined bounds. The history of music which lives in the works of earlier composers clearly demonstrates that artistic expression can be realized in a variety of ways, under a variety of constraints.

The constraints may be self-imposed, as with Schoenberg and his disciples, or externally imposed, as with Messaienís work while in prison. Most of the musicians with whom I have regular social or musical intercourse are amateurs, either chamber music players or members of a community band. Among the chamber music players there are those who play Boismortier and aspire to Mozart, those who play Mozart and aspire to Brahms, and those who play Brahms and aspire to Bartok. The bandsmen feel at home with Sousa, King, and von Suppe. As long as I donít stray too far from familiar ground, all of them are happy to play my music. Iím happy to oblige. If you canít convince the players, youíll never have the opportunity to convince an audience.

Of course, I could find some more erudite arguments. For example:

by Erik Nielsen

In response to the question as to how a piece like Jim Grantís Piano Concerto, with its tonal and Romantic associations, could be written in 1995, my simplest answer is this: one sits down and writes it! A work like Jimís could not have been written without conviction and belief in the musical structures employed simply because of its size. One can get away with faking in a ten-minute work. Itís much harder in a forty-minute piece, and Jim wasnít faking.

In one way, of course, that answer simply reinforces the implied deeper question: how can one believe in overtly tonal, Romantic music in 1995? I can only answer that question for myself and say that the more I write, the more inclusive I am trying to be. I have heard, performed, and loved many types of music in my life, and they are all part of my background. Since the music I write, if I am true to myself, reflects my background as well as my moving forward, I am including tonal and non-tonal elements together in my pieces much of the time now. I see and hear no contradiction in this, and in fact, find it quite exciting and liberating.

Unlike years ago when I felt it necessary to exclude a large number of possibilities and limit myself according to what I then perceived as the "correct" path, I now feel free to use a much wider range of tonal options in my work and feel it is much more integrated and organic music, more "me", if you will.

Of course, many other composers are following similar paths these days, and I see it as a healthy phenomenon, as long as one remains true to oneís self in the process. It is quite common to find different musical languages employed by the same composer, sometimes in the same piece. In fact, an irony of this centuryís music is that Arnold Schoenberg -- who influenced so many later composers with his exclusionary pronouncements about what was and what was not an acceptable set of musical means -- composed tonal works alongside late dodecaphonic pieces, right up to the end of his life.

The implication of the question seems to be that there is a way of approach to writing music that is anachronistic or no longer valid aesthetically. If a composer is moved to write using a set of parameters and gestures which have meaning for him or her, I think one music try to listen to the piece within its own language and judge it, if one must judge, according to what is fresh and true within those parameters.

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News from Zeke

by Zeke Hecker himself

Two performances of Zeke Heckerís Three Waltzes for Woodwind Quintet were given on the weekend of May 13-14, one in Dover and the other in Rockingham. The Guilford Quintet (its personnel slightly unpredictable) played them, as they had in the premiere last summer. These are transcriptions of three of the piano waltzes used for the ballet Degas, staged last year in Brattleboro.

My woodwind trio (the one heard at the Composers Festival in Montpelier a couple of years ago) is scheduled for performance next fall in Connecticut, on a program which will also include movements from Gwyneth Walkerís Braintree Quintet.

Some of my songs and piano pieces are slated for a possible August recital in Brattleboro by soprano Kristine Hurst and friends (Iím one of them) of music by English and American composers.

Speaking of Gwyneth, I recently participated in a very successful performance of her orchestral work, The Light of Three Mornings with the Pioneer Valley Symphony under Paul Phillips. The audience of about a thousand schoolchildren from Franklin County (Massachusetts) understood exactly what it was all about, and when the score called for the musicians to slap rhythms on their thighs in one of Gwynethís typically playful gestures, the whole house spontaneously (and accurately) joined in.

Iíve been commissioned to write a profile of Bill Mayer (see last issue for word of his latest laurels) for the Newsletter of the Institute for Studies in American Music. The burden will certainly weigh heavily; it means Iíll have to spend a lot of time in his company, enjoy his hospitality, and listen to all the splendid recordings of his music that he's showering on me.

This summer I intend to grind away on the musical comedy the Friends of Music at Guilford expects me to stage in 1997, to lament my 50th birthday.

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Critser List

Paul Critser has been doing a monumental job of collecting on-line musicians. Heís managed to get nearly 300 composers, conductors, instrumentalists, singers, etc., by electronic word-of-mouth. You can join his on-line list and receive a copy of it by contacting Paul at one of three addresses: / cello /

News of Lisa

Vermont singer/songwriter Lisa McCormick has been selected to showcase at the Songwriterís Hall of Fame Songwriter Showcase sponsored by the National Academy of Popular Music. The event, which highlights the work of eight chosen writers, takes place Tuesday, June 6, at Trampís in New York City. Previous such events have drawn audiences of over 600 attendees, including scores of invited recording and music publishing professionals. The Songwriter Showcase is a highly selective event designed to provide an opportunity for industry professionals and the public to hear the work of up-and-coming songwriters. Lisa will give a live performance of two songs from her latest recording produced by acclaimed songwriter and producer Jonathan Edwards.

Recipient of the 1994 Vermont Council on the Arts Fellowship Award for Music, Lisa is gaining increasing notoriety for her alternative rock/folk songwriting and performance. Characterized by daring and sophisticated lyrics, infectious acoustic guitar rhythms, and a powerful singing voice, Lisaís material has appeared on National Public Radioís Car Talk, Vermont Public Radioís Dick McCormackís Veranda, CNBCís Americaís Talking TV network, as well as the nationally distributed Fast Folk Musical Magazine.

Bostonís New England Performer magazine describes Lisa as " absolute genius. She is funny, sexy, smart, literate, sardonic, witty, and she sings with all the power of a rock diva." In addition to her own performances, McCormick has been invited to open the show for numerous national artists, including The Story, Aimee Mann, Jonathan Edwards, and Ani DiFranco.

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Erik Nielsen

Erik Nielsenís Quintet for Piano and Strings received its much-belated premiere on May 27 in Manchester. The work was completed in 1989, but had not been performed in its entirety before. The third movement received its premiere in March 1994 in Barre, performed by the Ying Quartet and Michael Arnowitt. The Manchester Chamber Players gave the piece a fine rendering, and the audience reception was very warm. The group plans to perform the work several more times, including on October 21 in Carnegie Hall. Among those in the audience in Manchester was Ed Lawrence.

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Kalvos & Damian Debut

by Kalvos or Damian

Yo, itís true! The first radio show featuring the music of Vermont composers is on the air! With the eminently recallable title of Kalvos & Damianís New Music Sesquihour, the show spends 90 minutes exploring contemporary music and new ways of listening -- all with Kalvos and Damianís irreverent banter, and lots of Vermont music.

Guests on the show so far have been David Gunn (ĎKalvosíor ĎDamianí) and Dennis Bathory-Kitsz (ĎDamianí or ĎKalvosí), Thomas L. Read, Gilles Yves Bonneau, Peggy Madden, Erik Nielsen and Gwyneth Walker. Upcoming through September 9th are Don Stewart, Glenn Sproul, Bea Phillips, Dennis Murphy, Don Jamison, Bill Harris, Batya Weinbaum, and Orra Maussade.

Heard so far on the show have been all or part of Davidís Khartoumaraca, Mesopotamian March & Mango, Armies of Mice, In a Gadda da Babylon, Running Lights, Wagadoo, Double Whammy and Czernyís Etude No. 39 for Upper Elementary Grade Volume One; Dennisís Specimen, i cried in the sun aÔda, Lithuanian Liniment March, The Moon, A Time Machine, Car Horn Symphony No. 2, Fisshey, Teething Rings, Falling Into the Sun Again, and Plasm over ocean; David Mossís After That Tempest; Larry Readís Sonata for Violin and Piano, Corrente, Rondo Fantasy, Adventura, and Light After Light; Gilles Yves Bonneauís FrŁlingschrei!, Etude Inconclusive, Chanson díAutŰmne, Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, and Trio Sonata for Clarinet, Viola and Piano; Peggy Maddenís The Eye of the Storm, The Hook, Metal Wing/Sculptured Dream, and two untitled pieces; Jim Grantís Deux Gens...? Dijon? and Sonata for Clarinet & Piano; Orra Maussadeís Murkeeís Lament; Robert Starnerís At the Rabbiís in Palestina; Marylin Seitsís Vibrations; Erik Nielsenís Ndakina, Dream Bridge, and Quintet for Piano and Strings; Gwyneth Walkerís A Splash of Cold Water, River Song, Braintree Quintet, Raise the Roof, White Horses, Open the Door, and Salem Reel.

Composers have brought consistently insightful and good-humored commentary to the show, and public reception has been enthusiastic -- two callers so far! Seriously, many people have been listening, and the show is a featured calendar event every week in the Barre-Montpelier Times-Argus. Together with its weekly quiz, live mixes, and explorations of music in many guises, the show may be invited to continue into the fall season. Show titles so far have been: Not the Opera; Opening of Bass Season; Do It Yourself/Duet Yourself; A Festival of Johns; New Age/New Rage; Wild World Music; Newhine in Old Bottles/Oldwhine in New Bottles; and The Day of Tools. Who knows whatís next?

And, if youíd like to have something heard, thereís still time. Send along your cued tape (cassette or DAT), CD or LP to Kalvos & Damian at 176 Cox Brook Road, Northfield, Vermont 05663. The show is full now -- no room for more guests -- unless it gets extended past September 9th. If youíre interested in something this fall, be in touch. (Tapes of the show are also available.) Call 802-485-3972 for info.

WGDR is heard at 91.1 FM in central Vermont (within about 30 miles of Plainfield) and on some cable systems.

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We have at last put Consorting on line, since more of you are using the nets. Weíve collected as many email addresses as we can -- mostly by accident, but we got íem anyway. Weíre looking for more. Composers? To put yourself on the list, please send your request to Contact Form. Or visit our new Web Page!, by the way, electronic submissions to Consorting are encouraged. (Two email-enabled contributors stayed Ďhard copyí this month. Tsk, tsk, netmavens.)

12th Folk Fest

Itís time again for the Champlain Valley Folk Festival, August 4, 5 and 6 in the Pine Grove, Redstone Campus, University of Vermont. Members of Consortium arenít performing, but other members of the Vermont musically creative community will be playing, including Peter & Mary Alice Amidon, Nisht Geferlach Klezmer Band, Peter & Karen Sutherland, Andy Cohen, Mac Parker, Dana Robinson, Dot Brown, and Margaret MacArthur. Information 800-769-9176.


Music from SEAMUS, Vol.3 & 4, have been shipped to members of the Society. Volume 4 includes the work selected as the Outstanding Student Composition at the National Conference. (Volume 2 includes music by Vermontís George Todd.) Copies are $14 each from Dwight Gatwood, SEAMUS Treasurer, Department of Music, University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, Tennessee 38238.


Published by the Consortium of Vermont Composers
Gilles Yves Bonneau, Director
Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, Editor-in-Flux
Don Stewart, Treasurer
David Gunn, Listkeepeur-Temporaire

Board: Gilles Yves Bonneau, David Gunn, Bill Harris, Zeke Hecker, Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, Maria Lattimore, Ed Lawrence, Erik Nielsen, Thomas L. Read, Gwyneth Walker, Batya Weinbaum.

Annual dues of $15 include a calendar-year subscription to Consorting. Send dues to Gilles Yves Bonneau, 104 South Cove Road, Burlington, Vermont 05401

Dues -- Orders -- Other Stuff

Hey, You Note-Slapping Rhythm Buskers, Listen Up. I have money. So hereís some of it:

Consortium of Vermont Composers Handmade Mug, $15 each.
Membership dues for calendar year 1995, $15.
Contributions above and beyond for the love of composers, your choice.

Please make mugs, dues and contributions checks payable to the Consortium of Vermont Composers.

Mail to: Don Stewart, P.O. Box 65, Tunbridge, Vermont 05077

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And don't miss The Best of the Sesquihour available in Real Audio files.

The Consortium of Vermont Composers can be reached for recordings, Midi and .wav files, CDs, etc.

Find the Consortium or send comments to:

Kalvos & Damian / Contact Form

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