Westminster Conservatory Honors Alan Hovhaness

Westminster Conservatory faculty commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Alan Hovhaness' birth.
Monday, January 10, 2011

The Westminster Conservatory Faculty Recital Series will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer Alan Hovhaness on Sunday, January 16 at 3 p.m. in Bristol Chapel on the campus on the campus of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton.  Admission is free.

The program will include Achtamar, Op. 64, No. 1; Four Songs, Op. 242; Sonata for Flute, Op. 118; Sonata for 2 Clarinets, Op. 297.

The performers will be Heather Berz, trumpet; Melissa Bohl, oboe; Kenneth Ellison, clarinet; Deborah Gers, clarinet; Mika Godbole, percussion; Michael Green, trumpet; Craig Levesque, horn; Susan Moxley, trombone; Flora Newberry, trumpet; Marvin Rosen, piano; Alex Rudin, trumpet; Kathy Shanklin, piano and organ; Timothy Urban, baritone; Carol Vizzini, cello and Kevin Willois, flute.

Alan Hovhaness was born in Somerville, Mass., on March 8. 1911.  He began to compose when he was 7 years old and began his formal studies when he was 15 at the New England Conservatory. He was inspired by the music of the Oriental countries and by the polyphony found in the music of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance.  His compositions are among the most accessible music written in the last century.  

He was opposed to atonality in music and stated; "To me it is against nature. There is a center in everything that exists. The planets have the sun, the moon, the earth. The reason I like Oriental music is that everything has a firm center. All music with a center is tonal. Music without a center is fine for a minute or two, but it soon sounds all the same."

Out of Eastern modes and scales, Hovhaness created a new world of original melodies.  He was one of the most prolific composers of 20-Century. His output included works for the keyboard, choral works, art songs, chamber works, operas, and 67 symphonies.  Alan Hovhaness died in 2000 in Seattle Wash., where he lived for the last 30 years of his life surrounded by the beloved mountains which inspired his works.

Admission to the performance is free. Westminster Choir College of Rider University is located at 101 Walnut Lane in Princeton.  For updates, visit Westminster’s Web site at www.rider.edu/arts  or call 609-921-2663.

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Alan Hovhaness