Eugene Friesen Music
In Concert
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Eugene Friesen Music

 

GRASSLANDIA
A few of the six thousand listeners.

EUGENE FRIESEN, composer/cellist, is at the forefront of a new generation of musicians versed in classical, popular and world music. A graduate of the Yale School of Music, he is active as a performer, composer, teacher and recording artist.

Friesen's gift for the responsive flow of improvisatory music has been featured in concerts all over the world with the Paul Winter Consort, Trio Globo, and with poets Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Coleman Barks. He has performed as a soloist at the International Cello Festival in Manchester, England; Rencontres d'Ensembles de Violoncelles in Beauvais, France; International Cello Encounter in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and at the World Cello Congress in Baltimore, Maryland.

His compositional credits include five albums of original music: Sono Miho, In The Shade Of Angels, New Friend, Arms Around You and The Song of Rivers; Grasslands, a symphony premiered on the Kansas prairie in 1997; Earth Requiem: Stories of Hope, an oratorio first performed in 1991; The Brementown Musicians with Bob Hoskins for Rabbit Ears Productions in 1992; Sabbaths, settings of poems by Wendell Berry premiered by the Brattleboro Music Center in 1999; and numerous scores for documentary films. Eugene's music can also be heard on the recordings of Trio Globo, which he founded in 1992 with Howard Levy and Glen Velez.

Friesen was awarded a Grammy award as a member of the Paul Winter Consort in 1994 and 2006.

Friesen was the 1999 recipient of grants from the Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Fund and Continental Harmony to compose a symphonic setting of Carl Sandburg's PRAIRIE, which was premiered in June of 2001 at PrairieFest in Kansas.

CelloMan, his one-man show for young audiences, features a wide variety of music on solo cello: classical, jazz, blues and rock. Created in collaboration with maskmaker/choreographer Robert Faust, CelloMan has been performed widely in the United States and Canada. The CelloMan video was released in 1999.

Eugene is an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He lives in Vermont.

GRASSLANDIA
The scene

PAUL WINTER's musical realm has long embraced the traditions of the world's cultures, as well as the extraordinary voices of what he refers to as "the greater symphony of the Earth." His concert tours and recording expeditions have taken him to thirty-seven countries and to wilderness areas on six continents, into which he has traveled on rafts, mules, dog sleds, horses, kayaks, sailboats, steamers, tugboats and Land Rovers.

Paul's journey started in Altoona, Pennsylvania, where he began playing drums, piano and clarinet after the age of five, and then fell in love with saxophone in the fourth grade.

At Northwestern University in Chicago Winter formed a jazz sextet, which won the 1961 Intercollegiate Jazz Festival and was signed to a contract with Columbia Records by the legendary producer John Hammond. In 1962 the Paul Winter Sextet was sent by the U.S. State Department on a six-month tour of twenty-three countries of Latin America.

Brazil became a second home for Paul in the mid-'60s where he recorded several albums. Brazilian guitar, Afro-Brazilian percussion, and the symphonic music of Villa-Lobos inspired the aural-vision of the new ensemble he would call the Paul Winter Consort. Launched in 1967, the Consort became the forum for the whole world of diverse music Paul loved. Paul Winter remembers, "I borrowed the name 'consort' from the ensembles of Shakespeare's time, the house bands of the Elizabethan Theater, which adventurously blended woodwinds, strings and percussion, the same families of instruments I wanted to combine in our 'contemporary' consort."

The rich sound textures and special blend of the distinctive acoustic instrumental voices of Paul Winter and the Consort give Winter's Earth Music its unique and alluring quality; recorded sounds from the natural world are often interwoven with classical and ethnic traditions, the whole infused with the spontaneous spirit of jazz.

GLEN VELEZ is a virtuoso percussionist who has merged his background in Western percussion with the study of tambourine performance styles from around the world. He has take his experience of these different traditions in frame drumming and forged a new and unique music of his own.

Glen studied Western percussion with Fred Hinger, Brazilian with Erasto Vasconcelos and Dom Um Ramao, South Indian with Ramnad V. Rhagavan, Arab with Hanna Mirhige, Azerbajani with Zevulon Avsolamov, South Italian with Allesandra Belloni, and African with Ephat Mujeru.

An internationally recognized authority on tambourine history, Glen has given lectures and workshops at the Manhattan School of Music, Boston University, University of Southern California, University of Madrid and the Schola Cantorum in Switzerland. Since 1983 he has worked with the Remo Drum Company developing a line of frame drums and conducting workshops.

Glen has been an integral part of the Steve Reich Ensemble since 1971 and has recorded and performed widely with the Paul Winter Consort. He has been featured with the Stuttgart Ballet Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonia, Opera orchestra of New York, Group for Contemporary Music, Orchestra of Our Time, Giora Fiedman (klezmer musician), Charlie Mariano and Richard Stoltzman. He has recorded for ECM, CBS, Vanguard, RCA, Deutsche Gramophon, New World, Nonesuch, Opus One, Capital and Living Music.

As a composer, Glen has created a compelling music distinctly his own. Out of the rich traditions of world music he has woven a new and beautiful tapestry of rhythmic music that has brought a deep response from those who have heard it. He has performed his own music throughout the U.S. and Europe.

SATOSHI TAKEISHI, percussionist, was born in Mito, Japan. In 1981 he came to the US to attend The Berklee College of Music in Boston. He later moved to Colombia, South America to study Latin-American music and worked there with Francisco Zumaque and the Bogota Symphony Orchestra. Subsequently Satoshi moved to New York City and began his career as a drummer and percussionist. Satoshi's Latin-American studies have proven fruitful and he has been drumming for some of the best Latin musicians on the road and in the studio. He has toured and recorded with Latin Jazz flutist Nestor Torres and helped in the production of Torres' album “Morning Ride” for Polygram. He was also the drummer with Ray Barretto's group with whom he toured and recorded “Ancestral Messages” on the Picante, Concord label. For the past four years Satoshi has been recording and touring as a member of the Eliane Elias Trio.

GRASSLANDIA
After the concert

 

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