Trio Con Brio
Gary Whitman, Misha Galaganov, John Owings
James Scott Balentine
Composer - Performer - Music Educator
News and Events
Musical Offerings Jazz Meets Classical Series premiered Bill's Shadow at the San Antonio Museum of Art in March, 2015. Funded by the Russell Hill Rogers Foundation and supported in part by the Billy Strayhorn Foundation, the commission drew from the harmonic style of Billy Strayhorn's music, in honor of Strayhorn and his legacy to American music. The premiere featured Curtis Calderon, trumpet, James Scott Balentine, clarinet, Aaron Prado, piano, Zlatan Redzik, bass, Kyle Keener, drums, Joan Christenson and Laura Scalzo, violins, Marisa Bushman, viola, and Ryan Murphy, cello.
Clarinetist Robert Walzel and friends - pianist Steven Glaser, bassoonist (and brother) Scott Walzel, and the Texas Clarinet Consort (Robert Walzel, James Gillespie, John Scott, Raphael Sanders, Doug Storey, Gary Whitman) - have released a new recording of works by James Scott Balentine on Albany Records. The CD includes Nine Wild Exotic Dances, commissioned by Walzel for ClarinetFest 1999 in Ostend Belgium, March, Strathspey and Reel, commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for clarinetist Jaren Hinckley, The Charlie Effect, commissioned by Elizabeth Carwford and Peter Wright for ClarinetFest 2005 in Baltimore, In a Bright Room for clarinet and bassoon, and clarinet sextets Three Spirituals, Monk, Through a Glass Darkly, The Ghost of Eric Dolphy, and A Toot in Ninesia all commissioned by the Texas Clarinet Consort for ClarinetFests in France (1995), Sweden (2000), Belgium (1999), and the US.
Asking a Shadow to Dance, for clarinet, viola and piano, was performed by Trio Con Brio - Gary Whitman, clarinet, Misha Galaganov, viola, and John Owings, piano - on their fall tour of Texas in October, 2014, including the new Performing Arts Center at Texas State University, Ayers Recital Hall at Texas Lutheran University, and the Recital Hall at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Commissioned by Trio Con Brio, the piece incorporates musical fragments and programmatic influences from the opera My New Voice
What Water Says, for guitar and baritone voice, with text by Aidan Abney, was recorded by David Asbury, Guitar, and Bruce Cain, baritone voice, on the CD River of Words. Every year, in affiliation with the Library of Congress Center for the Book, the River of Words project sponsors a free international poetry and art contest on the theme of watersheds. The contest is open to students ages 5 through 19 anywhere in the world. What Water Says by Aidan Abney, is one of the winning poems, and music setting the poems was commissioned by David Asbury and Bruce Cain of Southwestern University.
My New Voice, a one act chamber opera, was performed on the Festival of New Music in April, 2014. The performance featured soprano Linda Poetschke, tenor John Nix, and Bruce Balentine, actor and voice synthesis, with an ensemble including Kasandra Keeling, piano, Rita Linard, flute, Laura Kelly, clarinet, Cynthia Balentine, horn, and Benjamin Westney, cello. My New Voice, with music by James Scott Balentine and libretto by Bruce Balentine, follows the story of Trevor, a disabled inventor and artist who can speak only through technological aids; his inner ego, Trevor-Shadow; and his Personal Assistant Elizabeth. This one act opera is the first of a series of works in progress involving the same characters.
So Tell Me Elizabeth, for soprano, piano and synthesized voice, was performed on the final concert of the CreST Conference (Creative Speech Technologies) in Scarborough, UK, on January 26, 2013, by Lisa J. Coates, soprano, Paul Barker, piano, and Bruce Balentine, voice synthesis. Also included on the concert were other works involving artificial voice technology, including music by composers David Howard, Kevin Jones, Rob MacKay, Christopher Newell, Paul Barker, and Joseph Olive. An excerpt from the opera My New Voice, So Tell Me Elizabeth is a part of a larger work by James Scott Balentine, and Bruce Balentine, libretto, to be completed later in 2013.
My New Voice was also performed at the University of Texas at San Antonio on January 27, 2013, by soprano Linda Poetschke, Rita Linard, flute, David Herbert, oboe, Judith VanderWeg, cello, and Christine Debus, piano.
A CD recording with works by James Scott Balentine and Henry Wolking is scheduled to be released in March, 2013, by Navona Records, a susidiary of PARMA Recordings, and will be distributed through Naxos. The CD includes the double concerto for clarinet and bassoon, Dùn Èideann Blogh, and a clarinet concerto by Wolking entitled Gone Playin'. The CD features clarinetist Robert Walzel and bassoonist Eric Stomberg, and was recorded in the Czech Republic in the summer of 2012 by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra with Petr Vronsky conducting.
The Texas Clarinet Consort - Robert Walzel, James Gillespie, John Scott, Doug Storey, Raphael Sanders, and Gary Whitman - will premiere The Ghost of Eric Dolphy at ClarinetFest 2010 on July 23, 2010, in Austin, Texas. The piece was commissioned for this event by the Consort, and features bass clarinetist Gary Whitman on ideas inspired by the great jazz bass clarinetist, saxophonist and flutist Eric Dolphy.
Commissioned by San Antonio's Musical Offerings, this remarkable multimedia jazz cantata by James Scott Balentine and Bruce Balentine was performed the week of April 10, 2010, in four San Antonio venues as part of the popular Jazz Meets Classical series, now in its 18th year. Performances at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico, Boerne's First United Methodist Church, the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Witte Museum were well received. This unusual piece dealing with the brain and the Theory of Mind was presented as a lecture in a semi-dramatic setting, and incorporated jazz solos by Los Angeles-based saxophonist Rob Hardt. Librettist Bruce Balentine played the "Professor", and composer James Scott Balentine acted as conductor and clarinetist. The ensemble included Musical Offerings Artistic Director Joan Christenson, violist Matthew Diekman, cellist Ben Westney, Brent Watkins on piano, Zlatan Redzik, bass, and Kyle Keener, drums.
The Internationally-renowned clarinet choir, Claribel, from the Music Conservatory of Ostend, Belgium, under the direction of Guido Six, has commissioned a new piece to be performed at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio, Texas in February, 2010. The piece features two clarinet quartets composed of clarinet faculty members from Texas universities, including the Texas Clarinet Consort (Robert Walzel, James Gillespie, John Scott, Gary Whitman, Doug Storey and Raphael Sanders) plus Richard McDowell (UT Austin) and David Shea (Texas Tech University).
Pianist and composer Roger Steptoe performed the American premiere of Piano Sonata No. 2 in the spring of 2007 for American Landmark Festivals, New York. Mr. Steptoe performed at the Central Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and the Smith Opera House in Geneva, New York, following a performance as guest artist at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The sonata was written for and dedicated to Mr. Steptoe.
The Three Billy Goats Gruff for string quintet and narrator, commissioned by Cactus Pear Music Festival for its Kinder Konzerts Series will be recorded for release on Cactus Pear Music Festival's upcoming CD to be released in 2009. It was performed at the Nevada Chamber Music Festival in Reno, Nevada in December 2007.
Triqueta, double concerto for guitar, horn and strings will premiere at the Southwest Guitar Festival in San Antonio in January, 2009, with soloists Matthew Dunne, guitar, and Michael Gast, horn.