Leslie Bassett Festival of Music

Leslie Bassett Festival

 Brave New Works








Music of Leslie Bassett

Music of Leslie Bassett

October 6 & 7

Links to info about Leslie Bassett
Short Bio

Leslie Bassett was born in Hanford, CA, January 22, 1923, the son of Archibald and Vera Bassett, and grew up on ranches in the San Joaquin Valley. His early music training in Fresno was on piano, trombone, cello and other instruments, and he spent 38 months in army bands during World War II as trombonist, arranger and composer. He enrolled at California State University, Fresno (then Fresno State College) and was principal trombonist with the Fresno Symphony Orchestra. Graduate study at the University of Michigan under Ross Lee Finney was interrupted by a Fulbright Fellowship to Paris and work with Arthur Honegger and Nadia Boulanger.

He joined the Michigan faculty in 1952, then held the Prix de Rome at the American Academy in Rome, 1961-63. He has also worked with the Spanish-British composer Roberto Gerhard and with Mario Davidovsky in electronic music. At Michigan he became chairman of composition, the Albert A. Stanley Distinguished University Professor of Music, and the 1984 Henry Russel Lecturer, the university's highest faculty honor.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Bassett's music has been widely performed by the nation's orchestras, bands, choirs, soloists and ensembles. He has composed electronic music and written for plays, film, and all performing ensembles with the exception of opera. He frequently serves as guest composer with performing ensembles and universities.

American Music Center Link

SAI Link

Great CD with his orchestral music

October 6-7, 2001

Each concert will start with comments by Leslie Bassett
These concerts are free and open to the public.
Donations will be accepted at the door.

Please note the change in programs.

Concert #1: Saturday, October 6th, 8PM
in Britton Recital Hall at the School of Music
at the University of Michigan

"Illuminations for flute & piano" [confirmed]
[4 movements, (flute, pf.), 12', 1989 (c.1992), Peters #67332, Bryan-Keys Duo, Keith Bryan, Karen Keys, Faculty Artists Concert, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Feb. 11, 1990. Recording, Opus One Records CD161 Bryan-Keys Duo]
Illuminations was composed for former faculty colleagues Keith Bryan and Karen Keys, the Bryan-Keys Duo, who gave the premiere performance at a faculty artists concert on campus February 11, 1990, and who recorded it on Opus One 161. Peters #67332.
[Poignant, Flowing, Mysterious, Fast-driving.]
Emily Perryman, flute
Winston Choi, piano
CD at Amazon.com

"Five Love Songs" [confirmed]
[5 movements, (soprano, pf.), texts from anon. Greek, W. S. Landor, Anne Bradstreet, Emerson, Henry Harrington, 13', 1975 (c.1977), Merion Music (Theo. Presser Co.), Elizabeth Mosher, Jack Roberts, Music Teachers Nat. Assn., Dallas, March, 31, 1976, comm. by Music Teachers Nat. Assn.]
The Love Songs were commissioned by the Music Teachers National Association and premiered in Dallas by Elizabeth Mosher and Jack Roberts. Ms. Mosher was a member of the Michigan faculty. The Songs were settings of texts that intrigued me, but the piece had its challenges, such as the request to whistle, or if whistling is impossible, to use inflected speech in he last song. Merion Music 441-41014 (Presser).
[Love, Like a Mountain Wind; The Tides of Love; To My Dear and Loving Husband; Teach Me Your Mood, O Patient Stars; Madrigal]
Jill Pearon, Soprano
Eric Melear, piano

"Music for cello & piano" [confirmed]
[4 movements, 11', 1966 (c.1971), Peters #66099, Fred Dempster, Bob Bennett, California State Univ, Fresno, Nov. 20, 1966. Recording by Jerome Jelinek and Joseph Gurt, Composers Recordings CRI 311 (Lp)]
Music for Cello and Piano was written for Fred Dempster and Bob Bennett, faculty members and friends at my undergraduate college in California, Fresno State, for concerts when I returned as guest composer. The final slow movement contains, thoroughly disguised, a couple of phrases from the school's alma mater, which even the performers failed to locate. Composers Recordings SD311 by Jerome Jelinek and Joseph Gurt. Peters #66099.
[Origin, Invention, Variation, Conclusion]
Katri Ervamaa, cello
Winston Choi, piano


"Sounds Remembered" [confirmed]
[4 movements, (vl, pf), 17', 1972 (c.1975), Peters #66490, Charles Treger, Samuel Sanders, Coolidge Aud., Library of Congress, Washington, DC, comm. by McKim Foundation, Library of Congress. Recording by these performers on Desto DC 7142 (Lp)]
Sounds Remembered is a testimony of affection for the Spanish-British composer Roberto Gerhard, who came to the Michigan campus for a term late in his life. The sounds remembered are, for the most part, from his Gemini (then known as Duo Concertante); however, the remembered sounds turned out to be occasionally inaccurate, for I had not always remembered them correctly. The commission was from the McKim Foundation in the Library of Congress, where the premiere was played by Charles Treger and Samuel Sanders, who also recorded the piece for Desto (DC7142, now out of print). Peters #66490.
[Quarter-note = 60, Quarter = c.112, Very Fast, Quarter = 44-48]
Scott Conklin, violin
Robert Auler, piano

"Pierrot Songs"[confirmed]
[3 movements, (soprano with fl, cl, vln, cello, pf), texts by Albert Giraud (in German translation by Otto Hartleben), 12', 1988 (c.1990), Peters #67222, Christine Schadeberg, NY New Music Ensemble, Robert Black, cond., Los Angeles, Nov. 7, 1988, (first song); Lucy Shelton, Da Capo Chamber Players,
Los Angeles, Jan. 25, 1989 (second and third songs), comm. by Schoenberg Institute, Los Angeles, CA.]

Schoenberg's famous Pierrot Lunaire, a wonderful 20th century classic, draws upon German translations of French texts by Albert Giraud, not all of which the composer used. In 1988 the Schoenberg Institute commissioned several other composers to set some of the remaining poetry for the same ensemble, premiering the new works in a pair of concerts. My three were presented in Los Angeles in 1988 by the New York New Music Ensemble with Chistine Schadeberg, then by Lucy Shelton and the Da Capo Chamber Players. Peters #67222.
[Die Wolken (Clouds), Eine Buehne (A Stage), Herbst (Autumn)]
Emily Perryman, flute
Deborah Chodacki, clarinet
Stephen Miahky, violin
Katri Ervamaa, cello
Charisse Baldoria, piano
Jennifer Goltz, Soprano
Chris Younghoon Kim, conductor

TOTAL TIME: 12+13+11+17+12=65 minutes

Concert #2: Sunday, October 7th, 8PM
in Britton Recital Hall at the School of Music
at the University of Michigan

"Temperaments" [confirmed]
5 movements, (solo guitar), 12', 1979-83 (c.1984), Mel Bay (Roseanne Music), Michael Lorimer, Univ. Musical Society concert, Ann Arbor, MI, March 26, 1983.
Temperaments is such a demanding work for solo guitar that I have on several occasions, since writing it, regretted its difficulty. Michael Lorimer, a fearless virtuoso, kept after me for a piece, and I wanted to show him to the world at his best. He carried it off beautifully, to
my great pleasure, but my conscience still bothers me. The tuning of the instrument, a pile of fourths with a third in the middle, seemed a challenge, so I worked with a dummy fingerbord, in order to be sure that the result would be playable. As if all these worries were not enough,
I tuned the lowest string down from the usual E to E-flat. Roseanne Music.
[Aggressive, energetic; Poignant, lyrical; Smooth, yet changing;
Singing,nostalgic; Restless]
Matthew Ardizzone, guitar

"Duo Concertante" [confirmed]
5 movements, (alto sax, pf.), 15', 1984 (c.1988), Peters #67083, Stephen Jordheim, Ted Rehl, Carnegie Recital Hall, NY, May 21, 1985, comm. by Concert Artists Guild, NY. Recording by Kenneth Fischer, Richard Zimdars, One World Records, ACA Digital CD, Atlanta.
The Duo was the second of my works for alto saxophone and piano, theresult of a commission from the Concert Artists Guild in New York, where Steven Jordheim and Ted Rehl gave the premiere in 1985. The discovery of an "altissimo register" by Michigan's own Donald Sinta revolutionized saxohonists' expectations and enlarged their upward performing range
by over an octave. For the alto saxophone, this new upper register became especially effective and is now possible by all expert players. Clifford Leaman and Derek Parsons have recorded the Duo on Equilibrium 21. Mr. Leaman will give the US premiere of my Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra in Hill Auditorium with the UM Symphony Orchestra on October 16.
Peters #67083.
[Driving, Lyrical, Unhurried, Ascending, Dramatic]
The Ambassordor Duo
Clifford L. Leaman
, Saxophone
Derek J. Parsons
, piano
CD at Amazon.com


"Fourth String Quartet" [confirmed]
[4 movements, 21', 1978 (c.1980), Merion Music (Theo. Presser Co.), New World String Quartet, Univ. Musical Society, Ann Arbor, MI, March 26, 1980, comm. by Univ. of Michigan School of Music for its Centennial.] [Past Review :Lyricism and drama combine powerfully in Leslie Bassett's Fourth String Quartet, a masterfully constructed work that uses all the potentials of four string players in five tightly woven, deeply expressive, sharply contrasted movements. Its potentials were fully realized by the Jefferson String Quartet.
--Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post]
The Fourth Quartet was commissioned by the UM School of Music in celebration of the School's Centennial Year, 1980. The premiere took place on a Musical Society concert by the New World String Quartet, an excellent ensemble, which originated as the string section principals in the Grand
Rapids Symphony Orchestra. They performed the piece many times. Merion Music 144-40095 (Presser).
[Assertive; Lyrical; Scurrying; Slow, Fast]
Gabe Bolkosky, violin
Maria Sampen, violin
Tam Tranh, viola
Katri Ervamaa, cello

TOTAL TIME: 12+15+21=48 minutes

The following pieces are cancelled due to illness

"Preludes" [cancelled]
Gabriela Frank, piano

"The Jade Garden" [cancelled]
4 movements, (soprano, pf.), four oriental poems in English, 9', 1973 (c.1977), Merion Music (Theo. Presser Co.), Emily Lowe, Joseph
Gurt, Eastern Mich., Univ, Ypsilanti, MI, Feb. 8, 1976

Jennifer Goltz, Soprano
Gabriela Frank, piano

Special Thanks to Karen Wolff who made it possible for us to use the Recital Hall

We are seeking sponsors for these concerts.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor please contact us at
or call 1-800-896-7340
Thank you

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