Swirling Sky

Program Notes
Swirling Sky (2011) begins by recalling peaceful moments when lying in the grass and gazing at the cloud formations drifting above. The shapes would often spark my imagination, evoking images of magical characters, fantastic creatures, and primordial landscapes. As the piece progresses, the music depicts losing oneself in the moment, and being swept up into an extraordinary adventure through the clouds. Swirling Sky was composed for pianist Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi.

Biographical Sketch
Ed Martin is an award-winning composer whose music has been performed at events such as the ISCM World New Music Days 2010 in Sydney, the World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok, the Seoul International Computer Music Festival, Confluences – Art and Technology at the Edge of the Millennium in Spain, the International Electroacoustic Music Festival Santiago de Chile, and International Computer Music Conferences. In the U.S., his works have been performed on numerous national and regional festivals, and by ensembles such as the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, Ear Play, the Empyrean Ensemble, the Synchromy Ensemble, and duoARtia. His music is recorded on the Mark, Centaur, innova, Parma, Emeritus, and SEAMUS labels and has received first prize awards from the Percussive Arts Society, the Electro-Acoustic Miniatures International Contest, the Craig and Janet Swan Composer Prize for orchestral music, and the Tampa Bay Composers’ Forum Prize. His work in music theory includes publications on harmonic progression in the music of composer Magnus Lindberg and a collaborative project with percussionist Alison Shaw to develop a method for timpani tuning drawing on techniques for aural skills acquisition. He was Co-Host of the 2012 SEAMUS National Conference and serves on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers. Martin holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (DMA), University of Texas at Austin (MM), and the University of Florida (BM). He is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh where he teaches music theory and composition, and has also taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illinois Wesleyan University. Visit www.edmartincomposer.com.

Performer Biographical Sketch
Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi is a Canadian-born pianist whose playing has been lauded as “brilliant” (New Music Connoisseur), “persuasive” (Sequenza21), and “beautiful” (American Record Guide). Her repertoire, ranging from the Renaissance era through the present, clearly affirms her keen interest in new music, which has led her to commission and premiere many new solo and collaborative works—music that has been featured on live radio broadcasts and released by Albany Records and Ravello Records’ Capstone Collection including music by Phillip Schroeder (Music for Piano and Songs of My Affinities) and David Lefkowitz (Music of Contradictions), as well as various recordings for the Society of Composers Inc. Performers Recording Series including the inaugural disc, mélange: New Music for Piano and its successors, Sonance: New Music for Piano and Chroma: New Music for Piano. Her latest recording, “Here (and there): music for piano and electronics” was released in 2013 on the innova recordings label. Astolfi is the soloist for the Wisconsin Soundscapes commissioning and touring project (sponsored by the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers and the Wisconsin Arts Board).

The recipient of numerous awards and grants, Astolfi's passion for new music has been recognized by invitations to many regional, national, and international music forums, where she has premiered and lectured on new piano music. Astolfi also frequently serves as a piano clinician, coach, and master class instructor. An active member in various local, state, and national music associations, she also serves on the governing board of PianoArts (a North American piano competition, festival, and fellowship organization). Her advanced studies in piano performance were with pianists Helmut Brauss (University of Alberta), Tom Plaunt (McGill University), and Lydia Artymiw (University of Minnesota), with whom she completed doctoral studies. She currently holds the position of Artist in Residence at Piedmont College (GA).