Mason Composers to Premiere Chamber Music

Posted: April 13, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Two members of the Mason Music faculty and one music student will premiere their new works in a concert on Saturday, April 15, at 2 p.m. in Harris Theater on the Fairfax Campus.

The concert is free and open to the public.

The works are “Quartet for the New Dimension” by Glenn Smith, professor of music theory and composition; “Three Runes of Entropy” by Mark Bergman, adjunct professor who teaches American Popular Music; and “Suite in C” by Paul Nasto, a graduate student in composition.

Featured performers are Rachel Bergman, assistant professor of music theory, on flute; Gary Sperl, associate professor of clarinet at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on clarinet; Phil Ewell, assistant professor of music theory at the University of Tennessee School of Music, on cello; and Mark Bergman on double bass.

Glenn Smith has written more than 400 pieces, including choral, chamber and orchestral works, as well as jazz and electronic music for concert, dance, video, film and television. His music has been performed in the United States, Canada and Europe and includes commissions from ensembles, institutions and individual artists.

Glenn Smith
Glenn Smith
Photo by Evan Cantwell

Major performances include Carnegie Recital Hall, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, CBC Television, local public and cable television and National Public Radio.

He is a composer-member of ASCAP and has more than 40 works published by Seesaw Music Corp., New York, and MMG Music, St. Louis. He was the first composer-in-residence of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and several of his works are available on CD. He received his PhD from Indiana University.

Mark Bergman is currently the principal double bassist with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. He is also a member of the Fairfax Symphony and performs frequently with the National Philharmonic.

In the summer, he joins the Peter Britt Music Festival and the Cascade Music Festival in Oregon, and is the solo double bassist with the Assisi (Italy) Music Festival. He was a founding member of the modern klezmer ensemble, Generation Klez.

Bergman’s music has been heard throughout the United States and Europe and is published by Amazing Music. He received recent commissions from Elizabethtown College, the Governor’s School of North Carolina, Ithaca College, Connecticut Chamber Players and the Assisi Music Festival. He has a master’s degree from Yale University.

Paul Nasto holds a degree in music education from Montclair Saint College (now Montclair State University) in New Jersey. During his time in and around New Jersey, he composed, recorded and produced radio jingles and commercials, performed as a soloist and as part of a choral group.

His background also includes performing as a solo pianist and performing piano with various groups at manHuh? New York and New Jersey jazz/night club, where he made a name for himself as a jazz pianist while performing with an 18-piece, 1940s-style swing band.

Rachel Bergman is co-founder and coach of the Mason Modern Music Ensemble (m3e), George Mason’s new contemporary music group. Bergman has been on the faculty of the Skidmore Summer Flute Institute since its inception in 1994 and performs with the Assisi (Italy) Chamber Music Festival.

She has also held faculty positions at Skidmore College, Southern Connecticut State University and the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, Conn. She earned her PhD in music theory from Yale University.

An active cellist and chamber musician, Philip Ewell is at home as both a classical and a contemporary musician, playing either his acoustic or his five-string electric cello. He has a PhD in music theory from Yale University and a certificate in cello performance from the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music in Russia.

Gary Sperl has been the principal clarinetist with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra for 29 years. He has spent summers as a clarinetist in the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the Bear Valley (California) Music Festival, the Missouri Chamber Orchestra and the Assisi (Italy) Chamber Music Festival.

Sperl is also the clarinetist with the Wild Basin Winds, a chamber ensemble based in Austin, Tex. He has performed with many major orchestras, including Milwaukee, Buffalo, Columbus (Ohio), Charleston and Savannah.

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