Timothy Melbinger (b. 1968): Preludes No. 1-4, 7, 8, 12

Bruce Mahin (b. 1957): Petite Sonata No. 1

Percy Grainger (1882-1961): Blithe Bells

Grainger: To A Nordic Princess

Ingrid Arauco (b. 1957): Sonata for Piano, movements 3 & 4


Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888): Le Festin D’esope, Op. 39, No. 12

Jonathan Newmark (b. 1953): Piano Sonata: I. Overture, IV. Fugue

Kent Holliday (b. 1940): Sonata No. 3

Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000): Las Presencias: V. Horacio Lavalle - Andantino

Guastavino: Romance de Cuyo

StageFree MasterClass

Join Martin for StageFree’s first master class on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 12:30 at The Clarice, University of Maryland, room number 2170. The event is free and does not require a ticket. Presented in partnership with the University of Maryland Composers’ Colloquium.

About the new pieces program

Melbinger wrote Twelve Preludes for piano throughout the first half of 2011 at his home in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. I played the premiere at Penn State Altoona later that year. The pieces are fairly short – about 24 minutes in total, although movements may be excerpted for performance. The title reflects models for the form – Chopin, Debussy, and Martino. “I kept a running list of descriptions of the music I was writing so I would avoid repetition and keep searching for fresh textures. Most of the movements explore one mood. The music is a little more transparent than I had been writing for several years before, and the textures somewhat lighter, as I had hoped to say more with less. The death of Milton Babbitt during my composition process prompted me to create a movement (#7) in his memory by using some of his pitch organization ideas. “ (TM)   

Composer Timothy Melbinger resides in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. He earned a Ph.D. in composition/theory at Brandeis University, where he studied with Martin Boykan, David Rakowski and Yehudi Wyner. He also holds degrees from the University of California at Irvine. Ten of his works have been recorded commercially and can be heard on the Albany, Centaur and NineWinds record labels. Performances throughout the United States have featured such ensembles as Speculum Musicae, Alea III, ECCE, the Radius Ensemble, Arcadian Winds, Auros Group for New Music, the Altoona Symphony Orchestra and soloists Martin Jones and Andrey Kasparov. His accolades include an Aaron Copland Award, a California Octagon Prize, an Alea III Competition finalist, and commissions from the Massachusetts Music Teachers Association and SCI. Among the places he has taught are Harvard, Boston and Brandeis Universities, Providence College, and the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. He currently teaches at Penn State Altoona.

Petite Sonata no. 1 (Mahin) utilizes the composer’s bi-tonal quartal harmonic system to explore the developmental possibilities of two main themes in a single movement work for solo piano. This piece is conceived to mimic the sonata models of Domenico Scarlatti in scale and general outline of form in three main sections. This composition was written in Menton, France during the summer of 2018.

Bruce P. Mahin is a Professor of Music, a former research fellow at the University of Glasgow (Scotland) and former resident composer at Le Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. His works are available on Ravello Records (RR7877, RR7902), Capstone Recordings (CPS-8747, CPS-8624 and CPS-8611) and published in score by Pioneer Percussion, Ltd. and in the Society of Composers Journal of Musical Scores. He received the B.Mus from West Virginia University, M.Mus from Northwestern University and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University.

A strong lyricism and contrapuntal rhythmic drive have remained a constant in the music of composer Bruce Mahin over the past 25 years but the sonorities have become gradually more diatonic and consonant. In his first recording, “Shadows” released in 1990 as Capstone CPS-8747, the harmonic palette is freely atonal but melodically expressive in pieces for piano, vibraphone and interactive computer, violoncello and tape, percussion and voice.  His second CD “Time Chants,” released in 1995 as Capstone CPS-8624, focuses on the melodic potential of music for the electronic wind instrument and interactive computer. In 2013, CD performances of Glasgow’s Scottish Voices were released as “Music from 3 Continents” on the Ravello label (RS-7877). In that recording, Mahin writes lyrical counterpoint for four women’s voices plus harp. Then, in the release of “Préludes de Paris,” this composer presented a new system of harmony with 12 pieces exploring quartal harmonies.

Sonata for Piano (Arauco) was commissioned by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society in celebration of its thirtieth anniversary.   For this occasion I imagined a piece which would employ a great variety of textures, from thickly intense chords to delicate strands of sound; emotionally, too, I wished to embrace a range of feelings.  In short, I was striving for a broadly encompassing work, one that would use the piano in a rich and bold way.

My Sonata is in four movements, with the first movement establishing a fundamental harmonic tension between two identical chord structures positioned a half-step apart, which introduced and developed at the outset, create friction and energy.  The friction is never truly resolved in favor of either chord; rather, these sonorities are balanced in various ways.  The momentum generated by the first movement is played out first as a quick, thinly-drawn scherzo, then as a slow, lyrical set of variations, and finally as a fugue, in which variants of the two opening harmonies of the work appear linearly and continue jostling for dominance, though in a generally more light-hearted manner than at the beginning of the piece.  

Sonata for Piano received its premiere by Marcantonio Barone in January 2016, at Settlement Music School, Philadelphia.

Ingrid Arauco began her studies in composition with Robert Hall Lewis while an undergraduate at Goucher College. She received her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied with George Crumb, George Rochberg, Richard Wernick, and C. Jane Wilkinson.  She has received awards or fellowships from the American Guild of Organists, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony, and commissions from the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Settlement Music School, and the Kindler Foundation in the Library of Congress.  Her works have been performed by the Colorado Quartet, Network for New Music, and the Atlanta Symphony, among other distinguished musical organizations.  In 1995-96, she was the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts.  Her compositions are published by Theodore Presser Co. and Hinshaw Music, and have been recorded on the Albany, Capstone, and Meyer Media labels.  Ms. Arauco has taught at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and currently teaches at Haverford College.

The Piano Sonata (Newmark) began as an essay in sonata form, after I had not written anything in this form in many years.  The sonata-form movement became the first of four. The other three movements all derive from motives in the first.  The first movement, orchestrated, received its premiere as a stand-alone overture from the Trinity Chamber Orchestra of Washington, DC in Bethesda, Maryland in June 2015.

Composer Jonathan Newmark, pianist, violist, and conductor, received his MM degree in composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 2015.  His teachers included Joel Hoffman, Douglas Knehans, and Michael Fiday at CCM, as well as Jonathan Kolm, Gloria Wilson Swisher, and James McVoy. He has participated at the Chamber Music Conference at Bennington, VT since 1981 and worked there with composers Allen Shawn, Martin Bresnick, Daniel Strong Godfrey, Kurt Rohde, Paul Moravec, Chen Yi, Pierre Jalbert, Jesse Jones, and Ted Hearne.  His works have premiered at the Imani Winds, Charlotte, CT Summerfest and nief-norf festivals and are published by TrevCo Varner Music and BrassArts Unlimited. A CD of four of his chamber works was released in 2009 on the Music Unlimited label.

A 1974 graduate of Harvard College, he earned his MD degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1978.  He is a board-certified neurologist, full professor of neurology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, retired Colonel in the US Army Medical Corps, former Chemical Casualty Care Consultant to the Army Surgeon General, and one of the nation’s leading authorities on medical response to chemical warfare and terrorism.

The first movement of Piano Sonata No. 3 (Holliday), dedicated to pianist Martin Jones, is in sonata-allegro form. It contrasts a restless opening theme with a second motive, marked mesto-molto espressivo. The second movement is designated as flowing, with legato and rubato passages. It strives to be in lyrical contrast to the kinetic  dynamism of the first movement. The third movement, intense in its toccata-like rapidity of notes, is once again full of virtuosic scalar and arpeggio passages and is ebullient in its conclusion in the key of C Major. This recording presents the world premiere.

Kent Holliday is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, and began piano studies with his father at age five. He received a B.A. in music and philosophy at Hamline University in 1962, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in composition-theory from the University of Minnesota in 1964 and 1968. His major composition teachers were Paul Fetler and Dominick Argento at the University of Minnesota, Pietro Grossi, S2FM Studio De Fonologia, Florence, Italy, and Witold Szalonek, Hochschule der Kunst, Berlin, Germany. Holliday is currently Professor of Music at Virginia Tech, where he has taught since 1974.

About the performer

Martin Jones, piano

Martin Jones, piano

Celebrating a new release on PnOVA Recordings, highly acclaimed British pianist Martin Jones will present concerts of music featuring music by composers from Washington D.C., Pennsylvania and Virginia, along with works from the standard repertory. The current tour will include venues in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Morgantown and Radford (VA).

Jones has been one of Britain's most highly regarded solo pianists since first coming to international attention in 1968 when he received the Myra Hess Award, the same year he made his London debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and his New York debut at Carnegie Hall. Ever since Jones has been in demand for recitals and concerto performances worldwide.  A retrospective of his works, on the occasion of his 75thbirthday, was released recently on the Nimbus Recordings label. 

Jones is a prolific recording artists and his many discs for Nimbus Records include the complete solo piano works of Mendelssohn, Brahms, Debussy, Grainger, Szymanowski (voted Best Instrumental Recording of 1996 by the Spanish magazine CD Compact, Stravinsky, Korngold and the sonatas of Alan Hoddinott. He has recorded several Spanish piano masters and Volume 2 of this series received the 2000 Classical Indie Award from the Association for Independent Music in the USA. The soundtrack of the film ‘Howards End’ features Martin Jones performing Grainger’s Bridal Lullaby and Mock Morris. His performance repertoire as well as encompassing most of the standard works for piano, also includes unusual concertos such as the Busoni Concerto, which he performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Norman Del Mar. He has also championed the music of British composers and has performed concertos by Britten, Benjamin, Mathias, McCabe and Lambert. In 2017, Martin Jones released on Nimbus Recordings the piano duos and duets by Camille Saint-Saens in two volumes, and the virtuoso arrangements for piano by Earl Wild featuring music of Sergei Rachmaninoff among other composers.

In 2014, Jones partnered with PnOVA Recordings to produce new piano music by American composers in the American Piano Music Series. The fourth volume of this series (2018) features music by Ingrid Arauco, Kent Holliday and Timothy Melbinger.

About the PnOVA American Piano Music Series

The PnOVA American Piano Series makes great recordings in an acoustically perfect concert hall then delivers exciting live concert events featuring music on the recorded CDs. The series brings together composers of varying aesthetic perspectives in all stages of their careers, from budding young artists to experienced composers with established careers. Composers are actively involved in the recording sessions with pianist Martin Jones so each work receives precise attention to score details and stylistic direction.

Concerts feature works on series CDs but include established modern repertoire to give audiences a taste of extraordinary classics mixed with the classics of tomorrow. The superb musicianship and virtuosic technique of one of Britain's most acclaimed pianists brings audiences  to their feet at every venue. 

PnOVA Recordings is the contemporary classical label of multi-media publishing company MahinMedia LLC, whose catalog includes interactive applications built for the Apple mobile devices, electronic book publications, audio recordings, and a select cadre of artists. PnOVA Recordings is dedicated to the introduction of new music, especially music written for piano,but also represents a venue for recording rising artists in the classical music genre. All recordings use state-of-the-art digital converters capturing 96kHz 24-bit samples.

More information is available at