Carter Pann
Carter's picture

Carter Pann (b.1972) began studying piano at an early age with his grandmother.  At fifteen he began lessons with Emilio Del Rosario at the North Shore School of Music in Winnetka, Illinois.  In 1994 he received his Bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music, and subsequently his Master's degree from the University of Michigan. Honors in composition include the K.Serocki Competition for his Piano Concerto (premiered by the Polish Radio Symphony in Lutoslawski Hall, Warsaw), first prizes in the Zoltan Kodaly and Francois d'Albert Concours Internationales de Composition, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the Academy of Arts and Letters and five ASCAP composer awards.  His works have been performed bythe London Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, National Symphony of Ireland, Syracuse Symphony, New York Youth Symphony, Chicago Youth Symphony, and the Haddonfield Symphony among others.  In 1997 the Czech State Philharmonic of Brno recorded four of his orchestral works under Jose Serebrier.  Naxos released it in February of 2000 on its Amercian Classics series (Carter Pann- PIANO CONCERTO/DANCE PARTITA 8.559043). The Piano Concerto was submitted for a Grammy nomination in the "Best Classical Composition of the Year" category for 2001.  His Clarinet Concerto, commissioned for Richard Stoltzman, is to be recorded by the Seattle Symphony under Gerard Schwarz.  Love Letters (string quartet no.1) was recently completed for the Ying Quartet's Life Music commissioning project through a grant from the American Music Institute. SLALOM was performed at the 2001 Masterprize Finals by the London Symphony under Daniel Harding and has since been widely performed throughout Europe.  His Triple Trombone Concerto for trombonists John Rutherford, Mike Becker, Randy Hawes, and members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will be recorded in the spring of 2003. Anthems in Waves, a tribute to one of the most weathered American battleships inexistence, the USS New Jersey, was commissioned by the Haddonfield Symphony through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  He is currently working on a Piano Trio for the New England based Amelia Trio (for a premiere on the "Music in the Loft" series in Chicago, January 2003).

NOTES for "Differences"
DIFFERENCES was composed in February, 1998 for cellist Derek Snyder.  The work is comprised of five short movements, very much like a suite or partita in the Baroque style.  However, the individual little pieces are radically different from each other in style and content.  Originally, the intent was to transcribe an earlier chamber work, DANCE PARTITA, in its entirety for cello and piano (resulting in seven or eight movements). Instead, the project grew into its own as the work progressed.  The only movements taken from the chamber piece are "Air" and "Country Dance."

STRAND is a kind of pop tune where the cello has the vocal line.  The piano supplies the harmonies and rhythms against which the cello sings.  Different from an actual pop tune, the rhythms are a bit more complex and sometimes jarring.
AIR takes its language from the Baroque.  As in that period the title refers to the "canto" style of long legato vocal lines over a slow and undulating accompaniment.

COUNTRY DANCE is a peasant tune.  The middle section is very pastoral (with church bells) in which one might imagine the drone of bagpipes over the countryside.
BLUES, very different from the preceding movement, is a small chance for the performers to show a little soul.
SONG, like the STRAND, is a pop tune.  This one is a bit more direct in its tone and somewhat more recognizable as it draws its language from the late 70s and early 80s.

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NOTES for "Mots D'Heures", Gousses: Rames

I wrote this quartet in 1993 at a time when I was accompanying many vocal
students at the Eastman School of Music. It was during a period of
performing many works by French composers such as Ravel, Faure, du Parc and
Gounod. I was breaking out of a style of composition at the time (a very
dark, Rousian type of music) and wanted to experiment on a whole different
slant. The pieces are very much what one would call "Salon Music."

The text for these songs has an especially unique quality: upon translation
these poems make very little sense at all. However, phonetically they
sound very much like little English nursery rhymes spoken with a French
accent-hence the title: pronounced very closely to "Mother Goose Rhymes."

IV. Reine, reine, gueux iveille.
Gomme ` gaine, en horreur, taie.
(Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day.)

Queen, queen, arouse the rabble
Who use their girdles, horrors, as
pillow slips.

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Five Poems by 20th-Century Female Poets

"WOMEN" is the first of what I hope to be many more large collaborations with Jennifer. Over the last few years we have come to understand that our musical sensibilities are very much alike. Back in the fall of 1996 we met and performed many of the songs in the Bolcom/Morris "Words and Music" course. Two of the songs here are settings by writers from that same class--"Bird" by Holly Spaulding and "Invitation" by Melanie Kenny. The other three are poems that Jennifer introduced to me as a few of her favorites. All the texts 'speak' in a very forward way upon recitation, so I chose to set them with bold melodic/harmonic drive.

The Prelude (instrumental) introduces the audience to players.

"I Remember" has an angular drive with strong syncopations. The melody weaves through the texture, sometimes ignoring hemiolas in the orchestra, but always completing the phrase in the right place. The constant flux between 3/8, 5/8, 6/8 and 7/8 makes for a bigger pay-off when the meter finally lands on and remains in 4/8 just before the last line of text near the end of the song.

I REMEMBER by Anne Sexton

By the first of August
the invisible beetles began
to snore and the grass was
as tough as hemp and was
no color--no more than
the sand was a color and
we had worn our bare feet
bare since the twentieth
of June and there were times
we forgot to wind up your
alarm clock and some nights
we took our gin warm and neat
from old jelly glasses while
the sun blew out of sight
like a red picture hat and
one day I tied my hair back
with a ribbon and you said
that I looked almost like
a puritan lady and what
I remember best is that
the door to your room was
the door to mine.

"Man Eating" is more subdued. The winds don't play during this movement. The strings are used as a solid bed of sound, pushing forward and holding back to support Jennifer's recitative-like phrasing.

MAN EATING by Jane Kenyon

The man at the table across from mine
is eating yogurt. His eyes, following
the progress of the spoon, cross briefly
each time it nears his face. Time,

and the world with all its principalities,
might come to an end as prophesied
by the Apostle John, but what about
this man, so completely present

to the little carton with its cool,
sweet food, which has caused no animal
to suffer, and which he is eating
with a pearl-white plastic spoon.

"Bird" is an elegy which originated as a song for piano/voice in 1996.

BIRD by Holly Spaulding

You once-blue bird, made for song
I find you lying on the ground,
white-washed with too much light.
Your eyes are rough-cut beads,
how still your waxen wings.
There's no sound within your beak;
It's sharp as a rock split open
bloodied as the rest of you
Red as a flower I will never know.
Dust binds your silent throat
Kneeling down I see how cold
your shape becomes in death.
And where is your nest now,
your colored bits of string?
Leaves fall and gather all around.
They make a heaven at your side.
And still you dream of flying far from here.
Too soon the sky is empty of your flight.

"Invitation" became very 'storyboard' in its conception. I've come to compare it to a Tim Burton film like EDWARD SCISSOR-HANDS or THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. The first strophe of the poem is set with twisted music to prepare the listener for the second strophe which waxes campy. The song ends with a wretched feeling.

INVITATION by Melanie Kenny

Each drive to the lake, I promise
to leave our cabin, walk up the dirt road
to the orchard of old hopes, planted by
a grandfather who left behind a woman
so lonely she broke.

The abandoned house lingers by the road,
a rusted eyelet of twisted wire its only defense.
Her face hovers at every window.
"Your can't come in," the grandmothers say,
"This place only understands emptiness."

Locusts buzz in the tall grass.
I hesitate at the gate, but don't venture in.
Like the apples, The house waits to fall.

"Bohemia" is a piece of bratty wit. Dorothy Parker's poem pokes fun at all artists as being completely pretentious beings. In doing so she herself comes off as being very snobby. This great dynamic is explored unabashedly in the playful setting.

BOHEMIA by Dorothy Parker

Authors and actors and artists and such
Never know nothing, and never know much.
Sculptors and singers and those of their kidney
Tell their affairs from Seattle to Sydney.
Playwrights and poets and such horses' necks
Start off from anywhere, end up at sex.
Diarists, critics, and similar roe
Never say nothing, and never say no.
People Who Do Things exceed my endurance;
God, for a man that solicits insurance!

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