Mar 20: Trio d’Esprit

Reid Art Series


Silver Dagger Stacy Garrop (b. 1969)
Northern Lights

Roger Zare (b. 1985)

Along the Riverbank (Trio No. 3) Margaret Vardell Sandresky (b. 1921)
Cayuga Christopher LaRosa (b. 1990)
Trio in Scattered Leaves Julia Seeholzer (b. 1990)
Café Music Paul Schoenfield (b. 1947)


Treefalls is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is dedicated to the presentation of contemporary chamber music written by living, active composers. Through a series of free concerts, Treefalls endeavors to offer the public inventive and creative works performed by professional musicians who support New Music. The organization selects fresh, original pieces from open Calls for Scores, Commissioning Projects, and active research in the field.

Treefalls strives to transform current opinion of concert hall music – if only a little – and inspire a new generation of composers and performers in the community. For more information about Treefalls, please click here.


In the fall of 2014, Treefalls held an open Call for Scores, inviting young composers from all over the world to submit their work. Music poured in from over 27 different countries, all from aspiring artists under the age of 38 hoping for a performance by Trio d’Esprit. After careful consideration, several rounds of judging, and a practiced reading session, three brand-new works were chosen to be a part of the Trio’s spring tour!

Silver Dagger (1994)

“In 1994, I heard, for the first time, an Appalachian folk song called Silver Dagger at a folk festival. The simplicity of the melody joined with a cautionary love tale enthralled me, and I spent the next several years researching the song. What emerged from my research were dozens of variants of the song, both in terms of text as well as melody and title. The variants that I discovered could be grouped more or less under three different titles: Silver Dagger, Drowsy Sleeper, and Katie Dear. All of these versions revolve around the same Romeo and Juliet premise: a boy asks a girl for her parents’ consent to marry. The story has various endings: the parents won’t give approval, so the girl turns the boy down and sends him away to find another love, the girl forsakes her parents and runs away with the boy, and so on. In my trio, I incorporate two complete versions of the folk song, one of Katie Dear and one of Silver Dagger, as well as motives from a variant of Drowsy Sleeper.”

Stacy Garrop,
Composer of Silver Dagger

Stacy Garrop’s music is centered on direct and dramatic narrative. The sharing of stories is a defining element of our humanity; we strive to share the experiences and concepts that we find compelling with others. In Garrop’s works, this manifests in programmatic pieces without text (sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly) and more directly in pieces that draw upon poets and writers for source material.

Stacy has received numerous awards and grants including a Fromm Music Foundation Grant, Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble’s Harvey Gaul Composition Competition, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize, two Barlow Endowment commissions, and competitions sponsored by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and American Composers Orchestra. She has been commissioned by numerous ensembles and organizations including the Albany Symphony, Chanticleer, Chicago Classical Recording Foundation, Music in the Loft, Norton Building concert series, and Capitol Saxophone Quartet. Garrop recently received a commission from the San Francisco Choral Society and Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir to write an oratorio that was premiered in 2014.

Northern Lights (2009)

Northern Lights is one of three winners in the January 2015 Treefalls Call for Scores.

Northern Lights was commissioned by the Annual Reviews in 2009 for their annual convention in the California Bay Area. Inspired by the sinewy watercolor brush strokes of the aurora Borealis, this piece opens with the piano depressing a few keys silently, the effect of which is a ghostly resonance that follows each of the figures stated in the first section. Intermittent spasms of sound reverberate between the strings and the piano to form the basis of the melodic material in the work. During the more pointillistic middle section, the pianist is instructed to hold down the pedal without letting up, so that all the sound sustains. As the pianist plays more notes, the sound grows and fades organically as the violin and cello swirl around with twinkling sporadic gestures. Every now and then, the gestures coalesce into sweeping melodies and expansive harmonies, evoking the wonderment and awe that I felt when I first saw the northern lights from an airplane, flying over the arctic.”

Roger Zare,
Composer of Northern Lights

Roger Zare has been praised for his “enviable grasp of orchestration” and for writing music with “formal clarity and an alluringly mercurial surface.” He was born in Sarasota, FL, and has written for a wide variety of ensembles, from solo instruments to full orchestra.

Often inspired by science, mathematics, literature, and mythology, his colorfully descriptive and energetic works have been performed by such ensembles as the American Composers Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Sarasota Orchestra, the Australian-based Trio Anima Mundi, the Donald Sinta Quartet, and the New York Youth Symphony.

An award winning composer, Zare has received the ASCAP Nissim Prize, three BMI Student Composer Awards, an ASCAP Morton Gould award, a New York Youth Symphony First Music Commission, a 2010 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and many other honors.

He currently serves as composer in residence with the Baltimore-based SONAR new music ensemble. Zare holds a DMA (’12) from the University of Michigan, where he has studied with Michael Daugherty, Paul Schoenfield, Bright Sheng, and Kristin Kuster. He holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory (MM ’09) and the University of Southern California (BM ’07), and his previous teachers include Christopher Theofanidis, Derek Bermel, David Smooke, Donald Crockett, Tamar Diesendruck, Fredrick Lesemann, and Morten Lauridsen.

Along the Riverbank (Trio No. 3) (2011)

Margarety Vardell Sandresky is the recipient of many commissions: the present work was commissioned in 2011 by Salem College in honor of her 90th birthday, where it received its premiere. “Unlike my first two piano trios, this work in one movement is in remembrance of summer excursions along the beautiful rivers and streams, particularly of the North Carolina mountains and of Southern France.”

Margaret Vardell Sandresky,
Composer of Along the Riverbank

Margaret Vardell Sandresky was born in Macon, GA. She is Professor Emerita of Music at Salem College where she taught Organ, Music Theory and Free Composition for 20 years. She earned a B.M. with honors in organ at Salem College in 1942, and an A.M. in organ at the Eastman School of Music in 1944, after which she taught at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the University of Texas Austin, the UNC School of the Arts and Salem College. In 1955-56 she was Awarded a Fulbright Grant to study organ with Helmut Walcha at the Hochschule fuer Musik in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Sandresky’s music has been performed internationally and is published by Wayne Leupold Editions, Paraclete Press, Prairie Dawg Press and Hildegard Press and has been recorded on Angel, Loft, Raven Records. In 2004, the American Guild of Organists gave her its Distinguished Composer of the Year Award.

Cayuga (2013)

Cayuga is one of three winners in the January 2015 Treefalls Call for Scores.

Cayuga is a Fingerlake in Ithaca, New York. The lake, four hundred feet deep, holds incredible beauty and immense power. I lived on the banks of Cayuga for several years, and once in early summer, I decided to swim its width. When I reached the middle of the lake, its icy depths slowly began paralyzing me, until I could no longer hold my hands together in cups. Clawing my way through the water, fear seeped into my mind. I realized the lake’s vastness would prevent anyone from hearing me if I called out for help. I had no choice but to continue swimming. I did reach the opposite shore, but have a blurry recollection of the last couple hundred yards. Cayuga explores the beauty, mystery, and treachery of the vast lake.”

Christopher LaRosa,
Composer of Cayuga

Christopher LaRosa’s music has been hailed by Literary Magnet as “Amazing and innovative… variegated and fascinating, by turns vicious and lovely… [it does] what art should do: change things.” Born and raised in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, Christopher’s small town upbringing provides his music with an intimate and American style.

In 2014, Christopher’s The Iris was featured in the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra’s 1st Annual Young Composer’s Initiative. In 2012, Christopher’s Symmetries for two string quartets won the Frank Robert Abell Prize and the Louis Smadbeck prize, and his dramatic song cycle Vignettes of Two Lovers, was selected for the Boston Metro Opera’s 3rd Annual Contemporary Americana Festival. His flute preludes, Mythologies, won second place for the Louis Smadbeck prize in 2011, and in 2010, his song cycle Spring Giddiness won the Jack Downey Prize and was selected by the Boston Metro Opera’s 2nd Annual Contemporary Americana Festival.

Christopher completed his Bachelor of Music Composition under the direction of Dana Wilson at Ithaca College in May 2012. During the 2012-2013 academic year, he taught as the Composition Instructor and Choir Director at IES Abroad in Vienna. Christopher is pursuing a Master of Music at the Boston University, where he also teaches undergraduate aural skills, keyboard harmony, and theory.

Trio in Scattered Leaves (2010)

Trio in Scattered Leaves is one of three winners in the January 2015 Treefalls Call for Scores.

This piece was written as a study of echo motives and various key centers. The resulting material sounds a bit scattered, but maintains overall continuity, while developing slightly over its short duration.

Julia Seeholzer,
Composer of Trio in Scattered Leaves

Julia Seeholzer takes much of her compositional influence from color – intervalic relationships conjure specific hues, which in turn dictate a piece’s direction. When composing for voice, text further impacts each piece’s color spectrum. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in composition at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where she studies with Joel Hoffman.

Julia is also heavily involved in the world of video game music. After founding and running a chamber choir dedicated to performing student game arrangements at Berklee College of Music for three years, she now contributes regularly to the piano and string quartet game repertoires.

Café Music (1986)

“The idea to compose Café Music first came to me in 1985 after sitting in one night for the pianist of the house trio at Murry’s Restaurant in Minneapolis. My intention was to write a kind of high-class dinner-music music which could be played at a restaurant, but might also (just barely) find its way into a concert hall.” These modest words describe Paul Schoenfield’s inspiration for writing this virtuosic tour-de-force for piano trio. In this three-movement piece, the composer brilliantly brings together all of the best American musical idioms, including blues, ragtime, African-American spirituals and Broadway melodies.

Paul Schoenfield,
Composer of Café Music

Paul Schoenfield, a native of Detroit, began playing the piano at age six and wrote his first composition the following year. In addition to studying piano with Julius Chajes, Ozan Marsh, and Rudolf Serkin, he holds an undergraduate degree from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Doctor of Music Arts degree from the University of Arizona. He held a teaching position in Toledo, Ohio, lived on a kibbutz in Israel and was a free-lance composer and pianist in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area before moving to Cleveland. He is now on the faculty of the University of Michigan.

Mr. Schoenfield has received commissions and grants from the NEA, the Ohio Arts Commission, Chamber Music America, the Rockefeller Fund, the Minnesota Commissioning Club, American Composers Forum, Soli Deo Gloria of Chicago, the Juilliard School — for its centennial — and many other organizations and individuals.

Although he now rarely performs, he was formerly an active pianist, touring the United States, Europe, and South America as a soloist and with groups, including Music from Marlboro. His recordings as a pianist include the complete violin and piano works of Bartok with Sergiu Luca. His compositions can be heard on the Angel, Decca, Innova, Vanguard, EMI, Koch, BMG, and the New World labels. A man of many interests, Paul Schoenfield is also an avid scholar of mathematics and Hebrew.

Starry Night Over the Rhone (Vincent van Gogh)
Starry Night Over the Rhone (Vincent van Gogh)

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