Newsletter of the Consortium of Vermont Composers

This edition of Consorting is sponsored by WGDR-FM 91.1 in Central Vermont


September 1995

Directorís Column

by Gilles Yves Bonneau

On 9 September, a meeting was held at my home in Burlington, called by our coordinator for the 1995 Festival, Ken Langer. Its purpose was to finalize the details and layout of the upcoming event. Present were Ken Langer, Thomas L. Read, Bill Harris, Don Stewart, Batya Weinbaum, Barbara Wellspring, and yours truly.

After intense discussion, it was decided by majority vote that insufficient energy and general response exists at this point in time to hold a successful festival in November, as planned.

Alternative suggestions followed. Concerts in private homes, area churches, or similar venues, with admission charged (up to $25) and gourmet brunch included, every three months, could raise sufficient funds to pay musicians and coordinators for subsequent festivals or smaller events on an ongoing basis. Dues could be raised, covering travel by active leadership and the above-mentioned costs.

To address the nagging and not-easily-resolved question of assembling the general membership in order to elicit new energy, general involvement, and participation, it was decided that Barbara -- who volunteered enthusiastically to help us and will join officially -- thank you, Barbara! -- will use her experience, skills, and contacts to organize a Sunday afternoon brunch in Burlington. This will encompass a meeting of all the members. We will all be notified of the date and time and place in plenty of time to assure maximum facilitation for everyone.

Major change is upon the Consortium. This is painful, but not at all unusual, nor is it to be construed as negative. It is the way of Nature, the only path of all things alive. We all recognize that non-movement is only perceived stability, but is really stagnancy. This present crossroad was foreseen, though not faced until now. The crucial first steps -- awareness and confrontation -- have been taken.

Let us have faith, and hope, and yes, love. Our work is good, and it is useful to be beneficial to a troubled and confused world. Our association together is good and has proven extremely helpful in building community among composers as well as awareness and appreciation among performing musicians. "The public" has also learned and enjoyed and grown with us.

Remember the ancient Greek wisdom: The more things change, the more they remain the same. The needs and benefits remain the same; the methods used to achieve the same goals are the stuff of change here. That is all.

That is good.

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Treasury Report

To: Vermont Composers Consortium AKA Consortium of Vermont Composers
Re: Financial Report, fiscal year 1995
From: Don Stewart, Treasurer

I took over the 'books' just a year ago. Here is an accurate summary of our activity in the ensuing year.

Balance, September 1, 1994...................$ 119.23
Income over the yearTotal funds..................................$1574.23
Expenses paid over the yearBalance end of year, September 8, 1995.......$ 515.74
I am carrying payables of $191.61 and receivables of $30. Since bank charges are incurred as balance drops below $400, little resources are available.

Respectfully submitted,
Don Stewart

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Listkeeper Note

We still 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 our new listkeeper, Craig Hanson, at 14 Beech Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401.

Editor Request

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

Contact Form

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by Dennis Báthory-Kitsz

Gilles has well expressed our disappointment at the loss of the 1995 Festival, as well as the enthusiasm brought to the Consortium by new members such as Barbara Wells. Perhaps live performances on a grand scale are over for a while in Vermont ... perhaps not. But there is an alternative.

Yes, I do admit to an affection for new methods of communication, methods whose expansions and limitations constantly test our flexibility and ability to be understood. I attempt to do that with my music (sometimes with stunning failure), so itís no surpise to me (or those of you who know me) that connecting to the websites and discussion groups on the Internet has opened many doors.

Those doors can open for all of us. I wonít attempt to discuss here the egalitarian barriers to being Ďon lineí. It means needing to own (or have access to) a computer, and probably paying for on-line charges. Letís just say I resentfully feel that it (like making Midi demos, to which Iíve utterly capitulated) is one of the endless, unfair costs of being a composer in modern America. But it is one reason this issue of Consorting has articles on radio shows and websites and books with CD-ROMs -- and no schedule of live Festival performances, only one announcement of a live performance, and no reports of recent live performances. Times are tough. Gilles sees it as positive from one perspective, the Ďway of Natureí. Let me offer my own compensatory positiveness.

Hereís something positive ... the names of some of the places Iíve visited and learned from on the Internet. Sitting in my tiny studio near covered bridges in our lovely rural Vermont, Iíve been able to reach out to:

The Bregman Studios at Dartmouth, to learn of new recordings from Larry Polansky and Charles Dodge ... Doctor Nerveís Home Page, with Nick Didkovskyís amazing music ... The New Music Notation Conference in Ghent, Belgium, with the answer to every notational question you can imagine ... The International Computer Music Association ... The MIT Media Labís quirky Machine Listening Page ... The Mills College Center for Contemporary Music, with its body of computer music languages ... The Winham Computer Music Labs at Princeton ... CCRMA at Stanford ... Indiana Universityís vast Music Resources on the Internet, a yearís exploration in itself ... The Harmony List of Music Resources on the Internet, including a vast index of record labels, performing ensembles, and composers ... the legendary IRCAM in Paris ... the growing Critser List of performers and composers with addresses on the Internet.

This is the short list -- my Ďfavorite placesí, as theyíre called. Iíve also met composers from across the world, and publishers, too -- including one who now distributes this Vermont composerís music in Tasmania (sales are, uh, slow). Many composers who will appear on our radio show were met on the net. (After two years of email, Iíll hear Jacques Bailhéís voice for the first time when we actually record a show with him in October!)

For regular web users (particularly those associated with colleges, where there is little individual expense), none of this networking is news. But a composer like me, with 25 years experience with electronic music and computers, should have been surfing the net years ago and, yes, when it was lots less convenient -- back in í81 -- I did for a while. But there were few artists. And costs caught up.

If youíre thinking itís still expensive, though, then consider what it could mean to receive a commission from groups in Texas or Illinois (as I have), just because youíve met and exchanged ideas on your glowing computer screen, at your own pace, in your own home. If youíre a committed composer, then scraping together cash for an acoustic instrument, an electronic keyboard, or recording equipment has probably been essential. Today itís also possible to get a fine little computer for on-line networking, outfitted with a fast modem to keep phone charges down, for less -- sometimes far less -- than the cost of a good instrument, keyboard, or recording machine. On-line charges are like maintenance; with a local access number (Burlington and Montpelier exchanges have them, for example), itíll cost about $10 a month.

Iím not preaching here, just suggesting alternatives which Iíve had to find for my impatient self. Itís been a classroom for me, an arena for testing my ideas, and a way of stepping out of my isolation -- an isolation once remediated by our Vermont Composers Festivals, but no more.

How do you start? Find a friend to guide you (call me if you like), or buy yourself a little computer. Most of them are bundled with on-line software of some kind, and after a herky-jerky start (bizarre-looking at first, to say the least), youíll be able to look up IRCAM or Dr. Nerve, or answer those confusing notational questions by dipping into tutorials at Ghent. (Or maybe even visit Kalvos & Damianís site and read Consorting before it comes in the mail!)

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VCME: Gunn + Jamison + Riley

The Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble has its annual Fall concert on November 10, 1995, at St. Paul's Cathedral in Burlington. The VCME, directed by Steven Klimowski, will perform a program of music by David Gunn, Don Jamison and Terry Riley. The ensemble will feature a rare performance of Riley's seminal minimalist masterpiece, In C, as well as Don Jamison's new Unaccompanied Violin Sonata. Three works recently premiered by Il Gruppo Nuke Jitters will be reprised by the VCME, Somewhere East of Topeka, Out of the Dark, and Fossick. The ensemble will also premiere two new Gunn works, Cowbellies, as well as a new work written especially for the VCME, Help Me Rondo. The concert will take place on Friday, November 10, at St. Paul's Cathedral in Burlington. For information, contact Steve Klimowski at 802-849-6900.

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Weinbaum Contributes to Sounding Off!

Sounding Off!, a book about music and social change, will be out in October from Autonomedia in New York. It can be ordered for your own use, or for libraries. Besides a compilation article by Consortium member Batya Weinbaum, "Matriarchal Music Making", which first appeared in part in Consorting, the book contains 39 additional articles on Theorizing Music and Social Change, In the Belly of the Beast, and Shattering Silence of the New World Order.

The authors/musicians (a CD-ROM accompanies the book) are willing to come perform and discuss the ideas for anyone (bookstore, campus, community organization) who would like to help promote the book when it is released. Articles include: Fred Wei-han Ho, "Jazz Kreolization and Revolutionary Music for the 21st Century"; Tricia Rose, "Soul Sonic Forces: Technology, Orality and Black Cultural Practice in Rap Music"; Hakim Bay, "Utopian Blues"; and Ivor Miller, "The Singer as Priestess: Interviews with Celina Gonzalez and Merceditas Valdes". Read about aboriginal women musicians in the contemporary musician scene, singing other peoples' songs, political expression in world music, and much more.

Contact Batya Weinbaum, P.O. Box 69, East Montpelier, Vermont 05651; 802-454-1147.

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Consortium on File #22

Barbara Wellsping

Barbara WellspringBarbara Wellsping

Following her competition-winning performance of the Shostakovich Second Piano Concerto at Boston's Jordan Hall, Christopher Swan of the Christian Science Monitor remarked: "She wasn't good; she was amazing. Miss Wells is a gifted pianist ... what she has you can't pay for or acquire with assiduous effort -- a voice of her own and an electric intensity as a performer."

Ms. Wells made her orchestral debut at the age of 16 as a result of another competition in her native state of Washington. More recent solo appearances include several performances with the Dance Theater of Harlem Orchestra on Broadway, and engagements with the Vermont Philharmonic.

A successful competitor in the 1973 Artists International Auditions, Barbara was presented in her New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall the following year. Now a Vermont resident and member of the Vermont Touring Artists Register, Ms. Wells' recital credits include engagements in the major halls of New York and Boston, numerous radio appearances including "Morning Pro Musica" and school and community programs in the Eastern U.S., the South, the Pacific Northwest, and the New York metropolitan area.

A scholarship student of Zenon Fishbein, Barbara received her Master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music in 1972. Other teachers have included the celebrated pianist Gary Graffman as well as Anthony di Bonaventura in conjunction with the doctoral program in performance at Boston University.

In 1983, Barbara was elected to appear as a featured artist in the New England Performing Arts Showcase, and was a finalist in the Boston Pops auditions at Boston University.

A member of the Vermont Council on the Arts Touring Artists Register since 1976, Barbara enjoys a widening reputation for her specially-designed programs combining performance and commentary. In recent years she has developed an innovative listener-choice format acclaimed by audiences and presenters alike, which she calls The Classical Sampler.

In addition to her career as an interpreter of classical repertoire, Barbara now performs her own works. Written in a manner that is largely "channeled", she describes her style as a New Age-Classical fusion. Barbara is currently producing her second album, "Out of the Blue" (following "Celebrations of the Heart" in the winter of 1992). Her pieces, which are written for solo piano or keyboard, are being published by Edel Publishers of Burlington, Vermont, and were presented in a public showing in the winter of 1994.

Barbara is also a visual artist, and teaches a survey-of-mediums course for the evening division at Burlington High School.

Her commentary: "When I started composing four years ago quite out of the blue, I knew the music had a spiritual purpose and message. This music is not mine in the sense of possession or ownership, but belongs to everyone -- I happen to be the body and spirit through which it is manifest. People say it helps them heal, relax, feel soothed, nourished and uplifted, and connected with their inner being. This music, which is part of the new consciousness of Love and Light, is the fusion of New Age and Classical elements. I am privileged to be the instrument through which it is channeled to others."

Beginning in October of 1995, fourteen of Barbara's 45 works will be available in sheet music format at Advent Music and Rolling Stock Music in Burlington, and and at retail stores in other areas of Vermont later this year. On November 12, Barbara will be presented in her first recital on the Roland RD-500 at All Saints Church in South Burlington, to benefit the purchase of the keyboard and sound system, and to celebrate this new dimension in her composing and performing.

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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 Báthory-Kitsz, 176 Cox Brook Road, Northfield 05663. By phone or fax, 802-485-3972. By email,
Contact Form

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Nissim/ASCAP Competition

The annual Nissim Competition is being held by ASCAP, with a postmark deadline of November 15, 1995. All living concert composer members of ASCAP are eligible to submit the score of a published or unpublished work requiring a conductor; scored for full orchestra, chamber orchestra, or large wind/brass ensemble (with or without soloists and/or chorus); and not having been previously performed professionally.

The prize -- named for the former head of ASCAPís foreign department, who left a bequest -- is $5,000, with supplementary funds made available to encourage the first performance of the award-winning composition.

For inquiries or submissions (score with pseudonym only; actual name, address and biography in a separate envelope), contact:

Frances Richard, Director, Symphony & Concert Department, ASCAP/Rudolf Nissim Composers Competition, One Lincoln Plaza, New York, New York 10023; 212-621-6329.

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Kalvos & Damian Show Expands

Longer Program and Web Page Available to Vermont Composers

by Kalvos or Damian

The following letter is addressed to all composers in the Consortium -- and beyond.

On-line and radio dreams are starting to be fulfilled. The Kalvos & Damian New Music Sesquihour, co-hosted by David Gunn and Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, is a success -- now extended into WGDRís regular programming season, airing live performances from the recording studio, and expanding to two hours a week, Saturdays from 2:30 to 4:30 pm. WGDR is FM 91.1 in central Vermont.

And because Kalvos & Damian is a hot regular show, Vermont composers have been given an on-line home as part of it. Starting October 1, find:

So there are two important opportunities. First, join us on the Kalvos & Damian show. Contact Dennis or David to set up a schedule. Weíve featured 14 composers in hour-long segments of music and talk, and have 26 more shows open. Call soon ... Dennis at 802-485-3972 or David at 802-244-1747. (Rip Keller will co-host while Kalvos is away in October).

Second, join the Kalvos & Damian composer website. Even if you donít know anything about the Internet, youíll want to be there! Hereís what weíll need to get your web page going; send us a packet:

Since each composer will have a separate web page, setting up the pages will be a lot of work for us -- so send everything in a single packet, respect the sizes, timings, etc., and be accurate. (By the way, please donít ask us to hunt down a photo or recording from the Consortium archives.)

Other information for the curious:

If none of this makes sense to you, donít worry. Just make up a nice packet and send it along. Weíll take care of putting it on the web. We're very excited about this. For those who recall our annual meetings, both the radio program and the Internet idea have been tossed around since the summer of í91. Now itís here -- not big yet, but here.

Thanks to you all. With quivering excitement,
Kalvos & Damian

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Published by the Consortium of Vermont Composers
Gilles Yves Bonneau, Director
Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, Editor-in-Flux
Don Stewart, Treasurer
Craig Hanson, Listkeeper

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

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