Tag Archives: music

Holgen Gjoni’s Chamber Music Concert in Boston

Frosina is proud to introduce the concert of Holgen Gjoni, a talented cellist from Albania, who will be performing in Boston on February 21.

For more information, please click here:

Albanian Cellist Holgen Gjoni

The concert information message is below:

==

Dear Colleagues and Friends,
It is my pleasure to invite you and share news of my upcoming chamber music concert at The Boston Conservatory’s Seully Hall on February the 21-st at 8 pm.
The program includes masterworks of composers like Dohnanyi, Brahms, Gubaidulina and Shostakovich exploring a wide sonority spectrum of the trio genre…
Thank you for your support and hope to see you there!
With warms regards,
Holgen

Thomas Simaku is a finalist in the British Composer Awards 2009

British Composer Awards Shortlist Announced – Thomas Simaku in the finals.

Thomas Simaku’s piece Soliloquy V- Flauto Acerbo has been shortlisted for the British Composer Awards 2009. The work was commissioned by Christopher Orton with funds provided from the BBC Performing Arts Fund and it was premiered at the Greenwich International Festival.

Judging of all 13 categories took place during September and October 2009 using a different panel for each category and involving over sixty music professionals including performers, conductors, promoters and festival directors.

BBC Radio 3 is again giving its full backing to the Awards and will broadcast a five-part series as part of Performance on 3 which will run in the lead up to the Award Ceremony on 1 December. For more information and a full list of shortlisted composers, please visit:

http://www.basca.org.uk/public-events-news/british-composer-awards-2009

Albanian classical music composers on CDs

It is a little-known fact that Albania has produced a wealth of interesting and impressive classical music by Albanian composers,* and a sampling is now available on CD.

When Jane and I entertain guests at our home, I invariably play the CD “KENGE” (listed below) as background music.

I urge visitors to the Frosina Blog to add the 2 CDs described below to their classical music collections!

The compositions of Çesk Sadija, Tonin Harapi, Ramadam Sokoli, Kozma Lara, and other well-known Albanian composers can be heard on two CD Discs titled:

“KENGE – Albanian Piano Music ”, KIRSTEN JOHNSON piano, Guild GMCD 7257 and
“RAPSODI – Albanian Piano Music Vol. 2,” KIRSTEN JOHNSON piano, Guild GMCD 7300.

*Also see “Classical Music in Albania” under INFOBITS at www.frosina.org

Classical Music in Albania

Here’s some little-known information about classical music in Albania!

When Paloke Kurti (1860-1920) wrote the “The Unity of Albania March” in 1878, Albania was still a long way from establishing a classical or professional music tradition. Kurti was a musical amateur, singer, instrumentalist and composer educated in the popular music of his native city, Shkodra, in northern Albania. Albanian musical form took its first real steps towards professionalism during the second decade of the 20th century with its main initiator, the Franciscan priest, Padre Martin Gjoka (1890-1940) who has the distinction of being the first person in Albania to compose classical music in different genres. Following the classical music tradition of Bach and Handel, Gjoka wrote polyphonic and choral works as well as an unfinished symphony. He can also be considered the first Albanian musician who showed serious interest in traditional Albanian folk music, mostly that of the deep mountainous areas which was less influenced by Eastern music. However, because of the lack of musical institutions and any system of professional music education, his works remained an isolated phenomena – they were performed mostly by amateurs and heard only in small circles. Nevertheless, thanks to Gjoka and a few other musicians of his time, Shkodra became the most important focus of musical life in Albania during the period between the two wars and, especially, after WWII. There, the first orchestral and choral groups were formed and the first musicals were staged, practices that later spread to the southern city of Korça. As a result, Shkodra became the center of education for some of the most distinguished representatives of the first generation of Albanian composers during the second half of the 1900s.

Preng Jakova

(1917-1969), who studied clarinet at the Conservatory “Santa Cecilia” of Rome, wrote mostly vocal music. With his operas “Mrika” (1958) and, later, “Scanderbeg” (1968), he is known as the creator of the Albanian national opera. As a composer with lyric inspiration, he wrote under the influence of the traditional Italian opera of the 19th century and in the operatic style of belcanto, at the same time involving the intonations of Albanian songs and dances.

There is no doubt that the most famous composer in Albania of all the time is Çesk Zadeja (1927-1997), also born and raised in Shkodra, and rightly called the father of Albanian classical music. Zadeja graduated in music composition from the Conservatory “P.I. Tchaikovsky” in Moscow, and from 1956 until the end of his life, he propogated his artistic activities in Tirana. He was one of the founders of the Music Conservatory of Tirana, the Theatre of Opera and Ballet, and the Assembly of Songs and Dances. Equally important were Zadeja’s teaching activities as the founder of the Academy of Arts in Tirana and its professor of music composition for 30 years. Under his direction, well-known figures of Albanian classical music were educated. Zadeja’s musical repertoire spawned the formation of classical music tradition in Albania after he wrote his first symphony in 1956. He also composed two ballets, several concertos for instruments and orchestra, dozens of symphonic pieces, several sonnets, music for trio and quartet, etc. Zadeja’s compositions are distinguished for their polished technique and for the rational integration of intonational structures of rhythm and timbre of the most valued Albanian folk music.

During the second half of this century, Albanian music had to confront major challenges resulting from the absence of true professional tradition. This is one of the reasons that its musical development concentrated mainly on classic-romantic styles. The Albanian classical musical scene during 1950-1990 is replete with names such as Tish Daia (b. 1926), the composer of the first Albanian ballet “Halili and Hajria”, Nikolla Zoraqi (1928-1991), a composer with very wide and complex activities that include some short instrumental and vocal pieces for opera and ballet; Tonin Harapi (1925-1991), who was one of the first piano teachers at the national level; Feim Ibrahimi (1935-1997), who, with two concertos for piano during 1970-1980, played a sensitive role in the emancipation of the Albanian musical theatre; Shpetim Kushta (b. 1943), Thoma Gaqi (b. 1949) and others.

With the advent of democracy in 1990, Albanian music had to confront new challenges. Liberation from the constraints of state dictatorship and ideology resulted in the creation of completely new musical structures. Two important musical groups – “The Society of Music Professionals” and “The Society of New Albanian Music” – were formed during 1991-1992, and both became members of the most prestigious European and world musical organizations. Recruiting the best talents and performers of the country into these societies created a different environment for Albanian music and accelerated integration into the world contemporary music scene. Since 1992, the Society of New Albanian Music has organized annual Festivals of New Music while the Society of Music Professionals directs the concerts of New International Chamber Music. Among the composers who are most active in Albania today are Aleksander Peçi (b. 1951), Sokol Shupo (b. 1954), Vasil Tole (b. 1963), and Endri Sina (b. 1968).

NOTES:

Frosina thanks Sotiraq Hroni for supplying the above information and Migen Hasanaj for the translation from Albanian into English.

The compositions of Çesk Sadija, Tonin Harapi, Ramadam Sokoli, and many other Albanian composers can be heard on two CD Discs titled “Kenge – Albanian Piano Music”, Guild GMCD 7257 -Kirsten Johnson Piano, and “Rapsodi – Albanian Piano Music Vol. 2,” Guild GMCD 7300 -Kirsten Johnson Piano.

The Tradition of Classical Music In Albania

Author: Sotiraq Hroni

When Paloke Kurti (1860-1920) wrote the “The Unity of Albania March” in 1878, Albania was still a long way from establishing a classical or professional music tradition. Kurti was a musical amateur, singer, instrumentalist and composer educated in the popular music of his native city, Shkodra, in northern Albania. Albanian musical form took its first real steps

towards professionalism during the second decade of the 20th century with its main initiator, the Franciscan priest, Padre Martin Gjoka (1890-1940) who has the distinction of being the first person in Albania to compose classical music in different genres. Following the classical music tradition of Bach and Handel, Gjoka wrote polyphonic and choral works as well as an unfinished symphony. He can also be considered the first Albanian musician who showed serious interest in traditional Albanian folk music, mostly that of the deep mountainous areas which was less influenced by Eastern music. However, because of the lack of musical institutions and any system of professional music education, his works remained an isolated phenomena – they were performed mostly by amateurs and heard only in small circles. Nevertheless, thanks to Gjoka and a few other musicians of his time, Shkodra became the most important focus of musical life in Albania during the period between the two wars and, especially, after WWII. There, the first orchestral and choral groups were formed and the first musicals were staged, practices that later spread to the southern city of Korça. As a result, Shkodra became the center of education for some of the most distinguished representatives of the first generation of Albanian composers during the second half of the 1900s.

Preng Jakova (1917-1969), who studied clarinet at the Conservatory “Santa Cecilia” of Rome, wrote mostly vocal music. With his operas “Mrika” (1958) and, later, “Scanderbeg” (1968), he is known as the creator of the Albanian national opera. As a composer with lyric inspiration, he wrote under the influence of the traditional Italian opera of the 19th century and in the operatic style of belcanto, at the same time involving the intonations of Albanian songs and dances.

There is no doubt that the most famous composer in Albania of all the time is Çesk Zadeja (1927-1997), also born and raised in Shkodra, and rightly called the father of Albanian classical music. Zadeja graduated in music composition from the Conservatory “P.I. Tchaikovsky” in Moscow, and from 1956 until the end of his life, he propogated his artistic activities in Tirana. He was one of the founders of the Music Conservatory of Tirana, the Theatre of Opera and Ballet, and the Assembly of Songs and Dances. Equally important were Zadeja’s teaching activities as the founder of the Academy of Arts in Tirana and its professor of music composition for 30 years. Under his direction, well-known figures of Albanian classical music were educated. Zadeja’s musical repertoire spawned the formation of classical music tradition in Albania after he wrote his first symphony in 1956. He also composed two ballets, several concertos for instruments and orchestra, dozens of symphonic pieces, several sonnets, music for trio and quartet, etc. Zadeja’s compositions are distinguished for their polished technique and for the rational integration of intonational structures of rhythm and timbre of the most valued Albanian folk music.

During the second half of this century, Albanian music had to confront major challenges resulting from the absence of true professional tradition. This is one of the reasons that its musical development concentrated mainly on classic-romantic styles. The Albanian classical musical scene during 1950-1990 is replete with names such as Tish Daia (b. 1926), the composer of the first Albanian ballet “Halili and Hajria”, Nikolla Zoraqi (1928-1991), a composer with very wide and complex activities that include some short instrumental and vocal pieces for opera and ballet; Tonin Harapi (1925-1991), who was one of the first piano teachers at the national level; Feim Ibrahimi (1935-1997), who, with two concertos for piano during 1970-1980, played a sensitive role in the emancipation of the Albanian musical theatre; Shpetim Kushta (b. 1943), Thoma Gaqi (b. 1949) and others.

With the advent of democracy in 1990, Albanian music had to confront new challenges. Liberation from the constraints of state dictatorship and ideology resulted in the creation of completely new musical structures. Two important musical groups – “The Society of Music Professionals” and “The Society of New Albanian Music” – were formed during 1991-1992, and both became members of the most prestigious European and world musical organizations. Recruiting the best talents and performers of the country into these societies created a different environment for Albanian music and accelerated integration into the world contemporary music scene. Since 1992, the Society of New Albanian Music has organized annual Festivals of New Music while the Society of Music Professionals directs the concerts of New International Chamber Music. Among the composers who are most active in Albania today are Aleksander Peçi (b. 1951), Sokol Shupo (b. 1954), Vasil Tole (b. 1963), and Endri Sina (b. 1968).

NOTES:

Frosina thanks Sotiraq Hroni for supplying the above information and Migen Hasanaj for the translation from Albanian into English.

The compositions of Çesk Sadija, Tonin Harapi, Ramadam Sokoli, and other Albanian composers can be heard on the CD Disc titled “Kenge – Albanian Piano Music”, Guild GMCD 7257.

Albanian Folkmusic

Author: Thomas Weden

Albanian music is available on several CDs. Here is a brief list:

Albania: Vocal and Instrumental Polyphony
Le Chant du Monde LDX 274897

Famille Lela de Permet / Polyphonies Vocales et…*
Label Bleu LBLC 2503

Folk Music of Albania
Topic TSCD 904

V.1 Music of the Balkans: Albania and the Central Balkans
FM Allegro 706

Silvana Licussi: Far From the Land of the Eagles
Lyrichord LYRCD 7413

Albanie: Polyphonies Vocales du Pays Lab/ Ensemble vocal de Gjirokastër
INEDIT 260065

Laver Bariu: Songs from the City of Roses *
GlobeStyle CD ORBD 091

Vocal Traditions of Albania*
Saydisc CD-SDL 421

Thanassis Moraitis: Arvanitic Songs **
FM Allegro 652

Music From Albania: Anthology of World Music *
(NEW) Rounder CD 5151

Kenge Nga Shqiperia dhe Austria: Songs from Albania and Austria Kultur
CD 51095-1 (hard to find).

Worth Noting:

Engendering Song: Singing & Subjectivity at Prespa Albanian Weddings by Jane C. Sugarman 395pp, Published by University of Chicago Press

“Combining photographs, song texts, and vibrant recordings of the music, this book is an innovative work, with a scholarly importance extending far beyond southeast European studies.” Includes a Compact Disc (CD) containing 24 musical selections.

* Highly Recommended
** “Arvaniti” is the Greek word for “Albanian”
Frosina thanks Thomas Weden of Tower Records, Boston, for helping to compile this list.