Matthew Owens Performs His Works for Unaccompanied[CD]
~ Matthew Owens
From the Liner Notes: KOL NIDRE The solo 'cello takes the role of cantor in this improvisatory expression of atonement based on Hebraic themes. The work is dedicated to my mother, in memory of my grandfather, through whom I touched this part of my heritage, and was encouraged by Dr. Hazaiah Williams, director of Four Seasons Concerts, who was a source of inspiration in many ways. THE ROWELL SONATA: 'An absolutely magnificent work, carved out so beautifully for 'cello.' - Margaret Rowell In the first movement of my sonata 'A Life,' I attempt to express Margaret's struggles, introspections and triumphs. 'A Farewell' speaks of our long and beautiful friendship. In 'Flight,' I bring in Margaret's love of nature and life-long fascination with birds, narrating the flight of a single bird as if it were experiencing the same struggles, triumphs, whimsies, and ecstasies that marked Margaret's life. About Margaret Rowell: Margaret Rowell, who was a wonderful, natural 'cellist, was still in her twenties when she was forced to spend three years on her back, battling tuberculosis. On her feet at last, she confronted another challenge - to relearn to play! Out of these deeply introspective three years, Margaret found the strength and inspiration not only to recover a lost gift for herself, but to transform the player's understanding of the mind/body relationship so profoundly as to free successive generations of 'cellists from the rigidity of archaic teaching methods. In so doing, she caused a revolution that continues to animate the string-playing world. It was a long, tortuous struggle, and ultimately a triumph of mind and spirit. Margaret emerged as not only one of the great teachers of all time, but something more subtle and powerful - a healer. About Matthew Owens: 'He is a great artist and one of the finest minds I have known.' - Margaret Rowell 'Matthew Owens performed a varied program which clearly displayed his talent which seemed to break the mold of 'cello-playing.' - Dr. Bowden, Birmingham, England 'Your playing and your music are eloquent and evocative.' - Ellen Bacon, President of the Ernst Bacon Society Matthew Owens, whose diverse achievements have earned him acclaim from critics and colleagues alike, began his serious study of 'cello at the age of eighteen, in Berkeley, with renowned 'cello pedagogue Margaret Rowell. He studied on scholarship at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Julliard School, later studying with Irene Sharp and Bonnie Hampton. Soon after graduating, he became principal 'cellist of the Santa Rosa Symphony under maestro Corrick Brown, appearing frequently as concerto soloist and receiving critical praise for his 'superb playing,' 'amazing skill' and 'dramatic power.' Concurrently he began a recital career that has taken him in ever-widening circles around the world. An early interest in contemporary music brought him into contact with the great American master Ernst Bacon, whose works he championed. Bacon chose Owens for radio broadcasts of his music, calling him 'a superb artist and astonishing virtuoso.' In recent years Matthew Owens has been interested in re-establishing the role of the composer-performer in classical music by developing the art of improvisation as the link between composing and performing. His own series, in Berkeley, 'Fables for A Golden Age' where he appeared as 'cellist, pianist, and storyteller, had an international following. And his improvisational concerts have been remarkably successful here and abroad. Following a recent concert in Birmingham, England, he was called 'a virtuoso on the cutting-edge of 'cello,' and Svetlana Gusarova of the Moscow magazine Four Seasons praised his work as 'expressive, passionate, philosophic.' Mr. Owens has also been invited to give lecture demonstrations of the art of improvisation in conservatories in England and Russia. For over a decade Mr. Owens has been featured as soloist, composer, improviser, on the Distinguished Artist Series of Four Seasons Concerts in San Francisco and Oakland, and an Artist-In-Residence for their annual music festival in Oregon, where a recent Oregon Coast Magazine article on the festival called Mr. Owens a 'favorite,' citing his 'amazing 'cello range.' Commenting on Mr. Owens' musical contributions, the late Dr. Hazaiah Williams, director of Four Seasons Concerts said 'He is a giant.'
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