Ko-Ku (Empty Sky) – Traditional, arranged by Elliot Weisgarber

About the Artists 


Elliot Weisgarber (1919-2001) Elliot Weisgarber was a renowned composer, clarinetist and ethnomusicologist who served on the faculty of the University of British Columbia as a music professor from 1960 until his retirement in 1984. Weisgarber received his own education at the Eastman School of Music where he earned both his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees as well as the Performer’s Certificate in Clarinet. At Eastman he studied clarinet with Rufus M. Arey. Earlier, he studied with Rosario Mazzeo of the Boston Symphony and, for three and a half years with Gustave Langenus. He held a scholarship for chamber music performance study granted by the late Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge at South Mountain in Pittsfield, Massachusetts where he was born in 1919. His composition teachers include Edward Royce, Bernard Rogers, Howard Hanson, Halsey Stevens and Nadia Boulanger. Before joining the faculty at UBC Weisgarber served for 14 years on the faculty of the School of Music at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC-Greensboro). His move to the west coast nourished an already well-developed interest in Asian cultures and he subsequently spent much time in Japan studying the classical music of that country, notably the shakuhachi (vertical bamboo flute). His deep knowledge of Japanese music was to permeate much of his own compositional style. By the time of his death he had created a catalog of 450 compositions including chamber music, songs, orchestral works and scores for film, radio and television. Elliot Weisgarber passed away on Dec. 31, 2001 at the age of 82.

Liam Hockley (clarinet) is a Vancouver-based clarinetist, a dynamic performer of classical music and passionate advocate for new and experimental music. His repertoire encompasses not only the standard clarinet repertoire from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, but also the results of numerous collaborations with Canadian and international composers on innovative new works. Liam has performed as a soloist or ensemble member on three continents, including appearances on Vancouver New Music’s concert series, Music on Main’s Modulus Festival (Vancouver), the SALT New Music Festival and Symposium (Victoria), KLANGRAUM (Düsseldorf), the Stockhausen-Konzert und -Kurse Kürten, A Place to Listen (Victoria), the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, NUNC! (Evanston), and the Kuandu Arts Festival (Taipei). He has been featured as an emerging artist in residence with the Music on Main concert series and was the director of the Ensemble in Residence at the Simon Fraser University School for the Contemporary Arts for the 18/19 Academic Year. His performances have garnered him many accolades and awards, including an interpretation prize at the Stockhausen-Konzert und -Kurse Kürten. He has performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, Vancouver Island Symphony, Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble, Nu:BC Collective, and Aventa Ensemble and has appeared as a soloist with the University of British Columbia Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Victoria Symphony, and the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra. http://www.liamhockleyclarinet.com

About the Instrument

Ney: an end-blown flute that figures prominently in Middle Eastern music. The ney has been played continuously for 4,500–5,000 years, making it one of the oldest musical instruments still in use. The Persian ney consists of a hollow cylinder (a piece of hollow cane or giant reed) with five or six finger holes and one thumb hole. Sometimes a brass, horn, or plastic mouthpiece is placed at the top to protect the wood from damage, and to provide a sharper and more durable edge to blow at. A highly skilled ney player can reach more than three octaves, though it is also common to have several “helper” neys to cover different pitch ranges or to facilitate playing technically difficult passages in other dastgahs or maqams.

Video Production Credits

This video was produced by Amir Eslami and presented in association with the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra’s THE LONGEST NIGHT: MUSIC FOR SOLSTICE (SOLACE).

View the full programme for The Longest Night: Music for Solstice (Solace).

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View the full programme for The Longest Night: Music for Solstice (Solace)