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April 7th


Friday, April 7th, 2023 4:30PM

Featuring Special Guest Artists: Peter Dayeh, Peter Ko, Batya Macadam-Somer

Olivier Messiaen

Quartet for the End of Time

(Scroll below for program notes about the piece and composer.)

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BRENDAN NGUYEN, pianist, displays uncommon versatility as a performer, artist, and thinker. His bold programming style, infusion of technology, and extravagantly produced concert concepts aim to explore new musical territory while casting a contemporary eye on the established canon. Brendan has performed at the REDCAT Theater, the Monday Evening Concert series, wasteLAnd, The Stone, and has recorded with Carrier and Populist Records. He is currently working with long-time colleague mezzo-soprano Leslie Leytham on a new concert series called PROJECT [BLANK]. Brendan’s enthusiasm for contemporary music has lead to a number of premieres and commissions, including works by Wojtek Blecharz, Aaron Helgeson, Nicholas Deyoe, Clint McCallum, Beat Furrer, and Pulitzer Prize winner Roger Reynolds. He has also worked with composers George Crumb, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Lewis Nielson, and has performed with violinist David Bowlin, pianist Aleck Karis, and percussionist Steven Schick. Brendan is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and UC San Diego.


PETER DAYEH, clarinet, is in demand as a freelance clarinetist in San Diego, California. Peter is a frequent solo recitalist and has been presented by such organizations as the Fallbrook Music Society, the Golden Valley Music Society, and Marian Liebowitz Artist Management. Peter preforms frequently as both clarinetist and Eb clarinetist with the San Diego Symphony. Previously, he has played 2nd and Eb clarinet with the Santa Cruz Symphony (Santa Cruz, CA). Peter has also performed as principal clarinetist with the San Diego Winds, a professional wind ensemble comprised of symphony members and other local professional musicians. Peter holds a Bachelor of Music degree from San Diego State University, where he studied with Dr. Marian Liebowitz; and a Master of Music degree from Arizona State University, where he studied with the renowned Dr. Robert Spring. He has studied the orchestral repertoire with Sheryl Renk, principal clarinetist of the San Diego Symphony. He has participated in the Pierre Monteux School and Music Festival in Hancock, Maine, as well as the Hot Springs Music Festival in Hot Springs, Arkansas.


PETER KO is a professional cellist, an active performer and teacher based in San Diego, California.

As a performer, his training and projects has taken him across the USA, Mexico, Canada, and Europe. He has collaborated with other renowned musical artists, such as Mark Fewer, the Dover String Quartet, Dr. Park Cho-Hyun, and Duo Concertante. Peter has toured Atlantic Canada with the Strataphoria String Quartet, and has served as principal solo cellist of the San Diego City Ballet Orchestra. He has also been the cellist of the Integral String Quartet, performed with UCSD’s Palimpsest Ensemble, and performed in the soundSCAPE music festival in Italy.  His musical interests span from the early renaissance, to the experimental avant garde, and is always eager to try something interesting and new.

Peter has received his most important musical training from Charles Curtis, Vernon Regehr, Ashley Walters, and Mario Ramirez. Further significant influences include Adrian Brendel, Mark Fewer, and Nancy Dahn. He has also received coachings from many other great world-class artists, including Lynn Harrell, Felix Fan, the Gryphon Trio, the Danish String Quartet, and many others. He holds a MMus from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and a BA from University of California, San Diego.

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BATYA MACADAM-SOMER is a violinist, violist, and vocalist, based in San Diego, CA. Her work centers around collaboration and experimentation, ranging from classical to avant garde to popular music. She performs regularly as a member of Quartet Nouveau, a non-profit string quartet presenting classical chamber music and educational outreach concerts throughout Southern California. Batya is also a member of Baby Bushka, an eight-piece all-female band celebrating the music of Kate Bush.

Batya grew up within the vibrant musical community of Houston, Texas, where she studied violin with Judy Offman and Fredell Lack. She began her college studies at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston and went on to earn a BA from the Manhattan School of Music in 2005 in the studio of Sylvia Rosenberg. She has participated in the Lucerne Festival Academy, Aspen Summer Music Festival, International Festival Institute at Round Top and the Bach Festival of Leipzig, playing under conductors Pierre Boulez, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, and David Robertson. Her involvement with composers and contemporary music has led to work with organizations wasteLAnd, Art of Élan, Project [BLANK], San Diego New Music, wildUP, and the Bang on a Can All Stars. Batya received her DMA in contemporary violin performance from the University of California, San Diego in 2014, working with János Négyesy.

“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire ... and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth .... And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and swear by him that liveth for ever and ever ... that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished …” - Rev 10:1–2, 5–7, King James Version



Quartet for the End of Time, French Quatuor pour la fin du temps,  quartet in eight movements for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano by French composer Olivier Messiaen. The piece premiered on January 15, 1941, at the Stalag VIIIA prisoner-of-war camp, in Görlitz, Germany, where the composer had been confined since his capture in May 1940. The work’s instrumentation was determined by the instruments and performers at hand.

Messiaen dedicated the quartet “in homage to the Angel of the Apocalypse, who raises his hand towards Heaven saying ‘There shall be no more time.’ ” The movement titles were drawn from the biblical Revelation to John.

Messiaen eschewed the usual tendency of Western music for regular rhythms and metres and instead offered ever-changing, often-unpredictable patterns, frequently based on prime numbers, especially 5, 7, 11, and 13. Clarinet and violin phrases tend to be reminiscent of bird songs, and motifs recur from one movement to another. The four instruments rarely play simultaneously.

The first movement, “Crystal Liturgy,” is largely characterized by haunting, flowing lines. For contrast, the second, “Vocalise, for the Angel Announcing the End of Time,” is more nervous and tormented, with scattered fragments of themes moving here and there. The third movement, “The Abyss of the Birds,” returns to a more open, mystic mood, with long, sustained tones for the clarinet alone, with the other three players in waiting. The fourth movement, “Interlude,” is nimble and dancelike. The fifth movement, “Praise to the Eternity of Jesus,” is a sequence of long, disembodied phrases, sometimes with no clear underlying beat; there Messiaen used only the cello and the piano. The sixth movement, “Dance of Wrath, for the Seven Trumpets,” conveys its fury with driving rhythms and much syncopation. For the seventh movement, “Tangle of Rainbows, for the Angel Announcing the End of Time,” the angel returns amid floating, open harmonies that manage to be both airy and suspenseful. The waiting mood gives way to a sudden pulsing energy. For his finale, “In Praise of the Immortality of Jesus,” Messiaen calls forth a gently reflective atmosphere with long, flowing lines.


OLIVIER MESSIAEN, in full Olivier-Eugène-Prosper-Charles Messiaen, (born Dec. 10, 1908, Avignon, France—died April 27, 1992, Clichy, near Paris), influential French composer, organist, and teacher noted for his use of mystical and religious themes. As a composer he developed a highly personal style noted for its rhythmic complexity, rich tonal colour, and unique harmonic language.

Messiaen was the son of Pierre Messiaen, who was a scholar of English literature, and of the poet Cécile Sauvage. He grew up in Grenoble and Nantes, began composing at age seven, and taught himself to play the piano. At age 11 he entered the Paris Conservatory, where his teachers included the organist Marcel Dupré and the composer Paul Dukas. During his later years at the conservatory he began an extensive private study of Eastern rhythm, birdsong, and microtonal music (which uses intervals smaller than a semitone). In 1931 he was appointed organist at the Church of the Sainte-Trinité, Paris.

Messiaen became known as a composer with the performance of his Offrandes oubliées (“Forgotten Offertories”) in 1931 and his Nativité du Seigneur (1938; The Birth of the Lord). In 1936, with the composers André Jolivet, Daniel Lesur, and Yves Baudrier, he founded the group La Jeune France (“Young France”) to promote new French music. He taught at the Schola Cantorum and the École Normale de Musique from 1936 until the outbreak of World War II in 1939. As a French soldier he was taken prisoner and interned at Görlitz, where he wrote Quatuor pour la fin du temps (1941; Quartet for the End of Time). Repatriated in 1942, he resumed his post at Sainte-Trinité and taught at the Paris Conservatory. His students included Karlheinz StockhausenPierre Boulez, Jean-Louis Martinet, and Yvonne Loriod (whom he married in 1961).

Much of Messiaen’s music was inspired by Roman Catholic theology, interpreted in a quasi-mystical manner, notably in Apparition de l’église éternelle for organ (1932; Apparition of the Eternal Church); Visions de l’amen for two pianos (1943); Trois Petites Liturgies de la présence divinefor women’s chorus and orchestra (1944); Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jésus for piano (1944; Twenty Looks upon the Infant Jesus); Messe de la Pentecôte for organ (1950); and La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ for orchestra and choir (1969). Among his most important orchestral works is the Turangalîla-Symphonie (1948) in 10 movements—containing a prominent solo piano part and using percussion instruments in the manner of the Indonesian gamelan orchestra, along with an ondes martenot (an electronic instrument). Also notable is Chronochromie for 18 solo strings, wind, and percussion (1960). Le Réveil des oiseaux (1953; The Awakening of the Birds), Oiseaux exotiques (1956; Exotic Birds), and Catalogue d’oiseaux (1959; Catalog of Birds) incorporate meticulousnotations of birdsong. He composed an opera, St. François d’Assise, which premiered at the Paris Opera in 1983.

**Written by Betsy Schwarm**

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