Cygnus Ensemble

Giacomo Manzoni @ Italian Academy

Giacomo Manzoni @ the Italian Academy
Wednesday, October 16, 7PM
Free Admission

1161 Amsterdam Ave 
New York, NY 10027

--Reception by Sterling Affair                                         
in the Italian Academy Library, following the concert.

The Italian Academy hosts the League, ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music), with new works by Milanese master Giacomo Manzoni, with two of his students--Daniele Venturi and Peyman Farzinpour, with works by composers from the US, Ireland, & Austria--Martin Boykan, Robert Martin, John McLachlan, Dina Koston, Georg Friedrich Haas, and Fred Lerdahl.

The program of short works features the Cygnus Ensemble, Bodies Electric (an electric guitar quartet) and Sheer Pluck, the Queens-based guitar ensemble.

manzoni debonair Cygnus Ensemble, with guest artists:
Soprano Elizabeth Farnum
Bodies Electric        --John Chang, Director, with Dan Lippel, Marc Wolf, & Wm. Anderson
Sheer Pluck            --Valentina Savu, Evan Cordes, Eric Anderson, Diego Andrade, Liz Hogg, Christopher Rispoli


Giacomo Manzoni---           Cygnusquintet                         World Premiere

Daniele Venturi---               Alla Luna  (Leopardi)              World Premiere
            featuring Soprano Elizabeth Farnum


Peyman Farzinpour---        (ri)percurso                              World Premiere


John McLachlan---              Youtunes                                   World Premiere
             featuring Bodies Electric


Martin Boykan---                  Diptych                                   World Premiere




Fred Lerdahl        Imbrications                       

Dina Koston---                    In Memory of Jeanette Walters


Robert Martin---                  Selections from Diary of a Seducer
                 featuring Sheer Pluck


Georg Friedrich Haas---     Quartett für 4 Gitarren
                  featuring Sheer Pluck


Giacomo Manzoni

The position of Giacomo Manzoni (Milan, 1932) within the Italian avant-garde is characterized by an ideological commitment that brings him closer to Luigi Nono, through from whom he is stylistically independent.

His early compositions — written while pursuing studies at the Conservatory of Messina with Gino Contilli and culminating with the first play, “The Judgment” (1960) — appears to be linked to more rigorous seriality. Later it gradually wriggled in search of a freer and expressive use of the sound material, as in the second work, “Atomtod” (1965) and “Shadows: The Memory of Che Guevara.” After the third operatic experience, “For Maximilien Robespierre” (1975), he develop his controlled “matterism” through the potential opened up by the technique of multiple sounds for wind instruments, among other things, as in “Masse: Tribute to Edgard Varèse” (1977). The production of the ’80s recovered elements of an expressive lyricism and culminated in the play “Doctor Faustus” (1989), inspired by the homonymous novel by Thomas Mann. In the ’90s, he composed, among other works, a piece for choir and orchestra, “Desert Grows” (1992), based on texts by Nietzsche, and “Moi, Antonin A.” (1997), with lyrics by A. Artaud. Among his more recent work we report a piece for voice and orchestra, “Oh Europe,” commissioned by the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, which presented it in the spring of 2002.


Figure integerrima of socially engaged intellectual, Manzoni has for decades been an influential teacher (among his pupils stand Fabio Vacchi, Adriano Guarnieri, Gilberto Hats, Riccardo Nova), especially at the Conservatory of Milan. He is also well known and appreciated as an author of books and essays and as a translator of Schoenberg’s theoretical writings and essay music, “Adorno.”


In 2007, at the Venice Music Biennale, Giacomo Manzoni has awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.

Martin Boykan

Martin Boykan studied composition with Walter Piston, Aaron Copland and Paul Hindemith, and piano with Eduard Steuermann. He received a B.A. from Harvard University in 1951 and an M.M. from Yale University in 1953. From 1953-55 he lived in Vienna on a Fulbright Fellowship. Upon his return he founded the Brandeis Chamber Ensemble with Robert Koff (Juilliard Quartet), Nancy Cirillo (Wellesley), Eugene Lehner (Kolisch Quartet) and Madeline Foley (Marlboro Festival). This ensemble performed widely with a repertoire divided equally between contemporary music and the tradition. At the same time Boykan appeared regularly as a pianist with soloists such as Joseph Silverstein and Jan de Gaetani. In 1964-65, he was the pianist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.


Boykan has written for a wide variety of instrumental combinations including four string quartets, a concerto for large ensemble, many trios, duos and solo works, song cycles for voice and piano, choral music and other varied instrumental ensembles. His Symphony for Orchestra and Baritone Solo was premiered by the Utah Symphony in 1993, and his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra was premiered by Curt Macomber in 2008 with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, conducted by Gil Rose. His work is widely performed and has been presented by almost all of the current new music ensembles, including the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, the New York New Music Ensemble, Speculum Musicae, the League ISCM, Earplay, Musica Viva and Collage New Music.


He received the Jeunesse Musicales award  in 1967 for his “String Quartet No. 1” and the League ISCM award  in 1982 for “Elegy.” Other awards include a Rockefeller grant, NEA award, Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright as well as a recording award and the Walter Hinrichsen Publication Award from the American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1994 he was awarded a Senior Fulbright to Israel. He has received numerous commissions from chamber ensembles as well as commissions from the Koussevitzky Foundation in the Library of Congress and the Fromm Foundation. In 2011 Boykan was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York.


At present Boykan is an Emeritus Professor of Music at Brandeis University. He has been composer-in-residence at the Composer's Conference in Wellesley and the University of Utah, visiting professor at Columbia University, New York University and Bar Ilan University in Israel, and has lectured widely at institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the American Academy in Berlin. He has served on many panels, including the Rome Prize, the Fromm Commission, the New York Council for the Arts (CAPS) and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Over the years he has taught many hundreds of students including such well-known composers as Steve Mackey, Peter Lieberson, Marjorie Merryman and Ross Bauer.


Boykan's music is recorded by CRI (available through New World Records or, Albany Records and Boston Music Orchestra Project (BMOP). Scores are published by Mobart Music Press and C.F. Peters, NYC. In 2004 a volume of essays titled “Silence and Slow Time: Studies in Musical Narrative” was published by Scarecrow Press (Rowman and Littlefield). In 2011 a second volume of essays titled “The Power of the Moment” was published by Pendragon Press.

Daniele Venturi

daniele venturi copy

was born in Porretta Terme (Bologna - Italy) in 1971. Composer and Choir Director he is among the most highly regarded of his generation, studied Composition of Gérard Grisey, Giacomo Manzoni, Fabio Vacchi, Ivan Fedele and Luis de Pablo, and orchestral conducting with Piero Bellugi.
He has degrees in Choral Music, Conducting, with Pier Paolo Scattolin at the Conservatory G.B. Martini in Bologna, and Composition.
Daniele Venturi is the founder and director of Gaudium choir (1992) (italian folk songs) and Arsarmonica ensemble (2006).
In 2000 he was assistant director to Pier Paolo Scattolin choir Voices of Europe, Bologna European City of Culture.
Since 1987 he has done ethnomusicological research in the Bologna and Modena areas, finding interesting ideas for his original compositions.
He has to his credit numerous international composition prizes including:
Gino Contilli, Messina 2003 (Second Prize ex-aequo and mention of honour),IAMIC, Toronto 2009, (between the two composers selected Italian), JSCM, Tokyo, 2010, (the only European finalist), ISCM, Belgium, 2012, (only Italian composer selected). His works have been performed in Italy and abroad and broadcasted by radio and television among which: Rai Radio Tre, Radio Cemat, Concertzender Radio, Radio France, Radio Klara, Radio France, Vatican Radio, RAI Italian Television.
He has received commissions from major organizations and concert seasons and his music has been performed in prestigious concert halls
such as: Italy, Milan, Royal Palace, Teatro Dal Verme, Turin, Gam, Lingotto Auditorium, Padua, Auditorium Altinate / San Gaetano, Pescara, Pescara Music Academy Auditorium, Messina, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and abroad, Slovakia, Church of St.Michael Archangel, Bratislava-Čunovo, Belgium, STUK Labozaal, Leuven, Japan, Bunka Kaikan Hall, Tokyo Opera City, Tokyo, China, Nie Er Concert Hall, Chengdu,Thailand, Chiang Mai Auditorium, Canada, Canadian Music Centre, Placebo Space, Toronto, McGill University, Tana Schulich Hall, Montreal, Argentina, Sala La Vidriera the Direcion General de Ensenanza Art, Buenos Aires, Institute Superior de Musica, Santa Fe, Argentina J.Alvarez Library, Rosario, Uruguay, Escuela Universitaria Music, Universidad de la Republica, Montevideo, Azerbaijan, Fund ZibalAz, Baku, etc..
Daniele Venturi has collaborated with international artists, performers, ensembles such as: Dacia Maraini, Irvine Arditti, Garth Knox, Lisa Cella, Arne Deforce, Paola Perrucci, Pier Damiano Peretti, Luisa Sello,Takashi Aoyama, Tadayuki Kawahara, Pomus ensemble from I Pomeriggi Musicali - Milan, Eclectica choir - Bologna, Interensemble - Padova, Le Centre Henri Pousseur - Brussels, Istvan Horkay - Budapest.
In September 2009, he issued his first Compact-Disc by Bongiovanni (Bologna) called Quattro lembi di cielo (Four sky's pieces) containing 12 chamber works, with a preface by the well known Italian composer and teacher Giacomo Manzoni, and programme notes by Sandro Cappelletto.
In 2010 he taught Choral Conducting and Choral Composition at the F.Venezze Conservatoire - Rovigo (Italy).
He has been invited by the Department of Electronics Music Conservatory - SCCM - Chengdu in China to give some masterclasses on his music. 
His compositions have been published by M.A.P., Rugginenti, Sconfinarte and Taukay Editions.



Peyman Farzinpour          Conductor/Composer

Peyman Farzinpour enjoys a diverse career as a composer, conductor, music educator and concert producer. He has served as music director and conductor of Erato Philharmonia in Los Angeles and of the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra in Massachusetts.
A hallmark of his concerts is his adventurous programming, which often combines standard repertoire, 20th-century and contemporary music, and world premieres. Prior to moving to the East Coast, he served as director of New Music Programs for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where he was responsible for creating highly innovative concerts that were awarded first-place prizes by ASCAP/Chamber Music America for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music. As artistic director and conductor of Erato Philharmonia, Farzinpour created programs that intertwined standard repertoire, 20th-century and contemporary music in conjunction with multimedia such as video, dance and live painting.
An ardent proponent of music of all epochs, he has conducted music from the Baroque to contemporary periods with orchestras and ensembles in North America and Europe, including the Congress Orchestra of Saint Petersburg, the New Symphony and the Pleven Philharmonic in Bulgaria, the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic in the Czech Republic, the Orchestra of the Sessione Senese per la Musica e l’Arte in Italy, the Banff Chamber Orchestra in Canada, the St. Matthews Chamber Orchestra in Los Angeles, the U.C. Davis Symphony and Chorus, and one of Italy’s foremost new music groups, the Divertimento Ensemble.
Since 2008, he has appeared as a guest conductor at Tufts University on multiple occasions, leading concerts of contemporary music. He has also guest conducted and served as guest lecturer at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. In the 2013-14 seasons, he will conduct multiple performances with the MDI Ensemble of Milan as well as the Cygnus Ensemble of New York City. In addition to premieres of his own works, the concerts will include works by Salvatorre Sciarrino and the world premiere of a new work by Giacomo Manzoni alongside world premieres of works by Francisco Ferro, Roberto Toscano and Andrea Portera. He has been invited by the Conservatoire Maurice Ravel in Paris to conduct the premiere in December 2013 of a new work of his that will include choreography and dance by Sophie Chadefaux.
Farzinpour’s compositional activity is evidenced by performances of his works throughout the United States, Canada and Europe by groups such as the Janus Ensemble, the June in Buffalo Chamber Orchestra, the St. Matthews Chamber Orchestra, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Verdi String Quartet, the Empyrean Ensemble (by pianist Leonard Stein in the Piano Spheres series), and at the Tufts University Festival of Contemporary Music. He has been composer-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts and is a recipient of the Subito Grant from the American Composers Forum. In addition to new works for the MDI and the Cygnus Ensembles, he will also have a piece premiered at the Conservatoire Maurice Ravel in Paris during the 2013-14 season.
Farzinpour has also served as a lecturer and pre-concert speaker and interviewer for the Pasadena Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was the manager of the Education and Community Programs. He has also led a seminar series on classical music at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles. He holds a B.M. in classical guitar performance from the Peabody Conservatory, a B.A. in English literature from Johns Hopkins University, and an M.A. in composition from U.C. Davis. He did postgraduate studies in Italy, where he studied conducting with Emilio Pomarico and Sandro Gorli and composition with Giacomo Manzoni. He has also studied conducting with Gustav Meier at the International Conductors Workshop. He is currently a Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.


Dina Koston

At the age of two-and-a-half, Dina Koston began studying piano and music theory with her mother, who was a professional musician. She continued her diverse musical studies at the American Conservatory of Music, including ear-training, harmony, several styles of counterpoint, orchestration, analysis and composition. She had private studies with Gavin Williamson in harpsichord, with Mieczyslaw Horszowski and Leon Fleisher in piano, and summer courses with Nadia Boulanger and Luciano Berio, and she spent one summer at Darmstadt.
With Fleisher, she co-founded and co-directed the Theater Chamber Players (1968-2003), the first resident chamber ensemble of the Smithsonian Institution, and later, the first resident chamber ensemble of the Kennedy Center. During those years, she concentrated on studying new music and on being a pianist, and she stopped composing, “stopped writing down the music in my head.”
The return to composing arose unbidden on a train trip to a memorial service for a founding member of the Theater Chamber Players. Upon hearing this work, “In Memory of Jeannette Walters,” Leon Fleisher requested a chamber piece that included piano left-hand. Both of these pieces were then performed at Tanglewood.

After returning to composing, Ms. Koston received commissions from the Library of Congress, the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center, and the Cygnus Ensemble. The Cygnus Ensemble, as part of its 20th anniversary celebration, presented an entire program of Koston’s music in December 2005 in Zankel Hall in New York City.
Fleisher has been playing a solo piano work (for two hands) since his Carnegie Hall recital in October 2003, and the Raphael Trio has been playing a work of hers from many seasons. She has written a work for 22 solo winds and brass players for Robert Levy and the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble. Solo works have been performed on tour by soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julsson, cellist Susan Salm and guitarist William Anderson.
In addition to many solo recitals, chamber music concerts  and university-level master classes, Ms. Koston has participated in several Marlboro Festivals and written music for theatrical productions at Café La Mama and the Arena Stage. She has taught at the Peabody Conservatory and at Tanglewood.
Ms. Koston's last work, “Distant Intervals,” was written for the Cygnus Ensemble.    It is a musical response to Samuel Beckett’s “Ohio Impromptu.” “Distant Intervals” was premiered at Ms. Koston’s memorial service on Aug. 31, 2009, at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church.

Georg Friedrich Haas

Georg Friedrich Haas joined Columbia University’s composition faculty as a full-time tenured professor in September 2013. Haas has emerged as one of the major European composers of his generation. His music synthesizes in a highly original way the Austrian tradition of grand orchestral statement with forward-looking interests in harmonic color and microtonal tuning that stem from French spectralism and a strand of American experimentalism. The result is an exploratory, uncompromising music that is also sensuously attractive. His music appeals to unusually diverse constituencies, from avant-garde composers for its microtonal investigations to casual listeners for its spacious forms and euphonious harmony.


Haas's hour-long “in vain,” for 24 musicians, is widely regarded as one of the most original and path-breaking new compositions in the past quarter century. Another important work is “limited approximations,” for orchestra and six microtuned pianos. He has composed several operas and concertos and a variety of chamber works, including seven string quartets. He has received numerous national and international prizes, including the Kompositionspreis of the SWR Symphony Orchestra (2010) for “limited approximations” and the Grand Austrian State Prize for Music (2007), the country's highest artistic honor.


Haas has held dual professorships at the Hochschle fur Musik in Basel, Switzerland, and the Kunstuniversitat in Graz, Austria.


John McLachlan

John McLachlan was born in Dublin, Ireland, where he studied music at the DIT Conservatory of Music, the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Trinity College Dublin. As well as piano and musicology, he studied composition with Joseph Groocock, William York, Hormoz Farhat, Robert Hanson and Kevin Volans.


His works have been performed in the U.S., South Africa, Japan, Peru, Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Moldova, Slovenia, Croatia and around Ireland, with broadcasts in several of these countries. They range from solo instrumental works to orchestral music and have been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Opera Theatre Company, the National Chamber Choir, the Degani Quartet, Vox21, Concorde, Sequenza, Traject, Archaeus, Pro Arte, Antipodes, Ensemble Nordlys, the Fidelio Trio, the ConTempo Quartet and Trio Arbos as well as many prominent soloists such as Ian Pace, John Feeley, Darragh Morgan and David Adams.


Career highlights include being a featured composer in the National Symphony Orchestra’s Horizons series (2003 and 2008), the National Concert Hall’s Composer’s Choice series (2004), representing Ireland at the International Society for Contemporary Music Festivals in Slovenia (2003) and Croatia (2005), the National Arts Festival, South Africa (2006) and the Musica Viva festival, Portugal (2008). Commissioners include the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Music Network, Lyric FM (for the 2006 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition), the Musica Viva Festival and the National Concert Hall.


His music has been included on the following recordings: AIC CD 001, CMC CD 4, “Irish Contemporary Organ Music” (David Adams), CMC CD 9, “Islands” (John Feeley, guitar) and RIAM piano syllabus CDs. Many of his pedagogical piano works have been published by the Royal Irish Academy of Music in their piano syllabus anthologies.


He is well known as a musicologist, broadcaster and writer on contemporary music, having presented numerous radio shows on Lyric FM, given public talks on music, and published more than 50 articles in Denmark, Britain, Germany, Austria and Ireland (he writes regularly in the Journal of Music). He was awarded a Ph.D. in musicology from Trinity College Dublin in 2001 for his work on the relationship between the listeners’ and composer’s perspectives on musical structure in the music of Carter, Xenakis, Boulez and Lutoslawski. As the executive director of the Association of Irish Composers, he has organized and curated concerts featuring living composers from Ireland and around the world. These have taken place around Ireland and in Britain, Romania, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Belgium, Finland and South Africa. In 2000 he produced the AIC CD November Series.


In 2007 he was elected to Aosdána, the state-sponsored academy of the creative arts.


He lives in Inishowen, Donegal, with his wife and two sons.


Robert Martin

Robert Martin began composing at age 10. After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music composition from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and worked various jobs, including apprentice in pipe organ restoration. In 1976, the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Charles Ives Scholarship for outstanding music composition, allowing him to continue postgraduate studies in New York. In 1979, he received a Fulbright Scholarship to Vienna for music composition. Returning to New York in 1980, he turned his attention to Wall Street, rising to the position of senior vice president in investment banking at a leading firm and serving as financial advisor to the City of New York. As the 1999 recipient of the Japan-U.S. Creative Artist Fellowship in music composition, he spent six months traveling throughout Japan. Currently, he is active as a composer fulltime and travels widely in Asia and Europe.


Fred Lerdahl

Fred Lerdahl's music is held in high esteemed for having developed original harmonic syntaxes and formal processes, presented with elegant craftsmanship and expressive depth. His work is rare in today's musical world in that it seeks and achieves both complexity and intelligibility. It is indebted to the past yet committed to the exploration of new territory.
Lerdahl’s music has been commissioned and performed by major chamber ensembles and orchestras in the United States and around the world, and he has been resident composer at leading institutions and festivals. His music is published by Schott and C.F. Peters and has been widely recorded for numerous labels, including Bridge Records, which has initiated an ongoing series devoted to his music.
His seminal book, “A Generative Theory of Tonal Music,” co-authored with linguist Ray Jackendoff, is a founding document for the growing field of the cognitive science of music. His subsequent book, “Tonal Pitch Space,” won the 2003 distinguished book award from the Society for Music Theory and an ASCAP-Deems Taylor award. A third book (in progress), “Composition and Cognition,” based on his 2011 Bloch Lectures at UC/Berkeley, will bring together his dual activity as composer and theorist.

Lerdahl studied at Lawrence University, Princeton and Tanglewood. He has taught at U.C.-Berkeley, Harvard and Michigan, and since 1991 has been Fritz Reiner Professor of Musical Composition at Columbia University, where he directs the composition program. In addition to his teaching, he serves on boards of several major foundations and organizations devoted to contemporary music.

In 2010 Lerdahl was honored with membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Three of his works composed since 2000 — “Time after Time” for chamber ensemble, the Third String Quartet and “Arches” for cello and chamber orchestra — have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in music


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